by Elizabeth T. Andrews
American Reporter Correspondent
May 31, 2008
HOW TO SAVE THE WORLD
CARTERSVILLE, Ga. -- "But what can I do?" they ask me, those few individuals who linger long enough to hear my bitching about the heat our troops in Iraq endure; the media's repeating every line uttered by McCain, Obama and a gal called Hillary as though their words rank right up there with "Blessed are the meek"; my moaning about having to currently hoard coffee, sugar, flour, cornmeal, brown rice and pinto beans against the day when they will cost as much a new tire for a Mercedes; my long shouts of concern for the children of the polygamist sex cults where mad men rape children, enslave women, abuse the welfare system, outwit law enforcement, and then shout gleefully "We are God's chosen, special sons!"
What can you do? What can I do? What can any of us do daily in an atmosphere of local and international floods, tornadoes, terrorists, insane wars and insane gas prices, and a buffoon President who sits on a gilded throne conducting an orchestra of court jesters?
I can't speak for you but I can share some ideas for your consideration.
First, about the price of a delicious-looking tomato perched atop a bin full of other delicious-looking tomatoes. The price of that one luscious tomato is about the same as a downpayment on a new home. Even if you invest half of your paycheck in it, when you get it home you'll find it tastes like a ball of red wax and it ruins your longed-for BLT (bacon, lettuce and tomato) sandwich.
What to do? You settle for making your own french fries. Behold and lo, all five of your expensive red potatoes has a black center. You sigh and settle for a simple lettuce salad ... and then you remember. Lately lettuce has been getting a bad rap for something - was it e coli? - so you pitch the lettuce in the trash, retreat with a waxed apple to your recliner for comfort ... and turn on the tv to cheer you up.
Let's hang right there for a moment.
Years ago in Casselberry, Fla., I lived across the street from a Vietnamese woman. She spoke almost no English but she grew the grandest tomatoes I have ever seen in a backyard garden no bigger than a giant's palm. And although she had a family to feed she knocked on my door frequently with fresh vegetables from her little backyard garden.
We town and city dwellers tend to think we have to be a serious farmer like Grandpa in order to even think about having a vegetable garden. We don't. And if you visit for coffee in July I'll send you home with real tomatoes that taste like tomatoes and not red wax from a red wax factory. They are just small yellow blooms right now, my soon-to-be tomatoes, but they grow happily in cheap black three-gallon pots. Marigolds ring them, insurance policy for deterring cutting worms and other uninvited guests.
Try thinking square-foot gardening. Think spring planting of a few simple things first. Peppers and onions are easy to grow. Tomatoes are an American must. It is against the outdoor law to grill a hamburger without tomatoes. And in the fall, think pumpkins and your choice of other fall vegetables.
If you are buying your home, you can invest in raised beds - easier on the back come weeding time. But if you live in an apartment you're out of luck unless you have a balcony or patio. That is where the pots come in. There, with even a half day of sun, you can thumb your nose at the vegetable bins at your local markets, relish your radishes, and grill happily ever after.
What does one grand tomato have to do with tornadoes and terrorists and things that go bump during a flood?
It's a now thing. It's a personal protest over much we can't control. It's one small effort to push back against the evening news with its dire, repetitious recycling of last week's news. It's the triumph of carrying that first tomato to your waiting hamburger and saying silently to yourself "This at least I have done."
There are other things we can do besides successfully producing one scrumptious tomato.
We can pick a news topic from among the many that make us feel as though we went to sleep last night and woke up this morning in a global loony bin.
Take the polygamist criminals, for example. The happenings in El Dorado, Texas may be horrific current news but the FLDS (Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints) compounds are not new news. This bull crap has been going on under our American noses for decades.
Buy a book called "Under The Banner of Heaven." Research the locations of these compounds from hell. Have a neighborhood gathering. Ask neighbors, friends and family to join you in picketing one compound. Start protesting immediately, demanding the sheriffs department do something about the children trapped in these sick, decadent, evil places posing as "religious communities."
Everybody you know probably knows at least 10 more individuals. Those individuals know 10 more individuals. Soon, from your efforts, will come hundreds of outraged individuals who don't intend to cease and desist until all the children of all the compounds can sleep in comfort and wake to play happily without a wedding being planned for one more 12-year-old girl being "spiritually wed" to one more 55-year-old pedophile who justifies rape if it is done in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.
After you select your compound, name your working circle of individuals. Print some stationery and envelopes with your letterhead. Write letters, march, hand out fliers, make phone calls to sheriff's departments, report your efforts to the press in the location of the compound you have selected, and don't fall silent until the walls around that particular sex-slave compound come tumbling down.
Is every responsible adult directly and indirectly responsible for every child? Yes. Who should do the shouting when abuse is obvious? We, the people ... and particularly we, the women.
We, the women, have been too long silent in god-matters. One current example of males, worldwide, who think it is their divine right to take away the divine rights of women is the current stand by the Catholic church. Any priest who ordains a female priest will be ex-communicated ... along with the woman who dares believe she can serve - from the pulpit - a genderless God.
It is the most evil of male power-plays ... perching on a throne-chair and issuing decrees of "pray and obey." How unabashedly hideous ... to dare think we can tell any soul how they must serve God.
And, I repeat, if we want to arrive at gender fair-play in any situation all we have to do is switch the unexamined roles to see how lacking the situation is in equality and simple common sense. Reverse the gender roles at the FDLS sex-slave compounds and feel the instinctive "unfair" knot in your stomach start to grow.
What can you do? What can I do?
Very little, if anything, about a Katrina, an earthquake in China, or a bin Laden. But we can refuse to be silent on any situation that challenges our common sense approach to common sense, especially if that situation involves children.
We have to allow sick consenting adults to do whatever sick consenting adults want to do because we are not the keepers of their morality. But their "rights" stop short of inflicting pain on others. We can and should cry loud and long if children suffer hourly from the warped belief systems of "consenting" adults who treat children as possessions to program and abuse.
And in the dark hours of the soul when all your efforts taste like old ashes, when you think the world has become indefinable and unacceptable in its craziness, water your tomato plants with your tears, go back inside, pick up the phone and start all over.
We may be only two, you and I, but we are two.
Elizabeth T. Andrews is a newspaper columnist now living in Cartersville, Ga. Her own Web site, www.treefamilyfoundation.com, contains other columns and poetry by her. She can be contacted at email@example.com or P.O. Box 816, Cartersville, GA 30120.