Man walking north in the morning, Midtown Manhattan, NY.
Remember how last week I captioned a picture ofÂ Pariah director Dee Rees at work as “one of the most beautiful images I’ve seen in a long time”? Well, this one is sure the HELL up there, too. What part of big ole gayÂ oso pardo [brown bear] shaking the hand of an admiring Black American president is the most thrilling? Um, like, ALL OF IT, how ’bout? Which image, twenty years ago, I’d have thought I was as likely to see as the one I posted the other day of my dad smiling following my legal marriage (performed by my sister’s best friend, & with my two kids among those in attendance) in the rotunda of San Francisco City Hall.
Whenever the going feels bleak, and it often does, I have to remind myself that the bleakest part is the one step back part. And that it’s a response to the two steps forward part. Â ”The arc of moral universe is long,” said Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., paraphrasing Theodore Parker, “but it bends towards justice.”
I, along with a grateful nation, thank President Obama for his exceedingly presidential, exceedingly compassionate and wise speech last night. And I wish the the young Mr. Hernandez godspeed on his career.
After Elton postedÂ a nice clip of Daniel Hernandez’ short, exceedingly humble speech last night (h/tÂ Blabbeando whose blog, btw,Â is here).
[Ed. note: Please forgive another sprawling disquisition on the emotional/ethical tangle in the wake of Tucson.Â I get the feeling these are the first in a long series of such things.]
This is a parenting blog, primarily. Parenting as seen through my eyes, which are those of a white middle class gal whoâ€™s fairly gender-in-betweeney, and partnered with a woman. The parenting experiences are as influenced by those matters as you imagine they might be.Â Which is to say, some of the time hugely; a lot of the time, not a whole lot. The biggest influence over our everyday lives is probably the white middle class part, I reckon, insofar as we have a lot of social movement, are in the majority, usually, and are tacitly aligned with the people in power in most places our family life takes us.Â It feels like that, at least.Â Where weâ€™re disempowered itâ€™s stark, but Iâ€™m thinking mostly because of the contrast.
On the other hand, since this is a single-authored, personal narrative-type blog coming on its sixth year soon, the topical orbit is beginning to swing wider and wider. My guess is thatâ€™s often how this sort of genre goes. Starts with one focus, eventually broadens to be pretty much whatâ€™s on the mind of the author type of thing.Â Often, but not always, those broader topics are seen through that original lens. Insofar as whatâ€™s on my mind is often on the minds of other parents, middle class, white, lesbian, genderqueer or not, then we all have something to share with one another here. Often we help each other a lot, and Iâ€™ve said many times that I feel Iâ€™m very much more on the receiving end of that spectrum than the giving.Â Which is why I continue to value this undertaking (and these sorts of undertakings, meaning blogs kept afloat by a sincere community of people) as highly as about anything in my life these days, outside of my loved ones, living and no longer.
Like many of you, since Saturday morningâ€™s massacre in Tucson â€“ what a very hard word to type, but it can be called little else â€“ itâ€™s been in my thoughts night and day.Â Most every moment with my kids, particularly my daughter, I think about the utter, utter shock Christina Taylor Greenâ€™s parents must be feeling.Â The remorse of the neighbor who lovingly brought the young girl to the event: hard to fathom.Â The intensity of the hell Jared Loughnerâ€™s parents must be in right now: impossible to imagine. The remorse, trauma, grief, horror, and shock reverberates out through Tucson and the Southwest and into the nation, even the world.
Herewith a string of disconnected thoughts and a litany of links to many things you likely already know, simply because at the moment there feels like so little else I’ve been able to do. Like so many of us, since about midday Saturday I’ve been off-and-on glued to my news sources of choice (in my case, various trusted journalists, bloggers, and Twitterers online), trying to first understand what happened in Arizona, and then why.
Like many left-leaning folk, when I learned the congresswoman was a democrat who’d beenÂ vandalized and targeted in the past (most notoriously by Sarah Palin’s PAC’s “gun sights” map, and by the congresswoman’s Tea PartyÂ opponent’s campaign imagery), I immediately assumed the gunman was a right-wing extremist. Â Dr. MaddowÂ rightly urged folks to hold off on the speculation before adequate information about him was in, and we all began to learn more about him.
In just a day or so, it has become clear only thatÂ he intended to shoot the congresswoman,Â he last registered to vote as an independent, and is obviously mentally unstable. As if planning to assassinate a congresswoman and everyone near her is anything but insane. Â (ThisÂ Mother Jones exclusive interview with a friend seems to confirm the free-form nature of that insanity.) Though he’d been suspended from his community college until he received certification that he was mentally stable and no threat to himself and others, he faced no barrier to buying his gun. Which, as it happens, was the same kind that Congresswoman Giffords –who supports “concealed carry” laws –Â said she owned.
This here’s a pleached allÃ© on Hambros Alle, in the Â neighborhood we stayed in. It ends in the Ã˜resund, the strait separating Denmark from Sweden. Â We walked by this many days, and every time I wanted to stand in the crosswalk and stare and stare and stare, into eternity, or if not eternity, then at least the distant bump of Sweden.
The beloved just closed her youth music theater company’s production of A Chorus Line, and with that the swing shift part of our family life is slowly, gratefully, opening back to normal. Two of us to do (and trade off doing) what drove a menopausal monotasking Baba half-way up a tree to do solo for too many weeks. With increasingly unhappy kids. Again, I have no idea how single parents do it.
I was already half-way up a tree in the first place, so being driven the rest of the way up it located me at the tippy-top, where the view might be pretty, but the balance is precarious.
Things aren’t been easy. Life-wise and blogularly, and particularly at the points — few, if significant — where those two lines converge. Those who write narrative nonfiction and draw heavily on autobiography are always in danger of writing themselves into a corner: it’s the Faustian bargain one strikes to gain access to the ever-present gold mine of material. But a corner of some sort is where I seem to find myself at the moment. At least until I can figure out how to turn it.
Yesterday was a day that defies hyperbole. And I say this as a chronically hyperbolic person. I left a crumb trail of disjointed remarks throughout the day on the Twitter thingie, which showed itself to be a phenomenally clever mechanism for enabling an open-ended number of people to talk at, and sometimes even with, other people. In brief but fun spurts.
From the small clutch of voices I can manage to keep track of there, as well as perusing elsewhere, Aretha Franklin’s voice had most of us in tears, from the realness of it, the import of it all. And, at least that day, and at least for me, it had the effect of a big ole Warren de-tox cleansing enema, a Jedi mind trick. ”That was not the homophobe megapastor you were kvetching over,” her voice told us, as she passed a well-manicured index and middle finger in front of our mesmerized faces. As I was saying to one of the preschool staff this morning, Warren sounded hollow and fake to my ears, and Franklin sounded real. Likewise Rev. Lowery. The preschool staffer, an African American woman old enough to know the both Franklin and Lowery and the history they’ve spanned, nodded emphatically. When Rev. Lowery finished his closing benediction, I lept up to my feet and pretty much applauded my watch right off my wrist. That. Now that was the invocation for this event. I went and grabbed a pen and paper when he got to the part:
And now, O Lord, in the complex arena of human relations, help us to make choices on the side of love, not hate; on the side of inclusion, not exclusion; tolerance, not intolerance. And as we leave this mountaintop, help us to hold on to the spirit of fellowship and the oneness of our family.
Box Turtle Bulletin has both the text of the benediction and NBC’s feed of it.
So basically, Rick who? from Saddle what? is my position on the matter right now, in the alpenglow of the inaugural day. Most sane people will remember things like the look on Beyoncé’s face as she sang “At Last” to the President and Mrs. Obama [!] the First Lady. Okay, or sane people like me will.
[Post to follow, after all the pageantry of it all. For now: just, wow.]
Okay and meanwhile I can’t resist the random live tweet. Though I’m guessing all tweets are de facto live?
I'm participating in Shot@Life's Blogust '13, a United Nations Foundation movement to raise awareness and funds to provide life-saving vaccines to children worldwide.
LesbianDad is a personal essay/photography blog. It began as a document of my parenthood but, like life, its ambit has stretched to include much more than I expected. My kids call me "Baba," and together we work toward a world in which amor really does vincit omnia.