Monday, April 21, 2008
The Good, the Bad, & the Ribbiting
The top picture shows one of my favorite things -- a lighted block of crystal with figures of a frog, a lily pad, and a dragonfly inside, and also a silver chain with a little green frog pendant. The second picture is of some of my glass (et cetera) menagerie of frogs. I love frogs. Frogs are good. They all sit on various shelves, doing nothing but looking cute and making me grin when I see them. We should all be so lucky, yes? We all need grins, and the talismans to bring them on. The windchimes are from my bathroom, where the frogs make a melodious and soothing din whenever a breeze catches them and sets them in motion. Rrrrribbit. I am so envious of people who have live frogs in their yards, because I have none. I don't know whether it's a question of geography or demographics, but I wish I had little green squatters in my back yard.
There's something else I want to talk about today that has nothing to do with frogs. It isn't cute, either, nor is it soothing or comforting. "It" is the government raid on the allegedly polygamous faux-LDS compound in El Dorado, Texas. I'm sure we've all seen the news footage by now and are well aware that most of the residents of the compound look like extras from Little House on the Prairie and the women with their American Gothic hairdos speak and behave like Stepford Wives. They do look different, yes, but as far as I know, American citizens still have the right to look different, speak differently, practice different religions, go without makeup and trendy hairstyles, yada-yada.
The raid was allegedly launched due to a 911 call from a 16-year-old girl at the compound reporting child abuse. That excuse should have raised some eyebrows because, really, how would a girl in a strictly controlled community with no access to TV, cell phones, Internet, etc., have placed a 911 call from a cell phone? Now the information emerges that the original call was a hoax from a woman with no connection to the compound. Yeah, sure.
Based on the ubiquitous premise that "it was all about the children," the raid took place as the government no doubt wished all along and all of the children were removed and placed in the state's custody pending court proceedings. Now a judge has ordered DNA testing on all the children and their parents in order to ascertain which children belong to whom. The first thing that strikes me about this is that on the basis of one dubious call (which later turned out to be a hoax -- if it was ever made at all), all of the community's children were removed. Suppose my neighbor three or four houses down was reported for child abuse. On what possible grounds could authorities sweep through my neighborhood and remove all of the children from every family? By what criteria is the Constitution circumvented when it suits certain ad hoc purposes? It's a Brave New World, isn't it? Secondly, there are innocent people sitting in jails all over the country right now for want of a DNA test, but the government is going to conduct DNA testing for purposes of establishing familial links in one tiny community? Why?
We've seen these sorts of draconian raids before, at places like Waco and Ruby Ridge. I've never had any inclination to join a cult or live any type of alternative lifestyle but, as a U.S. citizen, don't I have the right to do so if I so choose? If somebody is committing child abuse, by all means arrest them -- but only them. If someone is engaging in polygamy and/or bigamy, arrest them if there's incontrovertible proof. But what is the rationale for sending in SWAT teams to shut down an entire community based on the actions of a few and haul every last kid off to foster care? I really don't get this, and I think I'd be afraid of myself if I ever did get it.
Yeah, there was a full moon last night. Big. And bad. Ask me how pleased I am about that. Or not. Grrrrrr. Yeah, I'm babbling today. I know. But I, by God, do it pretty well. I can babble on all the way to Babylon if I have to.
So, shall we gawk at a few Words Gone Wild? Oh, come on. TWISTED LINGUISTICS roped them in. We might as well see what we can do with them -- "we" meaning "you," because I have no earthly idea.
plaxe of empolyment