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The color pink

In 2015, when the Supreme Court issued its Obergefell v. Hodges decision legalizing same-sex marriage, Barack Obama ordered the White House bathed in rainbow colors. This was an immature and inappropriate thing to do considering tens of millions of Americans opposed the decision, but it was Obama doing what he did so well: divisive, in-your-face activism. Perfectly compassionate religious people opposed the decision based upon the concept of sin, and otherwise perfectly typical people might have opposed it simply because they viewed the decision as legitimizing what was unnatural or perhaps opening the door to further erosion of traditional mores. Nevertheless, no reasonable person, no matter how upset, argued that sex between men or women approached the level of evil.

Evil has been with us as long as we’ve been in existence. Perhaps a few groups or cultures have not been perpetrators of evil, but it’s been pretty universal to be on both the receiving and the committing sides, depending on who was on top or at the bottom at the time. One aspect of evil that has been relatively uncommon has been the overt celebration of one’s atrocities. Perhaps there were public relations considerations, perhaps strategic, and even maybe some residual sense of right and wrong, but for the most part, evil people and entities haven’t been inclined to trumpet their reprehensible accomplishments.

There are, of course, people and philosophies that discount the existence of evil, claiming some are driven to do bad things based only upon extrinsic factors. Religious people might argue that evil exists as a consequence of Satan. Personally, as a God disbeliever, I think some people are innately evil. Whether this reflects some aberration of genetics or even some evolutionary imperative, I’m not sure, but I’ve been around a bit — worked at a prison, been in the military, lived in other (“Third World”) countries and cultures for a number of years — and I’m fairly certain I’ve met some evil people. And like that storied serial killer living next door, the neighbors inevitably say, “He seemed normal.”

The New York state government gave us something almost unprecedented the other day — an act of not just unadulterated evil but a perverse celebration of it, ordering the spire of the “Freedom Tower” to be illuminated in pink. It doesn’t take a great moralist or contemplator of ethics or even run-of-the-mill reprobate to understand that dismembering a child just weeks, or even just hours before his or her birth is blatantly evil. Nevertheless, majorities in both houses of the New York State Legislature voted for this latest “health” bill, and the governor enthusiastically and pompously signed it into law. One could imagine a legislator from Queens applauding the law and giddy with pleasure, perhaps not even cognizant of their affirmation, “I am evil, and I’m feeling pretty good about it.”

Sadly, and historically, evil doesn’t occur in a vacuum, but rather it typically finds adherents or enablers willing to rationalize it. It also encounters those who recognize evil for what it is and, in theory at least, are charged with opposing it. Sometimes the people and organizations charged with identifying evil and countering it fail to do so, even willingly, and hence are justly tainted by it. And speaking of the New York Catholic Church establishment (what Trump supporters might refer to as “the Swamp”), no matter how irresistible the sweet love of their savior Jesus or their veneration of the Blessed Mother, there is something even greater for which to yearn — being a player, no matter how trivial, in secular politics.

I wonder what goes through the mind of a bishop in a New York diocese: “I am a bishop, and I have a staff and mitre to prove it, and by God, I’m allowed to utter platitudes of the sanctity of life. But the governor, evil incarnate he may be, is a good Catholic, and I can find all sorts of arcane doctrinal and theological arguments of how he should remain in good standing. My God, if we really did the right thing and disavowed him as one of us, the cardinal’s calls might not be forwarded to one of the governor’s administrative assistants, and we would feel diminished. Besides, what could be more fun than giggling with the governor at the annual Al Smith dinner? Yeah, sure, I adore the cross, but I adore even more being accepted by the woke cultural elite.”

Not too long ago, pink was the traditional color associated with little girls, though I imagine the people who expend great sums of energy being offended by such traditions have marginalized this idea. In short order, however, pink has become the symbolic color of victory over the helpless and innocent; in New York, that is a reason for delirious celebration.

Reid Fitzsimons is a former Tri-Lakes area resident who now lives in Thompson, Pennsylvania.