So you haven’t seen a post in awhile and this one is coming in late. It’s all (well maybe not all, but a lot!) because of internet woes. My internet went out before Labor Day. So I couldn’t post about my trip to the fair. They worked all week on the lines in the neighborhood and got it back up and running.
By that point I was on my way out the door and up north to visit my parents over Labor Day. I would have written about hanging out with Rick Nolan at the parade and attending the Union Labor Day Picnic, but my folks have never had the internet. No matter how much we whine, they never will.
That’s alright. I should get Labor Day off anyway. Besides Pagan Pride was this weekend. Except I had a nasty sinus headache and so we didn’t go, despite perfect weather. Late in the afternoon I felt enough better to mow the lawn (can’t blame the internet on that, but it’s been put off for just as long). Of course that set off the sinuses once more.
It seems it’s always something. Orion and I are sitting at the coffee shop while I write this. My least favorite place to write. He’s struggling with the lighting. His vision impairment makes that a significant factor in his computer usage.
I guess if it’s not one thing it’s another. I just need to keep working with the cards I’m dealt. They won’t be out to even try and fix the internet until Friday. Cross your fingers for a blog post next week!
Labor Day is a celebration given to us by the labor unions. Regardless of your feelings about unions (it’s complicated), they did give us a 40 hour work week, child labor laws, minimum wage, workplace safety regulations, and a national holiday. We celebrated with my parents and that means parades and picnics. You can’t have a parade without political representation. The local union puts on the picnic.
Talking to people it strikes me to question how spirituality impacts our political outlook. Given the hoopla about Kim Davis this seems a particularly topical point to ponder.
It’s clear to me that our beliefs are foundational to how we view political questions. They impact how we prioritize issues. They impact our personal behaviors. It’s also clear to me that our beliefs shouldn’t ever simply be our politics.
The difference for me is that belief is about acceptance and politics about understanding. Beliefs are personal, politics impact the larger community and therefore must take the necessities of others into account. Thing is, in America, where the political dialog is rated primarily on entertainment rather than information, it’s easy to get lazy.
Our founding fathers originally only gave the right to vote to male landowners. The thought was these people had proven a stability and educational level necessary to understand the political issues. The sexism and racism offend me. Even the idea that people with money and education inherently understand the needs of the masses without those benefits is appalling. Still, the notion that people at least make an effort at understanding the issues has some appeal.
We expect our legislators to at least understand. The fact is that the issues are so complicated, and bills are so full of “extras”, that many of them are voting on the recommendations of their staffs. We’ve heard several times in the past few years “I haven’t read the bill”. (Go ahead and google it if you’re interested.) How is the American public supposed to make good choices when the issues seem daunting even to our elected officials?
Back to the parade. We rode on a political float for the local state representative to congress. (Yes I’ve met him and can support his work, even if he’s not MY congressman.) I’ve blogged before about small town parades and how the people throw candy from the floats. I can’t tell you how many times I heard, “No candy, no vote!”
This is not high school. It is illegal to buy and sell votes in this country. It may seem that candy is a small thing compared to some of the wheeling and dealing that appears to go on behind the scenes, but in public it still counts. This is clearly a lack of understanding of the process on the part of the voters. It also points to a failure of the system. Integrity is only questioned when it stands tall.
Here we come back around to spirituality. Spiritual integrity is what Kim Davis is trying to cling to. Unfortunately, integrity doesn’t have a leg to stand on when you’ve already compromised yourself. If you don’t believe in something you don’t take a job where it’s demanded. Or if the job rules change, as they did in this case, you quit and find a job you CAN perform. She’s not being persecuted for her beliefs, as is often claimed, but for failure to perform the job.
Wearing a hajib to work probably won’t interfere with getting the work done. It seems reasonable to allow that kind of accommodation. Transferring someone in an organization to a place they don’t have to do work that compromises their values, like being drafted as a contentious objector, makes sense when it’s possible. Looking for a job you can do as a vegetarian and animal rights activist at the slaughterhouse is probably not appropriate.
But these are big issues. There are small places where we all compromise our spirituality to get along. I drive places I could walk to. I don’t recycle everything I could. I’m not currently managing a compost pile. I spend too much time indoors with the air conditioner and heater rather than outside in nature. I’ll purchase things made in ways I object to because they are less costly. I don’t always honor my body or take time to be grateful for my life.
We could all stand to do better both at honoring our spirit and understanding the complicated issues in the world around us.
It’s an odd season for renewal, but it’s necessary. When you think clearly about it, harvesting is a part of renewal. You are clearing the way for new growth in the spring. My first step in that whole “back-to-school” mindset is of course the last dash vacation of Labor Day weekend.
Orion and I spent the weekend up North with my folks (his Oma and Opa). That means a lot of things. There is that daughter sense of wanting to make things easier for my aging parents. I make a point of keeping up with our laundry (or my Mother will do it.) I try to wipe down the bathtubs and showers when I use them (especially the parts that get dusty and I know my Mom can’t quite reach.) I run interference in the ongoing power struggle between my folks, giving my Dad occasional validation and my Mom a break from the constant whine.
There is also the daughter sense of “take care of me!” Mom and Dad cook (because food is love) and I will love whatever ends up on the table in spite of myself. I will gladly take Mom’s gas card and fill my tank. I’m happy to let Orion and Dad have “bonding time” over Orion getting his morning bath, and dressed. (Hey, they’re both morning people and it’s usually done before I roll out of bed.) Orion and Dad have a thing, that started way back when Dad went to Language Camp as Orion’s aid. That’s where Opa comes from, and of course Oma goes along with it.
And that is the core of my vacation. Mom and Dad are busy. This weekend involved marching in a parade and going to the Union picnic (that’s two days of stuff). The nice thing is Orion LOVES to tag along. So I sent them off on Saturday to the parade without me. I puttered. I could do this at home when Orion is at his day program, but here there’s always something (like dishes) pressing. There I really can kick back and if I wander off not feel pressured to be back before Orion gets home. It was amazingly refreshing.
I also would like to note that Mom and Dad are not connected to the internet. Because of a family emergency I ended up on-line via my phone to my cousin on Friday evening, but by Saturday I was done. I did pull out the computer Saturday evening for a bit of writing, but didn’t touch it for the rest of the time I was up there. It wasn’t a total tech detox. I am back on the internet within an hour of getting home – getting this blog together and checking my mail. But it was a reminder how much nicer it is to read books than Facebook messages all day.
I’m very lucky to still have my parents. It’s a treat to spend time with them. It’s a treat to let them spend time with Orion and be left alone. It’s a privilege to help out in the small ways that I can. And it’s a great place to go for renewal.
Have a great week and a bounteous harvest!
Labor Day has so many meanings, but it always seems to signal the end of summer. The fall migration has started. We may have been ignoring it for the last few weeks, but once Labor Day has passed, the move is inevitable.
It’s odd this shift into an autumnal attitude. The weather is still hot, the air full of allergens and the days are still (for a few weeks more) longer than the nights. I suspect some of it is living far enough north that the threat of winter is a little more urgent. We’ve had some pretty crazy weather the past few years, but I remember the Halloween blizzard – over 20″ of snow Oct 31-Nov 1. I know that in Minnesota, Trick or Treating involves coats over or under the costumes most years.
I also think some of it is cultural. I don’t have anyone in household starting school this fall. Still, there is something in my world view that says things begin at this time of year. It’s always been a good time for me to start new projects. Diets and exercise that I start in the fall have a greater chance of success. My best relationship memories, all the way back to high school, involve walking through the fallen leaves.
The geese won’t really start moving until we get closer to frost. There is an increase in food gathering, but hibernation is a Thanksgiving event. Still the migration has started. The hummingbirds, first to go, are diminished in their ranks. Even our state bird, the loon, makes its way to warmer climates.
We may no longer be a migratory people, but we migrate in our habits. We stop planning the backyard BBQ’s and start planning the tail-gating parties. We run the winter coats to the cleaners and send the children back to their regularly scheduled days. Our diets begin to shift from corn on the cob and melons to squashes and apples. The air conditioner may still run during the day, but the windows are open at night, or even closed to keep the warmth in against the evening breezes.
Is there a migration in your life this fall?