Thursday, May 10, 2012

Blowing Strawberries at Amendment One

To everything, there is a season, Ecclesiastes promises. Except in the US, where we are accustomed to having everything our way with immediate gratification. To assure this, we would take God’s rule into our very own hands to judge the living and the dead. We don’t think in terms of building a civilization that will endure for generations or even beyond the next local budget crisis. We don’t think in terms of the cycles of seasons that come and go, the wheel that crushed Hesse, or the eternal karma of our decisions. We absorb mass media input and want to generate instant output.

Ignoring the not yet mid-May date, I bought some strawberries this morning at the local Whole Foods. Knowing that the on-sale California strawberries would be flavorless, I bought local grown pyramids of saucy red juiciness. Their full-flushed cheeks promised me a taste of deep-hearted flavor, slightly tangy with sweet berries blossoming somewhere midway on my palate. They would satisfy the still-feels-like-spring crisp hope on my tongue. At the market, the gleaming mound of stacked strawberries was a treasure to behold, particularly this early in the season.

They stared at me beneath their green toupées with irresistible come-hither looks I could not ignore. They appeared to be the fully-fledged result of hanky panky amongst the bees and blossoms in a farmer’s field just waiting for me to harvest them. I wound up spending more than the cost of two Grande lattés on a pair of smallish containers of seed-freckled darlings. As my tires crunched upon the driveway, I listened expectantly for heraldic trumpeting as I returned home with my prize. I had high hopes for my investment. These berries would anoint our humble house with a riot of flavor.

Putting all other chores aside, I carefully washed them, drained them and scalped off their toupées for easy eating. One of the privileges of working in the royal kitchen is that one must taste test to assure quality control. Alas, berry after berry that detoured from swooping into the collective bowl into my mouth was naught but a waterberry – scarcely any flavor at all. I continued scalping and tasting, hoping I was mistaken or that a miraculous change would occur, turning waterberry to strawberry. Their fully ripe color predicted flavor-smacking sapidity, but berry after berry, my mouth went into mourning for what lacked.

Such is the Christian flavor expressed with the passage of Amendment 1 in North Carolina. Theoretically, it looks like a victory for moral values. Theoretically, it should enhance families to work things out and be strong in their love. Marriage holds within it the fecund promise of future generations. But in truth, the Amendment is empty of True Christian heart. It sounds the noisy gong and clanging cymbal of the dinner bell without serving up the fried chicken and biscuits.

While Amendment 1 appears to take notice of marriage, it actually harms many families. Who would deny their sister or brother the loving care they desire and deserve at end of life? Who would deny the value of helping children obtain health insurance? What of those whom this amendment leaves disenfranchised? What’s to become of no-longer-recognized civil unions of all sorts where one has promised to care for the other and perhaps fails to, or worse, abuses the other? It removes the gentle support that society is called upon to offer those who are vulnerable. It defines a society of haves where the have-nots no longer exist.

“You can’t legislate morality,” as my attorney dad used to say. Government is for all the people, not the privileged few. Repeal Amendment 1. Moreover, since Congresses can’t seem to function without riders on their bills, why not add that there should be warning labels on flavorless strawberries? Perhaps it would start a trend for truth in advertising religious and secular.