There are no enemies here. Today no one dies. Two lines from the film Risen which visit me from time to time. I repeat the lines as if they were a mantra, a prayer, a wish.

I sip my coffee. Take a breath. 

Still, the children in Flint, Michigan will suffer the rest of their lives from the lead in their blood. The result of a effort by the state to save money. And now the EPA is slated to be dismantled, part of the deconstruction of the administrative state. But then it can be argued the EPA didn’t protect the Flint children. Moreover, the national focus on Flint has passed. The election is over. 

Someone whispers in my ear, you can’t begin a sentence with “and” and “but.” I take an even deeper breath.

There are no enemies here, the poet says—but it’s a forced point of view at best. The current regime has already identified me as the enemy. Not personally—I am not that important, but the enemy nevertheless. I believe in open borders, in public schools, in environmental protections, in single payer health care, in sharing the wealth a little better than we do, in the separation of church and state, that it is important to speak the truth of a thing. I believe in poetry and dance. I believe greed is evil, and that most people simply aren’t. I believe to live a gilded life in country where children are being poisoned by the water is unforgivable. Though I too live a kind of gilded life.

I believe when a person claims to follow Christ and Ayn Rand, that person is suffering from some kind of cognitive dissonance. You simply can’t do both. Though I understand there are those who make the argument that the teachings of Christ wasn’t the point. It was his death and resurrection offering us salvation, that one can accept salvation and pretty much ignore the commentary about “the least of these.” That to focus on “the least of these” is some kind of communism and that God really intended free market capitalism as the favored mode of business. A survival of the fittest approach. It’s really about winners and losers.

And open borders would let in all kinds of trouble. And sharing the wealth would only encourage sloth. But then I have been designated as the enemy.

I am out of coffee and wonder if I should switch to a detox tea instead.

I need to stretch. I need to spend less time sitting at my computer. I need to paint one of my rental properties. I need to be more deliberate in my eating. I take another breath. I need, I need, I need…

My brother tells me this long term process of dying he is going through isn’t all that fun. We walk the neighborhood. It’s muggy todayI know, I say. Though one might argue I didn’t know. But I do.

There are no enemies here, I tell myself. No one dies today, I say.