The cosmos feel more benevolent than usual this month. I’ve been trolling the internet more fervently at month’s end to see what kinds of fuckery we’ve gotten ourselves into, only to find that June fuckery has turned into fortuitous blessings.
I am currently living in Petersburg, Virginia. Very few people–save any Civil War aficionados and re en actors–know of the significance this city held in the fall of the South. Petersburg was the last stop before the end of the war. Towards the end, the Union wanted to bring the city to its knees because it was a major supply line for the Confederates, where multiple railroads converged. The Union embarked on an 18-month siege. When the Union tunneled underneath Confederate earthworks, they set off a huge explosion that produced a giant crater. This backfired, bigtime. The Union charged after the explosion, only to be met with the Confederate defense. This event is known as The Battle of the Crater. There were other battles after this one, but the Union eventually wore Robert E. Lee down. Lee’s army evacuated Petersburg, after which the Union occupied the city. A week later, the South surrendered.
To be clear: I could not possibly give less shits about the Civil War. I do, however, give many shits about how Confederate history has pervaded my city as well as Richmond’s. I take it personally when my eyes and ears are assaulted by fear-based racism. When a white psychopath decided to attack members in a church at Bible study in Charleston, South Carolina, he was met with the most significant defense of all: forgiveness. I suspect he did not see that one coming. When the Charleston massacre occurred at an historically-significant black church, the presumptuous, insidious relics of racism prepared to die.
I am part of the minority in Petersburg’s population of approximately 36,000 people. I am a white person in a city that is 79.1% black or African-American. And I love my city.
I am also a straight woman. But I would estimate that 98.88888 % of my friends (and some family) are of the LGBTQ variety. And I love my friends/family. The Supreme Court decided yesterday that they can now legally love and marry each other, too. Is it just me, or do you feel a shift in consciousness coming on?
Our country has an expansive history of learning the hard way from its self-manufactured misery. As an alcoholic, I can relate. We are stubborn. We are also innovative and persistent. We have been more comfortable creeping in the shadows of pain than living in the light of love. That doesn’t seem to sit well with us these days. My heart has fissures in it from years of trying to forcibly remove intolerance from my ignorant neighbors. That being said, I have not experienced being a person of color in this country, nor have I lived as a member of the LGBTQ community. I have loved, though. And for those of us who love, we learn to exercise that love by taking cues from others who are different than we are. We start off not knowing; that is when we take the leap to learn. That is how we raise our consciousness.
Everything that has transpired in the last couple of weeks forced us to open our eyes. Reality uncovered a black hole of despair to bring it to the light of our own understanding. We cannot hide behind cowardice or intolerance anymore. The light has punctured our tired version of darkness. We have to look at each other in the harsh light of day. We get to live in a country that rises in love, despite our defects of character. We are the lucky ones.
I feel all kinds of charged up by the bravery of those who meet calamity with serenity. I am taking my cues from you, America.
Now that’s sexy.
Photo courtesy of warfarehistorynetwork.com