Monday, September 24, 2007

Safe? Not so much.


Right after September 11th, I remember people saying "I don't feel safe anymore." At the time, I realized that I'd never felt entirely safe-as a woman, or as a non-Christian. I'd had enough run-ins with hate. It's not easy to eradicate.

I've been struggling with what to put on my blog in light of some of the local news. Why? Well, maybe it's that I feel a little isolated. I can't quite figure out a positive way to celebrate right now. We're putting up our sukkah (scroll back to the October 10th entry for more about last year's holiday) and getting ready to invite people over to celebrate harvest. We're now putting it up in the back yard, partly because it's easier to cope with the dogs inside the fence, and partly because of this. Or to put it more plainly, Hate Groups Re-Emerge in Kentucky. It's probably not safe to put this up in a more public place.

Meanwhile, the local university, usually seen as a bastion of safety for a variety of viewpoints, feels significantly less safe to me. I feel more scared about the professor's work there. That's because there's going to be a protest on campus--asking that students be allowed to carry guns on campus, because they think it will make campus safer. Really? This alarms me! Read more about it here. The real question, in the comments made on a variety of forums, is this. How many people are carrying concealed weapons anyway, even though the university has a no-gun policy?

I just finished listening to Barbara Kingsolver's audiobook, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. I want to celebrate its message. Her family's year of local food growing and eating is a love song to the meaning of rural America and my home state, Virginia. It does a great job of discussing how we can lessen our fossil fuel dependency and eat better while doing it. It draws on many things I wish I could do in terms of raising my own food and...it brings me to sense of nostalgia for something I've never experienced. However, the conclusion I draw at this point is a sad one. I don't see myself living safely or happily in a rural environment right now. In fact, I don't feel safe right here in town.

I caught a bit of this program, The Story of Anti-Semitism in America, as the professor listened to it over streaming audio while he was working at home. The program concludes by saying that "Anti-Semitism in America gradually declined and finally ended after the World War II, with Al Gore's selection of Senator Joseph Lieberman, an Orthodox Jew, as his running mate in 2000." The professor and I just didn't understand the conclusion. Maybe that's true in some big cities, but I wonder, have these folks ever been to Kentucky?

10 Comments:

Blogger Nancy said...

That conclusion is absolutely Absurd. What an Existential experience. I sadly suspect we may never feel safe again here on Earth. I'll retreat to my knitting now....

September 24, 2007 at 4:44 PM  
Anonymous LisaK said...

I'm sorry you don't feel safe.

Discrimination is sad.

Thanks for sharing your traditions with us.

Sally and Harry are adorable too.

September 24, 2007 at 5:42 PM  
Anonymous DK said...

Safe...is there anywhere on this earth that is truly safe for a woman of any faith to live? My neighborhood was just visited by someone dropping off calling cards for the KKK (or prankster)over the weekend.

I have daughters and worry about their safety on a daily basis.

September 24, 2007 at 5:50 PM  
Blogger Cathy said...

I still don't feel completely safe. Ever alert and aware. It's worse in your area, I know from experience.

September 25, 2007 at 10:06 AM  
Anonymous marti said...

it makes me so angry that there are people like this in the world. oddly, i feel the safest with my knitter friends, both in the person and in the cyberspace. i too, am greatful that you share your faith/traditions with us. thank you.

September 25, 2007 at 10:34 AM  
Anonymous deb-ky said...

It makes me sad to know you don't feel safe here in my beloved rural Ky. I know 9/11 changed our world. I try to live my life better for it. I'm working on my procrastination and not collecting things and keeping the faith. Faith that good will overcome evil, whatever religion. Faith that we can all feel and be safe, some day.

September 25, 2007 at 11:00 AM  
Blogger Denise said...

I think one has to be pretty naive to believe that there's no anti-semitism in America just because a Jewish person was selected as a running mate. People of color have been elected to office too, does that mean that there's no longer racial discrimination? I think it's a logically flawed argument.

I'm sorry you've had a the KKK in your neighborhood. It's terrible to not to feel safe in your own neighborhood. Or to be unable to celebrate your traditions without fear of some retaliation.

We get the Neo-Nazis about every spring leaving their hate propaganda on lawns and porches in the dead of night here. Another group I just don't understand.

On a more positive note:
Nice sukkah! I hope you have nice weather to enjoy it. It has to be warmer than here!

be safe.

September 25, 2007 at 10:09 PM  
Blogger Romi said...

Ack. :/

September 25, 2007 at 11:30 PM  
Anonymous AlisonH said...

That conclusion boggles my mind. I so wish it were true--I wish it were, enough that I started my book with a story about a Seder: about being the strangers welcomed in at the gates, in honor of all that is good and true and fine in Jewish tradition, and I brought the book towards the close with a story with a multi-faith gathering, with Muslim men chanting (to me it was singing, they were good) from the Koran at a September '01 peace rally. My hope was to bring people together. I want to go hand out copies in your town to wake them up and open their eyes and make them see! Be kind, people! That's what it's all about, I don't care what your religion is!

Would that I could.

September 26, 2007 at 5:28 PM  
Blogger annmarie said...

a simplistic conclusion to say the least :/

October 1, 2007 at 5:03 PM  

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