August 21, 2003


(a [condensed] Whittlian exercise)

When I was about about a year-and-a-half old (I could stand and waddle, but not yet talk coherently) I was stranded by my mother.

This happened during winter. I know this because there was snow on the ground. Lots of it. If two-foot drifts don't seem all that big to you, it's because you've forgotten what it was like to be 18 months old.

My memory begins at the moment when I realized that I was alone. Distanced from my mother by what seemed to be a mile and a month... even though she was actually merely 20 feet away, or so.

40 feet away there were two men with a snowblower. The thing made the devil's own noise, and perhaps that's what got my attention. Seeing the snow arching through the distant realm of the curbside, the cavernous walls of snow, and my mother so far removed from my location in this frozen wasteland; I began to cry.
The snowblower men looked at me, as if they'd heard the sound of a toddler crying. I looked to my mother, leaning over, clasping her hands together, staring at me, laughing.
The abandonment was complete. I cried for my mother to rescue me and she laughed at my predicament.

Okay, okay, I know. She was trying to let me know -- by laughing with me -- that I was in no peril. But, as an 18 month old, I wasn't convinced.
I trusted her to understand my frame of reference, and she tried to relate to me in a way that I could not, at the time, decifer. I was devastated.

We live in a society where Trust is essential for our very livelihood.
We trust that when we cross the street that the motorist in the car isn't going to run the red light and mow us down. We trust that when we walk into a restaurant that the cook isn't stirring in a tbsp of cyanide in with the marjoram. We trust that our new brakes were installed by mechanics with the interest of our safety in mind. We trust that the State has routine inspections on the stability of that bridge over the Mianus River that we're about to drive over.

But who is it that we trust, exactly?
We trust those whom we know have an interest in building and maintaining our trust in them. Those who we benefit from and who benefit from us.
I trust my butcher, and he's never asked me to trust him. My senator asks me to trust him. Why does he? And why should I?

Those who hold government office hold it because they sought it. They also -- I think it's fair to assume -- want to keep it for the same reasons they sought it.
To keep it; they need patronage. To keep it; they need to earn that patronage.
To keep it; they need to benefit from those who benefit from them.

We want to trust our elected representatives to honor their oath to uphold, protect, preserve and defend the Constitution of the United States.
When that Trust is betrayed we have every Right to cry like toddlers who find themselves stranded in a two-foot snowdrift. Then to focus like a Nikon to see if they come to us in an energetic desire to listen and learn, or to laugh at us in the hope that their expression of -- nay, pretense of -- feeling our pain will placate our fears and/or dilute our anger.

When Trust is betrayed we know that we have to trust ourselves, and our capacity to defend the principles upon which our livelihoods are founded.
Brutal honesty is more trustworthy than fallow emotions.
Selfishness is addictive, and self-pity is a disciplined fraud. It's when your ship is most aimless that you hear the siren the clearest.
And so, my fellow bloggers, as another election cycle gets underway in the full steam of it's own hot air, I say:
Ask not what you're congressman can do for you, but you can do for your Congress!

UPDATE: The snowdrift story is true, but I love my mom! She's a gal who met the jabberwokky and walked away a champion.

Posted by Tuning Spork at August 21, 2003 09:59 PM
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