Photography by D. Plasman
Several years ago, I traveled to Nicaragua with six members of Edgewood United Church UCC in East Lansing. Our goal was to install dozens of water filtration systems in remote villages. My lodging partner, workmate, and inspiration was Eli, a transgender male. Side by side, we entered the dirt-floor homes of villagers, bringing with us 20-gallon plastic containers, outfitted with plastic tubing and elbow joints.
Once set in place, we filled the empty containers with precise layers of local stone, pea gravel, coarse and fine sand, and an inch of crushed brass alloy. Then, contaminated water hauled from local ponds and streams was poured into the top of the container. Slowly, the water worked its way through the multi-layered system until a steady stream finally trickled from the tap near the bottom. If the homeowner repeated this process for three weeks, the container produced fresh water.
Since the systems had to be built and the sand packed to careful specifications, Eli and I weren’t always sure each container we installed would work. As we waited a long minute for the water to work its way through each container, we often bit our bottom lips and tried to look hopeful. All our installations were successful, and after each victory we did obligatory chest bumps and fist pumps.
In spite of oppressive temperatures, Eli was a workhorse, an inspiration, and a person who thinks deeply about the intersection of theology and social justice.
One evening, I remember hearing a high-pitched squeal. The village pig had been slaughtered, so I was told. Choice parts of the pig were served to us at breakfast the next morning. I couldn’t resist taking this photo of the pig’s head in honor, in memory, and in gratitude for a life given for our nourishment.
Here we are as a nation. We are led by a fake President, a man unable to lead or to govern or to feel compassion, a man who tweets an insane order that bars transgender soldiers from serving in the military—this after an abhorrent speech at the annual Boy Scouts jamboree.
I would call our President a pig, but that would be an insult to the pig whose head hangs from an iron hook. I would call our President a pig, but that would be an insult to Sesame Street’s Miss Piggy, cartoon’s Porky Pig, and Arnold Ziffel–a rather intelligent pig on the 60’s show Green Acres. I would call our President a pig, but that would be disrespectful to the herd of demon-possessed pigs that stampeded down a cliff in Luke 8.
Though fearing a swine protest, I’ll say it anyway: Our President is a pig, and his newly appointed Communications Director, Mr. Sacramucci, is a slimy piglet.