Every time Obama invoked grace during his landmark eulogy at Reverend Pinckney’s memorial, my permakitty bounded into the room and stationed herself in front of the television, as puffed up as could be. “I AM Grace and I serve at the pleasure of the President!” What a day. Between the Supreme Court’s marriage-rights decision and Obama’s pure and powerful testimony, our hearts were bursting with pride to be Americans, even as we mourned the lost souls of Charleston. So much is still a mess but our President said it best: “Today we have made our union a little more perfect.” I am very grateful, and so, apparently, is Grace.
Usually my prayers are personal petitions–peace and happiness and guidance and health for myself and loved ones; sunshine on the weekend; that sort of thing. Last night I prayed for the lost souls of South Carolina and for our country’s long-delayed evolution. We think we can ignore our racial wounds. Yet if Freud has taught us anything it’s that what happens in a family affects every generation to come until deep-level healing takes place. On a cultural scale, this is what we are dealing with when it comes to our shameful history of slavery. The terrorism of this week reminds us once again that a profound national self-reckoning is required if black Americans are ever to live safely on any level in this country. I send love to every one of us because that’s the only place to start.