Sunday, July 10, 2011
Step Right Up
Of all the quotes and rants, of all the looped tapes playing the same pathetic faces endlessly saying the same inane things...of all the sensational headlines, the tabloid blathering, the bobbing sea of talking heads...one statement about the recently concluded Casey Anthony trial stands out. "That family can best be described as a circus of dysfunction," said Anthony's former fiance. That metaphor goes far beyond the family and the trial that seems to have riveted the voyeuristic fantasies of the American public. It works beautifully to describe the current Congress's attempts to agree on anything, much less the deficit. We know we've hit rock bottom when the good of the order (you and me) takes a back seat to posturing so that re-election is not in doubt. For decades our legislative body has been in perpetual gridlock. They seem to have elevated the concept lately.
We in this country are certainly not alone in our greatest show on earth dysfunction. This was the week that the British tabloid News of the World finally went under. Apparently committing crimes by hacking into crime victims mailboxes, or the Royal family's personal communications, or even the lives of those that served in the Iraq war and didn't come home, in no way is an ethical issue. Rupert Murdock's Fascist media juggernaut just might be temporarily stalled. We'll see. Perhaps it's time to make morality and ethics required reading.
Dysfunction takes many forms and another that surfaced this week in a strange way concerns a colleague of mine. In for heart surgery on a Tuesday, and no longer with us two days later, I will miss Tom Ruhl every day, every time I enter a classroom. On paper he was the Director of the MAT program at Marylhurst University. In person, he was the perfect combination of passion and wisdom. Four years ago, a phone conversation with him led me to his office and to a second career supervising and mentoring beginning teacher. We know when we hit it off with someone. We know when we feel comfortable taking a chance on something. Tom and I both felt that way with one another. A few years down the road from our initial meeting, that sense only grew stronger. If ever there was injustice in someone dying too soon, in losing someone who makes a huge difference in people's lives, Tom's untimely death is that example. But alas, he is not dead.