Look at the facts of the world. You see a continual and progressive triumph of the right. I do not pretend to understand the moral universe, the arc is a long one, my eye reaches but little ways. I cannot calculate the curve and complete the figure by the experience of sight; I can divine it by conscience. But from what I see I am sure it bends towards justice.
I first learned to shoot a gun at the age of twelve. I still remember sitting on the floor of the cavernous, musty Arena in town with others my age staring down the barrel of a 22 caliber while “the Bobs” barked orders. Maybe you have that same memory. Taking Gun Safety wasn’t an option or a rite of passage; it was an absolute, non-negotiable requirement in a family full of hunters. Once I had my permit, my dad took me to a gravel pit and set up pop cans on a log so I could practice. Despite everyone’s best efforts to turn me into a hunter, I became a gatherer. I don’t think this makes me an anti-gun whack job, but I suppose it just depends on who you ask.
I have lived north of the Mason-Dixon line my entire life and have only driven through the Southern U.S. twice. Most of what I know about the Civil War, I learned in high school History class. I suppose that reading Gone With the Wind and watching “Roots” on television years ago filled in some blanks, too. And when I see a Confederate flag, I think of Daisy Duke, not hate groups.
I am a woman married to a man. A good one. For over three decades. We’ve built a marriage that is like most pretty good ones. One in which we continue to decide every day to be decent to each other. One that I hope to grow old in since the alternative seems awfully lonely. We were married on a sunny June day in St. Mary’s in 1983. Someday, maybe we’ll take a trip to the South so I can bone up on my Civil War history. And if we do, nobody will bat an eye or question whether or not we are actually a married couple.
It has been a grief-filled, grace-filled, terrible, joyous June. It just depends on who you ask. My Facebook news feed has exploded with memes and quotes and images of flags of different colors being raised and lowered. As I scroll through social media, I try hard to remember that we are all swept up in the historical significance of a whole lot of stuff. And when my finger hovers over the “Unfriend” button a little too long, I remind myself that everyone has a right to express their views. That while I may vehemently disagree, that I can still choose friendship and love over hate. That I must choose love.
There is more than enough hate, after all. History has proven that.
It just depends on who you ask.