A Few Thoughts for an Anonymous Progressive

I’d be happier if this could be an actual conversation, my anonymous progressive friend, but my experience has been that you do not listen. Even when you are willing to give your name, you only show up to talk–specifically to bestow upon those of us whom you see as sitting in darkness the superior wisdom of your orthodoxies. You are insufferable when you do this, but you don’t seem to know that. Perhaps you would if you were better at listening.

For most of my adult life I’ve done my best to maintain my equanimity in the face of patronizing insults, but now you seem to have crossed a line. Today, the day after President Obama’s first State of the Union Address, you left this anonymous comment on the Who is IOZ? blog: “I didn’t watch the Address. What did el presidente say? Wait. Nevermind (sic). It doesn’t matter what he said. At all.”

Really, Mr/Ms Anonymous? The remarks of the single most powerful and influential person on earth don’t matter? At all? Not to anybody, do you think, or just not to you?

But have I missed something crucial here? Perhaps you are the most powerful and influential person on the planet so what Obama said really doesn’t matter if you say it doesn’t.

If that’s the case, I wish you had taken the time to call him and let him know he didn’t need to go to all the trouble of writing and delivering that speech. Noblesse oblige and all. It would have been a nice gesture on your part. I mean, if it didn’t matter what he said, Obama could have stayed home last night with Michelle and the kids–maybe played fetch with Bo or something.

The truth, of course, is that you missed the speech last night because you and your ilk have written off Obama. You gave him about 90 days to remake the world in your image, and when that didn’t happen (how could it possibly have happened?) you wrote him off. That’s your prerogative under the Constitution you rely upon Obama to defend, but there are a few things you and those like you should consider:

  • When you write off the President unless he agrees with you 100%, you are doing your very best to hand the keys back to the GOP. If you are so amnesiac or willfully blind that you can’t tell the difference between Obama and Dubya, then you deserve Dubya and are helping to bring him or someone like him back to the White House.
  • When you only listen to people you already agree with, you get so you don’t even notice when you say things that are really, really stupid. The Who is IOZ? comment is just one tiny example of this.
  • When you indulge in supercilious brat attacks, you become profoundly unattractive. Perhaps you don’t care, but I would suggest that if you don’t admire Rush Limbaugh you should stop acting like him.

One More Post about New Orleans

Back in October I wrote a series of posts about the week I spent in New Orleans as a Katrina relief volunteer. Last week I put together a slide show of the trip for use during church yesterday. The slide show was a huge time sink, as such projects can so often be. The problem for me was that when I started I had no clear idea of what story I wanted to tell. There’s a bit of that indecision still visible (at least to me) in the final product.

Nevertheless, I’m linking the slide show here. If you’ve read this far, I hope you enjoy the show!

I think I made a resolution to post here at least three times a week. That thought obviously lasted about as long as the typical new year’s resolution. But who knows? Maybe I’ll start doing better by this blog. Truth be told, it has been an ongoing disappointment that the thing won’t write itself…

Time to Undeck the Hall

Big Hand Santa

I’m packing up Christmas decorations today. This is a task I’ve sometimes grumbled about and often found melancholy, but this year I’m feeling at peace. That may be because I’m not working against a deadline, but I doubt it.

The fact is last year’s holidays were more difficult than anything we had ever experienced or imagined. Marge was just heading into her chemotherapy. We did not utter our darkest thoughts, such as that we might be having our last Christmas together, and we propelled ourselves forward fueled by one part will to two parts desperation.

By contrast, this year’s holidays were serene. In our better moments, we have come to accept that life is fragile and finite as well as precious. Putting away the ornaments is giving me the chance to remember our Christmases together. There have been 42 since we got married in 1968. The last 30  have included Elizabeth. We have never been separated on Christmas, not once in all those years, so there are lots of memories.

The ornaments themselves tell part of the story. There are those we purchased, those we inherited, those that were given to us and those we made ourselves. The one shown here was made by Elizabeth in 1985 and cut from a sheet of loose leaf notebook paper. Every year since then Elizabeth has endured the same joke: “Ladies and gentlemen, let’s give Santa a big hand…” Every year since then Big Hand Santa has hung on the tree.

Every year since then I have been amazed to discover how much joy can be found in one sheet of notebook paper.