To Comfort The Afflicted
And Afflict The Comfortable

To Comfort The Afflicted And Afflict The Comfortable

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Observercast

The Laws Of The Land

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BY KAREN WEBB

I have been bombarded this week by people claiming to have always obeyed the laws of this land. I have been suspected of being livid and I should inform everyone that I passed livid the day Arizona passed what some think is a common sense approach to immigration reform. We are talking “reasonably suspicious.”

I got one today that said he has to obey laws which are not equal for same sex couples and he obeys the laws of this land. If I have to obey them then everyone has to obey them.

Right, I hope he will forgive me when I say, if he has always obeyed the laws or this land or even if he has obeyed all the laws of this land for the past month he is a whole lot more perfect than I am.

Just last week I realized that the lady at the grocery store had not charged me for my milk, but I didn’t go back. In most cases I would and absolutely if I were still in the parking lot, but I was just too tired so I think that makes me a shoplifter.

I am absolutely positive that in the last week I have been guilty of ignoring a number of traffic laws, especially with regard to speeding while coming home from Arkansas. I sometimes don’t realize how fast I am going and sometimes I do.

I gave some very young relatives their first drink of alcohol when I was in my 20s. I took my middle brother and his best friend to movies they were not legally old enough to see, The Graduate.

I have TP’ed hundreds of houses and I have borrowed quite a number of traffic signs in my day, but I took them all back. I got caught playing on a bridge in Corpus Christi during gale force winds. One time, and only one time, I drove after drinking. Even if I had even one drink, I stayed where I was when I drank it or someone else drove me home.

When sodomy was illegal, I am sure there are a lot of people, gay and straight, who were criminals on a daily basis.

The day I met the fellow I mentioned we were admonished for picketing at the Capitol without a license the day Bush was inaugurated. Would I have participated in a sit-in at a lunch counter in the 1960’s? I didn’t, but I would today. Would I have broken the law to get the votes for women or African Americans? Yes. I like to think I would have had the courage to be a freedom rider or that I would have chained myself to the fence at the White House with the suffragettes.

Would I defy the authorities to get equal rights for gays? Without even thinking twice. Just call me an old southern criminal.

If I lived on the Mexico side of the Texas border and I knew I could be paid more than a days pay for every hour I worked on the Texas side and I had children to feed, I would be swimming the Rio Grande daily, if I had to.

If I knew that the child I was carrying would have infinitely more opportunities for education and life, if I gave birth 50 yards from where I lived, I would go.

I find it inconceivable that people who think the conditions in Africa are so bad that a woman should take all kinds of chances for her children, but she is not even to think of that when 30 feet of water prevent her child being born in Loredo instead of Nueva Loredo, Acuna instead of Del Rio, Eagle Pass instead of Piedras Negras, Juarez, where bodies are showing up on a daily basis, instead of El Paso.

It is way too easy to say that she should stay there and vote.

I like to think that all of the women I know, and at least a portion of the men I know, would try to get a better life for their children. To be able to stand and without binoculars see the Promised Land and know that your children are 30 feet from it would break my heart.

Obviously it doesn’t break the hearts of some. Think about how you would feel if you lived 30 feet from complete equal rights for gays, but you were the wrong race.

Karen Webb lives in Moore, OK and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer

Arnold Hamilton
Arnold Hamilton
Arnold Hamilton became editor of The Observer in September 2006. Previously, he served nearly two decades as the Dallas Morning News’ Oklahoma Bureau chief. He also covered government and politics for the San Jose Mercury News, the Dallas Times Herald, the Tulsa Tribune and the Oklahoma Journal.