A morning meditation gave this glimpse of what life is really all about — I wait for the ruby-throated hummingbirds to arrive. They drink nectar from flowers and eat bugs caught midair for protein. The Wild Red Columbine blooms in time with the arrival of these hummingbirds. These two species are in a mutually beneficial relationship, tubular columbine flowers are pollinated, hummers are fed. I like to understand how God has encouraged this. God seeks nourishing relationships.
One doesn’t have to be religious to sense the connection between the flower and the bird. As the author noted they are “in a mutually beneficial relationship”. All of us are weary — tired of quarantine, of caution, of politics, of messages of hate spewed in anger. We know that racism is in us and around us. We are learning new terminology like “social distancing” and “systemic racism.” Stumbling around these new terms it is difficult to know where we fit.
The image of the flower and the hummingbird remind me of the actual simplicity of how this world operates. We are in relationship, comfortable or not, with every living creature on this earth and we are in relationship to Creation and the earth and the universe. There is no escape from this tightly woven net of how we survive.
Western society, in the days of the Renaissance and following, found a great pride in what was seen as the intellectual power of humans (particularly white and mostly male). There was a belief that all the achievements of society whirled around this select group and all “others” were meant to serve this group in some way. For centuries it was a tyranny of the rich, well-born and able. Even in this country the founding fathers had the same basic guideline that only property owning white males could vote. The 14th amendment gave the vote to freed slaves in 1868, for Native Americans, after the passage of the 1924 citizenship bill, it still took over forty years for all fifty states to allow them to vote. Women, after the passage of the 19th amendment, were allowed to vote in 1920. Each time, the establishment trembled and forecast the world was doomed.
Power resides in a relationship between the weak and the strong. To remain in power you must unite those afraid of losing their position against those seeking to achieve more power. There is an ebb and flow in history between the powerful and the powerless. Historians tell us that Germans gave power to Hitler and his followers because there was power in that group and since the end of World War I Germany wanted only to feel powerful again. The rise to power is a slippery slope.
Being in relationship with each other means we share power, trying to help each other maximize our hopes and dreams. It is easy to forget we cannot survive without these many and varied relationships. To work together it is possible to achieve a common bond in our humanity.
The first two weeks in June have gone by. We are still in a semi-quarantine thanks to Covid 19. Many states, Montana included have tried partial opening. For some it has not gone well. The numbers of sick people are still high. Opening has become political -- again -- the government has dropped concern for the virus and its victims and has moved on to the economy which, of course, is not good. There are millions unemployed because their jobs ended with the quarantine and many places have not yet opened. Some Governors are pushing opening for the sake of the economy while others are keeping a tight lid on.
The rule of thumb is wearing a mask and remembering to distance. But that again is political. I saw a survey. People who wear a mask are usually Democrats, voting for Joe Biden. People who don't wear a mask are Trump supporters and 82% of them do not wear masks. "Trump doesn't wear a mask, so why should we?" Washing your hands and using hand sanitizer are other ways we are trying to meet the virus. There is no hope of a vaccine anytime soon.
If that was not enough, a man named George Floyd died in police custody. A policeman held his knee on his wind pipe when he was down on the ground. The man yelled, "I can't breathe." And he died. This was in Minneapolis in early June. People caught it on phone cameras and it went viral. There were protests in all fifty states and also places in the world. There was some violence and looting, but for the most part they were peaceful. Some protests have continued and there is a strong movement to alter police behavior. There is a long list of black men and women who have been killed by police. It really is a signal of the lack of equal justice in this country. More Confederate statues are coming down. The talk is to defund police departments, meaning money would go to social agencies to assist with a lot of things police have to deal with and really aren't equipped to -- things like mental health, domestic violence, teen gangs and other social issues. The rationale is then they could tend to crime. George Floyd was arrested for supposing passing a counterfeit $20. He did not know it was counterfeit and the police over reacted because he was black. The protests raised the names of many blacks young and old who were shot by police.
The protests were in every state and in all sized cities. Nearly everyone is in favor of a strong reexamination of our justice system. People are trying to be aware of our racism. Maybe it is step 2 of the Civil Rights Movement. It is difficult to understand why people are racists. White supremicists are all over. It surprises me to hear the words that come out of some people's mouths.
So the country is really dealing with a lot -- besides personal illness and death, the upcoming national elections with Trump and Republicans trying to stir up voting issues. Voting by mail has become a possibility because of the virus and the need to avoid crowds. Joe Biden is the Democratic presumptive candidate and of course Trump is the Republican.
People really don't quite know what to do. No one wants to get sick. The virus is really deadly.