Sunday, September 04, 2005


I never intended The Marvelous Garden to be a political blog. There are others who do that more knowlegeably, more wittily, with far greater range and depth than I could bring to the subject. And besides, politics frequently divide, politics is often angry and disgruntled and venomous. In other words, it is not the kind of fertilizer I wanted for my garden.

And yet, there are moments when silence becomes an obscenity. When silence becomes complicity with the status quo. When ordinary waitresses and poets need to speak up, or compromise their humanity and be left fumbling for pathetic excuses in decades to come...Honestly, I didn't know what was going on, didn't see it, didn't hear a thing about it.

So here goes, another one of my lists:


1. Yeah, we can and should give money. But while we're writing that check or filling in those credit card numbers, I think that most of us realize that it is like offering an aspirin to someone who has a chronic disease. It may provide some temporary relief, but it is not the answer.

2. We need to watch TV. (This spoken from a person who watches probably three hours of television a year and usually views the thing as the great brain drain.) But during the Vietnam era, when television brought flag draped coffins and scenes from the battlefield into ordinary living rooms on a daily basis, the medium was partly responsible for changing history. I'm hoping that this is another such occasion.

3. If we belong to a religious tradition, we need to think about what it says about the treatment of the poor, about hypocrisy, about compassion--and we need to demand that our churches and temples act accordingly. We need to remember it isn't about what you SAY you believe, it's how those beliefs manifest themselves in the real world.

4. We need to be angry. Like television,
anger isn't something I ordinarily advise. But if ever there was a time for righteous anger, this is it. In Christian terms, the money changers are in the temple and they are desecrating the hell out of it.

5. We need to write letters, send e-mails, blog about it, talk about it, and use any other form of communication to help transform this moment of despair into one of hope and change.

6. We need to remember. In the coming days and weeks and months, there are many who hope we will forget what we saw and heard, that we will once again be anesthesized and confused and distracted by the advertising and trivia that pervades the airways, and we will forget the images of the abandoned people sitting outside the conference center waiting for food and water and hope.

But be assured that if we do that, what happened this week will happen again. And next time, we may be the ones who find ourselves sitting on the sidewalk, wondering what happened to the country we love.


rdl said...

ckiAmen sister. well said. I got goose bumps at the end. making my contribution at lowes, noticed the other day that they said they will match every donation. How soon til the next election when we can hopefully vote that dumb ass and the Republicans out of office.

Anonymous said...

Well said.

Isn't America supposed to be the richest country on earth?

And wasn't much of the disaster preventable by spending a little of those riches on the right kind of defence?

Patry Francis said...

Debra: Great to see you back.

Dave said...

I don't have a TV, but if I did, I'd watch it. Good points all. If folks aren't sure why we need to stay vigilant, read this.

katrina said...

So eloquently said, Patry. Amen!

Xoff said...

i like reading your blog, you make a lot of sense, thank you. mercifully the moron will be out of the white house one of these years, but do you think it will make a difference and how long will it take to fix things?

robin andrea said...

Thanks for speaking out like this. Eloquent and powerful.

Sharon Hurlbut said...

I agree completely. Thanks for saying so eloquently what many of us are too distressed and sickened to articulate.

By the way, one of my very earliest memories is of my mother ironing clothes in front of the TV, tears streaming down her face as the nightly list of the dead from Vietnam was read off.

Myfanwy Collins said...

Well said, Patry. That photo is chilling!

Patry Francis said...

Dave: Thanks for the link. Somehow I knew you wouldn't have a TV. Maybe that's why you're such an interesting poet.

xoff: Thanks for visiting and for your kind comments. You ask some good questions.

And to Katrina, R.D., Sharon and Myfanwy: Thanks, as always, for dropping by. You are my sisters.

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