This column by Chief's Managing Editor Mona Weatherly was first published in the Jan. 14, 2021 issue of the Custer County Chief.
There is a legend that St. Francis of Assisi, while working in the garden, was asked what he would do if he learned he he would die by sunset that day. He replied, “I’d say a prayer and keep hoeing.”
I was reminded of that story last Thursday morning. On Wednesday, I had watched the forceful entry of rioters into our Nation’s Capitol. I saw the breaking of windows. I saw protesters on the floor of the Senate after lawmakers had been evacuated to another area. And eventually, gratefully, I saw the riot retreat as law enforcement took back control.
I don’t know how many others stayed up into the wee hours of the morning for the speeches and the final electoral count but I was determined to see it through.
What do you do when you’re dog-tired but have to go to work? You brush your teeth and you shower. You get dressed and you go to work. You keep hoeing. You seek comfort in a normal routine, all the while knowing there was absolutely nothing normal in what we saw Jan. 6.
It’s been said and is probably true, that many who attended the protest last week expected a normal peaceful protest. Yet we see again and again, opportunists taking advantage. Whichever side of the aisle you claim, red or blue, each and every one of us should be shocked, dismayed and disgusted by what happened.
Violence, destruction, threats, theft - these happened in a building that belongs to all of us. It happened in “Our House.” Even if you don’t always agree with what happens there or who is in there, it’s “Our House.” It’s the symbol of what we strive for in America, the symbol of freedom, of democracy. And it was attacked.
Purple is not my favorite color, although there can be some striking shades of it. Yet as I think about the year unfolding before us, all I want is purple, a beautiful blending balance of blue and red.
My husband and I had the honor of visiting the House Chamber as part of a veteran’s Honor Flight in 2019. I remember our group in that room, the reverence, the respect and, dare I say it, even awe, that we were in the center of our nation’s government.
We’re hurting, folks. We’re divided by political rhetoric, we’re exhausted by a pandemic and now we’re wounded as a nation. Through it all, we have to keep hoeing.
We know how to do that here in Custer County. We have our differing opinions yet we still get up and go to work together and we keep hoeing.
I’ll keep hoeing. I’ll keep praying. And I think I’ll paint my hoe purple.