Just Let Me -- G -- Indoctrinate You!

Friday, July 15, 2011

It's a How Do We Do No Harm Thing

Dear America,

so we are in a peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, kind of pause today --

--  the debt ceiling debate will not hit the floor for a vote, at least for today, for the battle of wills is alive and well.  We have a president who believes it is time to "eat our peas," but at the same time, doesn't believe we need a constitutional amendment to enforce balancing the budget.  And more or less telling us,  at least take a bite of those peas; if you don't like them, spit them out...you don't need to finish...at least you tried them. 

...peas porridge in the pot, nine days old.

Anyone else remember this nursery rhyme?

I am feeling relieved that, for the moment, our Congress has done no harm.  So, we will wait. Peas may get cold, but we will wait.

So, for this morning, we will move into an entirely different direction -- and no, if you have followed me this week, you would know I have been meaning to get to a discussion on Shared Sacrifice vs. Shared Prosperity...and that isn't going to happen either.

Some of you may remember that I have been without a working television, now going on the last two weeks.  My news then, comes via the internet, the radio, and conversation. In an odd way, I feel like I have drifted into the forties, hanging around the radio out on the family farm in Kansas -- as if it was my only contact to the outside world.

So anyway, there I was, hanging my laundry (via my handy dandy stack-able Maytag washer & dryer), listening to local talk radio yesterday afternoon, until I was stopped dead in my tracks and began to cry.

I cried  -- everything from big crocodile tears to teeny tiny whimpers -- for probably close to an hour; I couldn't stop.  And still! in this moment... I am doing it again... as I struggle to see the screen, beginning to get drowned out in a wet cloud between blinks.

But perhaps for all of you, this is old news; maybe you are all way ahead of me...being that I am stuck in the mainstream media boonies.  But it was yesterday when I first heard the story of little Leiby Kletsky.

The details of the life of this young boy -- a life lost way too soon -- just hit me.  It hit me hard.  It was as if the air was knocked out of me and I couldn't move.

Leiby (pronounced Lye-bee) was eight, and a week away from his ninth birthday.  The family -- settled into a close knit Hasidic Jewish community, in the Borough Park area of Brooklyn, NY -- discovered that their little Leiby was missing on Monday, late afternoon.

But here I am, listening to this story unfold for the first time, only just yesterday.

And remember now -- picture G just folding laundry, minding my own business, listening to local talk radio -- which, for the afternoon, a public conversation monopolized by the debt ceiling debate.  For the most part really -- the truth is -- only every once in awhile my ears would perk up and listen in; I was busy, busting out the chores around the house. 

Perfectly harmless, right?

And to that end, during the news breaks, I tend to turn my attention off -- I spin into the kitchen for a coke, or, it becomes a moment to powder my nose, wipe a handkerchief across my brow (...living large, deep into the 1940's, I am, I am) -- but this time, was different. It began like a news bulletin -- marked by a few beeps and everything -- and quickly, my attention was no longer all mine.

We learned right away, that Leiby had practiced walking home from  a Summer Day Camp with his parents for days leading up to Monday afternoon; we learned he was autistic -- leaving his parents deeply concerned whether or not he could handle the walk home, of seven blocks, on his own.  It was a big decision for everyone.  Leiby insisted he was ready.

It was the very first day -- Leiby began his walk home and got disoriented.  He stopped and asked a man for help.  The man said he would help him; and as the story goes into details you can read for yourself through the link above -- let me just say, he did no such thing.  He did harm.

Leiby's beautiful little life was taken from him.

The news, however, went into detail. Of course, that is kinda what a radio has to do, right?  There are no pictures to follow along; the imagination just has to follow along with whatever we hear... through the radio.   Another vivid detail totally unexpected for this girl.

The child -- Leiby -- was kidnapped, suffocated and dismembered into teeny tiny pieces -- with parts found in the refrigerator, and whatever else this guy could find, to hide his sick and twisted crime.

I don't know about you,
but how does one continue folding the towels?

I responded immediately with every sensation rising to the surface -- as if Leiby were my own son. And I just couldn't stop crying.
...how fascinating the human spirit can be, isn't it?  one minute we could be singing nursery rhymes to our self, with the next, we are punching the pillow in a rage of disgust, anguish, in total despair, just like that.

Leiby got a little lost on the very first day he walked home alone.

And the sudden impact of Leiby's injustice was simply too much for me.

It is still too much for me.

It makes me weep for all of us; swept into a whirlwind of questioning our indignities,  just where are we going? what are we doing to each other? how can this happen?

How does a civil society find peace and security when we share a neighborhood, a community, a collective with, clearly, the broken souls? 

You know, our president loves telling stories to us -- just a matter of record over the last couple of years; this week, in the midst of these idiotic debt ceiling bickerings, he should have stopped us, as a nation.

I wish he had.  Stopped us. And made a few remarks about Leiby --

I wish he had taken to the airwaves, and reminded us, that we can do better than this; I wish he had addressed Leiby's parents directly --  looking them right into the camera -- and extended a heartfelt apology for their loss, while offering his unwavering commitment of the Department of Justice to re-double their efforts to meet the needs of communities far and wide, of battling pure evil against our sons and daughters.

But what do I know, maybe he did -- without a television, how would I know, right.  You tell me: did our president address this horrific crime upon an innocent child?  Did he bring us together, similar to how he addressed a nation, after the Gabby Giffords attack?  Sure, one was a bigger story than another -- it's not like he could address every child taken in broad daylight and had their little life snuffed out within hours, like a young nine year old Christina, from the very same day in Tucson.  He would be telling us stories all the live long day, now wouldn't he?

The thing is, I just believe, that every once in awhile,  we could all use a little gathering around the radio.

We need to be reminded why we are here, what we are good for, and all the ways possible that we can change, as a people,  to make the world a little bit better.

If we are not reminded how to be good - - the easier it is for society to become lost, that's all.

What, who, when, where.. how are we given direction to grow the good? Do we get it from school?  not really, not any more.  Do we get it from church?  for some perhaps, for some, not any more.  Do we get it from our community, at the corner five and dime?  not without the horror of being labeled extremists, crazy nut cases.

How do we really learn to do no harm? It's a good question. 

So, the last thing for today has to be this:

...the debt ceiling is meaningless, if we, as a society, grow to become lousy, selfish, corrupted, dishonest, good for nothing people too scared to simply do the right thing, and the right thing only, as much as we possibly can -- while encouraging others to do the same, of course; it's totally meaningless.

And to Leiby's parents, my solemn prayer for you both, is to find peace.  I honestly don't know how you do that, but it is my wish anyway.   Your son has left a hand print on my heart, if not my entire world.

Make it a Good Day, G


  1. I agree with you, it's a sad thing that someone so young would suffer in his death, then treated like he was garbage. Leiby, you didn’t make it to moon in this lifetime, but with your outstretched arm, you’ve slipped the surly bonds of earth and gone to touch the face of God. RIP

  2. thank you for adding thoughtful remarks about dear Leiby...