Melting Dreams

I don’t remember the exact quote from Hubble’s essay. It was something about how things had always come too easily for his protagonist.  That he lived in a country of ice cream dreams that were melting. Or something like that.

If Robert Redford’s character didn’t say that exactly in The Way We Were, he should have. It would have been prescient.

Because we have been a country of ice cream dreams. And we are melting.

I don’t remember too much about the 50s. I was a toddler. My memories start pretty much at kindergarten.  I entered First Grade in 1960.

Everyone had a shining vision of our country then.  The American dream was still possible even for a poorer family like mine.

In my family, the arguments were about the Chicago Cubs versus the Detroit Tigers versus the St. Louis Cardinals.  Politics didn’t enter into our daily considerations except in a Presidential election year.

My mother, anti-Catholic though she was (boy would she be mad at me now!), she LOVED JFK.  We were not a Goldwater family either.

In fact, the only political argument I remember before Trump was one I had with another Fourth Grade student. Her family was FOR Goldwater.  Maybe most in my small town were.

Hey, it was Northeastern Indiana.  Fort Wayne was the “big city.”  Corn was growing everywhere.  I knew only a couple of people rebellious enough to smoke pot in high school.  I wouldn’t even drink 3.2 beer from Ohio!

Of course my parents were against “hippies,” even if I can remember watching Laugh-In with my Mom.  We watched Gunsmoke and Perry Mason too.

Most startlingly, she let me watch The Defenders during the season TV first aired the word “abortion” in a script.  It aired in 1962 ( I was seven) and was called “The Benefactor.”  It was a storyline about lawyers defending a doctor who performs abortions.

I guess my Mom was more progressive than I thought.  Then again, like I said, I was seven. She probably didn’t expect the program would make an impact on me and thought the concept would go over my head.  But the show did and the word didn’t.

Maybe it was because I grew up being told that my birth mother didn’t want me.  So the idea of someone not wanting their own child has always been a scary proposition to me.

So yes, I believe life begins at conception.  Since I was seven. And I believe in human dignity across life’s spectrum.  For everyone, regardless of race, sex, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, sexual identity, age, and all that jazz.

I think Jesus is with me on this one.

Contraception might be another matter.  I believe in the use of condoms, for reasons of health as much as anything.  And I have no problem with scientific advances that allow infertile couples to have children.  Though I wish more people would consider adoption, too.

I can imagine a person being so worn out from chronic or a devastating illness that they might choose to end their life.  I personally don’t believe in prolonged efforts to extend life. I believe in natural death.

So I am liberal in some regards, more conservative in others.  I guess I am a political unicorn, that vanishing thing called a centrist.

This year, for the first time in decades, I will #VoteBlue.  As I told a friend this morning, I would rather bring a conservative perspective  on abortion to a party that gets all the other human rights issues correct.  Sadly, that is no longer the GOP in the time of Trump.

I hear so many people say they don’t like his style but they like his policies.

When you have to give up every value of human decency just to have tax cuts for the rich and corporate America, that is a bridge I choose not to cross.

When you dangle the lives of DREAMers like a cat toy that you intend never be “caught” because it is too good a political weapon, that is a bridge I choose not to cross.

When you are okay with human vivisection because the Saudis MIGHT buy weapons of war from you, that is a bridge I choose not to cross.

When you pull out of a nuclear treaty with Russia on a whim and start talking about expanding nuclear armament and starting another Cold War that could turn hot,  that is a bridge I choose not to cross.

When you say the press is the enemy of the people and celebrate a Congressman who was convicted of misdemeanor assault against a journalist, that is a bridge I choose not to cross.

When you are willing to give cover to a President and say he was just kidding when he brings that incident up in celebratory fashion at a rally, that is a bridge I choose not to cross.

When you are willing to let the President pepper the people with daily lies, obstruct justice, violate the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, that is a bridge I choose not to cross.

When you are told peaceful protesting with signs is “mob rule” while Nazis march with Tiki torches in Charlottesville and get a pass, that is a bridge I choose not to cross.  Especially when one of the Nazis runs over and kills a woman.

When our kids can’t go peacefully to school unless their teachers are armed, that is a bridge I choose not to cross.

When the richest country in the world wants to make healthcare, education, homeownership and retirement a benefit for the privileged few, that is a bridge I choose not to cross.

Fortunately, mine is a faith that says when my conscience tells me a preponderance of evidence shows a candidate does not value the total experience and dignity of human life, even if that candidate is anti-abortion, it is okay to vote for the candidate who isn’t.

While some Catholics think we are a one-issue Church, our universality fortunately is proof we are not.

And when your ice cream dream of your country has melted, you have to vote to save it to keep the authoritarian sea at bay.  That is the bridge you must cross.

And your vote is the only life-preserver you’ve got.

two ice cream cups
Photo by Teejay on



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