Many times this week I’ve thought… “I want to blog about that.” But… time for blogging is scarce. So to not lose all of it, I’m shooting for fragments before I engage a day of study… no coherent reflection necessarily, just snapshots of a meandering mind… in several posts, i think!
- on the one hand– tremendously grateful and assured by the election of Barack Obama- why? hearing his voice at the press conference yesterday (and even reading that he began his day yesterday by going to a parent teacher conference at his daughter’s school in Chicago) brought me indescribable comfort, reading blogs from folks not even in this country who are celebrating was tremendously heartening, and receiving an e-mail from a friend in Uganda at the moment with real life testimony to how closely this election was being watched and how much joy there is upon its results this is… just… wow. Friends, yes, the fact that we have an African-American on his way to the White House for the first time, that is exciting. But… honestly… it is so much more than that. I have trusted Obama and believed in his capacity to lead us differently since first I learned of him, and… uncharacteristic in all my years of attending to politics… two things happened- he won and he has not (yet) disappointed. There have been moments I have disagreed with him, but never when I have questioned his integrity, humility, intelligence… It is SUCH a gift to know that, for the next four years at least, I get to call this man my president. He is not the Messiah, but he is, so far as I can tell, the sort of politician I’ve been waiting for.
- on the other hand– that, on the same day that people I believe in were solidly granted the privilege of election, values I believe in were trampled on– that is hard to reconcile. That several states so soundly closed doors on same-gender couples (prop 8 is distressing, but the Arkansas unmarried parent, no adoption thing… is profoundly sad to me.) Belonging to a denomination that amended its constitution now over a decade ago with a badly worded clause that appeared to be calling everyone to ordained office to higher standards of personal behavior in intimate relationships, but really was a bully clause intended to keep g.l.b.(and t?) folks from ordination… knowing the havoc that this piece of bad constitutional legislation has wreaked… the pain that it has caused to people whom I love… and knowing that though we have the opportunity to remove it from the books now we remain deeply divided as church about whether we should do so or whether we should just “work around it” (even folks I love and respect, even ones whom I agree with on most things are arguing for leaving it in)… having this ecclesial experience makes me ache for the states that now have something in their constitutions that does violence, robs rights, oppresses… I used to be of the opinion that civil unions were as good as marriages, but… some time ago I read an article that poignantly articulated the difference it makes to be able to (or not able to) participate in this major cultural rite of passage… and I’ve been thinking about the difference it made to me personally to have so many people witness the commitment I was making six years ago and how that gives me strength to honor that commitment… and I’ve been realizing that the legal protections of marriage are only PART of why this matters… and a dear friend just recently asked me to officiate at her commitment ceremony next summer- the ceremony will be held in a state where they could legally get married, but they live in a state where, in her words “It really wouldn’t matter, and until it does, we just want a ceremony that means something performed by someone we love and trust”. That this dear friend will have a wedding that is not a wedding because of the particular narrowness of the state in which she lives… this intensifies the sadness of this post-election period (even as I’m thrilled to be able to participate in what will be a holy, special, marvelous new beginning for this friend and her partner!!!!)
- and also troubling is… I found McCain’s concession speech immensely gracious. I saw then and there the man I thought of over a year ago with these words “I could live with him being my president”, a man I have only caught glimpses of in the year since, something which has saddened me. But not gracious has been the behavior of campaign staffers post-election, trashing his running mate , someone of whom I initially thought-“Well, I don’t know anything about her, but wow, come November 5th we’ll have elected either an African American or a woman to service in the White House, how cool is that?”- but quickly came to think “Oh no… not her… can’t. have. it.” Her xenophobia, her insinuations, her general incapacity to speak spontaneously and effectively, the effect she had on crowds… all of it… terribly troubling. I am not of fan of the Governor from Alaska. I am tremendously relieved that she is not our vice-president elect. BUT the election is over and it feels like Sarah Palin is now being thrown under the bus… it is over… and the way she is being ripped to shreds by the media, with the assistance of leaks from staffers… it profoundly saddens me. Just let her go home folks. Can’t we all be as gracious as her running mate?