Thursday, September 21, 2006

Here's something

Here's something I read today:

When these old racist republicans [basically, our grandparents] die off, I'm going to be happy about it. each moment one of these people passes away, the world is quietly becoming a better place.
(My feelings on this issue are complex, and are definitely connected to baggage I have with bullshit sentiments about american history, american morality, and more personally, hatred I have for my grandparents. All attempts to be helpful and reasonable with me on this matter will fail. Thank you.)

Maybe I should have just replied to this directly, but I didn't want to come off as being either helpful or reasonable, so I'll just post it here.

Mostly, it just makes me miss my grandparents. I never really knew my Texas grandparents, and that's my loss. My Virginia grandparents were drunkards and bootleggers, but they were my family and I miss them every day of my life. I am less now that they are gone. They represent a part of my history that I'll never get back and my grief has not be satiated with time. The world is not a better place without them. Not in any way. My world is smaller now. Whenever I see a little old lady in the grocery store, I miss them.

I miss you O'Bryants, Russells, Andersons & Gambles, Normans and Russes and Beards. I'm so glad you were here and you weren't even Republicans.


Brian T. Murphy said...

I think it's cool that you miss your grandparents.

I just wish mine were worth missing.

susan said...

I'm sorry that they weren't.


susan said...

Also, it isn't that my grandparents were super people. There's so much darkness in my family tree. So many people made so many bad choices that hurt the rest of us. But, they're me. They're my family. I think we've just got to look that sqarely in the face and understand that it sucks, but it's immovably woven into the fabric of our lives.

I don't think you can abdicate your responsibility as a Christian and a human to think about these hard things. It's the same as if you moved to Mountain Brook so you wouldn't have to deal with poverty anymore. That's just what Christ calls us to. You can run from that and say that you just don't want to think about it, but it will pop up again and again until you just wrestle it away. I've got some wrestling of my own to do over something that just keeps biting my ass. I think that's just part of Jesus' way.


G. Twilley said...

A lot of La's artwork [both completed and in conception] deal with the idea of connectedness with family members living and dead. I think you have a wonderful view of this Susan - " isn't that my grandparents were super people...But, they're me. They're my family."

How often are we running from who we were to redefine ourselves but never realizing that we can't seperate the self from self. That's a funny separation of conscience altogether. Our connectedness to the past is an obvious understanding in your blog, but also in the one you quoted - right? In both terms, whether missing lost family or being enraged by lost family, there is a very real sense that neither you nor the writer would be who you are without them [and not just in the biological sense].

JP said...

Well, my first thought was, "Oh, for crying out loud!" Or words to that affect. But I calmed down. A couple of years ago, I heard a speaker say that all of our sin can be traced to two underlying sins -- you either don't believe that you are cared for, or you don't believe that you are forgiven. When I yell at my seven year old, it's not that I need to pray for patience -- I need to pray for God to show me that I am forgiven for my sins so that I can show patience and kindness to others. Sounds like the original writer doesn't believe he (or she) can really be forgiven, so he (or she) can't forgive the misguided sins of others.

My ancestors owned slaves. My grandparents were pretty racist when talking about "blacks" or "coloreds" in general, but they helped care for several individual blacks that they knew personally. They had a "maid" and a "gardener" that outlived their usefulness by a good 20 years -- but they kept paying them for their "work" so they could eat and maintain their dignity at the same time. Do I condemn them for not being as enlightened as we are? Or do I understand that they were a product of their times and did the best they could?

What will the bloggers grandchildren say about him (or her)? "Wow. What an ass. How could he think that it was ok for the government to steal at gunpoint to give to other people? How could he think it was ok to kill babies?" (Go read contemporary pro-slavery arguments -- they sound eerily like many pro-abortion arguments.) Or will the theoretical descendants understand that each generation struggles with their sin and the sins of their fathers in trying to figure out what is right? Can we not build on the good from the past without condeming each individual who didn't see the light sooner?

And, by the way, it was the southern DEMOCRATS who stood in the schoolhouse door and voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

susan said...

Gosh, Gene, I'm going to have to write a whole new post to respond to what you said. I've been chewing on it all weekend.

JP, Your post made so many interesting points. I especially liked what you said about abortion. I have so much hope that the women in our country, especially the African-Americans, will look around one day and say "Wait. What?" about that issue. I'm going to have to post a whole new post to respond to you,too. I'm glad you wrote that.

Mostly, I'm just so tired these fart-words. They make a big stink, but amount to nothing. (That was vulgar.)