Watching Death Happen.

PRENOTE: I began this post on Mothers Day, 2018.

Mother’s Day was a beautiful day in the Twin Cities.  We had been to Mass at Basilica of St. Mary, and I was waiting for Cathy near the southwest ground level door.

I heard a rustling in the grass and dry leaves and  caught a flash of something or other to my right.  It was enough to startle me, and I looked quickly, and there, at sidewalk level a couple of feet from me, lay a healthy looking mouse, only this mouse was clearly in the final stages of dying, lying on its back, its legs reflexively  writhing, it’s eyes open, but it’s body clearly out of its control.

Its run as a mouse was about over.

What does one do at such a moment?  You don’t call 9-11, or animal rescue for a dying mouse.  I did nothing.  Cathy came.  I didn’t tell her about the mouse.  We left.


Somehow I see our country much like that mouse and its surroundings (including myself) on Sunday.

Spring is beautiful up here; people look satisfied enough at the coffee shop.  The externals at this 15th of May, 2018, look and feel pretty normal.

“Don’t worry, be happy”, as the saying goes, “not my problem”.

But somehow I see our nation dying, as that mouse was on Sunday.  Something has got hold of too many of us, and it is not healthy for our body as a nation.

The Current Occupant of the White House is completing his process of killing the legacy of his predecessor, President Obama, with relish and the apparent agreement of Congress: Obamacare, COPS 23 climate compact, Iran Nuclear deal, on and on.  Anything at all that represents Obama successes, killed or on the chopping block.  A President (and by extension his “base”) seem unconcerned that there are tens of millions of people like myself who deeply respect the Obama’s and what they endeavored to do for the nation and world, and who deeply respected Hillary Clinton, and Bill as well, as dedicated and extraordinarily competent public servants.

Yesterday was only the most recent example: moving the embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem was more than a symbolic slap in the face of an entire world culture.  Here is a good summary of yesterday in Jerusalem and Israel.  It speaks for itself.  What happened in Jerusalem yesterday is a slap in the face of all the Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Islam and the vast majority of people who call themselves “Christian”, not to mention the community of nations that make up our diverse country and world.  “Christian” does not stop at the boundary of “evangelical”….

Sticker seen recently on a late model car with Illinois plates.

It has now been announced that “Make America Great Again” has been replaced by “Keep America Great”:  today’s version of “Mission Accomplished”.

The message to people like myself and the rest of the world is that we can all go to hell.  We’re losers.  It’s Trumps world now.

Tax “cuts” enacted with great fanfare will bring temporary false prosperity, quieting the masses, but give these cuts a few years, and the very same people who are now happy, will be hurting, and wondering why.  There is no ‘free lunch’…less taxes is less service; less of a safety net; less security for those who are not wealthy, which is the vast majority of us.  It is the super-wealthy and large corporations that got the real permanent tax cuts.  The rest got a few scraps, soon spent and forgotten.


There is such a surrounding of willful destruction going on (others would say renewal) that it is hard to see through the rubble and keep moving forward.  But I give a damn.

Personally, I’m not a quitter.  Quitting for me is no option.

At the same time, I know I can’t accomplish anything by myself, or presume that it has to be “my way or the highway”.  I had far too many years of dealing with differences to know that someone who feels dominant can, indeed, impose his or her will on others…but only temporarily.

I have more words, about many things relating to the national train wreck we are witnessing in real time, may not feel the effects of for perhaps a number of years.  The reckoning will come for us, as it was coming for that poor little mouse on Sunday morning.

Pay attention.  This is happening on your watch – on all of ours….

2 replies
  1. kathy valdez
    kathy valdez says:

    Do you have colleagues who still teach middle and high school literature and social studies? I’d encourage you on occasion (connect with teachers/ with permission), to sit in on the students’ Lit/social studies discussion groups.

    Last Thurs., as I dropped my granddaughter off for orientation at her future middle school in Portland, Oregon, I decided to wait there for her until she was ready to go back to class. The office had me sign in and directed me to the school library where I could do some writing…or so I thought! At the library, I was immediately nabbed by a teacher needing help posting the results of the school track meet! When I finally sat down to write, a group of about ten students approached my table, wanting to know if they could sit at the other end. “It’s going to be noisy”, one kid warned.

    By the time their teacher arrived, the students had already begun discussing their book, “Salt to the Sea” by Ruta Sepetys. Sitting in the presence of such smart, compassionate and thoughtful people gave me hope for the future of our world.

    The teacher and I shared a bit of our connections with the story, lending an intergenerational perspective to the discussion. When it was time for me to leave, I encouraged the students to keep learning/reading…that they gave me hope for the future.

    This experience I’ve had, might be a way of extending the dialog, hopes, dreams and compassion forward…. at a time in our history where so much is crumbling around us. As elders, we need to share wisdom in a way that does not dominate the narrative but uplifts the spirit of light and truth, encouraging future generations to carry on the mission.

    • dickbernard
      dickbernard says:

      Thank you, Kathy. You describe a real world that is very different from the media generated world we are more accustomed to. Thanks for sharing your experience. I have two grandkids graduating from high school in a short while, both very good people.


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