Friday, October 22, 2004

Christopher Reeve

Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation

Back in 1995, I was very sorry for Christopher Reeve, having heard about his equestrian accident. Scary stuff. He fell off of his horse after making a jump, and snapped his neck. He never walked again. Spinal cord damage. Paralyzed. Respirator. Wheelchair.

I felt a connection with him, however, two months later, when, in July, I broke my own neck in a swimming pool mishap. I was much luckier than he. I am able to (type this,) walk, talk, think, and do almost everything I could do before.

Although I live in pain every day, I think that he was much braver and more optimistic than I ever was, or could be. I'm not crying 'foul,' or wallowing in my misery, but it's hard to be me. But I always look at the bright side. I'm not Christopher. Poor SOB. He never let on, though.
What's great is that he was so selfless. He was driven to walk again. He had the best attitude. His legacy, not the Superman role, but the important one, is that his name will live on, long after his recent, untimely, sad death, in October of 2004, in the form of his Foundation. The Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation, , is one of my favorite charities. I have made contributions, with my family, for the last several years, and I plan to continue to do so, to honor his name, his work, and especially his selfless attitude.
A tip of my hat, too, to his wife, Dana, and the rest of his family, for standing by him and supporting him in so many ways.

It is truly astounding, that in our modern society, where sports figures, movie and television stars, and popular musicians are idolized, a true hero emerges from a freak accident. Although I admired his acting and directoral talents, they pale in comparison to the work he was obviously meant to perform.

He has become immortal. I wish continued success to his Foundation, his family, the causes he championed, and the people he loved. May his Foundation find ways to improve the lives of the many people he wanted to help. May his family find peace and fulfillment.

May I make a fraction of the mark of goodness he left on this world.

Monday, October 18, 2004

One Nation Under God?

Okay, we've all seen it.

The e-mail says that 86% of America's population believe in God, and if you're a good person (read "true American"), you should have no problem with the "One Nation, Under God, Indivisible, etc." part of the Pledge of Allegience. Well, whether I believe in God or not is nobody's business but my own and my family's.

Our country was primarily founded on the principle of freedom of religion (or not). The Pilgrims escaped to the new world to flee religious prosecution. What is God doing in our Pledge? And who are you to say that I'm not a good American if I want to pursue my right to practice, or to not practice, any religion of my own choosing.

I am a good American. I only buy American automobiles, and "Made in the USA" goes a long way in my decisions of any and all goods and services that I buy. (Another whole blog for that one.) I know that several American name cars are mostly made overseas, and I know that several 'imports' are made right here in the good old USA by American workers, and I decide accordingly. I pay my taxes, I vote, I support the US Olympic team. I fly the flag, and I know (and observe) the rules for it. I contribute to Veterans' charities. I am well read, and I know my current events and political issues.

I have no problem with the President saying "God bless America" at every opportunity, just don't force me to incorporate it into my vocabulary. It's my right to do as I choose.
In fact, it's my right to do as I choose in many more ways than this, but that's a topic for another day.

Francis Bellamy, a Baptist Minister, wrote the original Pledge of Allegiance in 1891, and did not bow to pressure to include a line tipping his hat to God. He felt that the separation of Church and State was more important than his own personal inclination. The Knights of Columbus persisted in a 3-year campaign until the "under God" line was added in 1954, under President Eisenhower.

I say the Pledge as it was taught to me, including the "under God" line. That's the way it is. I'm not an extremist who has to change the world, I only resent the fight surrounding it. If our legislature agrees that the separation of Church and State should be preserved, and rewords The Pledge, then don't start a war over it. The Crusades are over. Live with it.