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Wringing of Hands

Republicans are not the only clueless ones

“Good black don’t crack,” my grandma always said. By which she meant we age well, not always “looking our age,” as well as having a certain apparent resilience in the face of continuous stressors. 

I took my first break from Lane Community College in 20 years for nine months, a sort of medically demanded heart rest after my academic sabbatical was denied for curious reasons. 

Cancer, schmancer, lose 20 pounds swimming in Hawaii, broccoli kale, Sodarshan Chakra and Kirtan Kriya, more music, more writing, all as therapy. Lost the locs on the first full moon of August, planted them in the garden on the blue moon. Changing my look from lion to conservative drag panther. Returning to work with the notion of staying away from bitter responses to continuing local and national vexing politics, which set me on the path of anger becomes cancer. 

Maya Angelou in her Iconoclasts pairing with Dave Chappelle (Season 2, Episode 6): If you are not angry, you are either a stone, or you are too sick to be angry. You should be angry. Now mind you, there’s a difference, you must not be bitter. Let me show you why. Bitterness is like cancer. It eats up on the host it doesn’t do anything to the object of its displeasure. So you use anger yes, you write it, you paint it, you dance it, you march it, you vote it, you do everything about it. You talk it, never stop talking it.

Like the old Elvis Costello song, “I used to be disgusted, now I try to stay amused.”

I was really amused watching the election process both locally and nationally. It was my pleasure to assist a black first-time voter in my office, to re-elect the president, and to observe the white wringing of hands at “losing their country” to the minority and women vote. But Republicans aren’t the only one’s clueless about minority and race relations. 

I’m not in Eugene Ward 2, so I didn’t care about the outcome, predictable as it was. I observed the obvious unspoken racial subtext, following an email thread, about the “debate.” A Betty Taylor supporter asked Juan Carlos Valle about abortion, not an issue in the council’s jurisdiction, but a dog-whistle shibboleth presumably aimed at his presumed religion. 

A Valle supporter, an NAACP official, asked about Taylor’s two negative council votes against renaming Centennial to be Martin Luther King Boulevard. A number of her supporters favored the renaming, which was both a progressive and parliamentary procedural no-brainer (City Council had always seconded previous unanimous Planning Commission votes). 

A vote which is a continuing sore point with communities of color should be legitimately explained, not described as a “low blow.” We can disagree, but you should articulate your position, even if you prioritize the interests of luxury car dealerships over local civil rights struggle. A position, I’m just sayin’, more stereotypically Republican, than Democrat. 

We won the street and the White House, not her bench, or their “traditional America.” It’s OK, “we honor diversity.”