Friday, May 27, 2011

A State of Missery

As we the people of these United States get ready to celebrate the first extended weekend of the summer season - including the observance of Memorial Day on Monday in which we honor all of those men and women whose lives have been lost in preservation of the freedoms that those of us who are Americans hold so dear and yet sometimes are guilty of taking for granted - let us take a moment to consider the lives lost on our own soil thus far this year.  Lives lost as a result of the incredibly violent series of tornadoes that have rampaged throughout the American South and - just this past week or so - the Midwest.  I had thought that the news footage from Alabama several weeks ago had steeled me from being stunned or left heartsick from any similar footage from any other place.  I had thought that right up until the point the other evening when I saw the video of what is left - and more pointedly what is not left - of large sections of Joplin, Missouri.  Incredible stuff.  A stark reminder that nature can be as violent as it can be beautiful. 

I have a fair amount of fun in this space with the whole notion of organized religion and the related notion of spirituality.  I appreciate that there are those who believe in such things and I wish no ill to anyone who does.  I tend to fall on the other side of the line on that issue - not a huge believer in the notion of a celestial scorekeeper - and every time I think that I might be wrong and perhaps should reconsider my position, some a**hole masquerading as a "Man of God" does something to remind me of the correctness of it. 

The old coot who predicted the end of the world as we know it as recently as this past Saturday, Harold Camping, is just that:  an old coot.  I am sure there are purple sweatsuit-wearing, lemonade-drinking followers of him out there but I think as a general rule most of the rest of us view him as being here with us to provide us with the occasional piece of entertainment.  No harm, no foul. 

On the other hand, Fred Phelps and the rest of the cowards who follow his "preachings" under the guise of the Wasteboro Bastards Klan are not simply old coots.  They are malevolent forces.  Phelps is not a good human being.  I care not that the United States Supreme Court recently upheld the right of these wastes of our collective oxygen supply to protest at the funerals of service members killed in combat.  Being guaranteed the right to behave like an a**hole does not change one inalienable fact:  you are still an a**hole. 

Sunday, President Obama shall spend a portion of his Memorial Day weekend in Joplin, Missouri, viewing the scene of the storm damage firsthand and doing what a President does in times like this, which is attempting to reassure those who have lost everything, including in the case of far too many one or more family members.  On Wednesday, the jagoffs from WBC announced their intention to protest the President's visit.  Phelps and his cretins actually posted on their website on Wednesday, "Thank God for 125 dead in Joplin" (except on their website the proclamation is written in all caps and in huge, oversized typeface).  If he and his flock are on God's side, I shall continue to take my chances out here alone. 

If there is any sense of divine justice in this world, on Sunday when however many of Phelps' hate-fomenting followers descend on Joplin to spread their particular brand of venom, the good people of Missouri will honor their state motto and "show" the Wasteboro crowd what happens to those who arrive in a disaster area for no reason other than to hurl insult at those already up to their eye teeth in injury.  Or maybe the good folks of Kansas can lend a hand to their usually heated rivals - and next-door neighbors - to the east.  Somewhere the Kansas State Museum has to have at least a couple of Beecher's Bibles lying around in good, working order.  Once upon a lifetime ago, they were considered to be a wonderful deterrent to the spread of slavery. 

Sunday seems to be as good a time as any to see if they work equally as well deterring hatred's insidious onslaught.


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