One Issue Only

by MISSY BEATTIE

My mother talked to the television, disputing anyone with a pro-war message. When George Bush appeared on the screen, she’d turn away, but still talk. At first this was humorous.

After Daddy died, she became pessimistic. When she said the world should end, that we’d be better off, I said, “Easy for you to say. You’re 83. Please don’t express this to my children.”

At some point, the rest of us just looked at each other, rolling our eyes.

I see my children rolling theirs. And when I’m with them or anyone who’s watching the set, I respond to infotainers with, “As if that’s important.” I seem unable to control this, even though I know it’s annoying. And while I desperately try to manage the scope of my negativity about the future of our ecosystem, often I slip. My mother, myself.

So, no surprise the other day when sister Laura said after I’d been sleeping under her roof in NC almost two weeks, “You’re smelly.”

Insert:  We’d moved to a larger house in Baltimore. This was the first Baltimore period. Prior to Nashville. Before Manhattan. My parents and Laura were coming for a long weekend. I’d taped a quote to the fridge: “Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.” Morning of the second day, I marked through the “three” and wrote “two”. Benjamin Franklin’s words became a family favorite—especially with alterations.

I wasn’t quite ready to exit Laura and Erma’s though. The weather forecast was ugly. Consequently, I did what any stinky guest might do—I ingratiated myself, running the vacuum, sucking up errant cat litter, angling for a reprieve. On Saturday, Laura finally said, “Wait until Monday, unless it’s snowing then.”

It wasn’t. In Chapel Hill.

Six days into spring, I drove from NC to Baltimore through mostly rain that turned to snain as I neared a symbol of mighty righteousness, the Quantico Museum, and then another—DC. I caught an odor of Wall Street influence.

I’d listened to radio music early during the drive and then to Diane Rehm, who talked with her guests about gay marriage. And, yes, I support gay marriage, vows exchanged on the courthouse steps, on the beach, while bungee jumping, in a place of worship. Defenders of the “sanctity” of marriage baffle me. Perhaps they should unite to prevent the sources of divorce.

I had an urge to call the show, to articulate two considerations—wondering why anyone would want to thwart the happiness of others, and the questionable urgency of this particular issue when the US is on a rampage of imperial terror, its foreign and domestic policies threatening all life.

I thought of a friend who suggested I vote for Obama on the issue of gay marriage alone. Of so many who support Obama on this issue alone. People are surprised that I do not, cannot. Those to whom I say, “There really is one issue only. It’s Injustice.”

This casts a wide net; so vast that it encompasses the wellbeing of our entire planet.

Missy Beattie lives in Baltimore.  She can be reached at: missybeat@gmail.com.

Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in BaltimoreEmail: missybeat@gmail.com

Like What You’ve Read? Support CounterPunch
Weekend Edition
July 31-33, 2015
Jeffrey St. Clair
Bernie and the Sandernistas
John Pilger
Julian Assange: the Untold Story of an Epic Struggle for Justice
Roberto J. González – David Price
Remaking the Human Terrain: The US Military’s Continuing Quest to Commandeer Culture
Lawrence Ware
Bernie Sanders’ Race Problem
Andrew Levine
The Logic of Illlogic: Narrow Self-Interest Keeps Israel’s “Existential Threats” Alive
ANDRE VLTCHEK
Kos, Bodrum, Desperate Refugees and a Dying Child
Paul Street
“That’s Politics”: the Sandernistas on the Master’s Schedule
Ted Rall
How the LAPD Conspired to Get Me Fired from the LA Times
Mike Whitney
Power-Mad Erdogan Launches War in Attempt to Become Turkey’s Supreme Leader
Ellen Brown
The Greek Coup: Liquidity as a Weapon of Coercion
Stephen Lendman
Russia Challenges America’s Orwellian NED
Will Parrish
The Politics of California’s Water System
John Wight
The Murder of Ali Saad Dawabsha, a Palestinian Infant Burned Alive by Israeli Terrorists
Jeffrey Blankfort
Leading Bibi’s Army in the War for Washington
Geoffrey McDonald
Obama’s Overtime Tweak: What is the Fair Price of a Missed Life?
Brian Cloughley
Hypocrisy, Obama-Style
Robert Fantina
Israeli Missteps Take a Toll
Pete Dolack
Speculators Circling Puerto Rico Latest Mode of Colonialism
Ron Jacobs
Spying on Black Writers: the FB Eye Blues
Paul Buhle
The Leftwing Seventies?
Binoy Kampmark
The TPP Trade Deal: of Sovereignty and Secrecy
David Swanson
Vietnam, Fifty Years After Defeating the US
Robert Hunziker
Human-Made Evolution
Shamus Cooke
Why Obama’s “Safe Zone” in Syria Will Inflame the War Zone
David Rosen
Hillary Clinton: Learn From Your Sisters
Sam Husseini
How #AllLivesMatter and #BlackLivesMatter Can Devalue Life
Shepherd Bliss
Why I Support Bernie Sanders for President
Howard Lisnoff
The Wrong Argument
Louis Proyect
Manufacturing Denial
Tracey Harris
Living Tiny: a Richer and More Sustainable Future
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
A Day of Tears: Report from the “sHell No!” Action in Portland
Tom Clifford
Guns of August: the Gulf War Revisited
Renee Lovelace
I Dream of Ghana
Colin Todhunter
GMOs: Where Does Science Begin and Lobbying End?
Ben Debney
Modern Newspeak Dictionary, pt. II
Christopher Brauchli
Guns Don’t Kill People, Immigrants Do and Other Congressional Words of Wisdom
S. Mubashir Noor
India’s UNSC Endgame
Ellen Taylor
The Voyage of the Golden Rule
Norman Ball
Ten Questions for Lee Drutman: Author of “The Business of America is Lobbying”
Franklin Lamb
Return to Ma’loula, Syria
Masturah Alatas
Six Critics in Search of an Author
Mark Hand
Cinéma Engagé: Filmmaker Chronicles Texas Fracking Wars
Mary Lou Singleton
Gender, Patriarchy, and All That Jazz
Patrick Hiller
The Icebreaker and #ShellNo: How Activists Determine the Course
Charles Larson
Tango Bends Its Gender: Carolina De Robertis’s “The Gods of Tango”