Sunday, July 4, 2010

July 4th Meditation--Happy Birthday, Baby

This July 4th I am in Philadelphia--the great tributary which is the source of this great river that we have become. I have a lot of trouble with the folk (like the Tea-Partiers, etc) who are saying that we have to return to the original intention of the constitution. These are some of the same folk that are saying the Supreme Court justices must return to the original intent of the Constitution. Well, ask Justice Roberts, et al what that means today. 

In Alabama in the last gubernatorial race--one Republican candidate accused the other of not believing the Bible. The man had said that of course certain passages of the Scriptures could not be taken literally. After he was charged with the heresy of such a statement--the candidate recanted and said he believed every word of the Bible was literally true. It is comforting to know that we now have two Republican candidates running against each other that believe in stoning adulterers and homosexuals--that the world really is flat--and that axe heads can float and surely the sun can stand still. (I won't mention the Democratic candidates that don't have a prayer in Alabama.)

Don't these folk know that you have to view these documents in the time in which they were written? As for the Constitution--they never heard (tell, if you are from Alabama) of oil spills, drones, September 11th--this unending war--not to speak of equal rights for (whatt???) gays and illegal immigrants.

We are not the same country we were...even fifty years ago and I can remember those "good old days" when the livin' was (supposedly) easy and black folk (we had never heard (tell--remember I am from Alabama) of Hispanics, etc.Not to speak of that wondrous time when the men were strong and the women were good lookin' and (most of) the children were above average.--

I don't know what we are going to do about the economy--but crucifying the Prezzident and all the Democrats I don't think will solve much. (Remember the last administration?) On this July 4th--I know it is a scary time...but it was probably scary when those first Pilgrims got here and looked around and wondered if somebody had sold them a bill of goods in England.  Or when we went to war against ourselves in the Civil War and it looked like the end of it all. We have survived crisis after crisis. I'm not being a Pollyanna, I don't think (maybe I am)--but every battle is not Armageddon. We're in a tough time--9.5% of us do not have today I read in the Sunday NY Times a two and a half page story about one of our soldiers who just a year ago got both is legs and arms blown off--and to his number we can add a great many others--read it and weep. On and on we could go about our troubles--but this soldier, it seems to me is what this country is still all about. Despite every restriction we can imagine that could possibly happen to him--he is awaiting a time when he will get two arm transplants. It will take more than a year of hoping his body doesn't reject these when they do come available. He lives with hope.

And it seems to me so must we all.  Outside my son's door and across the street live two lesbians and their two kids...two doors away a black family is sitting on a concrete stoop in front of their house while the man of the family barbecues a whole rack of ribs in the closed-off street. They don't seem to have a lot of money but they are laughing and having a ball. There will be fireworks on the river tonight...and people from every country you can imagine will sit on the grass and say: Ahhh. I really do think  Ben Franklin--a real maverick if there ever was--would be very proud.  I don't usually get squishy over the American flag--but when I see them flapping in the breeze all up and down these mean streets--I get a lump in my throat--and despite all the pain and misery and scary stuff out there--I think I still have some hope for us all.

Happy Birthday--baby--I wish you well even thought you (we) have a long way to go. 

(You might enjoy Ross Douthat's column in Monday's NY Times. It is always fun when you find somebody who agrees with you.)

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