A few months ago I saw a Facebook meme that quoted the Dalai Lama, it said "My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness." That always resonated with me, simple yet fundamental. I saved the picture.
A few days ago I saw this meme pictured on Facebook, and posted a comment about serving in the military, being Wiccan and having (loving) my gay children should get me pretty high on the list. I saved the picture.
Soon after someone linked me a Westboro Baptist Church Press Release, announcing their plans to picket the funeral of PFC. Alejandro J. Pardo. I saved the picture.
Bright and early this morning my wife and I headed out to Porterville (30 miles south). Like everyone else on the planet we've been hearing about these people for years now, and have heard stories about communities assembling to obstruct their "Freedom of Speech." It's a frustrating irony that Soldiers like PFC Pardo enlisted and died "to support and defend the constitution of the United States, from all enemies, foreign and domestic..." only to have people like this abuse it. I spoke today about how it was a Perversion of his Sacrifice, and feel the deep rumble stirring within me as I write these words.
But we were not alone. People came from everywhere. Veterans groups like the Patriot Guard Riders came from Bakersfield, Lancaster and further. As soon as we got there I met up with friends from one of my old Veteran Motorcycle Clubs and got an idea of how many Bikers were coming. Not just bikers, but people from all walks of life showed up to show their support. The Veterans occupied the parking lot while the crowd of civilian supporters grew larger every time I looked back.
My grandmother forwarded an email while we were there waiting, she always send the best jokes. It was a list of the things she has learned in her long life. #8 was that no matter how good you are or no matter what you do, some people are just assholes anyways. Above all, I have the least tolerance for "mean people" who know they're being mean and do for the spite of meanness. And these people are the epitome of meanness.
But I realized, in a Silver Lining kind of way, those Westboro Baptist Douchebags serve a purpose, despite themselves. I've written in the past about our traditions own unique system of divination, Auspex. Many cultures have an Insolenter (Latin: contrary to custom) in some way shape of form. I personally am most familiar with them in the Native traditions as Sacred Clowns, like the Heyoka, of the Booger Dancers and according to a little Red Bird the Kutani were pretty big on the Contrary Customs.
The Insolentor corrupts and violates what we hold most sacred, they do this to Incite a Riot within our value system, to remind us of what is important to us and inspire the true emotions of "when you pry it from my cold dead hands." And for that, and that alone, I thank them. Especially on days like today, when they were able to provide such a community service without even showing up. Grin.
Thank you Lord & Lady for all the Civilians Waving Flags, I saved the picture.