February 24, 2008
Contemplated on a sunny day
It is a miraculously sunny day in the Hudson Valley; I woke
earlier than normal for a Sunday morning to a brilliant day.
Friday, a snowstorm dragged the Northeast nearly to a standstill;
I worked from home, cocooning. Saturday was a gray day and,
today, Sunday, truly is a sun day, a pristine winter day.
I drove the four miles over to St. Marks Episcopal Church
in Philmont, a tiny congregation in a small town that is celebrating
its services in the community room because the church has
no heat with a lack of funds delaying repairs. I attend now
and again; its a small group, all familiar with each
other I stand out as a newcomer. They are welcoming.
The theme of the service was reconciliation and during the
sermon I allowed my brain to wander a bit, sifting through
Will all Cubans be reconciled to each other now that Castro
is slowly shuffling off the stage? Will Roger Clemens and
his trainer ever speak again? Or Roger and Andy Pettitte?
Will we ever be reconciled with baseball, a sport that has
been tarnishing in our minds for years now?
And if Obama gets the nomination, will the Clintons be reconciled
to that. Indications in the press this week suggest Hillary
will; I have some doubts about Bill.
Muqtada al-Sadr, the firebrand leader of Iraqs Shiite
Mahdi Army has announced that the ceasefire his forces have
been upholding for the last six months will continue for another
six months. It is, hopefully, a welcome move that will help
keep Iraq from fragmenting before our eyes. However, it is
not a move that comes from any real spirit of reconciliation;
rather a shrewd political move that enhances his role in whatever
form the new Iraq takes.
While the ceasefire of the Mahdi Army is a good thing it has
not, however, significantly damped down the violence in Iraq.
Hopefully it wont return to the dreadful levels of 2004
but suicide bombers continue to take their toll across Iraq.
Iraqi blowing up Iraqis mostly; it is hard for me to comprehend
and certainly suggests a final reconciliation in Iraq is far
One person who cannot reconcile himself to himself is Ralph
Nader, who has announced another run at the Presidency despite
having only received 0.3 percent of the votes in 2004. There
are, I think, better platforms for Mr. Nader to speak his
mind from than a Presidential bid. His quixotic actions erode
the genuine place he has made for himself in American history
by raising awareness of need for consumer safety and
that it could actually be done. Not that I necessarily disagree
with his thought that there needs to be more choices on the
political playing field.
In Oxnard, a teenager was shot in the back of the head because
he was gay, apparently flamboyantly so, and therefore, to
at least one of his classmates, he didnt deserve to
live. A classmate shot young Lawrence King, a 15 year old
who was living in a shelter for abused children, in the back
of the head. Today, as I think of reconciliation on this pristine
day, I wonder if the young man who killed Lawrence will ever
find reconciliation with his own soul. Will his community
We are so complicated, we human beings, so irrationally filled
with anger at so many things that it is not improbable if
we wonder if there ever can be reconciliation of any kind,
any where. Yet it happens. Fathers and sons reconcile, mothers
and daughters, enemy nations make peace, become allies.
Perhaps, as the sun day ends, with a beautiful, glowing, hopeful
sunset, we all must remember that reconciliation begins within.
If we could reconcile ourselves to having others be different,
we would have fewer suicide bombers, fewer Lawrence King incidents,
fewer moments of chest thumping and more moments in which
we embrace one another.