Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Que Sais-Je?

I signed up for the Senior Seminar in Philosophy back in 1976 because word on the street was you got to have coffee and hot chocolate in class and there was a Spring Trip to Williamsburg to cap off the year. I was less prepared for all the philosophers we had to wade through. A lot of it was really dry.

For some reason my classmates and I found it hilarious that Michel de Montaigne was famous for saying, "Que sais-je?" Those great philosophers--weren't they supposed to know everything? And yet here was one whose catchphrase was, quite literally, "What do I know?"

What do I know?

I'm thinking a lot about that tonight in the aftermath of the Howard County Council vote on CB-9. While I'm happy that the measure passed, I'm deeply disappointed that it was a 3-2 vote.

What do I know?

I know that there is much more hate and anger in Howard County than I ever imagined possible. It's clear that it was there long before CB-9 was proposed. And the presidential election has emboldened people who like to talk about those who are different than they are as "cancer."

I also know that the people I care about are on the side of compassion and justice. I know that we should be able to do better than a 3-2 vote with a certain County Executive veto.

What I don't know is why we aren't going to be.  Why can't we be?

A friend of mine said last night, "Social justice is a process, not an event."

Some say, "If it hasn't happened to me, I don't care." Others say, "This should never happen to anyone, and that's why I care."

Where are we going now, my friends? Who are we going to be?

I don't know.


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