I have had the privilege of working on retreat in Pt Reyes Station these past few days, putting together a book proposal that I will send out this weekend. I swear.
Today began chilly with high white fog cover, a day that called for a wood stove, or at least a lot of baking. By mid-afternoon, the air seemed polished, the chill overcoming mist, hardening it. The sun, sliding invisibly to the west behind the thick cover, nevertheless blushed the icy air a light pink over a pale arctic blue. I layered up in fleece, down vest and bits of cashmere here and there (gloves, long scarf) and walked down the slight slope to the library, admiring the briskness of the afternoon. And then a drop here, a drop there; by the time I returned my book and picked up another one, the afternoon had warmed up to rain, not a fierce rain, but still rain. Darkness settled in as I wended my way the two blocks to downtown, then to walk the two blocks of town and return, a warmer and wetter darkness than the brittle cold I had started out in.
And in the same unexpected manner, still in the first rosy blush of the year, 2011 has had its first sea change. ( I may be on retreat, but I'm not off the interwebs.) I am not an astute political pundit, much of what I think is knee-jerk liberalism which is why I avoid political commentary on this blog. But some things can't be ignored. Some things go beyond the political and begin to challenge the very core of what we think it means to be an American, what it means to have a democracy.
My heart goes out to Senator Gifford and to her family, and to the families of Judge John Roll and the others killed or injured in the Tucson shootings on Saturday. I can't help but feel we are at some sort of tipping point here.
This is what I think: The Republican leadership has a responsibility to be leaders, to model how democracy works, to be on better behavior than drunks at a honky-tonk. They need to be their better selves, even if they do represent drunks at a honky-tonk. They need to show that America is a country of debate not disparagement, of law and votes, not guns. And they need to leave the honky tonk in the honky tonk and act as elected officials - that is, adults, not bullies on the playground.
Nuff said. Back to regularly scheduled programming.