Sunday, February 14, 2016

A Supreme Court Justice Dies on Valentine's Eve

Last night I went to the grocery store.  The flowers were right there just beyond the entrance, followed by a huge display of chocolates, and just beyond them, the bakery with every heart shaped confection you could want.

I thought, what am I doing, coming to the grocery store on the night before Valentine's Day?  But we wanted firewood, and so there I was.  When I got home, my spouse asked, "Was it any more busy than a normal Saturday night?"

I had to confess that I didn't know, as I try to avoid grocery shopping on a Saturday evening.  But there were more cashiers, and I didn't have to wait in line, and so maybe I should change my approach. 

But I digress.

As I was driving to the grocery store, the news of the death of Supreme Court Justice Scalia broke.  Our interesting political times have just gotten more interesting.  Will Obama be able to shepherd a nomination through?  Will this remind people of the importance of the president and affect the election?
I'm not sure I've been alive when a sitting Supreme Court justice has died--and halfway through the Supreme Court session.  What happens to cases that were going to be heard between now and June?  For answers to the questions of what happens to a court with only 8 members, this post answered a lot of them.
Fascinating times ahead.
As I walked through the grocery store, I took note of the items in people's carts.  I usually do.  I noticed more flowers.  I thought of the statistics from this blog post:  "1 out of 12 roses we buy in the U.S. for Valentine’s Day are likely cut by a child in Ecuador or another employee (most likely a woman) who is extremely underpaid and required to work sometimes up to 20 hours a day."
I bought some fair trade chocolate, so that I don't support this industry:  "70-75% of the world’s chocolate comes from cocoa beans harvested in West Africa, where almost 2 million children work under violent and hazardous conditions.  Many of these children are kidnapped or sold (some as young as 7 years old) and forced into such labor."
And I wasn't even near a jewelry store.  There's the slavery aspect of precious gems and metals, and then there's the expense.  Call me unromantic, but if you want to show me you love me, don't spend thousands on a bauble.  Go ahead and pay down the mortgage.  It may not seem romantic on its face, but what could be more romantic than ensuring that I have a roof over my head and a door that locks.

I always love creating my own love messages--why pay for a card?  What other creative ways could we celebrate this day, ways that don't support injustice?

This blog post has many suggestions.  Here's my favorite:  "You've got the art forms that you love already.  Today, try a different creative medium, technique, or tool.  If you always quilt in small patterns, make a crazy quilt.  If you write short poems, write a poem that's at least 200 lines.  If you write in one genre, try something else.  If you paint, try sculpting something.  On and on I could go."

This post that mashes Valentine's imagery with theologians both amused me and inspired me this week.

Here's hoping we take a time-out for love and creativity before we return to the ugliness of a political season, a political season that will turn uglier with the death of Justice Scalia.

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