Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A Day of Rejoicing

A moment of light and grace today as the US Supreme Court overturned the most discriminatory part of DOMA and opened the way to gay marriage - once again - in California. I rejoice with gay and lesbian people everywhere, and feel a certain peaceful joy as well in the necessary and purificatory humiliation of the US Catholic Bishops. A small sign of victory, a small significant step forward, and one feels a rush of peace and joy, life breathing itself into existence in the face of darkness. 

Nonetheless, everything must be seen in context. This partial victory takes place within a society plummeting headlong into fascist totalitarianism, a state for which gay marriage presents little threat, so why not endorse and facilitate it. Hence my somewhat subdued reaction to today's victory. It must not be allowed to obscure - or whitewash - the profound state of crisis of US society, a crisis most of us are choosing to ignore or minimize, in a state of profound denial.   

Edward Snowden continues to languish in a nebulous exile, his exact whereabouts unknown. Perhaps he is still in Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport (in one of its 43 transit hotel room cubicles) perhaps the Russian secret police, the FSB,  are draining him of information, perhaps he has made it to the Ecuadorian embassy in Moscow, and best of all, perhaps he has already boarded a flight to Ecuador via Cuba. As is to be expected, he is being demonized in the US - or else ignored by those who should be his defenders. Some are even suggesting he is in reality a CIA plant, spreading disinformation in service of the surveillance state. How familiar all of this is to those of us living in post totalitarian societies in Central and Eastern Europe. Yet just as its own lonely, under-appreciated, resented dissidents saved the moral consciences of their respected countries, so too the lonely figures like Edward Snowden take their own giant steps for the rest of us, and shame us with the knowledge of our own timidity and cowardice. Courage is possible, and truth does prevail, and moments of grace do occur. Let us be thankful for these moments of grace, signposts along the way. And let us pray for young Edward Snowden, a man without a country, suspended in limbo, waiting to be offered refuge in the storm.