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Purple Silk, Blue Satin, and Green Brocade

A couple of days ago it was Mother’s Day, and—as is usual on my Facebook these days, because I have friends who care deeply and passionately about our world and the people in it—there was a lot of politics on my wall. One of the things on my wall was a friend (admittedly not a Clinton fan) who expressed horror that Hillary was willing to accept support from Republicans. In her mind, that was proof that Hillary doesn’t share any values with liberals.

And I cringed. This was, after all, Mother’s Day, a day when we all—liberals, conservatives, the apolitical, and people whose politics are best described on some other axis—celebrate our marvelous mothers or console our friends who had the misfortune to be born to mothers who aren’t so marvelous. We all value family, just as we all value warmth when it’s cold. Like today—cold and rainy, prompting me to reach for something warm. I tried a sweater, and it was too scratchy. With all the political uproar, I wanted more comfort than that.

There’s this old silk jacket I have. I bought it at the thrift store years ago even though it was a bit threadbare because the colors—purples and blues and greens—are marvelous and it fits gently around me and it’s so soft and sensual. It feels good, like a warm hug made of rose petals. It was old when I bought it, and now the outer silk is pulling apart in strips and shreds. Periodically, I pick this jacket up and give in to the illogical urge (why not just replace it?) to take satin scraps or shapes cut from old silk shirts and patch the areas that are the most tattered.

I pick it up today and put it on long enough to warm up a little, and rip it some more trying to put my phone into a place that, as it turns out, is not the pocket after all. I look again at my Facebook and see more vitriol against that other mother who hopes to help the world from the big white house in DC, and I take the jacket off again. I cut a bit of purple from a ripped silk sleeve I’ve been using to clean my glasses and start stitching it to the coat, and I feel comforted.

Our social fabric is tattered right now, pulled apart by low income and bigotry and fear. But we can’t just throw it away and buy a new one. Someone has shared a quote showing that Trump thinks he can get the nation through hard times by not paying our debt. I sigh. I so very much don't want to see more things like that, so I switch over to Live Journal on the computer and read a poem where a policeman tries to help a person with superpowers who has PTSD. Then I listen to an interview of Hillary, so I can close that tab on the web browser. I enjoy listening to Hillary when she can actually talk about her hopes for what she can accomplish if she’s President, and it’s easier to sew when I’m listening instead of reading. I reflect that our world is kind of like the poor super-kid in the poem, broken and traumatized and scared.

The bit of purple silk stitched firmly to the sleeve, I go looking to see what I can find that’s suitable to put next to it. Our youngest cat, Nebula, is sleeping in a box of material, and is quite bemused when I pull the box out and dig through things around and under her. She blinks at me, strange human, and I rub her under her chin. I find a scrap of white brocade not much more than an inch wide, and some blue satin and green brocade, and part of a tie whose off-white lining could work. And a hairball. Ugh. I brush the old dried mess into the trash and consign that bit of cloth to the laundry, along with some clothes that will probably be donated.

Then back to my old jacket with safety pins and material. I cut and lay down several more pieces and pin them in place. Some of them will doubtless get moved around as I stitch, but it’s a plan. I thread the needle again and continue. The lovely smooth texture of the silks and brocades calms me. It feels as if each stitch is sending healing energy out into the world, a gentle prayer or bit of kind sympathetic magic to help us all in our quest to make the world a little healthier, a little less ragged, and a little more beautiful.

I use up the thread on my needle and tie it off. Next is a spot where the original fabric is just gone, the rough lining showing through. It reminds me of the places where lies and hatred have hurt me and people I care about, but I smile, because here on this jacket I can fix things. More green, I think, to cover this spot. Green would look good. We could use more green in our politics too, and fewer lies. More kindness and less fear. I pin and I stitch, and I send my good wishes out into the world, and in my head is a line from science fiction that has, contrary to all expectations, become popular culture: “Make it so.”

Comments

( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
elvenjoy
May. 10th, 2016 08:55 pm (UTC)
You have a way with words. That made me want to reply simply with a "<3" because of how beautifully this was written.
wyld_dandelyon
May. 10th, 2016 09:46 pm (UTC)
Thank you.
kelkyag
May. 11th, 2016 01:56 am (UTC)
Seconded!
wyld_dandelyon
May. 11th, 2016 03:54 am (UTC)
Thank you too!
msstacy13
May. 10th, 2016 11:41 pm (UTC)
I'm preparing myself for a Trump presidency.
*sigh*
wyld_dandelyon
May. 10th, 2016 11:54 pm (UTC)
I'm preparing to fight for Trump to _not_ win -- and also to fight for the Democrats to take Congress, just in case.
acelightning
May. 11th, 2016 05:48 am (UTC)
I really wanted to like Hilary. Alas, politically she's a Rockefeller Republican - and I'm an old hippie.
wyld_dandelyon
May. 11th, 2016 06:18 am (UTC)
I think she is more left than that, or would be if we gave her a sufficiently left-leaning Congress to work with. But I have no problem with people who prefer Bernie because they feel his politics are closer to their own than Hillary's.

Really, their record on voting is very similar and both are far to the left of most of Congress. But Hillary has learned to listen to the people, which up until Bernie started his campaign meant leaning toward the middle, which in many respects has been shifted rightward despite progress on some very important issues like gay rights.

I do, however, have a problem with people who parrot all the lies and attacks the right has pelted her with over the decades and act like she is a bad person. She has worked to help women and children and minorities her whole life, and she deserves at least a measure of respect. She's not perfect, but she also isn't the devil incarnate.

Edited at 2016-05-11 06:21 am (UTC)
acelightning
May. 11th, 2016 08:04 am (UTC)
Well, I'm deeply disappointed in Obama, although I do understand that he could only do so much with the obstructionist Congress he had to deal with. I'd just like to see some real progressivism in this country again. I won't go into detail about the reasons I'm dubious about Hilary, because you and I don't know each other very well yet, and I really don't want to start fighting. So I'll just say that, given a choice between a vicious capering psychopath and President Grandma, I'd rather have Hilary.

One thing I've learned by living in the US all my life is that there's a huge amount of inertia in the political system. No matter who gets elected, there's always a horde of bureaucratic funtionaries whose jobs don't change when a new President gets elected. Furthermore, the Constitution is remarkably resilient; the country can get through eight years of almost anybody as President (*cough*Dubya*cough*) without much permanent damage, although sometimes it takes a while to recover completely.

"This, too, shall pass..."

wyld_dandelyon
May. 11th, 2016 08:43 am (UTC)
I am disappointed that Obama didn't live up to my dreams on the one hand--but on the other, he has accomplished quite a lot for a man who has had so much blatant obstructionism and racism piled in his way.

I, too, would like to see some real progressivism. To do that, we need progressives to take both houses of Congress and keep them for at least two elections, preferably more. The changes that Bernie is proposing almost all require changes in the laws, and his lack of specific plans (both for what the laws should say and for how to get a Congress that will pass those laws) troubles me.

Especially after experiencing a President I admire and mostly agree with in Obama, who can't change so many things because of the behavior of Congress, I want more than inspiring speeches.

As to fighting--I don't see us fighting, so feel free to start a conversation if you're so inclined. I do not demand that all of my friends agree with me! But I will admit I'm more interested, at this point, in hearing about Congressional candidates' virtues and flaws.
msstacy13
May. 11th, 2016 12:24 pm (UTC)
Yeah, FDR was the wildest revolutionary we've ever had in the White House, and it was largely because the forces that oppose progressives recognized that it was either a compromise with him, or an actual revolt. I've never liked Clinton, but she's the only one in the running who actually knows what she's doing, in addition to knowing what can be done and how things ~are~ done. What Ace said about inertia is absolutely correct; if anyone pushes too hard too fast in any direction, the inert mass will either roll back on them, taking things opposite to where they wanted them to go, as well as crushing them, so it will keep right on going the wrong way until it's run its full course, or else the whole thing will break apart.
acelightning
May. 12th, 2016 10:00 am (UTC)
Well, on the one hand, Hilary could be the First Woman President, the way Obama is the First Black President, and I'm definitely in favor of under-represented populations achieving high office! But Hilary's background makes her awfully similar to the generations of men, from all over the political spectrum, who have held office. She's a lawyer, she's served in the Senate and been Secretary of State, she's in cozy financial relationships with who knows how many of the 1%, and most of her stated positions are staunchly middle-of-the-road. (One of the things Sanders has done is made Hilary shift her public statements a little bit to the left, just so she can continue to attract some of the progressive vote.) As I've said, I really wanted to like her.

The trouble with the American political system, though, is that no matter who gets elected, they're still all politicians. I feel we should throw the rascals out, and at least get a fresh set of rascals. More and more, I'm coming to believe that the two-party system in particular, and the political system in general, need to be completely replaced. (I admit that I don't have a clue as to what could replace them - maybe some version of the European/Parliamentary system?)

Trump, though he isn't a classic politician, doesn't count, because he's a dangerous lunatic. And that pretty much leaves Bernie. (<Yiddish accent> A cranky old Jewish leftie from Brooklyn - what's not to like?</accent>) (And what's Elizabeth Warren up to lately?)

msstacy13
May. 11th, 2016 12:28 pm (UTC)
The longest lasting damage comes in court appointments. More then a few Republicans have already recognized that Garland is certainly more to their liking than anyone Clinton might appoint. I think some of them have even begun to recognize that he's sure to be better than anyone Trump might appoint.
msstacy13
May. 11th, 2016 12:09 pm (UTC)
Don't let me talk you out of that, especially getting Republicans out of Congress. The thing is, when Trump says, "I could kill someone and still be elected" I'm sure it's because he's already arranged handsome bribes for quite a few election officials around the country. But he's prolly not paying to pack Congress.
wyld_dandelyon
May. 11th, 2016 08:44 pm (UTC)
Part of me recoils in horror at the thought of bribing your way into the presidency. Another, more cynical part wishes that we could provide proof. Wouldn't that throw a monkey wrench into his campaign?
msstacy13
May. 11th, 2016 08:54 pm (UTC)
You wouldn't mind it so much if I could bribe my way in...
:)
acelightning
May. 12th, 2016 10:07 am (UTC)
Trump doesn't have to bribe his way into the Presidency - he can just buy it, the way Bush I bought the re-election of his son Bush II :-(
filkferengi
May. 15th, 2016 06:54 pm (UTC)
My political convictions begin with GOOMU [get out of my uterus] & end with "leave me alone!".

Your jacket sounds lovely, though, & I'd love to see pictures.

Also, yay for the groovy conversations you're starting & having!
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )

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