Scholars of ancient Roman history don’t need reminding, but for those whose knowledge of the past, save for the Bible, begins in 1492 when Columbus sailed the ocean blue, we just passed a significant date.
The Ides of March was a midmonth holiday in the Empire, the culmination of festivities marking a new year. In addition to feasting and drinking, some sources say the celebration included a bizarre ritual of dressing up an old man in animal skins and beating him until he left the city, symbolizing the departure, once and for all, of the year past.
Since this old man has no intention of putting on any animal skins other than my cowboy boots (insert the sounds of PETA supporters clapping here), I’m going to celebrate Ides by taking a look at some ‘ieds’ that seem appropriate to the moment.
Let’s start with a double dose, mystified and preoccupied, perfect descriptors of my condition now that the NCAA basketball tournament has begun. I’m mystified with some of the crazy choices the selection committee made (Wichita State in a play-in game?) and I’m preoccupied with how I’m going to fill out my brackets.
No “pick the mascot that would beat the other mascot” formula for me. I’ll consult Pomeroy, Massey, Sagarin, Wobus, and countless other analytic prognosticators, scour stats, rosters, and expert opinions, and then zealously create a bracket that will no doubt be in shambles by Friday.
Meanwhile, last week I wondered if commission chair Randy Dallke had become sissified when he implied that a citizen asking questions constituted “picking on” economic development director Teresa Huffman.
Questions from taxpaying business owners about how government spends their money are democracy in action, not harassment. Huffman recently said, “Government is not for sissies,” and she’s right. It’s hard for people to work in positions where every decision can be rightfully scrutinized by their taxpayer employers, but when questions are posed, questioners should be satisfied with a response, not vilified.
We hope Dallke’s response is one that’s soon rectified. Fragmented economic development efforts won’t become allied if thin-skinned reactivity isn’t mollified.
On a redemptive note, Easter comes in March this year. Christians worldwide will rejoice that although Jesus was crucified, his resurrection was the means for all believers to be justified through faith. It’s reason for hope that, at least for a weekend, believers antagonized by caustic election year rhetoric can set aside differences and be unified, the rancor pacified, as God is glorified. If faith is exemplified, its power is magnified.
And I, for one, would be gratified.
— david colburn