On windless, moonlit summer nights at the lake, my husband and I like to take our canoe out onto the water. We launch it anywhere along the beach, but once afloat we know where we are headed. The moon illuminates a gleaming path to aim towards, a path of moonbeams waiting to be sliced with the bow of our canoe. There's something enchanting about paddling into the light.
August seems like a long time ago. Looked at in terms of DAPL protests, it might as well be a century. North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple, who, for all practical purposes, disappeared in August, surfaced last week. Perhaps his role in letting a local protest turn into an international cause celebre has dawned on him; perhaps he feels bad about the mess he's dumping in the new governor's lap.
Some time after the Department of Homeland Security was established in response to America's Sept. 11, 2001, tragedy, a Native American patient of my husband's gave him a gift. It was a T-shirt with a picture of long-ago Indians holding rifles. Above the picture were the words, "Homeland Security." Below the picture was the phrase, "Fighting Terrorism Since 1492."
Losing isn't fun, but it is a big part of life. In fact, losing without losing heart is the essence of living successfully. As one of life's truisms, however, the inevitability of losing isn't something we concentrate on in American culture. Instead, to one degree or another, we've all accepted, "Winning isn't everything; it's the only thing." In ways too numerous to mention, we emphasize winning and attach virtue and status to it. Frankly, we do so whether the situation warrants it or not.
When I pulled into the grocery store parking lot and saw a woman dressed like Uncle Sam, I should have kept on driving. But I didn't. So there was Mary Contrary, all red, white and blue, waving the American flag. As I got closer, she took off her hat and I could see that the head of her white wig had a yellow-orange comb over. "Hey, Sunshine, I suppose you're worried about the whole election thing now that the FBI rained on Hillary Clinton's parade with her aide's emails."
The Jeff Stahler cartoon in the "Christian Science Monitor" shows two boys with backpacks trudging home after school. One boy asks the other, "How'd you do on the test today?" The other boy replies, "Seems like the 'fact-checkers' & I disagreed on a number of answers."
Talking to a friend, I make the mistake of lumping immigrants and refugees together. My friend—who came to this country as a refugee—corrects me, and I start thinking about the importance of that difference. More important are misconceptions that come with identifying whole groups of people with isolated incidents, marginalizing them in ways that diminish their humanity and our own.
When the infamous 2005 video surfaced of Donald Trump nonchalantly boasting to Billy Bush of "Access Hollywood" how easy it was to sexually assault women, author and social media personality Kelly Oxford wrote on Twitter, "Women: tweet me your first assaults." Using one of Trump's own vulgar words, she followed that by saying, "I'll go first: Old man on city bus grabs my 'p...y' and smiles at me. I'm 12." Oxford said that when she tweeted, she wasn't really sure whether many women would respond. After all, such memories are personal and painful.
The moderator for the vice presidential candidate's debate between Sen.Tim Kaine of Virginia and Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana steered clear of social issues until the end. In her last question she told the candidates "to discuss in detail a time when you struggled to balance your personal faith and a public policy decision."
Before visiting Northern Ireland, I naively thought the 1998 brokered peace agreement between Catholics and Protestants had ended more than bombings and deaths. In my Pollyanna-like thinking, I assumed wounds had healed and ill will given way to civility and collaboration.