This past week has been…I can’t even find the words. Confusing? Heartbreaking? Exciting? Bittersweet? There are many things to be excited about, and also many to make us question that excitement.
“In the week after nine people were shot dead at Emanuel AME Church in South Carolina, six churches with predominately black congregations in five Southern states have burned. Three of the fires are being investigated as arson.”
Obama memes are popping up all over Facebook citing this past week as one of his best, but they don’t mention that he gave a eulogy at a funeral for a pastor who was shot because of the color of his skin. How do we still live in this world, and how have we convinced ourselves for so long that we don’t?
It’s also increasingly interesting to me that there has been so much talk about marriage rights and so little about the maintenance of Obamacare. It seems like universal healthcare, given to all persons regardless of freakin’ marriage status, is a really, really important thing that I think is worth celebrating. I will toast to that!
When the verdict came down that SCOTUS ruled in favor of marriage regardless of sexual orientation, I was excited. I felt good to actually feel hopeful for once about what the rulers of the country decided. Yet, when I read the language of the declaration, it felt so deeply conservative that I couldn’t help but be upset by it. I wanted to let myself be happy about this change, this shift, this turn in public opinion, but the thing is, it’s not necessarily a shift in ideals. Here’s the paragraph, written by Justice Kennedy:
Though many have praised the language of this ruling, I find it deeply troubling. As individuals, we cannot fulfill our potential; it is only through marriage that we can become “greater than we once were.” So, I can’t have a relationship that isn’t marriage that somehow transcends my own individual wants and needs. I have to be validated by the state – I have to log whatever my love is in the books, or else I don’t have, let alone demonstrate, these “highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family.” Family = marriage, children, and nothing else, and Love = marriage. This is conservative, and there’s no pretense here that it’s not. If I choose not to get married, I will be CONDEMNED TO LIVE IN LONELINESS, and I will HAVE NO DIGNITY IN THE EYES OF THE LAW. Let’s not even get into the fact that he mentions life beyond death. We all know that religion and the state are deeply intertwined, but most of the time there’s some facade that claims secularism. MY plea is for people to be equal in the eyes of the law regardless of religion, race, gender, sexual orientation, class… but that is not the world we live in. My friend Nino (more on him later) said it a bit more light-heartedly on twitter:
On the other side of the coin, I attended a really beautiful wedding this weekend. Two of my friends – Mareike and Rachel – stood in front of their friends and family and declared their love for one another. The ceremony was touching; one of the best writers I know (Nino) was the officiant and he wrote a perfect address. They broke a bunch of plates, they stepped on a glass, they sawed a log in half! It was brilliant. The reception was so much fun, and it was so true to their personalities. Most weddings are so conventional that it doesn’t feel genuine – they don’t speak to the actual feelings of the people involved, and it feels cheesy and overdone. Rachel and Marieke had tons of beer, meat pies, gummy bears, a homemade cake, and lots and lots of dancing! I can’t quite reconcile my feelings on the past week’s events. I know I had a lot of fun at the wedding, and I know I feel weird and hapless about the SCOTUS declaration, and I know I still feel terrible and guilty about the Charleston shooting that brings home in the most terrible way how real racism is and how much we need gun regulation. But for now, I guess I’ll focus on the fact that we all had a lot of fun at that wedding, and end with something positive. I very much want to be positive. So, here’s some pictures.
Nino Xander Testa, officiant extraordinair (just look at that suit!)
Judy and I after the ceremony. We color-coordinated!
Tufts squad. Jackie bringing it as per usual in her fly white blazer.
Happy times. Noodle salad.
One of my favorite pictures of picture taking 🙂
Jackie and Erin, looking seriously glam. Boston in the background!
That’s all for now. I tried to end on a happy note! Apologies for the cynicism – sometimes I just can’t help it. Here’s to beer, and gummy bears, and sawing logs!!