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[whitespace] Love Lost

Fighting for faith, family & freedom

By Lara Riscol

TO LIVE AND LOVE, then love no more. I'm not talking about the feeling, but the act of love. To wake up in the middle of the night and turn over to hold your sweetie, your baby, and find cold emptiness. To give anything, any thing, to just once more touch your loved one's face and taste his lips, breathe his sweet smell. Feel his warmth. Look deep and long into his eyes and say, I love you.

Desperate calls from the doomed planes and crumbling towers carried variations of the same message, "I just want you to know I love you." Surviving hearts will continue to break, and break again with fresh intensity, as each day belches remnants of loss from Terror Tuesday. Worldwide, deadly hate has too often forced lovers to salvage an amputated will-to-live from the ashes of war. Now, that same hate--blinded by Otherness--has crashed into American soil, ravaging American souls.

While mourning, the nation bursts with unity, sacrifice, and strength to rebuild. Aside from some asinine thuggery against Arab-looking innocents in the name of patriotism, most Americans feel humanity's preciousness like never before.

So, "as we attempt to reconstruct our world," the Family Research Council writes the day after The Attack, "let us resolve not to be swept up in partisan political bickering, petty offenses, and meaningless trivialities. Let us resolve to keep our minds focused on the things that draw us together, on the things that endure, on the things that count--faith, family, and freedom."

How could I not be touched by the FRC's commitment to move beyond their modus operandi of divisiveness to embrace core American values of inclusion?

Warriors have died for family: the one they were born to, married into, collected, extended, blended, or simply one of brotherhood, sisterhood. Ah, and freedom. Much blood has been spilled to protect this most cherished of American values.

But before the first funerals could be held, the FRC e-mailed another Washington Update praising the courage of fellow citizens, adding, "Americans are not rising up to defend the right to slaughter the unborn. They are not sacrificing their lives so homosexuals can marry. They are not paying the ultimate price so pornographers can peddle their smut. In such difficult days, Americans are sacrificing for those things that promote the common good--faith, family, freedom."

No, the FRC didn't go as extreme as fellow fundie Jerry Falwell, blaming America's vulnerability on pagans, abortionists, feminists, gays and lesbians, and civil liberty groups. Still, Bush's pet Religious Righters reached through dust and rubble to jab at those sitting on the opposite side of America's policy table. As if those fighting for social justice on sociosexual issues are somehow less valiant and less affected by from the worst day in American history. As if those defending safe and legal abortion haven't sacrificed their lives to Christian terrorists here in the United States.

Right now, the only struggle that seems worthy is helping the devastated heal, and encouraging our political leaders to prevent another apocalypse through calculated wisdom. Right now, it's hard to do much more than mourn, but that doesn't make living irrelevant. Walking my dog and drinking wine with a friend seemed horribly indulgent. Making love to my husband seemed, well, almost wrong when America's suffering is still so raw.

But truly loving each other--and I'm talking about the act and the feeling--is what can draw us together and unveil the humanity of Others. We owe that to those who have lost their loved ones to hate.

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From the September 27-October 3, 2001 issue of the Northern California Bohemian.

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