Battle of Germantown – Revolutionary War re-enactment Oct. 4th, 2009
Yesterday, morning I witnessed a fabulous yet — when you think about it, strange — re-enactment of our country’s early battle for freedom. It set me to wondering, anew, why we think taking the life of another is ever justified.
Just one macabre true story of this battle — without knowing which side suffered these casualties, not that it matters — one cannon ball fired towards the opposition went through the neck of the horse a General was riding, came out the other side, taking off the General’s leg, then removed the head of a nearby soldier.
Speaking of destructive trajectories… I’m just wondering if we really want to keep doing things like this instead of talking…
Then, in the afternoon I attended the Inaugaration of Bryn Mawr’s new President, after which I pulled into my usual gas station in that ‘down right’ wealthy part of Main Line Philly, to avoid running any closer to empty, which I do all too often lately. The prices there, surprisingly, are reasonable (well!).
The guy on the other side of the pump, maybe my age and wearing an expensive sportshirt, was filling up his silver, recent model BMW — obviously garaged and possibly a convertible.
As I keyed in my card code and pushed the 87 octane gas lever, I was feeling inspired and glad that I had decided to attend the ceremony at Bryn Mawr. There is so much progress to make in society for and by women in the world and I was feeling, more than ever, that I can make a contribution to this work.
My thoughts continued along this line, when my neighbor came out from behind the pump and said, having notice my bumper sticker, “So now that Hillary’s out of the running, who are you for?”
At that moment, pumping gas took an interesting turn…
I looked over at him, smiling nodding and saying all at once; “Obama, definitely.” He seemed to silently agree with my response so I countered; “And you?”
His mere seconds of hesitation caused me to wonder If I had actually encountered one of those ‘undecided’ members of our voting population — they mystify me. Then he answered, “I think I’m actually going to go with Obama too. I have been voting Republican but I can’t do that this time.”
Wow, I thought, I am so glad that I’ve been ‘studying’ Republican views and values, trying to get out of my own and my circle’s sensibilities and see how other political persuasions see the world. And now I was about to learn some more.
As if to further explain his defection, he added, “McCain just isn’t good for foreign relations. I think if there’s someone likeable in office, it’ll really throw off the terrorists, you know? I mean, they just won’t know what to do with someone like Obama. With McCain ready to go in great guns, he’s easy to fight against but I think Obama will get along with the world leaders. They’ll like him and we need that. Then the terrorists will be, like…” and he threw up his hands at that point and shrugged and smiled.
I liked his reasoning. I mean, any reason a Republican can find to vote Democratic — what’s not to like?! This guy is afraid of annihilation — certainly as fine a reason as any to defect.
Then he moved on to money, “But the economy is going to take a long time to fix, and it doesn’t matter who is in office, because bankers are bankers.” he added. “So it really is about foreign relations, the election.”
At this point, I could only look at him. Staring, actually. I think I just stared at him, holding my gas pump nozzle.
Bankers are bankers? No, I thought, not only do I not think this is true, I think Democrats don’t think this way either, but apparently, Republicans do? At least this Republican (defector) does. Banking has no — ethic?, no morality?, no preferences? Oh, this most certainly is not true for me.
The entire ‘sustainabililty’ movement is based on investing with values in mind. Green investing, socially responsible businesses — all make choices to put their money where it does the most good. Without such motivations, what is left? The stock market is a reflection of human fears and confidences, it has no life of its own. Yes, money is only money. Its potential lies fully in the hands of managers and investors.
A Democratic government will surely influence investing and spending differently than the Republican have obviously done in the past 8 years of cutting needed programs and deregulating the biggest monopolies. I managed to blurt out something like that to him. Actually I think all that came out was; “…social programs!”, and he shivered a bit at that. “I just hope they don’t spend too much.” was his response — possibly THE key concern of well-off Republicans, it seems. Taxes, spending. Despite the Bush regime’s record, despite the Clinton prosperity years…
Just then, a friend of my new gas pump acquaintence pulled up at the next pump and they began to chat. I finished my purchase and caught his eye one last time as I got back into my car.
We exchanged a warm farewell and, “Good luck.” I felt his good wishes. I hoped that he had friends who listened to his reasoning.
In the current world of imperfect choices, there is still the option to make a courageous choice, take a risk, as this well-off Main Liner will, I hope, do.
And I pray to the goddess, lineage of masters, the trees, rocks and ocean waves — and the sun, that we get that chance to make a new start on November 4th. There is no hyperbole in saying that our future depends on this.
Get out and VOTE!
with courage & love,