Next Up?

It’s official. Roe v Wade has been overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court. An oh-so-predictable vote. So the weeping and wailing and indignation following the leaked sneak peek have begun all over again.

There was a time when I was mortified by a law that allowed women the right to terminate a pregnancy. I had a dim view of any woman who could be so cold and cavalier and dismissive of the new life within her. But I don’t think that way anymore.

This isn’t a religious issue. We’ve made it one, or religious conservatives have. This is a woman’s rights issue. She has the right to decide for herself—regardless of the burden of conscience or what the bible says. This is a decision not to be taken out of the hands of the one person most directly affected—the pregnant woman.

Bible thumpers and the rest truly have no say in this, even as it has become apparent that they—at least for now—have ruled the day.

The thought of killing a fetus, of terminating a vulnerable life, may be offensive to many people. But this has always been about more than someone simply being offended or feeling the need to serve as someone else’s conscience. This is about granting autonomy to women and recognizing that the burden of conscience, the burden of any feelings that may emerge, the potential regret or remorse, or relief—all of this is left to the woman who makes the decision to terminate or to keep.

If the religious right want to get involved, then they can pray for the woman’s soul and her decision-making process, if that would help them feel better.

He Chose Poorly?

Kevin McCarthy had his chance, apparently, but decided not to take it. Orange Hair is bummed about that—now.

There are Republicans on the Jan. 6 Committee, but not the ones McCarthy would have preferred. The ones he most likely wanted would have been there to bring “balance” to the proceedings, i.e. gum up the works, introduce procedural hurdles and other distractions; their own panel of witnesses adept at constipation who would have had the imagination and lack of scruples to refute everything the panel was throwing at them. It might have been more fair and balanced, but would those making the effort to tune in have been well served?

As it is, we’ve seen five sessions chock full of other Republicans offering up information that would seem to be damning and irrefutable, yet in the end may not amount to a hill of beans or lead anywhere.

I really hope I’m wrong about that.

The Coming (Familiar) Disappointment

How much you wanna make a nickel bet that the Jan. 6 Committee’s much ado about something will end up being much ado about nothing? Yet again.

Yes, I have little hope of even this exhaustive, no-stone-unturned effort actually leading to anything, because the big prize, the “brains” behind all the perversion, will find a way to defuse and avoid and throw others under the bus. And he will once again live to fight, or whatever it is that he does, another day.

Slime has a way of oozing through the cracks.

Questions Remain

One thing, for the most part, conspicuously missing from the January 6 event, was widespread gunfire.

I’m not complaining, or disappointed. It just seems strange that as prevalent as it is every other day of the year in this country, it was largely absent on January 6, 2021. I know shots were fired and lives were lost, but as insurrections go, this was largely gun-free.

People may have had concealed weapons they never used, and other implements of destruction and mayhem were wielded. But for all the attention guns usually get, and for all the seeming potential for their use, they were suspiciously absent that day. Almost as if a certain restraint was being exercised by all parties. And the law enforcement presence was wildly ineffective, at least initially—to the point that one could rightfully wonder if that wasn’t by design.

As much of a bloviating ass pimple as Tucker Carlson is, and as much as I hate agreeing with him on anything, there might be an element of truth in his statement that what happened at the Capitol on January 6 was no insurrection, at least not in the historical context of other insurrections. There are many questions. Among them, why wasn’t there a more robust law enforcement presence even before people started showing up at the Capitol? How to explain a seeming uncharacteristic lapse in intelligence and preparation?

And why, when things were getting heated, didn’t those officers who were present use their weapons more than they did? Did they have weapons, or are Capitol Police unarmed? That wouldn’t make much sense. Perhaps they were hesitant to engage with weapons, for fear of what might ensue amidst a throng who may have been packing their own arsenal under their jackets.

I really don’t know what I’m trying to get at. It’s just that, as insurrections go, this one struck me as being relatively tame, seemingly for show. Half-hearted, and sensationalized for public consumption.

Which doesn’t dismiss the fact that people were frightened or Trump and his lemmings are off the hook. We still need to examine motives, intent, plans. Trump didn’t want to leave office, and the January 6 Committee has put meat on the bones of a plan whose intent was to facilitate exactly that. Insurrection or not, the former President was intent on interfering in the results of a free and fair election and manipulating the outcome. That is unlawful.

He and the rest need to understand what unlawful means, in whatever language it takes for him to get that message. Justice needs to be served, in a heaping helping, somehow. And at long last.

Some Day, Something Will Happen

What galls me at the moment is the oh-so-predictable headline on the news feeds regarding some serious gun legislation that has been passed in the House but has little chance of passing a Senate vote. Of course.

It is not difficult to imagine a scenario in which Ted Cruz and the rest continue vomiting the party line, continue stonewalling any attempts at gun control regardless of the carnage—even after an event where scores are killed or someone they know, maybe a family member, is among the victims.

Are there moments where we’ve stopped to think about what has happened over the last five years? The atrocities have come so relentlessly that there is no way we can truly process what is happening. Most of us just go on with our lives, grateful that we or someone we know wasn’t among the victims. But the collective weight of such senseless loss has to be leaving a mark.

In case you haven’t seen a recent editorial by Dick Polman, Mr. Polman quotes portions of an editorial from the Sydney (Australia) Morning Herald. It reads, in part: ‘It is incomprehensible to us, as Australians, that a country so proud and great (that’s U.S.) can allow itself to be so savaged again and again by its own citizens. We cannot understand how the long years of senseless murder… have not proved to Americans that the gun is not a precious symbol of freedom, but a deadly cancer on their society…

we (Australians) have consented to a social contract that states lives are precious, and not to be casually ended by lone madmen. But our message means nothing to those whose ideology is impervious to evidence…

You can’t regulate evil. But you can disarm it. Once again we pray that the U.S. will come to its senses and do just that. And once again, we are dreadfully sure it won’t.

This Morning Herald editorial, as noted by Mr. Polman, was written five years ago.

Golf, On Steroids

So, more defections to the new pro golf circuit—LIV, which apparently is both the Roman numeral for an 18-hole golf score if a player gets a birdie on every hole (par 72), and the number of holes played in these tournaments.

Phil, Kevin Na, DJ, several others. Turns out what really matters is the same old suspect: a gaudy payday. With the additional distinction of being financed by the Saudi government?

Tiger was offered something in the high 9 figures to play in this new “league”, but he said no. I didn’t realize that some of the tournaments will be played here in the states, competing against existing PGA events. And it promises to be a more “exciting” product. Because golf needs to be more like NFL football, with combatants.

I wonder how that’ll go.

Good Day, Sunshine

What really gets under my skin is the notion among 2nd Amendment devotees that a big reason we have mass shootings is because fewer of us are going to church. If only people would return to church, then things would be better. Which, I suppose, contains an element of truth, since following the Instruction Book would likely influence some in a positive way.

Just not because what we’d get at church is true or real, or magic balm. I guess that wouldn’t matter, as long as people have faith… Ah, faith.

How long, Lord? How long? Do things have to go totally to shit before you do anything? Does everything work out only if the whole world is driven to its knees and we simultaneously shout, “Come, Lord Jesus!”? ‘Cus that ain’t happening anytime soon.

Who am I talking to, anyway? Anyone?!

Could anything like the books of Scripture be written today? If our Savior has come, and he’s promised to come again, what is he waiting for? For things to get as bad as they can get, I guess. Maybe it’s the Lazarus story, on steroids, complete with Jesus staying two more days, somewhere, seemingly letting things fall apart.

Or maybe we’re just alone in the universe.

No Surprises, Really

A problem we have in America is that not caring about other people is woven into the fabric of who we are. Unless those other people look and think like us.

It’s not always intentional, and it’s not that altruism and caring aren’t given lip service—at home (if you’re lucky), hopefully at school. And those still attending church get a steady dose of someone’s moral high ground, depending on how scripture is interpreted in any given congregation.

It’s just that what many of us are taught and groomed to care more deeply about is living a good life where we want for nothing, where financial success equals an absence of stress, along with happiness and contentment and enviable achievement and opportunity. And the means to acquire stuff. Where comfort is the primary pursuit, and flourishing to the point of excess counts for more than simply having enough to live on.

There’s little time to think about anything but pursuit of the damned American Dream, and how we stack up against the Joneses. Wanting it all, wanting it now, always making sure it’s there for us. Bigger and better.

Jesus. It’s no wonder we have angry teenagers and societal rot—we as a nation live every day distracted, oblivious to responsibilities and basic needs, all wanting our piece of the pie, and climbing over each other to get it. It seems to be about deserving and earning and every man/woman for him- or herself. There will be collateral damage in such pursuits, and the toll is a human one.

It’s like we don’t have time or energy to care, much less notice. Such irksome things must be someone else’s responsibility. But they’re not.

Oh, and we have way too many guns.

Bits

Celtics are heading to the NBA Finals. Cool.

Hey, what’s up with Texas? They can get all bent out of shape over abortion and pass restrictive legislation in the seeming blink of an eye, but no can do when it comes to gun laws? Even in the wake of Uvalde, they maintain the maddening stance of “thoughts and prayers and a thorough investigation…” blah blah blah.

Saw a quote recently that reasoned if law enforcement people were hesitant to confront a shooter with an AR-15, then how can we expect teachers to take that on? Beyond that, how can we even think about expecting teachers to just be ok with adding weapons training—weapons training!— to an already daunting list of responsibilities and expectations? This is its own form of criminal insanity.         

They Can’t Be Serious

Nothing but wreckage left in the wake. Nothing but damage. Lives needlessly lost or forever scarred, yet all the NRA and most Republicans can manage is a default nod to thoughts and prayers and an ever-present stranglehold on a manufactured “right.”

Arm the teachers? That should go well. You think we have a teacher shortage now? Try telling teachers they have to go to gun training classes. You know, so when the next monster with an assault rifle decides it’s his turn to distinguish himself with a body count, they can stand in the way and protect their kids. Bet they didn’t teach that in college.

Press retired military and law enforcement back into service with promises of reduced taxes or other enticements? Yup, that should be attractive. I’m sure many would jump at that opportunity.

Have only one entrance? That sounds safe. Man traps…?

They’re grasping at straws, being ridiculous, doing all they can to avoid the obvious.