ISawArkansas

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Each week there are five or eight things that stick in my mind while driving home on Tuesday night. It’s late and we’ve put the paper to bed, so whatever pops into my night vision, like deer or amarillos, jolts me but keeps me awake. I try to focus on the good.

Driving home thoughts are classic overthinking – did we get the birth date in before the death date in the obits? Did we clearly distinguish between Center Stage and Main Stage and the stage at the Auditorium? Did we remember to run or cancel a classified? Did we promise city hall that we wouldn’t mention that not one city-owned American flag in Eureka Springs was lowered to half-mast in honor of a Supreme Court Justice who spent her life ensuring everybody’s rights? Did we eat lunch?

Every morning when I shut the gate to go to work, I give my dogs a treat and tell them not to let any Democrats in. “The Democrats will take your food and give it to dogs that don’t have any,” I warn them. “And if the Republicans show up they will take your house, your buried bones and dog collars, and make you and it theirs. You might as well submit because you won’t win.” They yawn.

They clearly understand and clearly don’t care. Just so I come home and wrestle, play keepaway, turn up the music, ask them about their day and quiz them about which one dragged the bedspread through the dog door and out into the rain.

I tell them it makes no sense that in March of 2020 when people were encouraged to wear a piece of cloth over the holes in their head it made them load their rifles and cyclone down to the statehouse screaming, “Nobody tells me what to do! First they take away our human contact, then our oxygen, then our guns!”

Those people are still screaming about rights instead of wrongs. They vote.

Shoot, our Congress has tabled the Equal Rights Amendment since its introduction in 1923. It came close to passage in 1979, and dang, wouldn’t you know, it was a woman who said if the amendment passed women could lose their alimony or be drafted or lose their stature as the only ones capable of reading a cookbook. And that was that.

Good grief, even Richard Nixon was for equal rights.

After that defeat, life became like a long marriage where enthusiasms are exchanged. “Fine, thanks, and you?”

If you love living in this nation of free thinkers, exiles and magnificence, vote. If we don’t vote, we might as well push the snooze alarm, roll over, and let the no-accounts help themselves to our dishes, books and lives.

Habits can change. For the most part, we don’t toss our butts in the grass or steal copper from the air conditioner at the Missionary Baptist Church. It’s because of awareness, of thoughtfulness, kindness, and maybe the humiliation of being busted, but we’re learning the value of being sturdier people. We’re thinking twice about allowing oil pipelines to run on top of aquifers.

Sinclair Lewis said Fascism will come to America wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross. He also wrote that America “is the most contradictory, the most depressing, the most stirring, of any land in the world today.” That was 90 years ago.

Just vote. Choose. Unify. Share the dog food. Make it easier for everybody.

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