Privilege Blog

Determined Hope, Or, Saturday Morning at 9:20am

I finally managed to post that piece about how I came to my political beliefs. It’s here.

I’m now enjoying the relief of having done as I promised myself. And in the pause before I begin the next block of Things To Do, which includes everything from planting another abelia bush for putative butterflies to taking my car to the shop, I’ve been poking around the web. Other people have wonderful things to say: fun, moving, highly informative.

Sue is at a style blogging conference, meeting other bloggers she’s long known online. If you’re on Instagram, here’s her feed. And if you’d like to see more photos from the conference, which I find highly entertaining (these women can take a photo!), use hashtag #rsthecon.

Leslie wrote a very moving piece on how returning to yoga has helped her with the grief of her mother’s death.

And, in advance of Earth Day and in recognition of today’s worldwide March for Science, I recommend this article in the New York Times Magazine, by my friend Maryn McKenna. Turns out changes in the mosquito population may cause us more harm than any tides lapping our front steps.

The best defense against Aedes mosquitoes turns out to be not big municipal gestures but small individual actions: destroying their habitat by emptying the pools of water where they reproduce, and keeping them from eating by repairing windows screens and wearing bug repellent.

Go get rid of you standing water, right now.

And then have a good weekend. Because it’s up to us to read the tough stuff along with the fun and the feelings, and carry on in hope. Even when sometimes we’ve got to manufacture that hope from within.

20 Responses

  1. THE ITALIAN is ALWAYS dumping the standing water……….HE HAS BEEN WAY AHEAD OF THE CURVE ON EVERYTHING!GOTTA THANK MY MOTHER for pointing him out to ME!

  2. FAMILY………but I changed as I grew up and the choices were HANDS DOWN the OTHER party!

  3. To comment at two removes (sorry! I don’t have a Medium account!) Re: the New Yorker article, I think it’s somewhat less dire than that facts don’t change our minds. There’s an enormous difference between the presentation of new facts not changing our mind vs. the cancellation of “facts” not properly cleaning up after themselves in our mind. (although confirmation bias is still a problem with how we judge new facts)

    The note later in the article that if one has to think through implementation and implications then one tends to moderate previously-aggressive beliefs is interesting to me – I think this is where sufficiently walk-you-through-it anecdotes and case studies are perhaps “rationally” helpful and not merely emotional manipulation, in letting people see the way something works out for someone specific. I had been in favor of raising estate taxes (“you didn’t earn it and it wasn’t yours and you might not have gotten it if it had been used up before then or given differently, so what’s the problem with giving more of it up?” being my basic reasoning, thinking of predominately-monetary-instrument inheritance, as the inheritances I’m familiar with have been), but then was presented with the problem of family farms (or by extension other small family businesses) with limited liquid capital and with work having been put into them by the entire family. Oh. That puts a rather different spin on ownership and fairness and estate tax for me. (This is the most recent time I know of where I changed my mind on something “political”, within the last four months or so – although now I just don’t know what estate tax ought to do/exempt/etc., since every reasonably straightforward “fix” seems to be mostly made of loophole!)

    And augh, mosquitoes. Have to make sure the bird bath gets emptied regularly, although it feels a bit futile given how close we are to some natural areas of non-running water. But 10 fewer mosquitoes (or whatever) is still a bit better than it would otherwise be, yes?

    Re: hope, to pull from three centuries: it is listed as one of the “three things that remain”; “the thing with feathers that perches in the soul”; or “being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness” – a Good Thing, I think. But like most Good Things, hard to hold onto sometimes. :-)

    1. @KC, “I think this is where sufficiently walk-you-through-it anecdotes and case studies are perhaps “rationally” helpful and not merely emotional manipulation, in letting people see the way something works out for someone specific.” Excellent point. Thank you for such a thoughtful analysis. And for the gorgeous poetic references to hope.

    2. @KC, (actually, Lisa, but I want this to thread appropriately) – Thank you for your gracious and generous replies to comments; it makes a more-thoughtful level of engagement feel more worthwhile. (I do believe that generally honoring well-thought-through pieces with a more-thoughtful level of engagement *is* worthwhile, with or without commenting enabled, but sometimes we need extra encouragement to not just click-skim-move-along but to also chew a bit.)

      1. You are more than welcome. I feel a sense of responsibility. I ask a lot of my readers sometimes, it’s only fair that I honor the effort to respond. Especially when the responses are clearly not off-the-cuff. <3

  4. Thanks for sharing your Medium article. Regarding your first point on abortion: I had to terminate my pregnancy earlier this year when we learned our baby had a fatal condition. We learned this at the 20-week ultrasound, meaning I technically had a mid-term or late-term termination. Most women don’t want to end their pregnancies at that point; it is usually a wrenching decision based on medical information that was simply not available any earlier.

    I don’t think most people are aware of the realities of mid- or later-term abortion, in part because it can be so difficult for those with first-hand experience to discuss it publicly. And of course this silence breeds ignorance, and bad policies can be pushed forward without great uproar.

    There’s much more I could say on this topic, but perhaps another forum would be more appropriate.

    1. @Danielle, I am so very very sorry. The controversy but most of all the pain of what people in your situation experience (because of course you are not alone), must make this so hard to talk about.

      I hope you are finding some kind of recovery. You’ve been commenting here for a long time, I feel somewhat maternal toward for what it’s worth, and I send you my every thought and affection.


    1. @JB, I don’t imagine many of us are, unless we do it for a living and have a special temperament. I have to really make an effort but am almost always happy I have done so.

  5. I thought your Medium article was good. It conforms with what I’d thought when you first mentioned what formed political beliefs: family, faith, community.

    I had a similar pull back on abortion after having my own children. However, I still strongly feel it is a woman’s right to choose. Of interest to me are the stats on abortions. Women who already have children are often those having them. Those children need their mothers.

    I think Hillary had pulled away from her initial 1990s statements about abortion during the campaign, but I was most with her when she said that abortions should be safe, legal, and rare.

  6. I just read your Medium article and it gave me goosebumps. Not sure why yet….I need to let it simmer. Not very eloquent this morning.

  7. Yes, dump the standing water, daily. But, REFILL it daily. For the BIRDS. For the BEES. For the BUTTERFLIES. I see these beauties using my birdbath, dog’s dish and watering can every day here in Michigan, a state known for it’s standing water. It’s not the water at issue, it’s the time the water is left standing. Mosquitos can zip through their 5 stages of growth and emerge in days when it’s warm. A foolproof option is to USE MOSQUITO PUCKS MADE OF A NATURALLY OCCURRING BACTERIA, BACILLUS THURINGIENSIS, WHICH SHUTS DOWN THE MOSQUITO LARVAE’S NERVOUS SYSTEM WITHOUT HARMING OTHERS. I break the pucks into smaller pieces since they are made for ponds. As an organic gardener, I must advocate for supplying the non-mosquitos with the basic necessities of life, so I can continue to be enraptured with the joy and beauty they bring, as well as the food they provide to all of us as pollinators! Let’s not throw away everything with the proverbial bathwater, folks!

    1. Good point. I was wondering about this just the other day – I leave out a plate of water that dries up in one day but I have never not once seen a bird or butterfly alight. I wonder if that’s because so many people were use sprinklers and the butterflies have other options?

  8. Read and appreciated the Medium article. I heard this interview today
    and it was fascinating. It speaks to your article.
    “In 1933, faced with a housing shortage, the federal government began a program explicitly designed to increase — and segregate — America’s housing stock. Author Richard Rothstein says the housing programs begun under the New Deal were tantamount to a “state-sponsored system of segregation.” Richard Rothstein then discusses how this segregation denied TO THIS DAY blacks the opportunity to build wealth. it affects black families and black societies to this day. TRAGIC. and the prevailing poverty is due 90% to the US govt racism

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