You may have noticed that it’s been a minute since the last edition of Will Work For Foos. About six weeks, actually. I’m sorry. I’m sure you missed me.
There was nothing wrong. No crisis befell me. I just wasn’t blogging.
When I thought about this long stretch of unproductiveness, I tried to ferret out the reason for it. First I came up with writer’s block, but to use that as an excuse would force me to take on the moniker of writer, and I don’t think of myself that way. I’m not a writer. I’m just a Jewish mother with a blog.
Then I considered blaming this dry spell on a period of mental laziness. Maybe I just didn’t feel like writing. But who wants to admit to being lazy? It’s probably a good fit, but I’m rejecting it because it sounds slovenly. And besides, it wasn’t that I didn’t WANT to blog, I just couldn’t settle on a topic. There was so much going on in June that piqued my interest. A virtual smorgasbord of blog-worthy events. I was crippled with indecision.
So yeah, let’s go with that…
First came the debut of Caitlyn Jenner. Finally clearing up months of rumor and speculation about his gender reassignment plans, the athlete/celebrity formerly known as Bruce Jenner was reborn as Caitlyn, with a spectacular photo announcement in Vanity Fair. Depending on your own level of open-mindedness, this event was either a huge step forward in our understanding of transgender issues, or the end of civilization as we know it.
I’m in the first camp. I’m happy for Bruce/Caitlyn, who will hopefully be a happier person now, living in the body she feels she should have had all along. I don’t have to understand her mindset to wish her well. It’s not really any of my business anyway. I admit that my once 15 year-old heart was just a tiny bit sad to bid farewell to her hunky former self, the Olympic gold medalist who stole my heart in the summer of 1976. But hey, we all have to move on.
Shortly after Caitlyn made her debut, those crazy Foo muses of mine made the news. Dave Grohl, long known for running all over the stage during performances, managed to run right off of one during a show in Gothenburg, Sweden. In a spectacular display of showmanship, the Foo Fighters performed a set of cover songs, with Taylor Hawkins at the helm, while Dave got his leg set in a temporary cast. When that was done, he finished the rest of the performance, seated in one chair, with his foot propped up on another.
The injury was not a pretty one. Dave dislocated his ankle and broke his fibula, requiring surgical repair with a metal plate and six screws. The remainder of the Foo’s European shows had to be cancelled, and the start of the U.S. leg (no pun intended…well…) of the tour was in question.
Meanwhile, back here in the States, a young white man visited an evening bible study at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, one of the oldest traditionally black churches in the country. He concluded his visit by shooting 10 church members, killing nine of them. He did this because “you’re taking over our country. And you have to go.”
The shooting was the largest mass murder in a U.S. house of worship ever to take place. Devastating.
Sometimes, something positive can come from a tragedy. And while this terrible and hateful crime SHOULD have sparked a conversation about rampant firearm deaths in the U.S., or the need for better mental health screening and care, but didn’t, it did help to rip the bandage off the festering wound that is racism in America.
This particular tragedy aimed a spotlight at the continued presence of the Confederate flag in American society, and specifically at government buildings throughout the south. Just a few days after the shooting, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley called for the flag’s removal from the grounds of her state’s capitol building. She had support from state and federal representatives from both political parties.
The flag’s removal is long overdue, at least as far as I’m concerned. I find it just as offensive as the Nazi flag bearing the swastika. Many Southerners will argue that the Confederate flag represents “heritage, not hate”, but that’s simply not the case. It stood for slavery and white supremacy, pure and simple.
Jefferson Davis himself stated that the Confederate flag should be taken down and put away at the end of the Civil War. In fact, the flag at the South Carolina capitol is no long-held Southern tradition that’s been in place for the last century and a half. It wasn’t raised there until 1961, in protest to the start of the Civil Rights movement.
But, no, it’s not a symbol of racism. Just our proud Southern heritage. Right.
And still more big news was to come. Late in June, the Supreme Court finally settled the question of marriage equality once and for all, in a 5-4 ruling which declared that marriage would now be a right extended to all couples, gay or straight.
The LGBT community cheered, laughed, and wept tears of joy, as did their straight allies (myself included). Couples across the country who had waited for years, including a pair of gay octogenarians in Dallas who had been together for 54 years, were finally allowed to legally wed. No more need to travel to a more progressive state. No more “commitment ceremonies”. The wait was over, at long last.
But amidst all that joy, religious conservatives, who were not personally affected by this decision IN ANY WAY AT ALL, pitched a fit and cried foul. It didn’t seem to matter that their own marriages were not sullied by others being allowed the same rights. “It’s an affront to God!”
There were multiple reports of county clerks refusing to issue licenses to gay couples, including several here in Texas, and both judges and Justices of the Peace stating they would not marry same-sex couples. They protested that it infringed on their “religious freedom.”
I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I guess some folks missed the lesson. Dictionary.com defines religious freedom as “The right to choose a religion (or no religion) without interference by the government. Freedom of religion is guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution.” Nothing there addressing the right to impose YOUR religion on others, especially if you’re a government employee who took an oath to uphold the law.
I’m not a deeply religious person, and I tend to stick with the “live and let live” rule. Worship as you please, and believe whatever gives you comfort. But if what you believe includes a Supreme Being of some sort, an almighty, omnipotent figurehead, why don’t you let said Supreme Being fight his/her/its own battles? You’re just another imperfect human, like the rest of us poor saps. Isn’t it a bit presumptuous to think it’s your place to sit in judgment on your God’s behalf?
Judge not, remember? It’s just not that complicated.
Dear Readers, forgive me. While I took my hiatus from writing, I took a hiatus from baking too. This has put me several months behind in the WWFF baking contest, but it’s still happening. I’ve got winners for March-June, all of whom have been contacted and two of whom have responded! Texas readers Whitney in Watauga, and Kathryn in Albany, will be receiving lemon squares in the next week. Be sure to check your email to see if you’ve won.