¡Arriba, osos!

Giffords intern, UA junior PoliSci major, and City of Tucson Commission on GLBT Issues member Daniel Hernandez, shaking hands with President Barack Obama. (Photo: AfterElton)

Remember how last week I captioned a picture of 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 gay 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.  “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 posted a nice clip of Daniel Hernandez’ short, exceedingly humble speech last night (h/t Blabbeando whose blog, btw, is here).

After Tucson, #2 in a series

[Ed. note: Please forgive another sprawling disquisition on the emotional/ethical tangle in the wake of Tucson.  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 who’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.  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.  It feels like that, at least.  Where we’re disempowered it’s stark, but I’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 that’s often how this sort of genre goes. Starts with one focus, eventually broadens to be pretty much what’s on the mind of the author type of thing.  Often, but not always, those broader topics are seen through that original lens. Insofar as what’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 I’ve said many times that I feel I’m very much more on the receiving end of that spectrum than the giving.  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 morning’s massacre in Tucson – what a very hard word to type, but it can be called little else – it’s been in my thoughts night and day.  Most every moment with my kids, particularly my daughter, I think about the utter, utter shock Christina Taylor Green’s parents must be feeling.  The remorse of the neighbor who lovingly brought the young girl to the event: hard to fathom.  The intensity of the hell Jared Loughner’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.

Read moreAfter Tucson, #2 in a series

Ninety

pops@52
Pops at 52, Castro Valley, CA.

Today my Pops turns 90. He has outlived more family members than he ever expected to, including younger sister, wife, first grandson. For as long as I can remember, he’d say, regarding his projected longevity: “Live ’til ninety, then start counting.”

We’re hoping the counting will go on for quite some time.

I remember taking the picture above some 38 years ago with my first camera, a Kodak Instamatic. I was roving around taking portraits of every family member, bipedal and quadrupedal, that would hold still long enough to let me.  Most pictures were of my dog, and then later, landscapes on family trips. I remember that of all the family portrait subjects he was the most accomodating, but he had to get up and procure himself something to hold, so’s he was — I don’t know — more occupied. Kind of more official-seeming. I think he’s holding a baseball hat of mine. Hard to tell against the shouting-out-loud polyester cover we had on that couch.

Now he’s got a pugnacious Dupuytren’s contracture, a condition that bends the pinky and ring fingers in toward the palm. He would be able to hold that baseball cap now, but with a little more difficulty. Can’t play the piano anymore. When he remembers to put in his hearing aid, he is still never 100%. Whenever he knows he’s been asked a question, but didn’t quite hear its particulars, he answers, “Probably.” Which works pretty well in most circumstances. At a table with more than a few chatting people, he can make out that people are having a lively conversation, but often is challenged to identify exactly about what.

Read moreNinety

A string of thoughts after Tucson

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 been vandalized and targeted in the past (most notoriously by Sarah Palin’s PAC’s “gun sights” map, and by the congresswoman’s Tea Party opponent’s campaign imagery), I immediately assumed the gunman was a right-wing extremist.  Dr. Maddow 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 that he intended to shoot the congresswoman, 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.  (This 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 – said she owned.

Read moreA string of thoughts after Tucson