Violence, racism, and presidential politics

We South Bend, IN residents are getting a ground-level look at the big issues of the day. The fact that our mayor is running for president, and doing surprisingly well, has drawn national attention to what goes on here, good things but mostly bad things.

Like shootings. Like racism exacerbated by police misconduct.

Yesterday I attended a town hall meeting at a local high school, widely reported in the national media, about a shooting of a black man by a white police officer. Continue reading

Grumpy and Scrubs on the listserv

Our neighborhood listserv is a very important communication tool. Usually it’s about who can recommend a good plumber or restorer of historic Victorian curlicues, or reports of petty crime. This week there is a lively and sometimes heated exchange going on about a recent police shooting in the neighborhood. That one can be painful to read as the misunderstandings and clashing views make social differences all too evident.

As if to provide some comic relief from the heavy stuff, the following exchange has also happened within the last 24 hours. Continue reading

Community prayers for Traychon

A few days ago I learned that the community On-Site Prayer Ministry was scheduling a vigil at the location of the shooting of Traychon Taylor, the one that took place practically in our backyard a few weeks ago and that I’ve written about here and here.

Since I’ve been doing my own vigil in my backyard rather sporadically (I’m easily discouraged by weather), this seemed like a next step in whatever might be unfolding. I looked forward to it. Continue reading

Cousins

There was a little gathering Sunday afternoon that meant a lot to me. It was a gathering of cousins on my mother’s side and a few members of the next generation as well. It was not a big, all-day family reunion; just a few hours of reminiscences over ice cream and other goodies including Grandma Kauffman’s date pudding.

It was significant because it never happens, even though many of us live within an hour of each other. Continue reading

Traychon, cont.

When you start out on something that seems promising but outside your comfort zone, you can easily lose momentum, chicken out. You hear the countering voices. What was I thinking? I am making too much of this. I’ve been feeling this about my little Traychon project, about the young man who was shot behind our house, which I wrote about just two days ago. Nevertheless, I have persisted in following my impulses or perhaps the Spirit. Continue reading

Traychon

So this happened a week ago Sunday night, at around 10 pm as we were watching a movie at home: a pop-pop-pop that might have been gunshots or firecrackers. Fifteen minutes later I looked out a kitchen window and saw police cars, lights flashing, crime-scene tape, cops with flashlights behind our long backyard, in the street and in a parking lot that belongs to a business at the back edge of our property. Definitely, it had been shots.

Continue reading

Hunger and thirst for righteousness

I don’t want to go overboard on this Mayor Pete thing but when I examine myself and also look at the extraordinary response he is stirring in others I have to wonder what is going on, exactly. So do many analysts, like Amber Phillips in today’s Washington Post (Why is Pete Buttigieg so popular?). She puts forth the theories she’s gleaned: his novelty, the parts of his resume that appeal to liberals (he’s young, he’s gay), the perennial search for leadership from outside the Beltway, his potential to beat Trump (highly speculative at best but at least he seems unflappable), and finally, simply that he’s got “the intangibles.” Which means that the analysts haven’t come up with a name for whatever it is. Continue reading

A view from the base

IMG_2883Watching Pete Buttigieg’s big announcement with friends yesterday I was struck  with how much he appeals to people just like me. I even saw myself in his description of himself as a nerdy teenage misfit and in his English teacher’s glowing praise. I had teachers who still talk like that about me, though I haven’t done anything spectacular with my life. Like me, Pete is a visionary; he likes the big picture view. His faith, his modesty (if a presidential candidate can be called modest), his calm demeanor are all traits that resonate with me. Where he is different from me, it is in ways I admire: he is smarter, more articulate, more energetic (younger!), potentially more inspiring. Continue reading

Little addictions

My handicap tag quietly expired 9 days ago, marking six months since my knee replacement surgery.  The last time I hung it on my rear-view mirror was a few weeks ago when I had to make a quick stop at a shop with no parking spaces open nearby except the handicap spot right out front. I tried to look a little crippled when I edged out of the driver’s seat in case anyone was looking, but I’m not handicapped that you could notice. Here is a six-month progress report. Continue reading

My neighbor is running for president

There are a lot of Democratic candidates for president in 2020 so it should not be surprising that one of them is my neighbor. He used to live about a 5-minute walk from my house but recently moved just across the river.

What is surprising is that this neighbor may actually be the best of the lot. I don’t know if my husband would agree yet; he is slower than me to make up his mind about just about everything. And just because I’m for this person doesn’t mean he’s going anywhere. My favorites tend not to get too far, let alone win. The exception was Barack Obama, who also happened to come from the neighborhood where we lived for a while, in a different city. Continue reading