Last week was an exceptional week for news, an extraordinary week. So much happened you almost don’t know where to start.
The word I kept thinking about this weekend, digesting all that occurred, was progress. Progress is a funny thing; for so many it comes too slow, for others it comes at whiplash-inducing speed.
With two major stories last week, I felt like “progress” was a tie-in. With the Confederate flag issue, as politicians and corporations practically tripped over their “Dukes of Hazzard” DVDs trying to denounce and diminish the importance of that symbol (seriously, I never thought I’d ever have anything nice to say about Walmart, but bravo to them on this), it dawned on me that, yes, this was a good thing that was finally happening, but also: The Civil War ended 150 years ago! With a clear winner and a clear loser! And yet the symbol of that disgraceful practice of the South and the slavery it allowed remained relevant, 150 years later.
That we’re even having a discussion about such a symbol of racism and hatred, so far after it should’ve been torn down and destroyed atop every government building atop which it flew, is kind of mind-boggling. What took so long?
But then, there was the other story of progress, the one where marriage equality was finally given the stamp of approval from the highest court in the land, and in all 50 states now any two men or two women can get hitched, forever.
The progress on this issue, in the scope of history, has been astonishingly fast. As the great Andrew Sullivan, a pioneer on this civil rights front, points out in this beautiful essay, 25 and 30 years ago he was laughed at by both sides about gay marriage; it would never happen, it’s ridiculous to even try, etc.
And yet two decades later, it’s settled law. The sea change is complete; there’s really no more argument, except, apparently, from the 2016 GOP presidential candidates, who couldn’t express their outrage loudly enough (What? The Supreme Court gets to make decisions like this? Who gives them the right? Oh yeah, the Constitution, that document y’all are always slavishly quoting.)
Progress. So slow, and yet so fast.
And now, a few words from the brilliant mind of Stephen Colbert:
**Next up today, I finally got a chance late last week to listen to this remarkably candid and fun interview President Obama did with popular comedian/podcast host Marc Maron. If you’ve never heard a Maron podcast, they’re fantastic; he does them in his garage, and he gets celebrities (usually other comedians) to open their souls and pour out some deep, personal stuff.
And he gets that from Obama here. The talk about his wandering college years in California, how Michelle’s father’s MS affected his thinking, and of course, his thoughts on racism in America were fascinating. After the first few minutes, when Maron overcomes his “Holy crap, the President of the United States is in my garage!” excitement, the real conversation begins, and it’s riveting.
**And finally today, this is a video and story near and dear to my heart these days: As I’ll probably write in a post sometime soon, my baby son and I have been taking swim lessons, and they’re going awesomely. The program we’re in, though, is nothing like this.
This is called the Infant Swimming Resource, and it basically teaches babies aquatic survival skills.
This is jarring and a little tough to watch if you’ve had a baby recently, but it is apparently very, very successful. It’s also amazing.