Apparently this phase of the Iowa Caucus lead-up is really boring. It might be time for more people to start dropping out hint hint. Then again, caucus night is still six months away. No one can pay attention this long! They don’t have anything new to say! And I’m so bored with checking my news apps every two hours to see what Donald’s up to! Let’s get this administration over with already.
A while back I did go to DesMoines for the candidate forum on gun violence and saw them all in action again. Kamala wore jeans, that was a nice sartorial choice. Elizabeth bounded onto the stage and literally bounced up and down in her chair like a little kid because she was so excited to respond to questions. Pete was brilliant. Joe blathered. It was all the same stuff even though it was worthwhile and an important topic.
Michael Bloomberg spoke. The whole thing was sponsored by Mothers Demand Action, Students Demand Action and Everytown For Gun Safety, all great organizations. Michael founded and funds Everytown and it really showed. There were ample chairs, A/C, great sound and lighting, smooth logisitics and FREE FOOD. There was a hot breakfast buffet set up when we arrived, sandwiches for lunch, and snacks and drinks all day. Thanks Michael!
Meanwhile yrmama has been attempting to turn her geneology obsession into a spiritual family history/memoir. You might say, “but yrmama! What happened to that novel you wrote twice, and your neglected political blog, and your Etsy shop? Are you someone who can’t finish anything or are you a creative genius?” To which I’d reply, “The proof is definitely not in the pudding.”
*prologue: yrmama’s daughter, Serena Williams said, “But yrmama I thought you were just going to write about candidates.” yrmama shrugged and answered, “well everything is connected to everything so it will all come around.”
Half of my children were born in Iowa and are descendants of humans who enslaved other humans for over a hundred years. Seriously, yrmama’s people got on that stick immediately. I think the first direct-line ancestor of mine who was part of all that came to Virginia in 1713. William Clopton. From there he and his pals just went nuts enslaving people, buying land, marrying each other and spreading their plantations across the south. It looks to me like it was the youngest sons in those generations (who probably inherited less) who gradually moved westward and took their slaves along. A lot of times it might have been illegal to buy and sell slaves in a particular state, but if they brought their own along when they moved it was just fine. So they did! Case in point, my great great great grandfather, David, listed 18 slaves on the 1820 Virginia census. Then his little family moved west, through Kentucky to Illinois. By 1830 the family had zero slaves and had figured out how to farm for their own damn selves. Some of David’s siblings kept people in bondage all the way to the bitter end in 1865.
This legacy gave me undeniable privilege because no matter what, poor white people have fewer obstacles and more unearned power than poor people of color. It gave my immediate family just enough of a leg up to be aloof, intellectual poor people. I think the harm done to my ancestor’s souls by all those generations of mistreating people, prospering while their unpaid workers built everything and cleaned everything and did the farm work was ultimately completely crushing. It trickles down too, into a mushy, ever widening and very, very slowly diluting delta of unhappiness and resentment.
My compulsion to document this part of my destructive family tree is like picking at a scab. I want to see what’s under there because I know it’s not good. My therapist gently suggested that if I continue doing genealogy I consider looking for where the streams of love and spiritual goodness run. Easy for her to say. I don’t know exactly what I’m looking for, except maybe more explanation and documentation of those festering undercurrents of dysfunction and unhappiness. I kind of want to see the deluge that isn’t coming through the dike because I’ve got my thumb stuck in it. I want to see it evaporating because I’ve stopped it up good.