Friend of ours was driving from the upper Midwest to the East Coast the other day, with family. They left at night, got hungry for breakfast around dawn, and then remembered:
“Yikes, we’re in Indiana.”
Indiana, with the new law permitting bigots to refuse to do business with gays – on religious grounds.
Just for the record, this is not a family that is going to arouse the deep fears and prejudices of the smugly religious. But this is a family with quite American values. So they kept going, 153 miles from west to east on Interstate 80/90, heading east, toward gasoline and biscuits.
That is the way to go, while Gov. Mike Pence makes a total ass of himself on national television, trying to explain what is so obvious from the hard look in his eyes.
He is standing up for his base, the rabid core, that will say it loves everybody but doesn’t want to make a wedding cake for two men or two women who love each other, or sell coffee to them, or gasoline.
The reaction from major companies like Eli Lilly and Cummins Engine Co. has been instructive. I can speak about Cummins a bit. When we lived in Louisville, Ky., one of our most beautiful outings was on a crisp fall Saturday, visiting the great architecture of Columbus, Ind. -- a Saarinen church, courtesy of Cummins. Just memorable.
I loved the southern part of Indiana, near the Ohio River, even with its county-by-county time zones that could make you nuts. Loved the stone county courthouses. Loved the hills of Brown County. Loved the great music from Indiana University.
But these are new times. The base is threatened by having to do business with the emerging America, the minorities-becoming-majorities, plus the gay couples getting married, many of them raising children.
Indiana has made its statement. Drive on.
“They may hate the cultural context they now find themselves teaching in, but they love their work. The Achilles’ heel of schoolteachers, one all too easily exploited by politicians, is that they love their students.”
(One of the best reads in the NYT these days is Margaret Renkl, in Nashville. In her latest post, Renkl describes the dedicated core of “born teachers” – the majority, she submits.)
(From Madeleine Albright in one of her final interviews in February):
“Putin is small and pale,” I wrote, “so cold as to be almost reptilian.” He claimed to understand why the Berlin Wall had to fall but had not expected the whole Soviet Union to collapse. “Putin is embarrassed by what happened to his country and determined to restore its greatness.” – Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, recalling her first meeting with the relatively unknown Vladimir Putin in 2000. – The New York Times, Feb. 23, 2022.