Auld Lang Syne

Friday, March 30, 2018

Fog, not just weather

I've always liked the expression "in a fog." It refers (logically) to days or nights wherein a sweeping mist covers us, obscures things, and makes visibility closer than usual. We famously refer to the fog in London, but I can say that when I lived in Germany the fog was thicker and more dangerous than any I saw in London when I lived there. Fog was so pervasive in Germany that the road markers were painted with reflective paint in such a way as to alert drivers to what side of the road was on their left or right so they would not run off into a field or into trees, etc. Thick fog would obscure the not-so-occasional herd of wild boar careening into the roadway. Here, in Maine and the rest of NewEngland, spring fog is helpful in taking down the remaining snow so things can begin to green up and bloom. Last night and into this morning that process is underway. I'm grateful to see the last vestiges of snow melting before my eyes. I am hopeful for a change from cold, ice, snow. I want flowers and sunshine.

But fog is not just weather. It is not always helpful. The word fog can also denote a state of dullness or confusion that befuddles the mind, keeps us from clarity of thought or makes us feel ill-at-ease. I think that the entire country has been in a fog for the past 16 months or so. What else can explain the dull acceptance of behaviors and attitudes and events that we previously decried as wrong? Even multitudes of avowed Christians are not outraged or offended by some prurient behaviors that once would have sparked action to remedy. We are through the looking glass into a realm of fog.

It's not hard to spot the fogged-in state. We do not act. We act symbolically, but without result. We turn away and run from the truth or we accept it as a nothing-we-can-do status quo. We are left wondering if there will be a spring, or if we are infected so badly with fog that we might never recover. I am weary of people saying that this is our new normal. I pray it is not.

Why are so many people, good people, pulling the fog around their shoulders like a quilt and resisting remedy? Did we, in our national state of shock a year ago November, just give up, cede spring to the fog makers? Where are there political heroes who have power and will to clear away this malignant fog that seems to be spreading?  The fog-makers are in possession of a giant fog machine and use it every day. They benefit from the dullness and apathy that fog brings. They are paid for fog. I prefer real fog, the kind that takes down snow. This national political fog is something else. It is a killing fog and its time is up.

There is a growing flock of robins in the yard. Teens and children are arriving with song and hope. I am proud of these young people across the nation who are taking direct action by marching in every city and town, saying enough, no more, never again. We need to listen to them. We need to believe them and honor them with our own action. It is their world and ours that they are trying to heal, a world we have allowed though our apathy to be covered by a killing fog.

The children, our beautiful flock of robins, will have to shame the adults who are responsible for allowing this fog to spread. The children will have to vote them out, will have to plant seeds that will bloom so profusely as to choke out the weeds, and we who are not fogged in need to help them.

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