An Early September News Roundup

An Early September News Roundup September 6, 2018


The beginning of September was a disappointment. In joyful expectation I laid out my orange plaid tablecloth, the scarecrow centerpiece, the pumpkin-shaped chalkboard and the ornamental gourds, and the next day there was a heat wave. There was a heat wave all weekend. The weather was less bearable than it had been in July and August; it was 100 degrees on Tuesday, according to the Walgreen’s kiosk. I quickly developed the worst fibromyalgia flare-up I’ve had since January and took to my bed. Thankfully it’s clearing up quickly.

I’m supposed to be writing, but all I have the energy to do is scroll through Facebook over and over again.

Of course I have not been giggling like a petulant nine-year-old at the recently released GIF showing Archbishop Viganò kissing then-Cardinal McCarrick in 2012.  Of course I have not at all, and I encourage you to watch it and not laugh as well.

I also gather from Facebook that conservatives are angry with athletic shoes this September. They are angry because Colin Kaepernick disrespected the American Flag, and they think burning their Nike sneakers will make it stop.

I am old enough to remember a time when shoe-burning Conservatives disrespected the flag. I am old enough to remember when some pro-life activists refused to recite the pledge of allegiance to the flag unless they were allowed to say “born and unborn” after “liberty and justice for all.” They just wouldn’t say it, or they’d roar the extra line to draw attention to it. I remember when a middle-aged pro-life lady from Columbus led the whole pro-life rally at the park in the “pro-life pledge of allegiance” and we admired her and patronized her flag shop because of it. Both the Flag Lady and Kapernick were publicly performing a slightly different gesture of respect for the flag than the prescribed one in order to draw attention, not to themselves but to a class of people that ought to be included under “liberty and justice for all” but aren’t in practice. Quietly genuflecting when everyone else around you is standing is a gesture of respect, just a different one, which Kapernick was using to draw attention to the ways in which America doesn’t live up to what America claims to be. Standing with your hand on your heart and pointedly saying “born and unborn” when everyone around you has finished reciting the pledge was a gesture advocated by some in the pro-life movement to draw attention to the same truth for a different group of people.

I am forced to conclude that the issue at hand isn’t really disrespect for the flag, but the class of people the troublemaker is drawing attention to. Not unborn babies but born men and women who are African-American. If someone can tell me why that’s not racism, I’ll try and listen.

I’m neither a conservative nor a liberal, myself. I am a Catholic, which puts me way out to the left of left on some issues, far to the right of right on others, and as far as the East is from the West on a number of things. Personally I’m troubled at the idea of performing any kind of obeisance to a symbol of a secular government in the first place, and I think a number of martyrs would agree with me, but that’s another issue.

The other news issue everyone’s talking about on Facebook is that anonymous op ed in the New York Times which the president found so embarrassing. The one that reads so exactly like it was written by Vice President Mike Pence that it has to either be written by a very stupid Pence who can’t disguise his own manner of speaking, or by somebody trying to set Pence up, or by the writer who supplies Pence’s lines for political parodies on Saturday Night Live. My opinion on that is that it was unethical of the Times to keep the writer anonymous. What this person has revealed is so damaging to our democracy that he ought to be compelled to answer questions. He ought to testify before the Senate, and we can give Mike a paper grocery bag to wear over his head if he’d like to remain anonymous. I would pay to see that if I had any money.

It’s too hot to think about anything for long.

(image via Pixabay) 

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