Thursday, July 14, 2016

racism and whiteness

I always get confused about this, but feel the need to empty my mind onto paper in a weak attempt to articulate the conflict I feel about police murders, black folks, and I'll likely end up discussing trump. I'm sorry. Its hard not to.

I'm so white. I fear black people. Men. I am nervous and guilty in their presence and it is impossible to act naturally. I'm not in any way saying I dislike them. Not at all.

I enjoy unearned white privilege. I live in a white community. I work in a pretty white company. I hire people of color and do my best to pay all I can. I'm a good racist. You'd never know. But I don't see people first, I see color. I challenge you, my white audience, to see it differently.

As a lifelong criminal, or someone born to criminal thinking, I've never been a fan of the police, but I've known a bunch of really good cops who could have arrested me many many times and should have, but they knew I was a mom and they tried to help me instead. As you might imagine, I have many stories to support that statement.

I cannot imagine the fear a white man would experience approaching the window of a black man's car. I don't think white men should police black men. Its a set up for both. I heard the voice of the cop who shot that man in the car and he sounded horrified, terrified by what he had done. I felt so sad for him. His life is ruined. The other man's life is over. And all for a tail light?

If I am walking down the street, and I see a black man walking toward me, I am afraid. Given the history of my slave-owning ancestors, I am the last person who should be in fear. His family did not subjugate mine. But I cross the street.

I don't know how to see beyond gangster clothing. It is so like the lame argument that tries to justify rape by pointing to what she was wearing. If he'd looked whiter would it have gone differently?

I just feel awful. Every day more death and more atrocity. Some guy drove over a whole crowd of French people today. We haven't even buried the cops. I can't keep up.

I can't stand, when the world is at war in so many ways, that democrats focus on sexual politics, gender bending rights and wrongs. It is so upside down to worry about who you can fuck when the house is on fire. Maybe its just proximity to Portland, and trust me, I'm as pro-gay as any straight chick, but we have so much more to do before we can focus on personal politics. Sue me. But if Hillary is distracted by all of the various bandwagons that vie for her attention and demand equal time for luxury problems in the face of the demise of civilization, she'll lose the election and it will be their fault.

Still, Trump is a very bad idea. Very bad. The "Never Trump Movement" has a chance right now to offer republicans a chance to speak up and stop the nonsense. A chance to un-bind the votes. They could put their money where their mouth is and finally make it right. I want to expect more of them. I'm a country girl at heart, and I think I have a bead on conservative religious values and what the right objects to about us democrats and I think good country people would do better. I expect more of them even if I have left the flock far behind.

Sunday, July 03, 2016

one year in yamhill

 July 3. A milder day this year. It was 200 degrees last year. I'm pretty sure. It has been a good year. No regrets about the move. I love Yamhill.

When I am inside my house, there is little to do: everything is done.And it is perfect just the way it is. Doesn't mean I like it. Doesn't mean I accept that my walls will always be menopause beige. Its just that it is a new house and I am living in some contractor's decisions about which paint was on sale and what kind of granite to use for the counter tops. I understand these are luxury problems. I understand that in most cities rental housing is beyond reach, that there is an opiate problem and that donald trump is running for President of the United States. I know this and it scares me. But I'm accustomed to houses that are more project than not, where pounding a nail in the wall isn't cause for concern and painting is almost always a good idea. Not in this house. All of the corners are rounded so if I started painting I'd never be able to stop.

When I am outside of my nice house, there I have options. A learning curve. The soil is clay, mucky sticky anaerobic clay. When I plant things, and I do, I first dig a bigger hole than I need and fill it with good dirt, store-bought dirt. I remember when I was younger, in my early 30's?  I made this statement: "I'll never pay money for dirt or water." As you may remember, I wasn't at my best then, either economically, politically or philosophically. Not much foresight. I am still opposed to bottled water from an environmental perspective: like most folks, I have a jug somewhere I can fill for water and haul around with me, but still, the whole dehydration scare is a bit much. You'd think, by the availability of water bottles in any conceivable shape, neon color and size, that it was an outright dehydration calamity of epic proportion. It just isn't. I mean, if you are running because something is chasing you -- why else run? -- you might take some water with you, or if you are crossing the Mojave, sure, bring a little something to drink. But this must-have ethic about the damned water bottles is ridiculous. I was seduced into purchasing a block of cheap water bottles when I went on a road trip. It was awful. There had to be at least a million. Those terrible crunchy bottles were everywhere. The backseat of my car was filled with them and when I cleared out the trash six months later I was embarrassed to be seen dumping that much plastic. I know there are fish in the ocean accidentally hanging themselves on my trash.

What the fuck was I talking about, anyway?

Oh, the clay. Buying dirt. Okay, back on track.

So I have to fill each hole with new dirt or the plants choke and die in the clay soil. I may have mentioned there was a brick factory in Yamhill some years back but I have not been able to confirm it in wikipedia. The dirt in my yard, you could take a good scoop of it, put it on a potting wheel and throw a pot. It is that bad. So, planting is arduous on a good day, and in Yamhill, double that. But I have planted much, and kept up my weed war. We have the usual weeds, dandelions, etc. But mostly there are thistles. I have a tool I call my dandelion getter. It is actually called a Weed Hound. But it is awesome at pulling whole weeds -- flatweeds, you know the kind -- they spread out like a flat handprint and kill whatever lies beneath. So the Getter, it has little spikes that push down over the middle of the plant, grab the root well below the surface, and in one twist and pull motion, it pops out the whole thing. Its magic. I love it. It is the best tool ever created.

So, on to politics. The sheer humiliation of living in a country with a political party that would spawn donald trump and be so spineless as to allow his ascent to candidate-hood, is as embarrassing as any childhood dream of going to school without underwear. Admit it. You've had those dreams. I've been saying all along: don't be naive -- it can happen. We elected GW twice. Twice. That is beyond stupid. Wisely, Hillary is staying quiet and waiting for donald to hang himself like the fish on my plastic trash.

In all of this stupidity, what really stuns me is the accuracy of the frog in the pot of boiling water analogy. You're familiar with it, right? As a country, have we no mechanism for putting on the political brakes and saying, "Hold on. Let's just pause and reflect for a moment." Can't we make a new law that says, "If we get ourselves into a terrible, nation-crushing corner, can't we just call out "Ollie Ollie In Free" like we used to do in Hide and Seek? Can't we just agree that for these moments of soul-killing terror, we can just call it good. Just for the moment? We can return to the mad rules of modern life later, but for just right now, no harm no foul -- let's just call it like we see it. I cannot and will not believe we are so estranged from ourselves that we can't see our future world evaporating on one cold november day and be utterly powerless to stop it.

Okay. Let's just consider what might result if this man actually became the leader of the free world. Its like Rio and the Olympics and Zika and hideous water. So, we've seen the pictures of the babies and the un-flushed toilet they call a bay and yet the games will go on. What? We've gone too far to stop it? Are we really that hamstrung by our own rules that we can't change our collective mind? That would be supposing we have a mind to change. Can't somebody just stand in the middle of the town square for chrissake and yell, "The Emperor Has No Clothes."