“We the People” Are a Motley and Colorful Crew

My Huntsville Times community column this month is dedicated to Chris and Suzanne, Jane, Father Ray, Marquez, Maricela and many others (e.g., Nic and Diane, Uncle Dick, M.C., Mike and Jeanette and their three fine sons and, of course, Elsie) who made our recent Washington D.C. trip one to remember but whose names I didn’t mention because they limit me to only 680 words.

But I mention them now because it’s my blog and I can if I want to!

Let freedom ring, baby.

  1. JRB

    Hopeful! Audacious! Better Than Cats!

  2. Mike the Eyeguy

    Better than Cats? Wow…thanks!

    My editor, who has never said word one about anything I’ve written, sent me an email after I submitted this one: “Nice column.”

    He’s a man of few words, but I sure appreciated those two.

  3. Hal

    I like it very much. That truly is a nice column. However, my personal appreciation for diversity only extends so far. For instance if Suzanne and Jane were getting married I would have to oppose. Subsequent generations may demonstrate my narrow-minded bigotry, but I still believe it’s un-Biblical and wrong. I know this is not exactly the topic you were addressing in your column, but I couldn’t help but to think about the extent of the diversity I support.

  4. Mike the Eyeguy

    No, it wasn’t Hal, but since you brought it up…

    It seems to me what with all the adultery and nasty winner-take-all, War of the Roses-style divorces taking place in my own oh-so-holy Christian circle, heterosexuals are doing a mighty fine job of destroying traditional families all by themselves without obsessing too much over what Suzanne and Jane are up to.

    What was that verse again, something about removing the log from your own eye before attempting to remove the speck from your neighbor’s eye? Heterosexual Christians concerned over homosexual marriage might do well to go back and review that one–and shore up their own marriages–before they start casting too many stones…

  5. JRB

    I thought I smelled a liberal agenda skulking in your patriotic ode!

    You’re tricky.

    “Nice column” indeed, Main Stream Media.

  6. Mike the Eyeguy

    Drats, I’ve been outed!

  7. Hal

    You are very right. The church and individual Christians are more likely to overlook the sin of adultery while raging against homosexuality. We all could use a big bottle of that Clear Eyes stuff that Ben Stein promotes.

    It is the beautiful people that make up this wonderful country that you wrote about, but it’s sin that divides us. Those sins come in as many varieties as the people themselves.

  8. Mike the Eyeguy

    Again, the point of the column was to consider what a happy occasion this was for all concerned and to celebrate the many things that unite us rather than divide us.

    For a change.

    I guess the word “diverse” was a Pavlovian cue.

  9. Hal

    I know. I got the point of your article, and still think that it was quite excellent. I am truly happy for you and the entire crew that enjoyed your weekend in our nation’s capitol. My mind takes me in odd directions sometimes.

  10. Mike the Eyeguy

    Thanks, I appreciate that. My mind could use a GPS now and then too.

    Or maybe that should be CPS (Cerebral Positioning System).

  11. mmlace

    Excellent article, Dr. Eyeguy!

  12. Mike the Eyeguy

    The link to my column will eventually break, so here it is in its entirety:

    A reminder: ‘We the People’ are a motley, colorful crew

    I peered through the protective glass at the yellowed parchment and tried to discern the ancient calligraphy, now faded from years of light and exposure. The words were faint, but I strained harder until they finally came into focus: “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union ?.”

    As I stared at the Preamble to our Constitution recently, I realized that “we the people” are not perfect and neither is our union. But that hasn’t stopped us from trying to make it “more” so, nor does it appear that we’ll be giving up any time soon.

    My wife and I strolled down the broad, expansive avenues of Washington, D.C., and stood at the national memorials, reading the words of sacrifice, promise and hope. We watched workers, busy as bees in a hive of democracy, carry on the difficult work of keeping this lumbering, stumbling, sometimes bumbling behemoth of a country lurching forward into the future.

    As we rode the trolley and hit the highlights, we noticed something else too: “We the people” are a motley and colorful crew.

    “We” are the congressional aides, lawyers (lots of those), hotel workers, nannies, housekeepers, construction workers, museum docents and university students who descended together into subterranean tunnels and boarded the Metro trains – one nation, underground, with standing room only for all.

    “We” are the urban hipsters, Latino families with young children and pale-legged tourists in khaki shorts who mixed and mingled on Mt. Pleasant Street on a sunny June Sunday, variegated cultures bumping together, blending and bonding into a stronger whole.

    “We” are a Maryland-born WASP named Chris and a Southern California-bred Japanese-Filipino named Suzanne. My wife and I were privileged to be among many other guests from near and far who watched the couple exchange their wedding vows.

    People like the beautiful and classy Dr. Jane Fall-Dickson, a clinical investigator at the National Institutes of Health, who, with her grace and infectious humor, celebrated her friends’ new life together even as she braced herself for the second anniversary of her cancer researcher-husband’s sudden death.

    And Father Ray East, African American Catholic priest, pastor of an inner city parish and a cherished counselor to scores of suffering AIDS patients throughout the D.C. area.

    He delivered the homily then surprised the wedding party and guests by singing a rousing and rhythmic Hebrew song of celebration and then leading us all in another – “Bless This Family” sung to the tune of “Edelweiss.”

    Cmdr. Marquez Campbell and his lovely wife, Maricela, one of the bride’s best friends growing up, traveled all the way from San Diego. Marquez, a 25-year Navy veteran, described to me what it was like to sail on the hospital ship USNS Mercy and to be one of the first on the scene after the Indonesian tsunami in 2005.

    “Projecting ‘soft power’ is a good thing in this day and age,” he said.

    I couldn’t have agreed more.

    They, and many other new friends, smothered us in hospitality – apparently the Deep South hasn’t completely cornered that particular market. Neither is our fervent, Southern-fried recipe for patriotism, as tasty as it can be when it’s done right, the only item on the menu.

    “We” Southerners are one brick in a great wall, one thread among many in a strong, diverse and colorful garment. Maybe it’s time we got past some of our provincial prejudices, looked beyond the Mason-Dixon Line and gave the rest of the country a little more credit.

    To us, this joyous wedding celebration seemed symbolic of the hope and promise of “a more perfect union” writ large across the land. If Chris and Suzanne can jump in and try to make it work, then what’s stopping the rest of us from doing the same thing?

    Chris and Suzanne got hitched, and we left D.C. feeling more invested in and proud of our country.

    “We the people of the United States…”

    The letters may have faded, but the hopes and dreams shaped by them seemed bolder than ever.

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