- With great ambivalence, I decided to watch the inauguration
of George W. Bush.
- "Why?" you ask.
- I wish I had an answer.
- I've never fancied myself a masochist.
- The luxury of time permitted me to read a few emails
before the "festivities" began. Among the letters was an article
called The Poorest of the Poor written by Judy Jones. The article
described Ms. Jones' experiences at Mother Teresa's house for homeless
men and women dying of AIDS, in Washington, DC
- Judy wrote:
- "A young woman in her early twenties was sitting
on the side of her bed. She was dying of AIDS. "Would you please put
some cream on my legs, they hurt so badly." Reaching for the cream
on the dresser beside her bed, I gently rubbed some on her legs. "Oh
thank you, God bless you," she said."
- I finished the article and turned on the television in
an attempt to focus on the other event in the nation's Capital.....the
swearing in of the recipient of Mr. Diebold's gift. Words like "integrity"
"character" and "treatment of others" came out of the
moving mouth on the screen. The lofty words rang hollow. The empty, scripted
smirk was drawing applause from an adoring flock, while, inside my head,
visions of deformed and mutilated babies in Iraq were now being joined
by the sick and the dying at Mother Teresa's Home.
- Judy Jones had written:
- "As Sister took me downstairs to the basement where
the women's beds were, I heard screaming. Walking up to the woman, I said,
"What's wrong, may I help you?"
- The woman appeared to be in her nineties, all shriveled
and tiny. The Sister told Ms. Jones that they had found her lying and dying
in the snow. It was not unusual for the home to receive phonecalls about
people who were left to die on the streets of Washington D.C.
- Meanwhile....at the Capital, part one of the extravaganza
was finishing. The inauguration was over, or more precisely, it was en
route to the inaugural lunch where scalloped crabs and lobster headed the
menu. Somewhere between the 17th use of the word "liberty" and
the 27th use of the word "freedom", I had lost my appetite.
- The promises for the remaining reign had been made.
They were penciled on the calendar of uncertainty.......along with "liberty"
and "freedom." The speech had contained some obvious omissions.
There was no mention of the war in Iraq. Perhaps the President did not
want to sully the joyous occasion.
- What would be first on the Administration's Agenda?
Would it be the plundering of the Social Security System....a successful
program that is being targeted for privatization; a successful program
that, regardless of the propaganda, is not in crisis. Plans to revamp
the program could devastate the elderly who depend on the small stipend
to survive. The revamping could birth a need for more facilities like
Mother Teresa's home.
- I reread the article by Judy Jones. Each paragraph
was filled with the anguish of the dying destitute. Each paragraph was
a display of loving kindness shown to people cast aside by an indifferent
society. Each paragraph was a reminder of the intolerable reality that
in a nation of incredible wealth, we allow people to die....abandoned ...suffering......alone.
- I contemplated the distance from the Capital of the United
States to Mother Teresa's Home
- Copyright 2005 Judy Andreas