This column could be considered part deux of my previous, Basic Human Rights. The right to life being the focus of this segment.
In today’s day and age, post 1973s Roe v. Wade decision, the right to life usually centers on the legal right to have an abortion. I will not argue this matter. Rather, I would like to elaborate upon the reasons why we argue any matter.
I’m putting out a theory that the whole raison d’etre for argument, activism, lobbying, and a whole host of cultural movements, surrounds the right to life and/or liberty. In order to live, we require food, shelter, and air to breathe.
As to food, a number of social organizations exist for the sole purpose of making sure people have food to sustain their bodies. Food banks, sponsored by churches, come to mind, as we see these throughout our rural landscape. Then there are the well-known organizations such as Feed the Children, The Hunger Project, Feeding America, City Harvest, Bread for the World Institute, and Action Against Hunger-USA.
From breast-feeding in public, or even labeling it breast-feeding as opposed to chest-feeding, or demanding that every mother breast-feeds, this is probably the first food-oriented argument in the evolution and development of life. Well, I guess one could argue that the first argument of this sort involves the pregnant woman, gestating a human inside of her, who could be criticized or even tormented for what SHE eats, as she is gestating another human. It has been done.
Then, there’s the argument about the kind of food we eat. There are advocates and dissenters for every kind of diet known or semi-known to humankind. There is the Keto diet or similar Atkins diet or Mediterranean diet; the Vegan diet and the Vegetarian diet, the Carnivores diet, the Balanced diet or Pyramid diet, and the “take a pill and don’t exercise or diet, diet.” So, theoretically, there is someone out there ready to pounce on every morsel you put into your mouth, or don’t put into your mouth. Not just the plumpest of the plump are the target of social activism, but the thinnest of the thin out there, suffer from criticism too, “you’ve lost too much weight, are you healthy?” or “are you anorexic?”
Social movements focusing on food such as farm-to-table, organic, home-grown, restaurant, or grocery store food, all have taken their place in the annals of food history, and remain on the table. There is preserved food in the form of canned food, dried food, and frozen food, and there remains, fresh food.
It doesn’t matter to me which food you select to sustain your life, but you can bet it matters to somebody out there and they’re watching you. There is surely a group who would defend your right to eat what you want and a group against your eating the way you’ve selected. Oh, and we shouldn’t forget the all-important groups who make sure you can eat.
As to shelter, most of us take for granted that we have a roof over our heads. In fact, just having celebrated Thanksgiving, many a meme on Facebook, Thanksgiving greeting card, or general prayer of thanks, acknowledges that roof over our heads. We’re generally grateful for a place to live.
For those struggling with housing in our rural communities, there are Housing Authorities, Community Services, and Homeless Assistance and Energy Assistance groups who will help. Nationally there is a Coalition for the Homeless and the National Alliance to End Homelessness.
Remember, your shelter and my shelter may be two very different concepts of shelter. I know and love some Realtors, one in particular, and it is their job to find you the ultimate in shelter. Here, I’m talking about buying a house, estate, property, home, or making an investment. But there are rentals out there which supply housing to millions who choose not to own, or cannot own their shelter.
But we all have neighbors, whether we own or rent our shelter. “Love thy neighbor.”
This brings me to the third right, the air we breathe. We have to “share the air” with all the rest of humankind. We supposedly were taught to share when we first toddled on this earth. But sometimes you wouldn’t know it.
From “quit smoking” campaigns to a gazillion-and-one conservation, earth-friendly, environmental, green, scientific organizations, there is a multitude of defenders of the air and ground through which we live our lives. Is it really a surprise to anyone that we don’t all agree about how to protect the precious resource of the air that we breathe?
“Sometimes, all I need is the air that I breathe…. And to love you…. All I need is the air that I breathe….” This is from a 1974 song performed by The Hollies, written by Louis and Edward. This song reminded me that perhaps we could, rather than defending life, live life in spite of all of our differing opinions about how it “should be lived.”
I fed the cat around 6:45 a.m. and when I looked out at the slightly south, eastern sky, I was amazed. I would have to struggle to recall a more beautiful natural sight. I stumbled to throw on a sweatshirt, boots, coat and headband, in order to traverse a hill across from my house, in an attempt to photographically capture this sight.
My fleeting thoughts as I saw that magnificent sunrise went from: “red in the morning, sailor’s warning,” to, “oh that’s not red clouds, that’s the sunrise!” to “I think my phone weather app forecast a cloudy day; to “maybe I’d better get dressed and go out on the deck to get a pic of this before the clouds overtake it.” Then I quickly decided I’d get a better shot from up the hill.
Don’t you know I missed it? In hindsight I could have just snapped the pic through the window, in spite of it including the neighbor’s houses. My new motto might have to become – “gobble up the good, while you bide for the best or you’ll miss the most.”
Because of that sunrise, I almost titled this column, In Spite of the Clouds, hoping to engender optimism in the face of negativity all around us. In spite of the clouds…In spite of their criticism…. In spite of the arguments… In spite of your defenses…… Don’t Forget the Beauty in Life.