Sunday, January 9, 2011

Words, thoughts and ideas have consequences

The reaction of people who were very supportive of sites advocating getting rid of Rep.Giffords and her colleagues to postings which suggest that such advocacy could have played in role in an attempt by to get rid  of her is, at best, perplexing.  What so many are saying, in essence,is that no one has any right to hold haters accountable for hate-filled language.  Was Henry II completely free from responsibility when his guards killed Becket because their king asked publicly:  "Will no one rid me of this man?"  Want to get on the King's good side?  Rid him of this man.

Sarah Palin posted on her blog a  listing the names of every Congressional supporter of Health Care reform.  She highlighted the names of those who were reelected by placing the representation of the crosshairs of a rifle over each name.  Did she want Rep. Giffords shot in the head with a rifle?  Probably not, although the only existing evidence suggests the possibility. The only evidence of any sort I have seen about what Sarah Palin did or did not want her followers to think in terms of Rep. Giffords is what she posted, putting Rep. Giffords name in a cross hairs and saying she needed to be gotten rid of.  I only know she wrote it. I do not know for sure that she meant it, but she did write it.

Her followers cannot know her true intent for sure, either.  Yet many have turned viscously on those who suggest that SP's posting might possibly have influenced to some extent the fact that someone she advocated getting rid of through the crosshairs of a rifle was shot in the head through the crosshairs of a rifle. Might the language of this posting and others like it have been heard by someone with a mental disability?

  If we do not want to be held accountable for what we say or suggest, we could always refrain from saying or suggesting it.  Let's be honest.  She said it. Sure it would take someone without all of their faculties to act on the suggestion, but someone without all of his faculties did!  That does not prove anything.  But to dismiss completely any responsibility whatsoever for this action  from those who stated wishes for exactly what was done to be done is very disingenuous.

Let's change the tone of our disagreements.  Then there will be fewer suggestions for the less than perfect to effect, and innocence can truly be claimed.  To say nothing of honesty.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Sirens

In mythology, the Sirens were seductresses who lured those who heard their song to disaster.  The term "siren song" refers to their sound and their charm, hard to resist but, if heard, leads to destruction. 

Early Christians denied the existence of The Sirens, but said they were a metaphor for women: beautiful and alluring, yet always seductive, drawing men to destruction. Surprised?

I hear the sirens every night, throughout the night. Their song changes often, but they are always there. WHOOP WHOOP WHOOP. AWWWWwww AWWWWwwww. OOop OOop Oop. ooOP ooOP ooOP. WaWaWa…They are a part of the allure of the downtown area, yet they always portend disaster of some sort, for someone: A stranger has been shot; A street person has frozen to death; an elderly person needs hospitalization; a SRO caught fire because the ancient, gas-leaking stove was needed for heat.

And when I hear them, When I hear the Sirens, I feel both the excitement of the city and the fury of interrupted sleep. The sounds of the city, the sounds of the night. Calling, calling. Making clear that this is not yet the city of God, but still a city of nighttime sin. It is a city that needs transformation, while all the while it transforms. Night spreads over the city and what dreams may come must give us pause. If we sleep, we loose. If I sleep and dream through the sirens, the sirens take me to destruction.

Is this world of Sirens real, or are my dreams? Is life so bleak, is the night so threatening on these streets that the calls of the Sirens are to terror and fear?

A man is yelling out front, in the night; in the rain. His words are repetitive: “JOHN PAUL IS POPE. THE HOLY CATHOLIC CHURCH. JOHN PAUL IS POPE. THE HOLY CATHOLIC CHURCH…” The sirens come again. “JOHN PAUL IS POPE. THE HOLY CATHOLIC CHURCH. JOHN PAUL IS POPE. THE HOLY CATHOLIC CHURCH…” I dare to speak: “You know, John Paul isn’t pope anymore.” “No?” “They have a new one. His name is Benedict.” “I haven’t been that involved. I didn’t know. John Paul was….well, I have to go. God Bless you.” “God bless you too.”

One less siren in the city. Perhaps I’ll sleep tonight.