I often wondered why I enjoyed watching the rain through a window. Sure, there was a beauty to it: wind-whipped torrents, the dance of the drops, the merge of puddle circles, or just rivulets on a pane.
But there was something more fundamental. I guess it goes back to my youth, and later years, and the feeling of being safe and dry while torrents pelted those in the street. It was the innate gratitude for safety.
I’ve been thinking of this feeling in recent years when I’d see the “routine” rains of sadness and horror through my TV window.
I’d see so much war: “civil” war (of barrel bombs and poison gas) between factions and global war (rockets and drone strikes) between “neighbor” nations.
Sometimes I’d see generations—entire lifetimes— of people living a war, as in Afghanistan. Children, growing from cradle to grave with bombs as much a part of life as sunrise.
I’d again have that feeling of viewing the “out there” from the safety of “in here.” I’d feel gratitude for living in my country—America.
On Jan 6th, now an infamous date, I got up at 5:30, yes, 5:30 AM; it is our habit.
I put on the Early news, but I couldn’t endure the repetition: the attempted coup born of fantasies of election fraud, voting barriers metastasizing across America. I turned the TV off and just sat with Cheryl nearby.
I lit a couple of candles that morning. Usually, I don’t do that, but I wanted a TV-free, tech-free, analog morning. So we sat in semi-darkness, sipping coffee, the candles flickering.
After some time, I put some Apple music on our Bose audio. Yes, tech-free—gone.
We walked our pooch, Scout, always a good, down-to-earth experience.
When we returned, Cheryl made our second coffee.
I sat in my recliner near the window, Cheryl in hers nearby; Scout scrunched up against her leg.
I sipped the cappuccino, part Irish Creme, topped with whipped cream and sprinkles of vanilla and cacao. You know, a regular, a cuppa Joe.
I began to do the crossword but had to stop, put it down, and take in this moment. It contrasted in great relief to the cacophony of the earlier rude news. I took a photo of the moment.
We all have special moments that get our attention. I speak of them often, usually beach moments. It’s essential to fully realize and be in the moment of any peaceful place one is.
I need these moments more often now. I need them to counteract what I see through my TV window. But the window is threatening to crack. My sense of being safe inside is disappearing. I see a real threat to America’s way of life.
No matter how often I take a pause from the news, the threat remains. No amount of lit candles, or sips of cappuccino, will take it away.
What was once alien: dictatorships denying or manipulating voting to keep tyrants in power seems possible here—in America.
We once had a federal voting rights law in response to voter intimidation in the south. After some years, the Supreme Court determined that parts of that law were no longer needed as those states were now in compliance.
But that nullification opened the gate to manipulating the voting process to gain an advantage. That gate opened to a path of democracy failing and authoritarianism rising.
Lovers of America, lovers of freedom, is any cause worth a tainted vote process? Do your legitimate concerns about our southern border or any other problems justify attempts to erect barriers to voting?
Democracies are chock full of opposing views; that’s the point of political parties.
Go with that.
Raise your voices, protest with signs, petition for legitimate legislation. But don’t turn your back on democracy, so hard-won—so easily lost.
Too many Americans died for our freedoms, foremost, our right to vote.
Don’t dishonor the graves of those patriots.
Sometimes I don’t recognize what’s on my TV as America. When I hear of deterrence to voting, it’s almost as if I’m viewing a dispatch from Iraq. Sunni’s militias threatened to shoot anyone who voted. They were defied:
These days are not that bad, thank God. But the fall of democracy doesn’t start with the thud of jack boots—it starts with baby steps.
Will Americans be holding up purple fingers in “Hallelujah!” because—despite the barriers—they were able to vote?
Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn, after enduring hours of the assault on our Capitol, sat on a bench. He yelled to a fellow officer, “How the (expletive) can something like this happen?! Is this America?”
I ask you, my Brothers and Sisters—”Is this America?”
May sanity save us.