The encyclopedia article is finished and mailed. I even found an event in that uneventful town. During the Civil War, nine prisoners of war were shot in the town I was writing about.
Shot, mind you. Not suffocated, tortured to death, or sexually abused before being killed.
The commanding officer (in another state) heard of it, and immediately called for an enquiry. The commanding officer, not a whistle-blowing reporter. He called it “murder” and “an outrage” and insisted that the guilty parties — specifically, the officer who ordered it done — be called to account. This took place within two weeks, in a time and place without regular mail service and of course before telephones. It took place when there was an actual war going on, with — in this particular area — heavy guerilla warfare in addition to organized battles, on our own shores. No one suggested that the constitution, or indeed common morality and decency, should be forgotten for the duration. No one suggested that things could be justified, or ignored, or explained away, or overlooked in a parody of patriotic support for the Union.
In our newspapers now, cowardice and villainy are routinely excused on the grounds that “we are at war.” If we examine our history, it is clear that this is not the American way.
Partygirl and I were discussing this last night while commuting to and from our class. She mentioned that she was fasting for the anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, something the bishop asks them to do every year. She is Catholic and she is my friend and no way am I going to argue with her about abortion. So we moved right to the constitution. (She did suggest that perhaps God allowed our current administration to gain power simply to allow the overturn of Roe vs. Wade, which might be better than my explanation, which is that we are being punished.)
Have you checked out the bill of rights lately? #2 son has been studying it in school, and then #1 daughter and I got into a discussion of it in relation to the supreme court, so I refreshed my memory of it. It is worth reading. And worth defending, too. When you read some of those things, you may be just about ready to laugh. What made them think of that? you might wonder. But the book I was using to refresh my memory explains just the kinds of things that made them think of that. They had, fresh in their minds, the problems that arise when people in power abuse that power.
And here, in case this seems too serious, is a very funny blog. And a blog-reading tip which everyone else already knew and no one told me. You know how you want to go around the Yarn Ho! blogring, but now that there are twice as many members as there were at this time last year, there are a lot who don’t update or don’t actually knit, so you have to click through a lot of stuff to find the real Yarn Ho!s? Actually, you can click on the name of the webring and find a list of all the members, and it will tell you when they updated and you can visit everyone very efficiently and not spend so much time on the computer that your family ends up having cold cereal for breakfast. I am aware that no one told me this because it did not occur to anyone that I could be so incompetent with my xanga as not to know that. That’s why I am telling you — there might be someone else out there like me.