TUESDAY night I went through a crash course in what really matters, in humanity, in mortality. I was watching the news reports about the Amtrak derailment, and amid my secondhand anguish for injured strangers I thanked God - literally thanked him out loud - for the fact that my immigration hearing in Baltimore had been canceled. Had it not been, I might have been sitting in one of those mangled cars.
"ORPHAN" is a very empty word, starting with the initial "O" that reminds me of a big, alphabetic hole. It conjures up images of loss, of being rootless, of unwanted and untenable liberty. When I think of "orphan," I think of something flying around in the great human universe, searching for its home.
JOHN ROBERTS cut through the semantics and the florid prose about "dignity" when he said this to one of the attorneys arguing in favor of same-sex marriage: "You're not seeking to join the institution. You're seeking to change what the institution is."
IT'S POPULAR to say that age is just a number. I never understood that statement. Aside from being self-evident, the implication that age is irrelevant makes absolutely no sense. Age is a number that means a lot of things, including how much you have accomplished, experienced and, perhaps most importantly, the mistakes you've avoided making during a lifetime. But when we say "age is just a number," it's as if we're trying to minimize the negative perception of being "older."
THE OTHER day I was cooling my heels at the Immigration Office, waiting for my client's naturalization interview. To pass the time, we went over some of the questions on the civics part of the exam, most of which had something to do with politics. At one point she said, "Would you ever run for office?" And, laughing hysterically, I said, "Sure, just as soon as I un-write every single one of my newspaper columns."
THE IDEA that human beings can be treated like property is not new. It's as old as the Pharaoh using the Israelites as tools to build his pyramids. It's as old as the slaves who were counted as three-fifths of a man by the Supreme Court of this nation. It's as old as the woman who, married to her rapist, could not claim injury because the law said you couldn't be charged with stealing something - a vagina - you already owned.
WHEN I WAS about 11 or 12, I saw a made-for-television movie called "The Man Without A Country." It was based on a short story written by Edward Everett Hale, and told the tale of a man who - angered at being tried for treason against the United
I'VE BEEN disappointed by many people in my lifetime as, I'm sure, have you. Unless we have hopes that exceed our expectations, life is a colorless and barren experience. At best, it's a mediocre slog. But when you trust someone to act honorably and then they turn around and betray you with dishonesty, it hurts. Depending upon your investment in that person and his or her place in your world, the hurt could be as fleeting as a paper cut or as painful and enduring as an amputation.
WHEN Hillary Clinton repeated the old adage that it takes a village to raise a child, a lot of people criticized her for promoting a vaguely socialist philosophy. Many were disturbed by the idea that children could be viewed as communal property, and blamed Clinton for undermining the rights of parents to raise their own progeny as they - and not the village elders - saw fit.
See Christine Flowers on Channel 6's "Inside Story" Sunday at 11:30 a.m.