Today is March 1. I know this day as St. David’s Day. A day Welsh people throughout the world celebrate. A day that connects me to my mother and to my mother’s people–their impish humor, their warmth and generosity, their fierce protection of their culture and their language, their wild love of life.
Today is Sequestration day and I’m cut off. Cut off from St. David’s Day, cut off from my people, cut off from my past. Today is Sequestration day.
“Sequestration”–it makes me think of cuts–cuts in our life together, cuts in the threads that bind one citizen to another, and cuts that will surely have an impact on those with whom I work each day.
I could leave this question of cuts to the politicians and the pundits but if I do I’m cutting myself out of the conversation that could, should, must dominate this day for I believe that we, as a country, have lost our way. We have cut ourselves off from our past and we have cut ourselves off from one another.
Mandatory cuts are more than an inconvenience. Cuts to airport security may mean I have to stand in line longer. But cuts to airport security also mean that a family will lose a breadwinner. I know the difference such cuts make. I see their ripple effects every day as people–dazed and afraid–enter the homeless shelter looking for help in navigating the new land in which they find themselves.
I can’t turn my gaze from the topic of the day. The impasse before us, the uncivil behavior in the halls of Congress, the inability to listen to those who hold a different point of view is not unparalleled. We have seen this stalemate before. In the last ten years before the Civil War.
Santayana once said that those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it. I don’t think that’s the case. There’s always change. However, I do believe that the past can shed light on the present. Looking back, look back into our history, can give us a glimpse both of our darker side and of what Lincoln called, “the better angels of our nature.” Today–Sequestration Day–is a good day to look back at both and to ask ourselves as citizens and as individuals what part of our heritage we would build on.
I’m declaring this day “Non-Sequestration Day.” I won’t be cut off–from my past, from my heritage, from my brothers and sisters with whom I walk this land. My day will be a day of connection.
Happy St. David’s Day!