On Friday, I read online about the bombings and shootings in Norway. At the time, my friend Monica said to me via instant message "Who would bomb Norway? Norwegians don't bother anyone. They are peaceable, fish eating, skiing, sauna takers." Later we learned who would bomb Norway: a pissed off right-wing Norwegian.
Yesterday I went to a gathering for the Friends of Anne Hutchinson which is held every year to celebrate Anne Hutchinson's life and legacy. She was the leader of a group of people who founded Portsmouth, Rhode Island, which was the first town in the New World to allow religious freedom and whose citizens were a "body politic." After being thrown out of the Massachusetts Bay Colony for minor divergences in religious belief, they wrote a compact guaranteeing the separation of church and state.
When I got home, I learned of the existence of a radical right-wing group here in the USA who is advertising -- in militant and quasi-military terms -- a plan to "lay seige" on Washington D.C. to change it from the "District of Columbia" to the "District of Christ." They also plan to hold demonstrations and prayer vigils in Washington D.C., Philadelphia, and in each state as they carry out plans for a "reformation intercession." The movement is growing, and according to what I've seen, it appears they are pushing for a theocratic form of government. Because, as we've seen throughout history and even into the present day, theocracies work out great for everybody.
I've met people like this, and while many of them are relatively harmless, they are also not very bright and easily led. As George Carlin famously said, never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups. Frankly, these people scare the bejeezus out of me.
And then last night while I was watching TV, I thought I heard gunshots. What I probably heard was a particularly loud type of leftover 4th of July fireworks, but for a moment, I seriously entertained the idea that guns were being fired. In Newport, Rhode Island. I feel like I'm living in a world gone mad.
I won't be made useless,
I won't be idle with despair
There isn't much one maiden aunt can do in times like these. But this afternoon, I can draw a cartoon for my food blog. That seems to make my readers smile. I can sketch out some ideas I have for a birthday gift for my great-niece. I can work on the invitations for my BFF's 90th birthday party in August. I can do whatever small things that are in my power to shine a light. And I will.