"The notion that such persons are gay of heart and carefree is curiously untrue. They lead, as a matter of fact, an existence of jumpiness and apprehension. They sit on the edge of the chair of Literature. In the house of Life they have the feeling that they have never taken off their overcoats."
- James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times

Friday, June 28, 2013


You know how much I love to write about writing and my family and the general goofiness that makes me laugh. Sometimes, however, I feel compelled to say something about current events, of which there are many to choose from lately, and they all strike deep into my heart.

This is not an easy post to write, but I'm writing it so you know who I am.

1. There is a huge struggle in the country over a woman's right to control what happens to her body and everything that entails. Here's my take. I have a dear friend who is a social worker. She works with at-risk children. These have included, over the years, 14-year olds who were pregnant, usually by an older relative or mom's boyfriend; a 5-year old who was beaten with a bat because he was not prompt with his nightly prayers; homeless children who live everyday with uncertainty through no fault of their own. There are more, but these are the ones she can bring herself to talk to others about.

When my friend is out of a job because all of our children are safe, then talk to me about the rights of the unborn. Until then, I can only worry about the ones who are here.

2. Yes, I'm glad that gay people can marry. Yes, I can respect the opinions of people who aren't glad, as long as they are respectfully not glad, and not indignantly not glad. I have good friends who are gay and married. So far, they haven't wreaked havoc on my marriage to Dale. 

What I do wish is that people would recognize the difference between the consensual nature of adult relationships, whether straight or gay, and the (very) nonconsensual nature of relationships between an adult and a child or an animal or anyone who has told them NO. Gay marriage is not a slippery slope toward marrying your pet sheep.

3. Paula, Paula, Paula. She has dug herself a deep pit, and not one to barbeque a hamhock in. She claims she's not a racist, and I'm betting she truly feels that in her heart. It is not a lie, at least not to her.

Here's the thing: my mom was not a racist. She believed that in her heart and would defend herself against all attackers. I can honestly say I never heard her say the N-word. When I was five or six, a friend had taught me a very racist saying, and she explained what it meant and said I was to never repeat it.

That being said, some of the things I "learned" from her, over the years, were that 1) if you touched a black person, their color would rub off on you; 2) black people were, by their very nature, prone to be lazy and steal things; and 3) we should feel sorry for them because they can't help it if they're black.

Well, being married to a black man for 21 years, I can tell you that I haven't gotten any darker, he works his butt off, and I only feel sorry for him when he's had a hard day working his butt off. Which isn't even the point. The point is that everything she believed was racist, and yet she did not see herself as a racist because she wouldn't use a word.

With Paula Deen, there's this layer of fame that glosses over everything that she could do to be shown how to grow and change and become a better person. Do I think she needs to be shunned? No, I think she needs to be disciplined, as in, "trained." Do I think her shows need to be cancelled? How about putting them on hiatus until she can understand what racism is all about. Right now, she's so lost in the publicity and trying to spin everything to her advantage. She just needs to stop and take the time to listen and learn and understand.

Maybe with all of these events, we all need time to listen and learn and understand.

Now that all that's off my chest, I promise in my next post, I'll be up to my usual hijinks.


Ali Trotta said...

I really liked this post, Gayle. Well said, all of it.

Ali Trotta said...

I really liked this post, Gayle. Well said, all of it.

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