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Out and About with Michelle Hart - Column 9

Walking on Broken Glass

Glass is an inorganic solid material that is usually clear or translucent and also available in many different colors. It is hard, brittle, and stands up to the effects of wind, rain or sun. No one knows exactly when or where glass was first made. Glass appears to have been produced as far back as the second millennium BC by the Egyptians or perhaps the Phoenicians. Yet evidently it originated in Mesopotamia, where pieces of well made glass have been found, believed to date from the third millennium BC. It is thought to have been first created around 3000 BC, during the bronze age. Glass was a lot less common back then, than it is today. It was very precious, and in the Bible glass has often been compared in value to gold.

The art of glass making eventually reached Egypt. The Egyptians used a method called core-forming. A shaped core was made of clay and dung, then molten glass was wrapped around it and shaped by rolling it on a smooth surface. Egyptian glass beads date back to about 2500 BC. It was very much later, around the end of the 1st century BC, that a new method named glass blowing would revolutionize glass production. This art was probably discovered along the Eastern Mediterranean coast, probably in Syria.

By blowing through a hollow tube, the experienced glassblower can quickly produce intricate and symmetrical shapes out of the "gather" of molten glass at the end of his tube. Alternatively, he can blow the molten glass into a mold. This glassblowing innovation, along with the backing of the powerful Roman Empire, made glass products more accessible to the common people. As the size of the Roman Empire increased, the art of glass making spread to many countries.

The other night as I was doing the dishes, I was casually placing one on the dish rack to dry and it slipped from my hands, fell to the floor, and shattered. The reaction was instantaneous as the broken pieces flew everywhere with an audible crash. Can you just imagine my dismay at the loss of another plate? How many times have we all been there? Our best efforts to prevent these simple yet fragile jewels of our home from damage fails terribly for all of us. There is one piece of glass however that I hope is never ever broken. That one single piece of glass has protected me from harm my entire life and without ever noticing it. It has been protecting you also.

Think for a moment how often you see this resilient but still precious staple of modern life. Everywhere you go as each day passes gently into night you touch it, you feel it's presence, you enjoy it's beauty, and marvel at it's endless variety of color or shape. Have you ever marveled at the seemingly endless array of glass laid out thoughtfully in nearly every store you visit? Have you ever given any thought of the one piece of glass that protects you in ways you may never know? How much do you really know about that single sheet of glass that has given you all that you have today?

There are many people who for reasons of their own seek to shatter the glass that surrounds them with disdainful malice. Imagine that horrific scene for a moment with me. If we were standing in Macy's together silently admiring the latest offerings of Mikasa how would you react if you saw someone flailing a club of intolerance around the delightfully crafted display case? Would you be appalled that someone would just swing blindly at the display in an effort to destroy the delicate and quite thoughtful work of someone else? Would it bother you on a deep emotional level? Would you rejoice and cheer them on or would you try to stop them? Would you smile inwardly at the punishment due "the man" for his practiced craft. Would you try to stop the madness before someone was injured, or would you just turn and walk away expecting someone else to stop the insanity? Would you report the crime and summon the police or seek out your own device of destruction and join in the wicked fun?

In the aforementioned case you probably would not allow that violence to continue would you? I am just going to stroll out on a limb here and guess you would step up to the challenge and do your best to prevent the continuation of said destruction. Am I right about you or am I in some way misguided about your beliefs in this regard?

My question to you is this......... What are you thinking now that I have you breathlessly anticipating my next phrase? What could your virtual vixen be holding in her long glossy red and well manicured fingernails? Where are we going to venture this time as we softly caress our mugs of cocoa. As we sit here tonight relaxing I would like to explore a few thoughts with you that I have had in the past few weeks. As everyone knows it's an election year and each of us has our own thoughts on which direction it should go. Keep that in mind as we drift aimlessly down the page because as always a delightful treat is coming soon.

Each of us has a right to speak our mind for good or ill whatever it may be. We have no right to silence the speech of others. In order for us to be able to share our thoughts with the world we must therefore accept that someone else can, and in many cases will disagree and challenge our beliefs. So often I read about some members of our community who cry and whine about unfairness and how we should just be accepted or given favor. Ladies and gentlemen, lend me your eyes, WE as a community do not deserve nor should we expect any special treatment. If we do then we will have forever made ourselves weak and acted as the victims.

You see my dear reader I can't in any way impose my thoughts upon you. I can't make you believe me or convince you by force of law. You will read my column or you won't, you will agree with my views or laugh and claim me a jester. That is the intrinsic beauty of the 1st amendment. Anytime you resort to delinquency you cheapen yourself not others. Each of us has our OWN voice nay use it in malice.

Well my dear readers here is the giant plot twist. What if the villain I just described claimed he was excercising the right to free speech that is guaranteed by our Constitution? What then? Now we find ourselves in a quandary of moral delineation. How can you claim you are for free speech yet stifle the free speech of someone else? I know your thinking "but Michelle he was doing something violent and destroying the work of others. It's possible this villain could have hurt someone during that crazed melee". Yes that is all true but consider this next series of thoughts...... VERY CAREFULLY.

Consider this also as we chat tonight. Many consider me to be quite gifted in prose or wickedly seductive in the use of the written word. Do forgive me as I strut on quicksand here. I can do all of this even without a ghost by my side.

My writing is perhaps to some a gift, nay a skill that I have mastered or in my case mistressed. However I have been found wanting in many other things. Each of us have talents, skills, or are gifted in some way that others are not. There is nothing that is stopping you nor anyone else from cultivating that gift and allowing it to bear fruit. I am fortunate enough to have a small forum here and in other places to share my thoughts. In that regard I am delightfully and truly blessed. It does not however make me any more or less special than you. It makes me no better nor wise, nor worldly.

Shall we delve somewhat deeper into our previous decisions, no matter the cause or reason? What if there was no law enforcement to summon? What if there was nobody to seek out for aid and it was left solely up to you to defend that exquisite glass display? Would you, could you? Are you so willing and eager to walk on the shattered and broken glass to avoid the plight of others? If the aforementioned madman wielding his club of disdain and vile looked your way and began to approach, who would you desire most at your side? Who would be most suited to defend you? A soldier or a lawyer? Would you gladly offer shelter to those who protect you in your time of need or turn your back upon them? The shards of glass have littered the floor before you, I can only ask what would you be willing to do, or have done to stop the reckless destruction?

You see just as we are able to speak our mind, and declare our thoughts we can also offer to defend others just as we are also allowed to defend ourselves. In my life I have met many people whom have never even touched a firearm. I remember years ago I was on a flight whith another woman who was sitting next to me, and just as all girls do we started chatting away. Well she was adamant that guns were a horrible blight and I shared my thoughts about their worth and valued usefulness.

After several hours of discussion we hugged and parted company; her with a new and more informed understanding of a quite ancient tool and I with a deeper understanding of her profound fears about them. It was interesting to me that her only experience with weapons was from television and movies. She had never set foot in a reputable gun store nor had she ever even asked a gun owner questions about them. After our talk she realized that her desire to not own one was perfectly acceptable, just as the heartfelt desires of other people who do. I won't belabor the virtues of either position because I would rather you decide what is best for you. That my delightful reader is another shining example of how that simple piece of glass is protecting you.

How often do you hear of people who decry the virtues of this nation? Are you one of them? Malice for it's own sake is the playground of a foolish mind.

There are those who enjoy their lives and thrive under the protection of this special piece of glass all the while seeking to undermine it and cast stones upon it. Each day they find ever more creative ways to attempt to break that glass. Each night they dream of the day they can change it into something it never was. I will never understand why someone will admonish the very glass that protects them and never once consider stepping out from under it. Many times I have listened to those who wield their club of disdain and claim they will leave but they never do. Why do you think that is? If it is so horrific here why not just leave? Those who seek to break the glass will NEVER admit that this is the best place on earth regardless of it's faults.

Now I have you, don't I? Have I boiled your blood yet or given you pause to consider a different view? Are you anticipating a vengeful tirade of epic proportions yet, or knowing my style, preparing for a whimsical foray? Honey you should know by now I just adore whimsy, besides I would just hate to break a nail.

We all feel a powerful need to look out for those of less stature or those who are in trouble. It's quite often a wonderful part of being who we are as a nation. Many nights I do charity shows where we girls will raise money not for ourselves but for others. Doing good for our community should always be our focus yet we should diligently temper that with the wisdom to know when we are going to far. Sometimes falure and and loss are a much more valuable lesson than rewards given to the undeserving. Each time the guilty are lauded with praise these villans leave a noticible crack in the glass that protects us all. How far are you willing to go to ensure the undeserving are rewarded? Are you so inclined to happily and without question accept the sirens song our villan sings as he seeks to shatter the glass that protects you?

I ask you only to question yourself, look inward and wonder why you really hold your convictions, Whatever they may be. Ask not for me but ask for YOU, who are YOU, and most importantly WHY?? Do you long to break the glass that surrounds us or would you do all you can to protect it? No matter your position nor belief you should have an articulate and honest reason for it. Do you belive it based on what someone told you or is it because you can bear witness to it. Perhaps there are some here who would harangue me for mentioning such things in a forum such as this. The question is not in the who but in the why? Are we so locked in our beliefs, so slavish to our party that we can no longer find common ground? Is vitriolic spite all we can muster? I certainly hope not, alas it is far to often what I always see.

Mark, who attends bar at Illusions, and I discuss our beliefs quite often. Nay a slight is called nor mention or even a small guise of disdain. We simply disagree on some issues, thankfully not all. I treasure him for his charm and adoring kindness. Even though our ballots will be cast in opposite I still care about him and respect his beliefs. Is that really so difficult? Is it really so unbearable to accept someone who may not agree with you that causing them discomfort is the only solution? Is it so painful for so many of us to be tolerant of others veiws without including the wrath and rumor? Is all we can commit to the national discourse, vengeance? Yes it's difficult to abstain from ridiculing the other side on any number of issues at times. However, doing so will only lessen the position held and cast doubt on any merit it may have.

Each night Chanel thanks the owners of Illusions for giving us a place to be ourselves. Without knowing it she is praising the glass that protects us all. When was the last time you unknowingly praised that piece of glass. Have you ever considered it's value in your life as you wear your shortest skirt and highest heels? Have you ever given any thought to those who stand firm between us and our aformentioned villain as he looks our way? Far too often I am challenged on my positions or where I place my loyalties. My lovely readers my loyalties are placed safely under glass and I am eternally thankful to those who are willing to stand fast to ensure it's survival.

At this point though your decision has been made. YOU have taken a side. Only you can determine which side that is and I may never know unless you leave a small acquiescence below. So consider these next thoughts with care. Examine why you are who you are, and ask yourself if you are the one who would protect what is written below or challenge it in all manner and form. Do you believe in what is written or do you look upon it with disdain? Recently this year we examined why the mirror never lies. How odd that it's also made of glass.

With these thoughts in mind take a moment and peruse the following missive...

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Amendment II

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Amendment III

No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Amendment V

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Amendment VI

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.

Amendment VII

In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Amendment VIII

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Amendment IX

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment X

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

These my loyal readers are the perfect truths that we should ALWAYS hold as self evident. These are the real musings of brilliance and foresight. By comparison I am but a Mary Andrew. As much as you may enjoy the evenings here with me and a cup of hot coco, consider the fallen who have given everything to protect these words. Consider for a moment what protects them.

Many years ago some quite noble craftsmen worked diligently to protect what was given to us. They argued, and they fought. On occasion they just disagreed with each other. In the end they placed the most valuable treasure of our nation under a simple sheet of glass for all to see in Washington. That one piece of glass has remained there unbroken and unshattered.

Each night that I'm invited to perform wherever it may be, I am thankful for that simple piece of glass that protects me and you. It has stood the test of time and weathered many storms and I truly hope that no one will ever force me to walk upon that broken glass.

I hope you also agree that walking on that broken glass would be far more horrific than any other thing imaginable......

Michelle Hart

If you have a suggestion for a topic you would like to see addressed feel free to write me through my profile on URNA. Also, feel free to Post and Comments below. If you would like to know more about me or are just curious don't be shy, reply.


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