April 25, 2013
My parents each have a different take on where I got my smart mouth. But I have one, nonetheless.
So over the last week or so, I decided that in order to be smart, I would not use my mouth. No blog posts. The bombing in Boston seemed to merit silence rather than political commentary. Reverence and respect for the dead and wounded. Quiet reflection and remembrance. Prayerfulness.
I have some opinions, believe me, about the event itself, the media coverage, and our different reactions as residents of this nation. And despite the awfulness of terrorism, I have concerns about the treatment of the living suspect.
But I also have good friends in and fond memories of Boston due to my time in grad school there. I also know some folks who were there for the marathon. It has seemed more important to grieve with them, worry for them, listen to them, process with them, than to spew analysis about this or any other political issue at the moment. Coincidentally, one of my Boston friends was just here a couple of days before the bombing. And another was in Chicago this week for a conference, giving me the opportunity to visit with her and hear her perspectives about the city in the aftermath, the lockdown, etc. I have felt fairly closely to the situation.
My sense of connectedness to the tragedy is further complicated by my own processing of my mixed-heritage personal story. I have family connections and roots in the Boston area. I have cousins that were raised in the suburbs on one side of my family, and on the other side my dad’s cousin who provided me a home-away-from-home while I was in school. Then there’s the fact that my mom’s side of the family landed as pilgrims on Plymouth Rock via the all-so-famous (and controversial) Mayflower. I was reminded of my rootedness to the space that is the Boston area by a Facebook post of a fellow Kennedy school grad and descendant of those early settlers. That helped me realize that the horror that I shared with all who were touched by the bombing came with lots of mixed emotions for many reasons.
(I always thought it would be fun to be a Puerto Rican activist member of the Daughters of the American Revolution.)
Better not talk about it much more than that. I need to process.
The thing is, I was already planning some smart mouthed posts, having announced the week before that I would be speaking my piece/peace. Well, being smart mouthed isn’t my intention, but I know much of what I have to say will rub somebody the wrong way. For example, I had already outlined for the next month some posts that included discourse about guns and bombs and was still fretting about whether it was wise to fully air out my premises. Now I’m sure that it’s not quite the time.
Meanwhile, I was going to start with what I thought was some oh-so-smart stuff about tax policy for my usual Tuesday blog post scheduled for the day after the tax deadline. Interesting that our attention was turned that day to the site of the Boston Tea Party that was a rebellion against taxation without representation. What an interesting moment to talk about democracy.
But that Patriots’ Day it didn’t quite seem appropriate to talk politics or policy or throw challenges in anyone’s face. It was and maybe continues to be a time to listen. To pray. To speak encouraging words. To value our loved ones. We need that right now more than my smart mouth.