Nationalism is the belief that no matter what one’s country does—whether racist, homophobic, sexist, xenophobic, or the like—it must be supported and accepted entirely. Patriotism is a bigger, more uplifting virtue. Patriotism is the belief in the best values of one’s country, and the pursuit of the best means to realize those values. If the nation strays, then it must be corrected. The patriot is the person who, spotting the need for change, says so clearly and loudly, without hate or rancor. The nationalist is the person who spurns such correction and would rather take refuge in bigotry than fight it. It is the nationalists who wrap themselves in a flag and loudly proclaim themselves as patriots.
~ Michael Eric Dyson, Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America
I see light and patches of blue sky outside the window as I sit and work on this post. It’s the first we’ve seen of the sky and sun in a while. The monsoon rains continued over the weekend, pouring and pouring and pouring down upon us. I don’t know what the grand total was because I didn’t take note of the amount we received on Friday and Saturday. Yesterday it was a little over 3 inches.
I highly suspect this has not been a good spring for many of the farmers on the Eastern Shore. The latest rainfall isn’t the only thing the farmers have to worry about, or perhaps the latest rainfall is part and parcel of what they have to worry about but they are not willing to admit that climate change is a possibility. NPR recently ran a story titled Flooding and Rising Seas Threaten America’s Oldest Farmland. Did you know they have been farming here since the mid-1600’s? One of the farmers interviewed for the story said the land grant came into his family in 1666.
The farmers on the Eastern Shore, many of whom voted for That Guy in the Oval Office who pulled out of the Paris Agreement, are now worried about what will happen with their farmland which is being inundated with saltwater because of increased flooding. One other interesting note in the article was from an agroecologist, Kate Tully, who thinks the sea might be pushing beneath the land and getting into the ground water. During the past two years, with higher than usual tides occurring more often, and rainfall becoming heavier, I’ve noticed that our drinking water has become saltier. I thought that might be due to water from the tidal creek sinking into the ground water. Reading the article has me wondering if Ms. Tully’s theory is correct and if our drinking water is becoming brinier as a result of the sea pushing its way in. Whatever the case, I’ve had to switch back to bottled water, something I loathe doing because of the plastic containers. I do buy the 2.5 gallon containers. Even so, it seems such a waste, but I am salt-sensitive and the RO filter we use does not reduce the amount of salt in the water.
Early Saturday we did have a break from the rain and wind and general storminess. M and I went for our first paddle of the season, taking the kayak out to Point where the water was amazingly calm. The reflections of the sky and clouds were quite beautiful. I wish I could show them to you, but you will just have to imagine the water as a mirror, only rippling when a fish or other creature swims close to the surface or when we put our paddles in the water, creating splashes and a small wake to go with our ripples. I didn’t bring a camera along with me because I wanted to be in the experience rather than always looking for a good shot.
While you are imagining the smooth-as-glass surface of the river, you might also want to picture a Great Egret standing on the shore with tall, green marsh grasses creating a fence-like structure behind her. Paddling a little farther along the shore, you will find a Great Blue Heron who is not as tolerant of people as the egret so he takes off in flight with a loud squawk to let us know how put off he feels about us interrupting his hunt for breakfast. The best part — the very best part — is the Bald Eagle who swoops down close to our kayak, just inches above the water. Majestic, amazing, beautiful.
You might be wondering what elephant I meant when I titled my post for today. The elephant has a name: Politics. So many of us are avoiding the subject on our blogs, or finding creative ways to bring it up without naming names or specifics. I have not always successfully avoided writing about current events, but I do know that many who visit here prefer the posts that avoid the elephant. I get that. Truly, I do.
And yet, the more things go on, the more I wonder if those of us who are quiet are furthering an agenda we disagree with. I wonder if our lack of noise and discussion and public outrage will be something we’ll regret later on down the road.
This morning I read this article in The Guardian about the Dominionists and Project Blitz. The Dominionists, in case you’re unfamiliar with them, believe that the U.S. is a Christian nation and they bascially oppose separation of church and state. The hardcore Dominionists want to remake the country. Some think of them as the American Taliban. There are a lot of meaty articles about Dominionists and their mission (a quick search will turn up a few), about their connection with That Guy in the White House, the Veep, and others in the current administration. The Guardian article is about the move to erode the separation of church and state through an agenda of pushing through bills at state levels. The story ends with this quote:
If you are a more liberal Christian, a Jew, or a Muslim, or a non-believer of any sort, or whatever you happen to be, you’re a second class citizen at best.
~ Frederick Clarkson, senior research analyst at Political Research Associates
If the subject interests you, you can read Clarkson’s piece on it here. I’ve read several other articles regarding changes those on the far Christian right want to make in terms of education. This Washington Post article from last year might be worth a little of your time, too, if interested.
I discussed The Guardian article with M at lunch today and his response was that he sees those who want to erode the separation between church and state as Un-American. Unpatriotic. It occurred to me that a sound bite could be made of that, something easily passed on and repeated. It’s pithy and it’s true (see the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution) and it would be an easy response to this growing notion that we are a Christian nation. I wonder why people don’t make noise about this, and then realize that I’m one of those who doesn’t make a whole lot of noise about much of anything because it’s easy for me to sit back and wait. Plus there is so much going on (the recent SCOTUS decision regarding the bigoted baker, the way the media spreads propaganda by publishing tweets that can’t be questioned or held to account in any way, the separation of children from their parents, and more), that it’s difficult to keep up or to pick a topic.
Side note: You might think that watching The Handmaid’s Tale is influencing me (it might be), but I’ve always thought that we need to be wary of a blurring of the lines between religion and government. I’ve always been mildly suspicious of those who want to “bring prayer back into schools” (it never left — it just has to be student led) because those same people would have conniptions and hissy fits if, say, a Wiccan or Muslim wanted to lead their child in prayer at school.
That’s enough of that. I will put my soapbox aside for now, but will also give you fair warning that it will likely be coming out again from time to time. One of the reasons I’ve struggled so much with blogging since November 2016 is because I have to skip or skim over the subjects that are important to me during these chaotic times. But you already know that because I’ve written about it a few times.
In other news… Today is my mother’s birthday. She would have been 81 years old. Happy birthday, Mom. I miss you.
Thank you for stopping by today and meandering with me a bit. It looks like we might actually be able to see the sunset this evening. Meet you at the Point. Sunset is scheduled for 8:23 PM. It will be warm but windy out there. There’s a small craft advisory in effect and although we won’t be on a small craft, it does mean wind (about 20-40 mph winds).
Be good, be kind, be loving. Just Be. 🙂
A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy: 736) Sunshine and a clear blue sky after the heavy rains of the weekend. 737) The right to free speech. 738) Early morning bird songs and chatter. 739) Bobwhite and his whistle. I think he’s bragging about finding a mate. Or maybe there are babies. Whatever the case, he’s been carrying on about it for days. 740) Summer salads and vegetables cooked on the grill.