My Turn: To be or not to be — March’s dilemma

FILE PHOTO

FILE PHOTO FILE PHOTO

By JUDY WAGNER

Published: 03-26-2024 3:22 PM

This is March’s dilemma: Is it time to be spring or not? March has a tough role to play. It is haunted by the old saying: “In like a lamb, out like a lion; in like a lion, out like a lamb.” March is saddled with expectations of changeable behavior and sometimes responds by frequently shifting moods — chill and gray, sun-soaked and mild, windy bluster. Plus there are echoes of the groundhog’s prediction: Will spring be early this year?

On top of all that, midway through the month, March is required by the calendar to change its season if not its personality. Yet another challenge — we still adhere to the disruption of daylight savings time. Is it six o’clock or seven? On top of that, the Ides of March, the fifteenth, or around the first full moon of the month, is deemed a day of doom.

All this could make any month grouchy or skittish. For now we plan for the worst, hope for the best, and prepare for everything in between.

The question is the same for our country. To be a democracy, or not to be? Do we believe in votes for all the people, fairly counted, or the power-over of an elite dictator and their minions? Do we aspire to Hungarian dictator Viktor Orban’s vision? He met last week with Republican leaders and with the Heritage Foundation, architect of a plan for a conservative takeover of our country by 2025. He is known to espouse sending women back to the kitchen with no decision-making over their own bodies; state control of news media and suppression of independent voices; education that erases history and teaches submission rather than astute analysis and problem solving; oppression of gay and other gender-diverse groups; obeisance to dictator Putin and destruction of long-held alliances like NATO.

Or do we aspire to a government that honors every person’s potential and supports that potential with equal opportunity and a social safety net that helps all Americans thrive including child care support; affordable quality health care; social security; robust public education devoted to teaching good citizenship; and higher education support. Do we aspire to fair share taxes for all instead of imbalanced benefits for a few?

Winds are blowing; clouds roll in and out; the conditions are turbulent just like March. But our opportunity may be clearer than we think.

We lived for some time in western Pennsylvania where the local habit of speech was to drop “to be” from statements such as “The house needs painted.” We joked that Hamlet’s soliloquy would simply be “or not.”

Let’s choose “To Be!”

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Judy Wagner lives in Northfield.