Sunday, May 10, 2009

A Few More Quilts, a Few Thoughts

Here are some more of the quilts that were in the show last weekend. I took a lot of pictures, and it is a pleasure to share them.
We've had a quiet weekend. Our grand daughter was here, with a cold. Our older son was part of "The Mother of All Shows" on Saturday night, a variety show at the "O" performing arts space here on the island. The building is a former manufacturing building, and feels pretty much like a warehouse. This event went from 6 p.m. to midnight last night. JD and his partner Charlie Kimmel performed their set a little after 7 p.m. They do hip hop, I guess is the label, and they sounded pretty good, although they kind of puzzled the predominantly older crowd of hippies, artists, and activists. It is confusing to be confronted with a couple of white kids who grew up on this comfy island practicing an art that grew out of black urban experience.
I've been puzzling, too, but about angry right wingers, and how I always feel I must please them, and how impossible it is to please them. For me it's all about my mom, whose right wing politics were fairly irrational and often hysterical, and whom I could not please no matter how hard or what I tried.
The yapping, slavering dogs of the lunatic right have been in a frothing frenzy over the recent political events and a former shipmate of my husband's sent a lengthy screed about how Obama wanted military personnel to pay for their medical treatment for war wounds.
Now I read about this proposal when it came up recently, and thought, what a boner. How could the Obama posse get this so profoundly, disastrously wrong? The notion was quickly denounced by everyone on both sides of the political aisle, and it was retracted, and some one called it "a rookie mistake." A stupid, heartless, rookie mistake.
I remembered that veterans of the first Gulf War had to sue the Bush administration for their benefits - the benefits that were part of the contract they had with the country when they enlisted, but which the Bush posse tried to cut - and I shook my head at a government that asks people to die for their country but doesn't want to live up to the government's side of the bargain. I felt just as angry at the Obama proposition - hey, let's have our wounded soldiers pay for their care through their private medical insurance! Yeah! That'll save the government money!
It argues for a broader perception of "equality," doesn't it? Human beings are equally greedy, thoughtless, and hasty to benefit at the expense of other human beings. We knew that, right?
Which reminds me - a friend was telling me how disappointed she is with Obama. He has not lived up to his campaign promises. I told her that I didn't feel that way, and she said I was an optimist, but she was a pessimist.
I told her that I was probably more cynical than optimistic. I did not expect miracles when Obama took office. I did not have high hopes. I expected that a guy crazy enough to want to be president of the United States would assume the job and then run into the inertia of government. He's only human, and he's only one human. The Bush posse had been together literally for decades, making their plans since Dick Nixon resigned. Obama's posse is a crew of politicians of varying talents, values, and aims, who are being called in to work for the Obama administration's goals. They share that Democratic failing of not being a cohesive, focused group. As Dave Barry put it some years ago, Democrats have the administrative skills of celery.
So the new guys in DC have done some spectacularly stupid things, like commission airplanes to fly low over New York City and terrify the populace, and propose that wounded soldiers pay for their own medical care. They get in trouble for these stupid things, and some lose their jobs.
When Dick Cheney shot his friend in the face while they were out hunting, we laughed. He didn't lose his job for doing something so boneheaded, and he didn't apologize. As I recall, the guy he shot apologized for getting in the way of the Vice President's shotgun.
Oh yeah. Good times.
People screw up. I am pleasantly surprised when government does anything that I perceive as "good." I believe that is cynicism, not optimism. What I do like about the new administration is that it is not ruling by fear so much as the previous administration. That is something I perceive as "good."
Anyway, I got this email screaming about Obama's hatred of the military, and you know what I did? I wrote the guy, asked him where his outrage was when the Gulf War vets had to sue for their benefits, and told him to leave us alone and stop sending us hate mail. I know that his outrage has little to do with the rights of the military, but I had to try to talk to him. I knew I'd regret it. He wrote back that I was using pretty hateful speech for a confirmed liberal. This from a Swiftboater who once cussed me out for not hating John Kerry, and who swore to have nothing to do with us, but has persisted in sending us hysterical emails over the years. So I marked his email as junk.
I thought about it a lot. Why do I keep feeling like I have to try to get irrational people to see reason when I know it's impossible? I think it goes back to my mother, I really do, and it occurred to me that it would be nice if I could mark the old hate messages from her as junk, and not have to think of them or listen to them anymore. If only it was as easy to block that internal chatter as it is to block email from an angry man who can't handle black presidents or uppity women. It is such a disadvantage to try to be respectful and reasonable to someone who is neither.
These are some of the things I think about in the middle of the night when I'm not thinking about my husband's illness or how we're going to pay our bills or where we're going to be living in a couple of months. I'm feeling assaulted by life these days, and am wanting to be more careful about how I use what little energy I have.
I take my peace in the flowers blooming in the yard, and the beauty of these quilts, and the small graces that come to me, like my son who argued with me yesterday cooking dinner today for Mother's Day, and the sincere love of my grand daughter, and my husband thanking me for doing some small ordinary household chore. I am loving spring, and my family, and my friends. Thank you all. I appreciate you so much.

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