Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Defying prevailing evil

"In this world you've a soul for a compass
And a heart for a pair of wings."

I'm hot.

Let me try that again.

It's hot. It's hot outside. Hot to the tune of a power bill that tipped $500, and I wouldn't even say we keep the house very cool.

Not having any shade trees and being on a corner lot with a northwest exposure hurts us.

I love our house, I really do. I love the view of the park from our breakfast area. I love the openess, the two-story entry and living room. But it's not energy efficient.

We've had the AC repairman out twice already this year. Our outside units are working overtime. He dissed the brand and the model that the homebuilder installed, but he fixed them.

I don't mind it being a little warm in the house. Ceiling fans help. Keeping the blinds closed helps. Shorts and tank tops help, and I love living in them.

In the morning I suffer for my art, working without air conditioning in my garage studio. In the afternoon, I speed walk three miles or so on the treadmill. I broke the computer on the treadmill so I am estimating, based on speed and time.

Funnily enough, I broke the computer because the fan on the treadmill kept cutting out. I'd pound the fan grate with my fist and it would start again. That hurt my hand which, as you know if you read me, hurts plenty already. So I got a rubber mallet out of the toolbox to do my pounding.

Eventually the computer fritzed out and the fan wouldn't work at all. Neil took the back of the dashboard off and plugged in the fan connection that had come loose. So now the fan works like a dream but the computer is hosed up. I can adjust the speed but the digital readout is fried. Some of the buttons work, some don't.

I still get a good workout, at least I work up a good sweat. After I cool off, I take a bath and that also helps me feel cooler. By then we're on the cool-down side of the sun cycle too, the light is less harsh and relentless. Days already are getting shorter.

But when the sun is glaring in the middle of the day, all I want to do is hide at home.

The world outside isn't just hot, it's scary and distressing. Law enforcement officers being shot hither and yon, Dallas, Baton Rouge, Kansas City. People being shot ad hoc by officers for acting strangely. A truck mowing down 84 people who were celebrating Bastille Day in Nice. I was in Nice for Bastille Day in 2009, with my French cousins (who providentially are safe but naturally quite shaken by the events). More than 200 people dead in a failed military coup in Turkey.

What's almost more shocking than the mayhem is how quickly it falls off the journalism radar, surpassed by the great American presidential election comedy, the sweltering heat dome threatening the USA and making corn sweat (hello Summer), and infants being left in hot cars because apparently there are still people who remain oblivious to the fact that this will kill them.

Even as the Nice masacre was unfolding in real time, people were engaging with Angelina and Brad, celebrating their twins' birthday.

I sound dispirited. I'm not. But I should be. I feel so inured from all of it. There is nothing I can do about it. At least, I don't know what I can do about it.

All it takes for evil to prevail in this world is for enough good men to do nothing, supposedly said Edmund Burke. What he actually said was this. "When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle."

So it seems clear that it takes enough good men (and women presumably) working together to fight the bad guys. One woman fighting evil alone, she's toast.

But here's what I will do about it anyway. I will protest it. I will write about it. I will denounce evil (and guns and terrorism and ignorance and Donald Trump) regardless of whether or not it's pitiable and futile.

Evil must not win. And we can't counteract evil with more evil. We must live by the words of Dr. Martin Luther King.
Returning violence for violence multiplies violence,
adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness:
only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.
I will stand for Nice, I will stand for Dallas and Baton Rouge and Kansas City. I will stand for Turkey. I will stand whenever there is violent injustice, whenever evil raises it's reprehensible head, and I will rebuke it.

I will sing it loud and proud. It may not be much, but it's more than nothing.

Just call me Gabriel.

In this world there's a whole lot of trouble, baby
In this world there's a whole lot of pain
In this world there's a whole lot of trouble
But a whole lot of ground to gain
Why take when you could be giving, why watch as the world goes by
It's a hard enough life to be living, why walk when you can fly?

In this world there's a whole lot of sorrow
In this world there's a whole lot of shame
In this world there's a whole lot of sorrow
And a whole lotta ground to gain
When you spend your whole life wishing, wanting and wondering why
It's a long enough life to be living, why walk when you can fly?

In this world there's a whole lot of cold
In this world there's a whole lot of blame
In this world you've a soul for a compass
And a heart for a pair of wings
There's a star on the far horizon, rising bright in an azure sky
For the rest of the time that you're given, why walk when you can fly?

(Mary Chapin Carpenter)

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Thanks for your comment! I will post it as soon as I receive it. Liz