The bees at Lafayette Square are familiar to me. They have buzzed around me before, curious but not hostile. When they approached again the other day, I greeted them like the bird woman in the original Mary Poppins, saying how glad I was they had not been wiped out by pesticides.
I mention the bees as an example of our need to coexist with others. This appears to be a foreign concept to Trump supporters. Take Franklin Graham. Please.
Graham tweeted on April 24, “Mayor Buttigieg says he’s a gay Christian. As a Christian I believe the Bible which defines homosexuality as sin, something to be repentant of, not something to be flaunted, praised or politicized. The Bible says marriage is between a man & a woman—not two men, not two women.”
Graham conveniently passes over lots of Biblical barbarity. Besides which, America is not governed by the Bible. Meanwhile, Graham eagerly backs President Seven Deadly Sins. Like Mayor Pete, many LGBT people are Christians who use the Bible not as a bludgeon but a source of reflection. Scolds like Graham resemble a man who cuts “The Last Supper” into tiny squares, rearranges them into something monstrous, and attributes the result to da Vinci.
When those who loudly cry “religious freedom” are silent about that of non-Christians, they show they are not about freedom, but supremacy.
This is not an abstraction for me. I loved and was loved by a Muslim. Our last night shines in my memory. He arose just before dawn, unrolled his prayer mat, put on his kufi hat, knelt, and prayed. Then he put the things away and returned to bed. Give me my sin again, as Romeo said.
If you would not be judged by the worst of your kind, do not judge another by the worst of his. We build a society with many small acts of recognition and respect. It is not monochromatic. Blind hacks and fanatics use fear and ignorance to pull us apart.
Presumptuous people who claim God speaks to them tend not to mean it in Walt Whitman’s mystical sense of “letters from God dropt in the street,” but literally. Oddly, the voices in their heads never seem to tell them anything they don’t want to hear.
If one of these frauds got Jesus on the line, imagine Him saying, “Child, would you mind reading the Gospel?” They deserve a rebuke for the contrast between their noxious emissions and the teachings of the Nazarene carpenter’s son.
Massachusetts Judge Shelley M. Richmond Joseph was indicted April 25 for helping an undocumented immigrant evade an Immigration and Customs Enforcement officer. Elie Mystal writes, “The irony is rich. The same forces that refuse to hold the President of the United States accountable for his multiple documented acts of obstruction of justice are trying to punish this judge for her compassion.”
Henry David Thoreau wrote in Civil Disobedience, “Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison.”
Men like Sen. Lindsey Graham and Rep. Jim Jordan want to turn the tables and investigate the investigators. Democrats fearful of fighting need reminding that the vandals will attack anyway. We can mock Trump’s constitutional illiteracy in vowing to appeal an impeachment to the Supreme Court; but with his dictatorial instincts, stonewalling, incitements, witness intimidation, and Mitch McConnell helping him pack federal courts, our laughter may prove hollow.
While I was toasting friends at their wedding on April 27, white nationalists disrupted a book chat at Politics and Prose bookstore a few miles north—right down the block from Comet Ping Pong where Hillary was accused of running a child sex ring. The targeted author, Jonathan M. Metzl of Dying of Whiteness: How the Politics of Racial Resentment is Killing America’s Heartland, took it in stride. “In case anybody’s wondering what’s happening right now, they’re illustrating my point.”
We have nowhere to hide. Democrats who stay in a defensive crouch are bringing Robert’s Rules to a gunfight. Guess who wins?
Thoreau said, “Cast your whole vote, not a strip of paper merely, but your whole influence.” The Stonewall anniversary is approaching. Time to rekindle our rebel spirit.
Richard J. Rosendall is a writer and activist. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright © 2019 by Richard J. Rosendall. All rights reserved.