February 03, 2010 So like every morning I tune into the local news to get a weather forecast. I know that I'm in for 15 minute cycles of "news"-weather-traffic-repeat-repeat-repeat city, which is irritating enough until the local news anchors tell me about Osama bin Laden's views on global warming accompanied by a still photo of the man—in profile, (Jesus-style) bathed in golden light, head and shoulders swathed in bright white garments. They tell me the terrorist in the mount says global warming is all our fault and he's encouraging everyone to stop buying American products and to stop using the American dollar. The brilliant individual raised with a silver spoon and soft hands who keeps girls from getting anywhere near a school building and advocates blowing up historic artifacts and people is getting air time on the local news. Complete with that Jesus-looking photo. Like what he says about global warming and the U.S. dollar is important. Like we should pay attention to it. Like his opinions on the subject matter. I want to throw something at the screen. I realize that the 15 minute repeat-repeat-repeat cycle is not irritating in the least compared to this little snippet that's eating up air space on the "local news."
Of course it gets repeated—Jesus type photo and all—when Good Morning America rolls around. Newscasters really really want us to know the death prophet's admonitions against American culture, which includes such horrid things as schools where girls and boys can actually learn about global warming, consumerism and the U.S. economy. Where we have laws that are not based on religious doctrine or dogma, free from theocratic rule...that is until the next story rolls across the screen and there's an American taliban right smack in my face.
The unrepentant, righteous visage of a "born again" middle-aged man who actually says he has no regrets about killing Dr. George Tiller, a husband, father and grandfather while Tiller was serving as an usher at church. The photo that goes along with the story is also a profile and I must say it's scarier than the Jesus-like Osama shot. This guy looks just like any other 51-year-old I'd run across on the street. No white robes, no monster mask. Just a guy who thinks he knows what God wants everyone to do...kinda like the new global warming expert.
Yes. Roeder and Osama have a lot in common and this realization is irritating enough to cause me to burst into flames. Roeder's "religious law" trumps our judicial system because he's got God on his side. Wow. Gotta love that. Roeder knows God doesn't approve of legal abortion but thinks it's good, righteous even, to murder a man in a house of worship. And he knows, because like the new global warming expert he's got righteousness and the one truth on his side. Forget that Dr. Tiller had the U.S. judicial system on his side. I'm quite certain Roeder and Osama dispense with such minor trivialities like secular democracy—that nutty notion that our forefathers had so they could escape religious persecution. Imagine that! Wanting to escape religious persecution. Too bad I can't ask Dr. Tiller how he feels about that. He didn't escape...
...This is how I write this column on Friday. Then I take a break and talk to Tom Wearing about the round of letters to the editor that have been rolling in. I lament about the divide. I mention that 'conservatives' dismiss the 'liberals' and vice versa. I tell Tom that sharing opinions shouldn't be a problem; and shouldn't deteriorate to mean-spirited sentiments. Then Tom tells me that's what happens sometimes when people apply labels to each other and then pigeonhole where you're coming from.
"When you take a certain tone you become predictable and people won't even read it any more," Tom says.
This hits me like a punch to the gut and I decide to scrap what I'd already written. Angry words about irritating things seem to find their way from my head to my fingertips these days. Indeed, righteous anger abounds—beginning with my own apparently. I don't scrap the column.
I'm not making excuses. I don't know what happened. Perhaps naivete is truly a blessing—apathy a gift. Ignorance bliss...
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Catherine Minolli is Managing Editor of the Tri-City Times. She began as a freelance writer with the Times in 1994. She enjoys the country life, including raising ducks and chickens.