As a recent lackadaisical blogger, I’ve become obsessed with saying goodbye in some regard to 2015. All in all, I would say it was a rough year. And much of the reason I haven’t written is due in part to issues facing our country and our world. I feel paralyzed and silenced by gun violence and police brutality. I don’t know what else there is to say on the subject that other brilliant thought leaders haven’t said. And just when I’m about to start moving again or coming up with words on the subject, I hear that Tamir Rice’s killers will not be indicted.
I’ve also been mostly silence, in public, on the race for the Democratic nomination. There are a few reasons for my silence (which is now being broken, I suppose). I was in Hillary’s camp during her first run for President and was stunned when this young Senator showed up to beat her in the primary. I cried when I checked her name that day in 2008. And I’m struggling because she is a front runner who, each time, is being challenged by a more progressive man. And don’t misunderstand me, I am much more progressive than Hillary, but I am also a woman who believes it is well past our time to have a woman lead our country. I’m also frustrated by the treatment of Bernie supporters who tell me that Hillary is part of the establishment. He has been in office since 1990. How is that not part of the “establishment”? I’ve decided, on this issue, this time, my choice will be personal until after the primary.
I’m also paralyzed by the Islamophobia in our country and in our leaders (uh, Trump?).
I said goodbye to my bluetick coonhound Mabel this year. It was unexpected. It was the hardest and longest grief experience I have had with an animal so far in my life and I’ve said goodbye to a few: Clinker, Candy, Muffin, Timmy, Cornelius, Arthur, Nushka, Joey. Jeff’s turtle Humphrey escaped this summer. We hope he made it to the pond behind our house, but it was a hot day.
Our Chancellor “left service” in a fairly disruptive and uncomfortable fashion on all fronts this past month. It leaves one with an unsettled feeling at work, as in “who’s in charge?” or “who will be in charge?” and “when?” As a woman leader, it seems as if the whole departure was too messy. And was she to blame for the mess or her boss? I think they both share some responsibility, but it left the rest of us feeling sad and worried about her as a person and our campus as an institution.
But I can’t end the year on a downer, that’s not my style. I continue to feel hopeful by the goodness and love and laughter that surrounds our life. While many of our favorite people live hours away, we were able to spend our first Thanksgiving in the Finger Lakes, and facetime over the holidays, bringing their faces a bit closer for a short time. Jeff made delicious food and I baked cookies and pies to share with family and friends. We brought the loving and sweet George with us on our travels, where he settles in with ease.
Maybe for 2016, instead of being the feminist critic in the negative sense of the word, I will strive to bring hope and humor to my blog, to write about the moments when life surprises us with joy, with laughter and with justice. That will be a challenge for me to do and will maybe bring joy to you to read.