Sense from Seattle

Common sense thoughts on life and current affairs by a Seattle area sexagenarian, drawing on personal experience, years of learning as a counselor to thousands of families and an innate passion for informed knowledge, to uniquely express sensible, thoughtful, honest and independent views.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Help

[This article was submitted by John from Phoenix as a comment to a recent article, but since it addressed a new topic, I have chosen to feature it as the first guest commentator article here at Sense. I may select future comments for use as separate articles, and encourage any readers to send other article ideas to me by E-mail.]

I am currently reading (listening to an audio book) "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett. My wife put me on to it. Her story takes place in Jackson Mississippi in the early 60's at the time Medgar Evers was murdered. Although she lived in Jackson, her picture makes her too young to have been alive at the time Edgars was killed.

Nevertheless, I am captivated by her story. Her main character is a white woman only 23 years old, possibly modeled on herself. Her character convinces a few black maids to tell her stories of their experiences that she hopes to publish. She describes the pressure that the "help" feel in doing this which could cause physical harm and certainly economic harm if found out. She also describes the fear the protagonist feels in losing the esteem of her society and the romantic interest of a budding politician she has fallen in love with.

Her story seems a fantasy. What black woman at that time would risk her economic and physical life to a 23 year old idealist? But that is the story of the civil rights movement: many blacks risked everything. After all, Martin Luther King was a martyr.

Changing Course

This blog was started near the end of the 2004 Presidential campaign. Since then, I have spent four years following and commenting on the disgrace that was the Bush/Cheney regime. Now that Barack Obama has taken over, I do not feel the need to follow his administration closely or to comment here on developments. President Obama is someone I believe and trust and I have confidence in his intelligence, judgment and demeanor. Any disagreements I may have with him are not likely to spur me to comment here, as I felt compelled to do by the continuing Bush/Cheney outrages. I have embarked on a much needed break from intensely following and commenting on political news.

I considered taking this blog in other directions, to reflect on interests and pursuits beyond politics, as I have occasionally done in these pages, but I feel no urge to take this blog in any specific other direction at this time. I have seriously considered taking a break from blog publishing - something beyond a vacation, more akin to a sabbatical. In fact I wrote an article a couple weeks ago proclaiming such a sabbatical, but I have held it back.

John from Phoenix has been on vacation for a month, hiking in the Grand Canyon and then visiting our nation's capital and some American heritage sites. With his return he has posted two comments to the last article written here. I have chosen to make his second comment, about the new Novel, "The Help", into an article, as part of exploring some course changes here at Sense. I am open to other submissions from John or anyone else.

Some people use their blogs as a sort of daily Christmas letter, those infamous annual updates on family accomplishments and milestones, many of which are poorly written and of no general interest. I have no interest in embarking on such public journaling, but I am not opposed to sometimes sharing at Sense what I am up to, if I think it can be of some general interest and if my experience and thinking gel into some sense I want to share.

To those few who keep checking in here to see what I have to say, I thank you for your attention. To those fewer who posted comments, I say thank you for sharing your thoughts. And to John, who told me to write what and when my muse prompts me, thanks for the advice and thanks for your example.