Sunday, May 11, 2008

Some thoughts on Love and on Racism and more thoughts on Love

I got home yesterday from Maine where long time friends and family gathered for the funeral of Barbara Perkins, a friend I have known since grade school. Barbara was a vibrant, enthusiastic woman who laughed easily and whose energy was an inspiration to anyone around her. She was stricken with MS in her mid twenties and endured twenty years of punishing cruelty from that disease. She died peacefully at home last week. Everyone who knew her loved her. Everyone.

I was filled with love by the gathering for her in Maine, astonished by the connections made between those who did not previously know each other and re-made by those who have known each other for many years. There was so much love in this group of people that I couldn't help going away from it feeling hopeful about humanity. I want to write more about the experience but I can't find the right words today that will do it justice. Perhaps later, I will be able to find them. Perhaps not. I hope to carry that feeling with me, though.

On the second leg of my flight home, I sat next to a woman in her mid-twenties who was newly pregnant and very sick. She was flying from New York where she lives with her fiance to see her parents in Indianapolis. I asked if she was going home to tell her parents the news. She said that they already knew and were unhappy about it. "It's because my fiance is black," she said. She went on to say that when they became engaged, her parents were very upset. It had blown over for awhile but now that she was pregnant, it was all coming up again. She said that this man was good to her, loved her and had a good career and was the best man she had ever had a relationship with. Despite those things, her parents can't get past his skin color. His family, on the other hand, had been fine with it.

Talking to this woman made me think about the comments Anonymous 12:12 wrote in response my post on May 5 telling of my intent to vote for Obama in the Indiana primary. (If you have not read them, just click on "Comments" under the May 5 post. You might want to read the post as well for context.)

I haven't commented on Anonymous 12:12's words until now, but many others have. Some did it publicly on the blog and some have sent emails to me. Several people approached me in person here in Bloomington and during my trip to Maine. Anonymous 12:12's words stirred up quite a fuss. Everyone who said or wrote something was astonished at the comment and disturbed by the hateful racism of it.

I have been reluctant to respond to it here because I don't want to get into an unpleasant back and forth on my blog about it or about any other issue. (That isn't why I write.) I thought I would just let it go and ask Anonymous 12:12 to not post to my blog again. I thought about deleting the comment, but I thought it was important to let it stay so that the people reading my blog can be reminded that this kind of toxic thinking is alive and well in our country.

For the record, in case it isn't obvious, I do NOT share the views of Anonymous 12:12. They represent, to me, one of the darkest sides of the American spirit. I can barely understand how anyone in this day and age can think that way, much less post those thoughts for others to read. Even if the comment was meant to be funny (and I truly think that it was far too hostile to have been meant in that manner), it is not okay to spout such vitriol here, or anywhere for that matter.

Dear Anonymous 12:12,
Please don't post here again.

Enough said on that.


This morning, my son and husband served me breakfast in bed, where I still am at 10:22! It was really wonderful. Eggs over easy, toast with homemade preserves, fresh strawberries and a cup of coffee that could grow hair on a bald man (just the way I like it). Jack presented me with a huge card filled with drawings of his latest obsessions (Pokemon figures) and three Lego Pokemon's that he built himself. It was delightful. Meg called to wish me a happy Mother's Day and I am sure that Kate will call later.

Lucky, lucky, lucky me.

And now, I must get my lucky self out of bed so that I can make some cookies. I plan to send out lots of them this week.

More later from the grateful and lucky BloomingtonGirl.


Anonymous said...

I'm glad to know that you are safely home in Bloomington (and didn't even miss Mother's Day), that the funeral was a celebration of love (in the face of such drawn-out devastation), and that you have come to some equilibrium of thinking on the the disturbing drunken thoughts spewed in yoru blogspace by anonymous 12:12. More love, MKP

Anonymous said...

Your words are simply perfect! That's the BloomingtonGirl I know and love. Sweet Dreams girlfriend!
Peace! :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for coming to Maine, dear old friend. We'll talk.


Steph said...

Your writing of this experience is very touching, and I'm glad that you put it out there! Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Our lives are a tricotomy; yesterday, today, tomorrow. Although we live today, tomorrow is where were driving. We spend too little time on yesterday, which probably isn't a bad thing, but it's the pathway that lead us to today. Connecting to yesterday makes the today and tomorrow a complete cycle.

When I was in Maine last week I connect to my yesterday. I'm glad I could share that with you BloomingtonGirl. And with my Maine, upstate NY, Atlanta,..... friends.

May our tomorrows that we'll celebrate today, also include a little of our yesterdays.