Oct 20, 2008

Let the Leader lead

Garrison Keillor had a great column on October 16th that I just had an opportunity to read. I found out about it through a support group I belong to, as it has their son Patrick in it.

Here in Colorado, as we all go to the polls we are facing the most amendments that our ballot has ever had. Included in these is #51, where we would receive additional funding to help reduce the wait-list time for people who have disabilities to be able to receive services. As it stands right now, Skyler would start receiving some support around 40-50 years old.

Yes, it is that long of a wait.

I hope and pray that people can find it in their hearts to pass this, but with the economic woes of late, I have my doubts.

Here is Garrison's column:

Keillor: Let the leader lead
Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Scripture reading in church Sunday gave me a jolt - Exodus 32, which refers to the Chosen People wearing earrings, men as well as women, and I twitched when the lector read it. Yikes! Moses got his ears pierced? What else didn't we know???

And then a bigger jolt. God is so furious at the C.P. for worshiping the golden calf (forged from their earrings) that He talks about consuming them with fire, but Moses talks Him out of it, which sort of dents one's faith in divine omniscience, does it not, the Lord taking a sharp turn like that? ("Oh, I hadn't thought about that - O.K., cancel the thunderbolt!")

But I didn't jump up in my pew and point this out - we like to keep things moving along in church, recite the Creed, confess our sins, pass the plate, sing the doxology, not stop for questions along the way - so I just brood over it, as I do about more and more these days. Walk at night down misty streets through yellow leaves and question everything and keep it to myself.

I let other people carry the conversational ball when it comes to religion, or politics.

I've known enough old bores to want not to be one of them. Old honkers with ratchety voices who hold everyone hostage and make their point 16 times and lay waste to the dinner hour.

Not me, dear hearts. As I write this, the sun is coming up over the Mississippi Valley, and in the orange swashes at the horizon is a long string of clouds that one could imagine are mountains.

It rises on people facing challenges far beyond anything I've known in my rackety life. A beautiful, cheerful woman of 26 has been handed a jagged diagnosis of cancer like a big, wet albatross on a necklace. A friend struggles with severe depression, slogging through the day, wishing the meds would kick in.

And then there is Patrick, whom I met on Saturday, a very bright boy who lies speechless on a gurney, a trach tube in his windpipe, a pump humming softly on a shelf below. His parents explain that he was stricken by a rare neuromuscular disease and that's all they say about that. They're both animated, buoyant, jokey, and Patrick smiles and raises his eyebrows - and suddenly one's own tiny troubles aren't worth mentioning.

The existence of human suffering seems to me to affirm the Christian faith. It's the sacred duty of the faithful to uphold the Patricks of the world and their heroic parents against the prevailing Darwinist forces, but a Patrick shouldn't be asked to sit by the roadside waiting for a kindly Christian motorist to stop - he is entitled to mercy as a basic human right, and it is merciful of Christians to expect government to carry out this duty.

The safety net has become seriously frayed, as the parents of the Patricks of America know very well, and now the sun has risen on an October day of pure blue sky and yellow and red boughs raised against it, and the day must be acknowledged. What a gorgeous life we lead, here in this gaudy forest, the smell of smoke and apples in the air, and three weeks to go before the election.

The American people are poised to do something that could not be imagined 10 years ago, or even five, which is to vote for the best man regardless of his skin color and elect him president.

The campaign against him is not one that anybody will point to with pride in years to come. It is a long trail of honking and flapping and traces of green slime, as if a flock of geese had taken up residence in the front yard.

But Barack's cool poise in the face of blather is some sort of testament to American heart and humor. The man has walked tall and his wife has turned out to be the brightest figure in the whole political parade, an ebullient woman of quick wit and beautiful spirit.

Bravo, Michelle.

Onward, America. We've all seen plenty of the worst - the sly cruelty, the arrogant ignorance, the fascination with trivia, the cheats, the weaselish and piggish and the buzzardly - but we can rise above it if we will only recognize a leader when one comes along and have the sense to let him lead.

Garrison Keillor is the author of a new Lake Wobegon novel, "Liberty."


  1. I fear you may be right about the way Colorado will sway. I seem to be disappointed every voting cycle anymore. Still, it doesn't stop me and my Dearest from tryin'!

  2. I voted early and #51 was about the only one I voted for. I'm really getting tired of all these amendments.

  3. This reminds me that I should probably change my Florida Driver's License o'er to Ohio before voting, huh? I have a funny feeling the 78 year old poll worker may have difficulty with the whole thing...

    ANYWAY, having said THAT, I love anything Keillor writes-- you HAVE read his "Homegrown Democrat", yes?? I know I've quoted it.

    Meanwhile, Sky gets assistance when he's FIFTY? Like, OLDER THAN I AM NOW?! What the hell is WRONG with this country??

    ::sigh:: 'Scuse me, I need to go downstairs and double-up on my antidepressants, now.