Our son called twice yesterday, working out the details of a gift for his children. Our daughter came on Saturday and spent the evening here—I cooked, and she talked—before going to Logan to pick up a friend of hers.
I have been corresponding with a friend in a border state about a twenty-year-old student and coming out and the role of a faculty member in that process. In the last week, we’ve written six emails back and forth. My friend the faculty member is navigating the shoals of different generations, different geographies, different cultures and the effect of all of these on a person’s coming out.
Another friend texts late at night from one of those cheap buses between Boston and New York. “Things are going backwards, not forward,” she says. She talks about people in NYC who are gay and who are mixed race or mixed orientation and “are feeling the shit along with me.” She talks about racism and homophobia. In the big city men and women who are mixed race and mixed orientation can—and do—find a home, even if they also, sometimes, are “ambushed” and swear they’re not going to live in the USA any more.
C and I saw Lincoln last night and noted the venal reasons given by the players for being against the Thirteenth Amendment, something that now—once Lincoln worked his work, and we’ve had one hundred and fifty years for it to sink in—has the clarity and obviousness of Newton’s Third Law of Motion.
Robert Bork died this week. The media seems to have adopted the judgment that opposition to his elevation to the Supreme Court introduced politics into the confirmation process for the first time. This is stupid. The Constitution assures that Supreme Court Justices will be confirmed in the middle of a political process by handing the process over to the Senate. Secondly, Bork arrived on the scene trailing his own political agenda, and that seemed shocking for a nominee. He deserved to be borked.
Time Magazine has named President Obama Man of the Year. His winning the election is a permanent achievement and to be celebrated, but he still has to fight Republicans, and that means, as Lincoln teaches us, getting his hands way dirty to achieve change.
Life’s a mixed bag, here at the end of December, 2012—some wins, some losses, all of them big—and it’s easy to get frustrated and discouraged. Are we better, now, than we were twelve months ago? Why aren’t things better, clearer, now? But they’re not, and we still have a way to go. We’re going to get tired and pissed off, and it may not ever be clear that we have won anything permanent. There’s a lot of pain in that. But the story of the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments is the story of rights won eventually, partially, over a long period. That realization brings at least partial satisfaction.
What brings more complete satisfaction is a friend like the lady on the cheap bus, who spent part of her trip to NYC texting me about the people she knows in the city. When I got her text, I pictured it. The highway coming up toward her out of the night, the dark silent bus, her tablet’s bright screen, and her, punching in the letter to a friend she wants to keep in touch with. Love