At first I hear honking horns
It’s a parade of children waving
This cheering fills me.
Hopeful is how I feel.
I go inside
Then I think about the ones
Who rely on food at school.
They go and pick up their meals.
Now we need volunteers to help.
This place of enlightenment is also a food bank
It has been for some time.
They are getting worried.
So am I .
Something doesn’t seem right.
What happens when the masses grow hungry,
And no one volunteers to feed them?
When we grow weary of this hibernation,
What happens then?
Thomas Jefferson once said, “if people let the government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as a sorry state as the souls who live under tyranny.”
This pandemic is no fluke.
It is a magnifying glass
On a wound that’s been around since before Jefferson.
I write because I agree with his stance that, “the price of freedom is eternal vigilance”.
He was a founding father, ahead of his time in all ways political, economical, agricultural.
I respect his work, despite the fact that he owned slaves and still dared to say,
”Equal rights for all, special privileges for none.”
Can we leave room for the possibility that even a hypocrite can sometimes be right?
Maybe even the likes of Jefferson might have been unintentionally contributing to the problem that plagues us to this day.
What a privilege it must be to have flaws and make policies that shape our country.
I recognize that even good leaders are deeply flawed.
I see it easily in the ones I choose, and not as well in the ones I did not.
I still think that Jefferson had insights the average person didn’t, even though he was your average hypocrite.
I heard a gunshot yesterday
While in quarantine.
It was 6am
Somewhere in my neighborhood
Close enough to rattle my window
And shake my soul.
Do I call?
“A random gunshot?”, they would sneer.
I would ask, “What good reason does one have to shoot
So early in the morning?
In a neighborhood like mine?
Something doesn’t seem right.”
But who would I call and what would I say? I dare not ask the question to strangers who are already taxed with their essentialness.
It’s a random threat
And only a possible death
“From which direction?” they would ask.
And since I do not know
I do not call.
Even though they might be bleeding out,
Alone and hopeless-
It is not my job to save the ones I cannot see.
But more than that, I do not know what to say
Or how to know
Nor whom to call without seeming foolish.
I don’t want to seem foolish.
So quietly I pray and write this.
Maybe this is foolish.
I use my money to stimulate by consumption.
The irony is not lost on me
The double meaning of consumption.
I fear this is what caused all our problems in the first place.
A trillion dollars
Trillion with a T
In the form of tiny drops into our buckets
To save our country without a system
No web to help those working
Many with no pension or healthcare
For $15 an hour
I remember Jefferson once said,
“If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issuance of their currency, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all their property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.”
Then I look and see
Others storming capitols with guns in hand,
Some representing a time long ago, not today
They demand liberation
In the face of medicine
After all, Jefferson, the man I think has some reason and foresight- whose face is on a bill-once said:
“What country can preserve its liberties if its rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms.”
They want to stimulate
They want to consume
They want liberation by returning to the America their grandparents knew
I fear it is already gone
What a privilege it must be to have flaws and still share an opinion.
The irony is not lost of me when they say,
“What right do you have to police me?”
But they then police everyone else in their words and deeds.
We understand they have a right to be so patriotically demanding.
But then I think of all those peaceful protestors
Vying for legal policy change, kneeling, speaking, voting, marching-
Shot in their tracks for daring to question a broken system
That breaks them.
They looked different.
This seems to be the main concern.
These people look different too.
They’re all threatening the status quo,
In the ways that they’re allowed, that is.
I cannot believe what I witness, even on the news.
What can I trust?
But then, when I want to turn it all off, I think of Jefferson when he said,
“When the speech condemns a free press, you are hearing the words of a tyrant.”
Did he say that?
No, actually he said,
“Our liberty cannot be guarded but by the freedom of the press, nor that be limited without danger of losing it.”
The first one seems like he said it though, doesn’t it?
Let’s promise to always critique a free press that is sponsored by someone selling something.
And remember we don’t have to buy it.
We don’t have to buy it.
I must find a way to trust
Funny what demands we accept.
Closures without closure.
No comprehensive plan at first, beyond a week or two.
Funny what is not questioned:
A broken system too expensive to adjust,
Lack of health care,
and $1200 a piece to “help”.
Funny what is questioned:
Convenience, security, economy over health.
Priorities, I suppose.
Jefferson’s warning echoes in my ears,
“Yes, we did produce a near-perfect republic. But will they keep it? Or will they, in the enjoyment of plenty, lose the memory of freedom? Material abundance without character is the path of destruction.”
Today I pray we leave room for possibilities,
That near-perfect can still be better.
For memory, character, and discernment