Today I am working on gathering my thoughts. For many of us, 2016 has been a year of loss and challenge, made worse perhaps by the random or unexpected nature of them. I'm going to layout some baggage I've been carrying around in the hopes that I can at least set it down for awhile.
My reflections this week are literally triggered by the horrible public slaughter in Orlando at a nightclub. When the news began to unfold of people being shot in a nightclub, I remembered the terrible news of last summer of the people who were assassinated in the Mother Emanuel Church in Charleston.
How do we actually create public spaces that are not harmful, or places where harm can happen? If we can't keep the devil from invading a church, can we keep evil out of any place?
How do we keep the bad from overshadowing the good?
What's that quote about being afraid but doing what you have to do anyway? Does courage taste like burned toast, dry bread that scratches your throat on the way down to filling your stomach?
I'm entirely weary of arguments about the 2nd amendment and "what did the founding fathers mean." Can't we just talk about this moment, this time in America, when guns are easier to obtain than health care or education or healthy food?
I whisper to you now my two fears:
What form/when will evil visit my library? It has started to show its face in recent tragic events in my downtown location. How do I keep coming in here knowing that one of the principles I held most dear, that the doors are open to everyone, has a very dangerous side to it? No more so than any other public movie theater, school, or church, but having seen that principle so violently broken in Charleston and Orlando I can't ignore it like I guess I had.
Even if I felt "safe" in a library, should I be a librarian anymore? Is it important? Is it worthwhile work? I don't know anymore. Can I be effective as a librarian if I can detach my idea of self worth from my profession? While I'm engineer of the professional self doubt train, why Higher Education even? Who else in the "helping" professions feels like you are on a train to nowhere?
Last June, I was in San Francisco for ALA and the flags being flown for Pride Week seemed even more richly colorful for the SCOTUS ruling that that same-sex couples have the exact same right to marry as their opposite-sex counterparts, throughout the country.
This June, a mass shooting at a gay nightclub. For every step forward, must we take two bloody footsteps backwards? How do we not keep doing what we have been doing this past year, because to continue in this way is madness.