On Giants' Shoulders

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Nothing to Say?

One might think that that's why I haven't posted lately. Actually there's been a fair amount of things going on, but some of them are not blog worthy and others are not yet bloggable. I did take a lactation counselors class in September and if I passed the exam will get a lactation counselor's certificate. The class also gives me all the lactation credits I need to sit the lactation consultant exam next summer.

The lit girls and I have been working our way through Orthodoxy. We missed the Rochester Chesterton conference because it interfered with Eastern States and was at the end of a grueling week of classes for me. We were all disappointed about that.

Lately I've been spending a lot of time hunkering down trying to save money, pay off bills, get ready for winter. I've felt like I've been in the doldrums in the midst of all that. I think the political season which I've tried desperately to ignore has really begun to get to me. It's awful to feel like there's no one that you want to vote for and two candidates that you'd happily vote against. I don't feel like the election of either presidential candidate will be something I can rejoice over, so frankly it's rather like being in an aristocracy where you simply have to put up with what you get. The frustrating thing is being told you have a choice when in fact you really don't.

I see the places in my life, perhaps in all of our lives where I can make a difference and they are all small places. I can make a difference by shopping locally and encouraging other people to do so. I can make a difference in our own budget by making my own yogurt (and saving $4 a quart doing it), by using up left overs, by baking bread. I will soon be a La Leche League leader once again and I can help mothers and babies. I can do nice things that aren't required or expected. I can recall a phrase Francis Schaeffer used, "there are no little people and no little places." Or I can recall that St. Therese encouraged us to practice the little way. Mostly of late that's what I'm doing: little things, that aren't even particularly appreciated a lot of the time. But little things done for the love of God are often all that we can do.

I've read and heard a lot of angry voices lately. There are angry voices on the left and angry voices on the right. It's true in the world of faith, it's true in the world of politics. The angry voices make my stomach churn. I don't like hostility. I don't like it when people say exaggerated things that they don't even really mean, just for rhetorical effect. I've come to realize that some people like debating, even loud angry debating, but loud debates remind me far too much of a period in my life where loud angry words often disintegrated into someone (often me) getting slapped in the head. I recognize that there are things to be angry about, but so much of the angry debate seems so totally unproductive. Arguing about who to vote for is stupid in a state where the outcome is a foregone conclusion. Saying nasty things about one candidate or the other is only hurtful in the long run. Saying exaggerated negative things about one candidate or the other falls into the realm of calumny far too easily. Believing that either candidate is going to be able to fix what's wrong with this country falls into the category of being naive at the very least. I can fear that we are headed for some very bad times ahead, no matter who gets elected. I can fear that Christians are going to find themselves losing their jobs rather than participating in evil., but I can't take that fear and turn it into hateful angry speech towards people who happen to see things somewhat differently.

I think that the lack of charity between believers this year has bothered me most of all. I've watched people bait each other and snipe at each other and criticize each other all in the name of Christian morality. It all makes me very, very sad.

One of the things that has really bothered me of late is the fact that Christians who take their faith seriously have been the target of not only ridicule by the media, but hateful comments by at least one candidate as well. I don't happen to be a fundamentalist Protestant anymore, but I used to be and the characterizations of that group by the media and some candidates as ignorant, racist, and hateful are just plain inaccurate. Yes there are ignorant, racist, hateful fundamentalists. There are also ignorant, racist, hateful atheists (I would point out that the Nazis were certainly not fundamentalist Protestants nor are the current skinheads). To characterize a whole group by the rantings of a strange pastor from a tiny church in Kansas or the behavior of a Benny Hinn is unfair to say the very least. To some extent there are leaders of the so-called religious right who have brought this on themselves. They have attempted to be king makers and have gloried in access to the seats of power. Yet to paint all serious pro-life Christians with the same broad brush is unfair. To once again draw lines where you in essence say anyone who isn't part of the Eastern/urban elite is not worth listening to is to merely perpetuate the red/blue problem that everyone has talked to death. Most of the people of faith whom I know, both Protestant and Catholic are decent people who pay their bills, don't cheat their employees or employers, help their neighbors, attempt to raise their kids right, don't beat their wives or cheat on their spouses, don't sell drugs, or shoot up the neighborhood. I think even the Eastern elite would rather live in a neighborhood of fundamentalist Protestants than a neighborhood of drug dealers or brothels (although I suppose I could be wrong about that ). I guess all I'm trying to say is that satire can be funny, but it can also be a way of simply attempting to silence someone you don't want to listen to. It can be a way of dehumanizing someone.

So I guess I had some things to say. .. even if I didn't comment on the smell of wet leaves, Mom V Many. I try not to go smell wet leaves because they exacerbate my fall mold allergies. Now I'll get back to sock knitting, yogurt making, bread baking, house cleaning, and pattern selecting. I probably will find myself in the voting booth next month, but I hope until then to not have to listen to one more political debate (televised or otherwise), and I hope that I'll be forgiven if I decide to write in None of the Above.


At 4:12 PM, Blogger mom v many said...

I soooo hear you on the voting thing. I don't like politics so I'm thankful I don't have cable or direct tv. We unplugged this past June.
Congrat's also on the League!
I like the way you put the "dehumanizing by way of satire". Very well said and very much true...


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