Charlottesville 

What happened in Charlottesville was evil. Pure and simple. The same evil my father fought in WWII, now come home to America, complete with swastikas, seig heils (including “heil Trump”) and chants of “JEWS won’t replace us”, and, in the end, murder. The KKK, neo-Nazis, and white supremacists, spewing their hate, were out in full force. 

This is not a partisan issue. It is not about who you voted for in November 2016. It is about good versus evil, love versus hatred, and every American who believes that we are all, each one of us, created in the image of God, must have the courage to speak out against the dehumanizing tactics and beliefs of the evil that had arisen in our midst. 

Haiti

Tuesday afternoon, I was slumped on the couch, watching cable, stuffed full of antibiotics and feeling quite sorry for myself. A sinus infection, infections in both ears and both eyes; I felt (still feel) like one big oozing infection. Then the news of the Haiti earthquake came over the news. Looking at my full medicine cabinet, not to mention my full cupboards and my nice comfy bed, knowing where my loved ones are and that they’re okay, makes it tough to feel truly sorry for myself.

If you want to help, consider donating to Catholic Relief Services–they do great work!

CRS Commits $5 Million to Haiti’s Quake Survivor Relief

Posted using ShareThis

tragedy on the river

Like everyone else, I think I’m still in shock over the 35W bridge collapse. George was out for a run on the Stone Arch Bridge and actually saw the bridge come down. A cousin of mine drove over the bridge less than half an hour before it collapsed. I found out today that one of the deceased was a parishioner of a priest I was friends with back in graduate school. If the collapse had happened during rush hour next week instead of this, I might very well have been on it myself; I’m taking a class at The Loft (it’s in the Open Book Building on Washington Avenue) next week and the 35W bridge would have been part of my route home. And I can’t even begin to count the number of times I’ve been on that bridge, especially when I lived in south Minneapolis; I was probably on it three to four times a week, and when I worked for the Wellstone campaign that was how I got to work.

George is beginning to have a delayed reaction to the trauma of seeing the bridge fall into the river, and I’m still freaked out because he usually runs along the river road UNDER the bridge–he didn’t Wednesday because it was so hot and he was tired, so he took a shorter route–but he could have been crushed under tons of concrete and steel. Fate is so random. We are all so vulnerable, at every moment, a fact we usually manage to forget, until a sudden unspeakable tragedy occurs and we are forced to face the reality that we aren’t the ones in control after all.

I know we’re all lucky as a community that there weren’t more fatalities, but that must be small comfort to those who lost their loved ones that day. John Donne was right when he wrote “Do not ask for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.” We are all the lesser for the loss of those beautiful people–each of them someone’s father, mother, brother, son, daughter, sister–who died on Wednesday, whether we knew them or not.

All of this reminds me of what my mom always said: Life is too short not to say “I love you.” Or in the words of Father Kevin McDonough at a prayer service at St. Olaf earlier this week:

We live only for a short time and are not promised tomorrow. Be grateful for today and be a blessing to somebody else.

Amen.

here he goes again

Another from Wonkette, under the heading: GOP SECRET WEAPON STRIKES AGAIN

Imagine you’re a Top Democrat Strategist looking at this week’s numbers: 13 House races are leaning Dem, along with a half-dozen Senate seats. Republicans are imploding from a seemingly endless supply of lurid scandals, the ceaseless horror of Iraq and a whole lot of depressing intangibles like the housing crash. Not only are the independents and libertarians and swing voters going Dem, but a million or two hardcore Bushbots are likely to stay home because they’re so depressed. What would you do with John Kerry?

Lock him in a cage and throw away the fucking key.

Instead, Kerry is doing useless things like attending rallies in California for Phil Angelides, who doesn’t have a chance in hell of kicking Arnold Schwarzenegger out of the governor’s mansion. Worse, Kerry is saying things into microphones. Things like this: “You know, education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq.”

The conservative faithful is roused. Tony Snow has a whole script prepared for today’s spoon-fed question about how John Kerry thinks the troops are morons, talk radio and blogs show the only enthusiasm they’ve managed in a month …. It’s like the White House is paying Kerry to be out in public screwing things up.

Wait a minute!

Kerry and G.O.P. Spar Over Iraq Remarks [New York Times]

Congressional Countdown [Washington Post]

And Kerry wants to run for president again in ’08!! Apparently he enjoyed blowing it in ’04 so much he wants to do it again this year. How nice of him to spread his joy to ’06.

I have already decided that the many curse words which fell from my mouth when I first heard this story are NOT a sin, under the circumstances, so I don’t need to confess them.

the truth is stranger than fiction

Boo! - WonketteA Halloween Story

Remember the lawyer up in Maine who busted out the George W. Bush drunk-driving arrest records right before the 2000 election? Well, he was arrested today for standing on the side of the highway dressed in a rubber Bin Laden mask, waving a plastic gun and a sign promoting a Taxpayer Bill of Rights on next week’s ballot. UPDATE: You know, because if Osama is campaigning for something on your local ballot, chances are it’s not that great for Americans.

Thomas J. Connolly is a bigwig defense attorney in Maine and ran as he Democrat candidate for governor eight years ago. He apparently likes to dress up in costumes and pull weird stunts along the interstate.

Connolly’s wife says he’s “marvelously eccentric.” And now he’s got a misdemeanor charge for whatever the hell law you break in such situations.

Police arrest man dressed as Bin Laden [Portland Press]

(From yesterday’s Wonkette)

the soul of the senate

paul_wellstone_official_senate_photo_portrait

Politics is not about money or power games, or winning for the sake of winning. Politics is about the improvement of people’s lives, lessening human suffering, advancing the cause of peace and justice in our country and in the world.
–Paul Wellstone

On the morning of October 25, 2002, a small plane went down in the sleet and bitter cold of northern Minnesota, crashing into the swampy, densely forested earth only a few miles from the Eveleth Airport. There were no survivors. Among the dead were U.S. Senator Paul Wellstone and his wife Sheila.

I don’t represent the big oil companies, I don’t represent the big pharmaceutical companies, I don’t represent the Enrons of the world, but you know what, they already have great representation in Washington. It’s the rest of the people that need it. I represent the people of Minnesota.
–Paul Wellstone

I loved him. And four years later, I miss him more than ever. I miss his kindness, his compassion, his exuberance, his courage, his passion for the most vulnerable of our society, his idealism.

The year he died, Paul Wellstone introduced the Mental Health Equity Act, which would force insurance companies to give equal coverage for both physical AND mental health problems. My first day with the 2002 campaign, I told Paul my own story, about how my parents spent their entire retirement savings on my treatment for depression and post traumatic stress. He held my hand in his and listened, told me how sorry he was for what my parents and I had been through. I’ve had a lot of experience in politics, and I’ve told a lot of people my story, and I can vouch for the fact that Paul Wellstone genuinely cared. It wasn’t just for show, it wasn’t just an act he put on to win political support, his empathy for the suffering and the underdog was the driving force of his life.

There is a huge leadership void in the country…Self-interest is more than economic self-interest; it is also how you feel about yourself. Are you living a life consistent with the words you speak, are you helping others, are you helping your community or your country or your world? A winning politics is a politics of values that appeals to the best in people, that enables citizens to dream again to make a better America.
–Paul Wellstone

Shortly before he died, Paul Wellstone was one of only a few senators to vote against the Iraq war. Most of the pundits predicted his vote would cost him the election. But just a few days before the crash, Wellstone pulled ahead of challenger Norm Coleman in the polls for the first time that fall.

Paul Wellstone was the soul of the Senate. He was one of the most noble and courageous men I have ever known. He was a gallant and passionate fighter, especially for the less fortunate. I am grateful to have known Paul and Sheila as dear and close friends. Their deaths are a shattering loss to Minnesota, to the nation, and to all who knew and loved them.
–U.S. Senator Tom Daschle, October 25, 2002.

Running though my mind as I write this is a Jewish proverb: We pay best homage to our dead by living our lives fully even in the shadow of our loss. In my dresser drawer is a pin the campaign distributed after the crash which reads, simply: “Stand Up/Keep Fighting.”

The future will not belong to those who are cynical or those who stand on the sidelines. The future will belong to those who have passion and are willing to work hard to make our country better.
–Paul Wellstone

(Quotations from Twelve Years and Thirteen Days: Remembering Paul and Sheila Wellstone, by Terry Gydesen.)

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