Saturday, February 11, 2012

USS Jesus Christ, Battleship Buddha, and Gabby Giffords

Gabrielle Giffords Honored By Navy, Littoral Combat Ship To Bear Her Name

Gabrielle Giffords Ship
By KEVIN FREKING   02/11/12 12:28 AM ET  AP

WASHINGTON -- Gabrielle Giffords, the recently retired congresswoman from Arizona who was shot in an assassination attempt 13 months ago, returned to Washington Friday for double honors. The Navy named a ship after her and she saw President Barack Obama sign the last piece of legislation she authored into law.
In a ceremony at the Pentagon, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus unveiled an artist's rendering of the USS Gabrielle Giffords, a littoral combat ship. The craft is among the Navy's most versatile and can operate in shallower coastal waters than larger ships.
"God bless the USS Gabrielle Giffords and all who sail in her," Mabus said at the ceremony.

The Practical Buddhist Responds

Talk about mixed feelings! Gabby Giffords is my personal hero. Years  of hospital work taught me how hard it is to come back from traumatic brain injury -- how crushingly disappointing some days can be -- and how many just give up.  Gabby has been an inspiration and a challenge as she works every day to maximize her recovery. She is also the only living person who can get both sides of the Congressional aisle on their feet, cheering long and sincerely, in these times of childish rancor.

So why the mixed feelings?

Because they've named a warship after her. A really good warship, capable of killing a lot of people, faster and more efficiently than previous models.  They've co-opted her courage and put it to political use. Now she will inspire those sent on wars of aggression and domination.

I have other heroes too: Jesus, the Buddha, Ghandi.  Imagine naming a ship the USS Jesus Christ or the Battleship Buddha. Sounds shockingly inappropriate, right? 

Even if they are necessary, all weapons are ugly, no matter how shiny and expensive. 

I deeply admire Gabby Giffords. I just wish they hadn't named an ugly  weapon after her. 

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