Skip to main content

Stand by me?


     Like most Bernie Sanders fans my age, I got all excited when I saw those Facebook posts about “checking in” with the Standing Rock pipeline protest in North Dakota.
     The chants from participating in the School of the Americas protests years ago came back to me. “North and South the people say Close the SOA.”
    I’m 55 and the heart of my religious convictions revolve around social justice. It’s the part of my faith that speaks to me the loudest. That and Mary. And Jesus.
     Anywho, not to go on a religious rant here (because I really want to go on a humanity rant), but I spent a good part of my morning today reading a bunch of Google search articles about the Standing Rock pipeline protests. I read stories about how Native Americans from across the country are coming to protest, about how young people are involved, about how police are marking those they arrest with numbers (sort of like days of old). I read a couple of stories about how other North Dakotans think the protesters are a nuisance, even Native American North Dakotans.
     I don’t know a lot about Native American culture. I’ve spent about 43 minutes of my life considering what it must feel like to be part of a native culture where your ancestors once roamed an entire good-sized continent and now you are all relegated to tiny “reservations” in places where no one else really flocks to settle, where life at best appears to be pretty damn difficult.
     I’m not even going to pretend to understand what it feels like to live in North Dakota, when I complain if the picture I’m trying to take with my cell phone on Martha’s Vineyard gets obscured by an errant sea gull.
     I fell for all those Facebook posts because I was so glad to read that my friends had made the decision to stand in solidarity with the protesters there. Part of me felt guilty for not being there with them. I thought about looking up how much available credit I had on my various cards to see if I could manage a plane ticket to join them.
     Then I found out they weren’t actually there but had joined a social media event to express their support. And then I thought, “Man, why didn’t I know about this?” That led to me admonishing myself for not being connected, for not noticing what was happening in North Dakota all those months ago. Along with social justice, my faith brings a hefty dose of guilt, which I might add, isn’t always a bad thing. Not if it moves you to action. I’m going to keep reading about North Dakota. Both sides because that’s the newspaper in me. But I care and if standing there at the gates of the SOA taught me anything, it’s the beauty of thousands of people gathered together to say something just isn’t right.



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

I might need a price check

So my husband Chris works three days a week in America, and I’m trying not to take this personally.
He’s commuting Monday mornings on the 6:30 ferry over to Cape Cod, where he works at an upholstery shop in Hyannis, the Mattydale of Cape Cod, for all you Syracuse readers. I stay here and hold down the fort, cooking up a cocktail of frozen pizzas and mac n’ cheese weeknights for my poor Danny. Chris comes back late Thursday night, all giddy over toilet paper prices and quotes on cheaper rent.
No, no, no, and more no I say. I can’t possibly leave all this off-season quiet and high-priced laundry detergent. There’s no convincing me to leave no matter how many times Chris points out that there’s a Trader Joe’s “over there.”
I want to stay here until I miraculously win on one of those $5 scratchers and can buy my own house here. The difference being that I feel confident that I will someday scratch my way to freedom while Chris thinks we’d be smarter to look into a nice rental “over there.…

Getting well takes baby steps

So I’ve had what you could call a case of the pneumonia. It was not pleasant. And to top it off it happened in San Antonio, Texas. Like I wasn’t sweating before the fever.
I was there to see my niece Michelle, who by the way kept asking me, “Are you going to write about this?” which is funny because she’s a writer too. I naturally said, “Oh no, of course not.” And here we are.
Thinking back, the best part of that trip teeters between meeting my two great-nephews, Oliver and Isaac, and having a couple of beers with their Yaya, my sister, who I haven’t had beers with in decades. Like I said, it’s a toss-up. There’s also the fact that I got to spend time with my niece’s husband Alex. He’s a hardcore military guy. He teaches other military guys how to be military policemen. I’m not going to gamble on writing anything about him. He’s from Wisconsin though, which I like. And he likes to cook, which I also like.
I thought to myself before I ever left my nice cocoon of Martha’s Vineyard to tra…

Who's got the soap?

I’m wondering at what age I’m allowed to hire a personal care attendant, covered by insurance of course. I haven’t reached my toenails in two and half years and the other day in the shower I seriously considered whether or not it was worth it to soap up below the waist. It hurts when I go anywhere past my kneecaps.
I’m okay with gray hair; that’s been coming in since I was in my 30s and I could still reach my ankles. It’s the burgeoning mountain under my man-sized T-shirts, just below my sagging breasts, that really gets to me. I want to know when exactly I stopped looking like I was 20, because it feels like yesterday. I look in the mirror strictly from the shoulders up these days.
It’s not completely depressing. I know there are about a billion other women in the same boat I’m in. I love the women who wear whatever the hell they want. Doesn’t matter if they’ve got those top-heavy grandma arms or busted veins mapping their legs. I say go for it ladies. I’m gonna get there someday.…