Author Archive: Mindy Carney
I am a writer and communication professional in St. Louis, Missouri, a crafter of jewelry, a disorganized optimist and most importantly, the adoptive mom of two China-born daughters.
Bob Herbert, in the NY Times, wrote this week of a new report on the continuing human catastrophe in Darfur. In describing why he reported on what, to some, is old news, he reminded us “about the dangers inherent in indifference to the suffering of others. Stories of atrocities on the scale of those coming out of Darfur cannot be told too often.”
I loved this op-ed piece over at Huffpo by John Ridley – “Note to Newt . . . ” – regarding Supreme Court nominee Sotomayor’s supposedly racist comment about the perspective of a Latina woman in a 2001 speech. Ridley is right on target with his comparisons of “old racism” and “new racism” – as if a comparison can even be made. Mostly, Newt and his ilk just seem annoyed that “they” just don’t know their places these days. Not women, not minorities, not gays . . . life just isn’t as simple when everyone goes off and thinks they’re just as good as the good ol’ white guys.
Sotomayor’s point was essentially that anyone who has seen the system from the bottom up has a deeper experiential perspective from which to draw when discussing said system. That doesn’t make her every thought on it correct or best, but overall, her perspective has more to draw on than that of a privileged white male who never had to fight for his place at any table, let alone on any bench.
I don’t discount white males, by any means, and neither did she. Lots of them, present company included, are wonderful, open-minded, intelligent and fair people. By calling her comment “racist,” Gingrich has merely shown he has precious little understanding of what racism is really all about.
As was alluded to in a recent comment from Erich, my house was burglarized a couple of weeks ago. I’d enjoyed one of those rare, delightfully spontaneous evenings; after a dance recital for my daughter, I ran into a date I hadn’t seen in awhile who invited me to a club to listen to music. Said daughter and her sister were off to their dad’s for the weekend, so I was free to stay out. We had a lovely time and I headed home around 11:15.
As I turned my key in the front lock and opened the door, I saw movement. I looked up just in time to see a kid run out of my bedroom, glance back at me then run down the hall toward the kitchen, away from me. In that moment, I snapped. Instead of backing out the door to safety and calling 911, I barreled straight toward him, screaming at the top of my lungs. Screaming at him to get the $%#^ out of my house – him AND his com-padre, whom I heard running down the back stairs. They both ran out the back door, one crossing the alley and running between the houses, and one running down the alley. I screamed again, ran back to my car and raced around the block hoping to spot one or both of them. No luck. I was sobbing with rage; I could not believe this had happened – again. I called 911.
An eight-year-old child in Omaha, Nebraska, the middle of three boys, has told his parents throughout his life that he is a she. Since he learned to talk, he has said, daily, that he is really a girl. His parents have come to believe him, and are letting him begin the next school term in a new school, as a girl, with a new name.
Ben-turned-Katie will not be allowed back in his Catholic elementary school. According to the priest in the parish, since the Catholic Church believes a person is born one gender and cannot change, his appearance at school would lead to too many questions and cause discomfort for the other children.
It might, of course. Certainly it would raise all kinds of questions, yes. Hard questions, the kind that parents aren’t sure how to answer. My guess is, though, that if the school called in an expert on the subject and held an assembly in which the child’s situation is explained in brief and concrete terms and the other children were allowed to ask any questions they had, parents were allowed to attend, etc., the issue could be handled and put to rest. Children that age are amazingly accepting, and what a wonderful life lesson it could be. That is how it would be handled in our school – or similarly, somehow – one of the many reasons we are there.
In watching the video, I was struck by the dedication of these parents to their child. I am so relieved, on Katie’s behalf, that she has this kind of support. In conservative Nebraska, this can’t be easy. I wish them well, and thank them for being the kind of parents every kid deserves to have. Unconditional love at its finest.
A physician friend of mine sent me a link to a piece written by Dr. Marcia Angell about why Congress should consider a single-payer system and suggestions as to how it could be implemented.
Dr. Angell is a senior lecturer in social medicine at Harvard Medical School and a former editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine. I can only hope that, even though she was not invited to speak in front of Congress, Pres. Obama and the Congress see her words and incorporate this into their discussion.
In response to one of Hank’s posts from a week or so ago, Erich posted the Internet commercial put out by NOM, the National Organization for Marriage, which is, in my mind, almost a parody of itself. The ridiculous assumptions they put forth – that THEIR freedoms are at-risk, that schools are teaching gay marriage, that they are losing something if gay men and women are allowed to marry – would be laughable if not for the fact that a portion of our population will watch it and nod vigorously in agreement.
I think these “storms” say it better:
On YouTube, you’ll actually find many of these parodies – thank goodness so many jumped on board to point out the utter absurdity of that horrible ad.
[If you're viewing this post from the home page, click on the title for 2 additional parodies.]
This post about a panicked cautionary note was sent to me today, obviously well after the tea-party fact, but I thought it was quite amusing. The ultimate effect being, of course, that their efforts at keeping any sort of grassroots movement going was shot squarely in the foot, as they effectively censored themselves out of communicating with each other. Some of the responses to the post are hilarious. Seems of late I’ve been reading too many rightwing kneejerk responses, barely literate and rarely logical, to eloquent liberal articles and posts, and I was beginning to feel an unease that “they” are going to take over again. I was reminded, reading these responses, that the left side of the general public is still out there, making merry and feeling confident. Whew.
Now, is it just me, or does anyone else find that the further to the right one lands on the political spectrum, the less functional one’s sense of humor seems to become? Not only can they not poke fun at themselves, which all of my friends (read: left-leaning people with brains) do pretty well, but they can’t put words together to CREATE humor, either. Just fear, volume and paranoia. And ranting. Lots and lots of ranting.
Post-2008-election, I felt as though our country was finally regaining consciousness. I felt hope and optimism rise and my cynicism roll back ever-so-slightly, breezes of fresh thought dispersing the haze. As my vision returned, I could once again engage in conversations that did not fizzle into frustrated non-verbal noise.
I began to see glimpses of a cultural evolution of thought through the wider population. Just glimpses, but they were there, I know it. I felt the whoosh of tired air as egos fat with imaginary power based on non-existent wealth were deflated by the reality of financial correction. I smiled as the facade of organized evangelical religion cracked under self-made storms of condescending hypocrisy. I grinned with sincere joy every time I heard new dialogue about race and culture in the wake of electing our first minority president.
All in all, I saw daily reminders that people, all of us, are truly equal underneath all the cultural trappings. Eye contact became pleasant again. The obvious human connections we share – that we all love and laugh and hurt and seethe and wonder and sigh and ache and even hate – I could see those commonalities beginning to connect us again. We argue and bicker, we debate and discuss, we learn, we teach, we manage, we create, we err and we try. We help, we care, sometimes we dismiss. We each react to information and situations from our own perspectives, wrought upon our own personalities by our own life stories. But we seemed to be listening to each other again.
I hoped anew that as a culture, we were learning that all of those life stories matter. That each one of us brings a unique self to the cultural table and that even when we strenuously disagree, we do not dismiss each other simply because of it.
Last week, a friend of mine was fired. Not a big deal, you might think, as people have been laid off in record numbers (including myself) over the past months of economic strife. Sure, a big deal for him, maybe. But, well, welcome to the masses. Except that this friend represented something we cannot afford to lose, and his firing rips further into the frayed fiber of our local democracy. Sadly, too many will dismiss the loss as no big deal – for the exact reason we so desperately needed Sylvester Brown to stay.