“Faster than a speeding bullet train! More powerful than a shinkansen locomotive! Able to leap Tokyo Tower at a single bound!”
“Look! Up in the sky!”
“It’s a bat!”
“It’s a rodent!”
“Yes, it’s Supermouse – strange visitor from another continent who came to Asia with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal mice. Supermouse – defender of law and order, champion of equal rights, valiant, courageous fighter against the forces of hate and prejudice, who, disguised as Eda, slightly prickly editor for a large edutainment corporation, fights a never-ending battle for truth, justice and grilled cheese sandwiches.”
A variation of those words first hit the airwaves back in 1941 and they connect to a lot that has been going through my head as I attempt to cope with middle age and get some perspective on my life and my place in the universe.
Last week’s supreme court decision was a glimmering ray of hope from an America I am increasingly ashamed of, although it should surprise nobody that a conservative backlash is already growing. Why is it that people feel entitled to judge other people’s lifestyles? Why can’t they be satisfied with their own choices and accept what those choices bring?
I feel the same way about abortion. While it may be a religious issue for many, it isn’t for me, and you do not have a right to tell me what to believe. This should never have become a political issue in the first place. When does a fetus become a sentient being? This is a question that cannot be answered in court. Women must answer it for ourselves, and be prepared to live with our decisions. And it is none of anybody else’s business. Period.
The right to gun ownership raises similar flags. Under the constitution, you have a right to own a gun, but you do not have a right to scare me. And just how many coyotes are you and your machine gun expecting defend yourself from while shopping at Walmart? I’d be more frightened of your gun than the coyotes.
We all have the right to believe what we want to believe. But we do not have the right to tell others what to believe. At the same time, there are certain fundamentals I think most of us would accept. Without some common acceptance of the rules those rights and wrongs dictate, we’re left with chaos and anarchy.
It is commonly accepted that murder is wrong, but what about the woman who is systematically abused, both mentally and physically, and finally bashes in the asshole’s head with his bowling ball? Is that wrong?
Another grey area: lying is wrong, but little white lies (What a cute baby! It’s so nice to see you again!) don’t hurt anyone and can even do some good. Big black smelly lies, on the other hand (Nuclear power is safe! Smoking is cool!) can cause harm on a scale that is difficult to fathom.
So where do we draw the line? Just how much should government have to do with morality? I thought that two fundamental premises of the US government were religious freedom and separation of church and state, and yet that state tells us who we can marry and whether or not we will have children while it allows large corporations to poison our air and our water and our bodies.
And this body is now faced with yet another birthday. It’s been a better one than some of the past. The mind and body seem to be drawing great benefits from both yoga and meditation; the desire to smoke is gone, hopefully for good; I am finding strengths in myself I didn’t know I had. These are all good things. I think I’m finally understanding that old prayer about serenity and strength and wisdom. I will make an effort to carry those things with me into the future.