I’ve been gardening like crazy. My husband and I have taken out 90% of what the previous owners had planted including the trees and have replaced them with lilacs, blueberry bushes, forsythia, and a serviceberry bush. We also replaced two maples with a stewartia tree. (I put in a link because you probably never heard of one before. We hadn’t.) Plus annuals and lots of perennials. I figure that you can always take stuff out next year that doesn’t work. All of this has helped take my mind off the mostly bad news that seems to keep coming.
Last week we caught a little break. The Supreme Court made two decisions that, contrary to the dissenters, I think will be positive in the long run. The first upheld the subsidies for the Affordable Care Act; the second, legalized marriage for everyone in all states.
Marriage equality began here in New England as all the local media have proudly told us. Vermont legalized civil unions and Massachusetts was the first to sanction marriage. As one news reader noted, “Today’s decision doesn’t really effect New England as same-sex marriage in already legal in all six states.” That is a paraphrase, but a fact of which most New Englanders are very proud and contrasts to the defiant words from some of the Republican Presidential candidates. Reminds me of the governors who wanted to stand in front of the school house door to prevent school integration. Conservatives are always arguing that marriage leads to more stability so I can’t really understand why they aren’t pleased that more people will be getting married.
On the ACA, I wonder if some of the New England states like Vermont that are struggling with the necessary automation and connections to the federal exchange will just move to the federal exchange all together. And I also wonder if states that never expanded Medicare will do so now. But with Congressional leaders and most of the Republican Presidential candidates still hoping to repeal “Obamacare”, that is probably not likely. In the meanwhile, more people are getting insurance and as they begin to get preventative care, costs should continue to drop. Insurance companies, like most of us, like stability something the pro-repeal Republican should remember.
As spring slowly turns to summer here in Vermont, I’ve been thinking a lot about race. As with many things we seem to be taking one step forward and two back. Who would have predicted in 1964 that in 2015 we would need a new voting rights act? Or that the unspoken racism of one of the major political parties would lead to a mass shooting in a black church? Yes, I mean the Republican party with opposition to everything proposed by President Obama. You can’t convince me that if the current Democratic president were someone like Jerry Brown or Tim Kaine opposition would be as virulent. Race is at the core. All those Senate Republicans who want to be president could prove me wrong by supporting the new voting rights legislation. As the Washington Post pointed out, they once did so.
The Sunday after Charleston my husband and I drove down to Boston to attend church. We wanted to attend his home church, an historically black church of which he became the first white member over twenty years ago. The service is still traditionally African-American, but the worshippers are black, white, and Asian. It was comforting to sit with people I have known for so many years as well as with the newcomers. The young pastor spoke first about being “sick and tired of being sick and tired” and went on to talk about faith. We were all given little packets of mustard seed by the children to remind us to keep the faith. I’m finding that gardening is another way to find a measure of peace and faith that things change. In the garden one can see the entire cycle: planting, growth, blooms, death. And then it begins again next spring. We just need to keep the faith.
Photograph: Bob Wyckoff