The Paganization of Nations

“Over-civilization and barbarism are within an inch of each other. And a mark of both is the power of medicine-men.” G.K. Chesterton

I remember a comparison of two short stories I read for a literature class in college. My liberal colleagues were horrified when an older man lost his job and found himself on the streets–likely to starve. The man was a native-American whom his white supervisor had disregarded–perhaps because of his age and his race.

In the other story, a tribe practiced geronticide (killing the elderly) by throwing an older member out of the boat and chopping off her fingers as she attempted to reenter said boat.

My fellow students were horrified at the first story but didn’t even blink at the second one. The first story represented oppression of one group against another. The second story was “just their culture.”

And they were entitled to “their culture.”

I still don’t understand how they could so clearly see one injustice and not see the other.

Perhaps it boils down to a philosophy Rachel Jankovic outlines in her book You Who?: Why You Matter and How to Deal with It.

Jankovic compares the idea that all human life is sacred with the idea that people who can make choices matter more than people who cannot.

Since the second idea prevails, we have abortion throughout pregnancy, and sometimes even later. But young children aren’t the only ones who are incapable of making choices.

In my own Pennsylvania, we recently learned that Secretary of Health Rachel Levine’s mother miraculously found a safe haven away from the nursing home where she resided until just before an order came from above that could have jeopardized her life.

The order from Dr. Levine required nursing homes to accept Covid-19 positive patients to ensure that the hospital beds they had been occupying would be empty when others, perhaps more valuable to society, needed them.

Dr. Levine says Mother made the request herself. She was capable of choosing, not because of her race or age, but because of a different sort of tribal connection. The elder Mrs. Levine somehow knew when to get out.

Of the state’s 3,806 coronavirus deaths, 2,611 . . . occurred in nursing homes and long-term-care ­facilities.” 

Dr. Mengele was probably nice to his mother too.

I’m guessing my college peers who could so easily divide their logic between the ousted man and the fingerless grandmother nearly three decades ago might find it more difficult to reconcile the deaths of their own grandmothers at the hands of a state official who figured out how to dodge personal tragedy.

Pagan societies sacrifice humans to false gods. They eliminate the weak who might deprive the strong of sustenance or shelter.

Civilized nations protect the young, the weak, the elderly, those incapable of making their own choices, those without the kind of connection Mrs. Levine has.

Pagan or civilized? I know which one we used to be.

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Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

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Cracked Justice

“In dictatorships you need courage to fight evil; in the free world you need courage to see evil.”
Nathan Sharansky~

In the summer of 2020, we have watched as rioters beat people and destroyed property in America’s biggest cities.

Often local officials have looked the other way or downplayed the seriousness of events that, until recently, were more often found in war zones than in American cities.

Law and order sometimes seem like Wyatt Earp and his fellows bringing peace to Tombstone–something of the past.

Twenty-twenty has brought remarkable challenges. But the issues our cities face didn’t just come to the forefront this year.

In at least one Pennsylvania city, law and order were lacking before this past January 1.

In 2019, the state legislature bestowed authority for prosecuting crimes in the City of Brotherly Love–Philadelphia–on the state Attorney General. The Democrat governor signed the bill. The legislature acted because the Philadelphia district attorney refused to prosecute certain crimes–both gun and drug-related.

The Intercept reports: “The maneuver by Pennsylvania lawmakers is the most significant legislative pushback to date against the new movement by criminal justice reformers to focus on seizing the power of the prosecutor, rather than hunkering down as public defenders or lawmakers. One of the key powers of a prosecutor is to decide when to bring charges and, critically, when not to. The new law means that even if [Philadelphia DA] Krasner decides to exercise the latter power and not bring charges, the police could go directly to the attorney general to pursue the case regardless.”

That sounds like a great plan except when the state’s highest prosecutor, Josh Shapiro in this case, is on board with the district attorney who won’t prosecute, Krasner.

Shapiro’s reaction to the bill?

“I didn’t seek this law and I didn’t advocate for it … And it doesn’t change anything.”

Shapiro further commented that he would seek repeal of the law.

Shapiro aspires to be the Keystone State’s next governor and eventually President of the US, so he crisscrosses the state showing up for drug busts to further the impression that he actually is a law and order kind of guy.

In the meantime, he’s also taken the time to sue the Little Sisters of the Poor who refuse to provide abortion and contraceptive coverage to their employees.

Perhaps he can’t take the time to notice the Philadelphia murder rate is soaring.

And for whatever reason, most media have beat the drum about drug busts but ignored Shapiro suing the sisters and rebuking the legislature and governor over his new powers to prosecute in the state’s biggest city.

The situation that produced the new law apparently isn’t limited to Pennsylvania. There is no shortage of prosecutors failing to prosecute those in great need of prosecution.

I’m not sure which voting block is disinterested in increasing homicide rates in big cities.

The people living in our cities need law enforcement to do its job–to protect and preserve human lives.

No society can stand in the face of chaos and murder.

America will not be an exception.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Red Parts of Blue States Looking to Split

The two teens stood across from me at the March for Life Expo in January. They weren’t yet old enough to vote. But perhaps when they are, they’ll cast their ballots to excise their part of Virginia to make it part of West Virginia–a harkening back to our Civil War. (Or our first Civil War?)

They are frustrated by legislators from the northern part of the state threatening to limit gun ownership and having voted to expand “abortion rights” more broadly than all but a few places around the world.

They are not alone in that way of thinking. Those hoping for Southern Virginia’s secession to West Virginia have company in Oregon, some of whose voters want to become part of Idaho. California also has its own initiative brewing. But that effort isn’t pushing to become part of an existing state. The plan calls for the establishment of the 51st state–New California.

Imagine what these efforts–if successful–might lead to.

Political pundits speak of the conservative part of my own Pennsylvania in terms of the T across the north and through the center with Philadelphia in the east and Pittsburgh in the west–although Pittsburgh sometimes joins the T.

The T carried our Keystone State for Trump in 2016–even the heavily Democratic Cambria County–coal country.

If voters in the T decided to follow suit with southern Virginia voters, the bulk of Pennsylvania might also join West Virginia–or ally with rural voters in New York to form a 52nd state.

Even the bluing state of Texas could end up splitting over voter ideology.

It sounds far-fetched. But perhaps we are closer to making such dividing lines than we realize.

Rural voters want to keep their guns. On farms or in nearby forests, guns have practical purposes completely unrelated to crime and unfathomable to many city-dwellers.

Conservative and liberal voters can only remain at an impasse over abortion. Room for compromise on this issue is scant because the unborn one either lives or dies. There is no state of in-between.

While these proposals for state-splitting are still in their infancy–or perhaps in their early childhood–it seems a good time to consider some of the ramifications.

For example, would Philadelphia decide to become part of New Jersey? Could Jersey support the costs of the City of Brotherly Love that rural PA taxpayers have helped to bear for decades?

What if the rural/conservative voters of every state thought it best to cut themselves free from every city that wanted to limit guns and fund abortions at any time during gestation?

Would cities’ leaders moderate some of their views to stem the traffic moving to a new place? Would rural folks bend? Can both sides occupy a middle ground for long?

Beyond the disputes over abortion, gun control, and other divisive pursuits, both city and countryside struggle with opioid addiction, isolation, loss of purpose.

The answer is the same whether in unity or division. Shining light into the darkness. The darker the night, the easier it is to perceive the light.

Shine your light while you can. Where you can. All you can.

Photo Credit: Unsplash

Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”