Is there ever a week unscathed by tragedy? From losing the genius of Kate Spade to a Supreme Court that ruled against same-sex cakes to Trump’s continuously rancorous tweets embarrassing the America our grandparents worked and lived and died to shape, and that’s just the stuff of yesterday. That’s not even the abuse or despair or neglect or poverty or dead-ends so many Americans are facing this very minute every single day. Twice this week we tried to watch the evening news, but as the lead stories were homicide, actually there were two one night, we decided to pass. Sure I want to be informed, but I’d like to know about the good too. Like how some start-up was giving back to their community, or a couple on the verge of divorce thought maybe their two kids were worth another go and called a therapist for communication help or maybe someone decided to stop eating sugar and processed foods, and now a year later many of their ill-health issues are abated? Or how about the local high school students who stood in the doorway, greeting everyone who entered with a smile? All of this happens every day, over and over, in all of our communities, but it’s only a footnote that wraps up the news hour. Never the headliner. Never the grabber. Is it that we can’t get enough of drama? Even watching a tennis match the announcers slip in divisive tidbits about the players, as if their 106 mph service shot isn’t enough to hold our attention.
Thankfully I have a backyard. Hopefully you do too. Or a park. Or any space with a tree or two. Where the sky shines down and shows you some green all lit up with that gold. And you can breathe.
Headlines from coast to coast state the current crisis in our leadership better than I could…of course you might want to dig a bit and read past the headlines, but if you’re pressed for time, these statements might be all you need to gauge the American opinion of who exactly is at our helm.
Trump Gives White Supremacists an Unequivocal Boost (New York Times)
Trump Loses Corporate America (Wall Street Journal)
Trump administration wants to praise the county mayor in Miami. He just slammed Trump (Miami Herald)
David Duke and Donald Trump and the long ties of history (Chicago Tribune)
Former presidents Bush rebuke Trump’s neo-Nazi stance (Dallas News)
As illusive and fleeting as youth, summer days come rippling through our lives, but we panic. What to do with a sunny Saturday? That one long weekend in July? Quickly, family gatherings, backyard barbecues, tasks only completed in warm weather, and much more, fill our calendar. Can I request we all collectively push the pause button? Stop for a moment? Take a look at green? And blue? Listen to the cardinal’s song and walk along the water’s edge? Exhale America, here comes our Independence Day. A time to feel the freedom.
Last week while still in Louisville I had the good fortune to hear Richard Blanco retell his story: from immigrant to inaugural poet for Obama in 2013. The story he shared is fabulous, filled with colorful elaboration, detailing his parents’ bold move from Cuba to Miami, recalling his fascinating childhood to his own journey as a poet. He moved his audience to tears and laughter, from the nostalgia of the past to the shared hope for the future. His story touched us all as pieces of it became our own. How he was picked by the White House is a mystery, even to him, but once we all heard his voice ring out over the capital on that cold January day, that no longer mattered. Richard Blanco is all of us.
Seriously, I am the last person in the world to discuss politics. Not that I don’t have an opinion, because, of course, I always have one. But politics is a broad term that encompasses lifestyle, money, business, education, housing, basically infrastructures in every area of our America. I don’t have the wherewithal to blog about such a complex and tangled topic because I don’t have the background or understanding or library to support claims unequivocally, but I would love to at least discuss the politics of my little home state, and the possibility of listening to a politician who has built his career on caring about real people like me. If you go to work each weekday and at the end of the month wonder about paying bills or how your children might repay their college loans or how your grandchildren might have clean water to drink and a climate that isn’t completely compromised by our carelessness in 20 years, then you are like me. I believe we all need to begin the discourse of politics, even those of us who have degrees in literature and not law, even those of us who feel inadequate to express our views, and within that discourse begin to truly educate ourselves.