Do you remember that 1960’s western starring Clint Eastwood entitled “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly? Whether someone liked the movie or not, commenting on the movie itself is pointless; but I am fascinated by the title. It reflects what I noticed over the past few weeks.
First, okay. Our church was closed on the first Sunday of 2023 due to too many people fighting either the flu or covid, so I went to a similar church near where I live. I’m a bit sensitive about law enforcement, so I quickly noticed that one of the restricted parking spots was marked “Security”. Since I didn’t see a similar parking place, I asked the pastor if they had a designated one for security reasons. He quickly confirmed that it was true, but was a little hesitant to say who it was. Upon personal inquiry, I discovered that the Springdale Police Chief was a church security officer. Can you imagine? The police chief comes to the church and provides security. That is great.
A few days later, I attended an event at Bentonville High School to support our granddaughter, who is a cheerleader for the basketball team. As it turned out, our daughter was helping out with the snack bar that night, so of course we had to buy something. She then introduced me to a gentleman who was also helping out and turned out to be the Chief of Police for Bentonville. Apparently his daughter is also a cheerleader. Honestly, I’ve seen a lot of different people working snack bars at athletic games, but really, a police chief? I was impressed, even more so because he was a really nice guy.
Having nothing else to do, we watched a basketball game and cheered along with our grandson. Then I noticed something really strange: the head coach of the Bentonville boys team was a woman. Now, I recognize that I have very limited knowledge about coaches, but as far as I know, I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a woman coach a men’s basketball team. I have seen men coaching women’s teams, but not women coaching men’s teams. Not only that, she did a great job and her team won. Again, I was impressed — and pleased.
Well, so much for the good. I haven’t seen that much bad over the past week, but I’ve noticed a few things. For example, I noticed too many people who had all the symptoms of covid running around like they had a cold. Yes, a sick person should take care of themselves, but what about taking care of the people around them? I wore a mask the second Sunday this year to church, not because I was sick, but because I didn’t want to catch whatever anyone around me had. I believe in sharing, but not in sharing everything.
Referring to the aforementioned basketball game, I also felt bad for the male coach of the opposing team. One of his players took a very hard hit in front of me and couldn’t get up for several minutes. Not only that, he couldn’t even sit still for much longer. What did the coach do? Nothing! No one except fellow players even helped the poor man off the field. To be fair, maybe the basketball player was faking it (we see a lot of that these days), but I actually felt the vibration when he went down. Finally, after a few minutes, a woman (perhaps his mother) from the stands came over and checked on him. I thought this process was bad.
Then there’s the ugly. I have never in my life witnessed 15 (yes, 15) votes for Speaker of the House in a congress before someone was elected, and then by one vote. It was history in the making and I got to watch it, but I didn’t get to enjoy it. I guess you almost have to give your soul to be elected Speaker of the Parliament, but after such a hard fight and winning by just one vote, how do you celebrate? I felt sorry for the women who called the roll call. After a few ballots, I don’t know why they didn’t just use a copying machine.
However you describe it, all that voting did not help the Republican Party. And, to make matters worse, apparently, the people in Congress who were delaying the process were Trump supporters, and he was calling them aside. After winning the speakership, the new House speaker did not hesitate to credit former President Trump for his victory. So now we have a congress controlled by a speaker who gave much of his soul to win and a congress largely controlled by people loyal to Trump.
Wow! I would also conclude ugly by pointing out that these same Congress leaders were present among those who are trying to destroy our democracy and still deny that January 6, 2021 was nothing more than a peaceful protest.
Now, I don’t know how you feel, but I really like the good mentioned, wonder a lot about the bad, and am really upset about the ugly.
Robert Box has been a law enforcement chaplain for 30 years. He is a master’s level chaplain with the International Conference of Police Chaplains and an approved chaplain in the American Baptist Churches of the USA. He also currently serves as a Deputy Sheriff Chaplain for the Benton County Sheriff’s Office. The opinions expressed are those of the author and not of the agencies he serves.