I want certain people to shut up, please, and I want more people to speak up. My mother didn’t allow us kids to say “shut up,” and I still consider it incredibly rude. But I’m saying it anyway, just this once. And I did say “please.”
Now that’s out of the way, and I’ll get on with my blog.
I don’t like being told what to do, but I’m going to write on the WordPress Daily Prompt challenge because it’s already on my mind. Here it is:
“Far from Normal…Take a step back, and take a look at your life as an outsider might. Now, tell us at least six unique, exciting, or just plain odd things about yourself.”
Radical, Lunatic, Way-Cold Mel
I had the opportunity yesterday to step back and look at myself from an outsider’s perspective. Fifty thousand outsiders, give or take.
I donned double wool socks, full-body thermal underwear, several sweaters, and a wool scarf and hat and went to D.C. for the humongous climate rally. In the frigid cold, we marched from the Washington Monument to the White House, clinging to our banners, posters, and flags in the whipping wind. Did I mention it was cold?
Some of my conservative friends have been poking me about demonstrating against global warming when it’s so cold outside. I guess they think there wouldn’t be any cold days if climate change was real. Jesus, God, and all who teach patience – please help me to love these people.
This is not funny. I’m the first to make a joke out of just about anything, but for real, for real, as the kids say these days – I do not have children; I am marching for your children. And your grandchildren. So please. Just shut up. Please.
These people think I”m a radical lunatic. They are Christians, too, but don’t seem to see stewardship of the earth as part of their calling.
Crazy, Judgmental, Gay-bashing Mel
Fortunately, a large and growing number of Christians have figured out that when God told us to care for the earth, God meant that we should — let’s see, how to put this — care for the earth?
Yesterday, I was to meet up with an interfaith delegation for a pre-rally; the “creation care” contingent. As I blogged before here, I think it’s important that environmentally aware people of faith speak up. So I made two signs, one from the Jewish prophet Isaiah and the other from the Psalms:
“The Earth is the Lord’s”
“The Earth Has Been Defiled By its People”
I rolled up the signs and boarded the metro to go downtown. A bunch of public health students with signs were in the subway car, and we got chatting. They asked to see my signs. I hesitated, but unrolled them, and the students suddenly got very interested in their phones and didn’t want to chat anymore, though I tried.
Through their eyes, I imagine I was a judgmental, gay-bashing, fairy tale believing, nutcase. In other words, a Christian.
It’s OK, I was going to meet other God-loving people. But it turns out I couldn’t find their rally, and was destined to walk the streets solo, waving my Bible verses.
Many people looked at my signs and glanced away quickly, as you might avert your eyes from someone who had peed on themselves. Especially the sign with the word “Lord.” That word is WAY out of fashion. I guess they thought I might preach at them. A few folks gave me a surreptitious thumbs up. That was nice.
So that’s the Christian me. Feeling judged and feared and avoided.
The Way-Cool, Fancy Mel
For a time, I marched next to a contingent of grandmothers who had flown out from California just for the march. They carried large photos of their grandchildren emblazoned with the words, “DO IT FOR ME.” I told one woman that I had been a lobbyist for the Sierra Club.
“Really? Are you kidding?” she shrieked. “For the real Sierra Club? Hey you all,” she nudged her friends, “she was a lobbyist for the Sierra Club. How cool!”
I guess it is. It really is. For several decades, I had a job that others dream of having.
Later in the day, I marched next to a scientist who had done studies on the climate-induced beetle outbreaks that are devastating Yellowstone’s forests. He, too, was amazed to be walking next to someone who used to direct the Sierra Club’s Public Lands program.
Students from North Carolina overheard this conversation and asked if I had met actual senators. Yes, I had. Had I met Obama? Yes, I had. They were impressed. But honestly, the senators weren’t that impressive. Obama? He’s pretty cool.
So that’s the environmental lobbyist me. Lucky, blessed, right-place-at-the-right-time. For real, for real. I don’t think of it as all that fancy because I was there, but others clearly do.
Courageous (Crazy?) Returning Student
I met another man who had recently retired and was trying to decide what to do. I told him I had gone back to school and was working on a masters in writing at Hopkins.
“You’re kidding!” he said. (Why does everyone think I’m kidding?) “I was thinking of going back to school, but figured it didn’t make any sense at my age.”
Well, no, it probably doesn’t make sense. But I am having a blast and learning new things. What’s not to like?
“Isn’t that a crowded field?” Yes.
“Are you going to be able to make any money?” Not likely.
When I told him I wanted to teach at community college, he said that was a competitive field and somehow got off on how “illegal immigrants” are taking all our jobs. This time, it was my turn to get overly interested in my phone and find other company ASAP.
OCD, CIA, MOM
This post is already too long, and I’ve only gotten to three things that outsiders apparently thought were odd or unique or surprising about me. I’ll give you three more briefly, because that’s my writing challenge.
1.) I have OCD and pull my hair out. I already told you that in Hey Girl, You’re Bald
2.) I used to work for the CIA, despite my way-left leanings. I’ve told you that, too, at CIA Unrest.
(My first loves were named Gary, Dennis, Gary, Dennis and Gary. My last three were named Richard. I just thought I’d throw that in for extra credit because it amuses me.)
3.) My mother passed away five years ago today. This does not make me unique or special. On the contrary, it makes me more fully human and more connected to our species. We all love and lose and grieve. I just wanted to tell you that I miss her today.
Please Do Not Shut Up
I pray for our species, as some of us hide in denial about climate change, and some of us haven’t gotten around to doing anything about it. Which brings me to:
If you have even the teensiest hunch that climate change is happening, as most of us now do, please do something. Say something. Write a letter to your local paper. Write a letter to your member of Congress and your senators. It’s not that complicated; it’s not that hard.
Write a letter or make a phone call to President Obama. He’s making a big decision right now on the Keystone XL pipeline, which could waste millions of dollars, gash through some of our last remaining wild lands, and contribute massively to climate change. All to carry Canada’s tar sands to our Gulf Coast for export. Speak up.