As my references to various places in the I-states suggest, I have ties to Indiana. I no longer live there year-round, but two of my degrees were earned at Indiana University. A number of my dear friends are dyed-in-the-wool Hoosiers, and I tend a too much neglected garden there as time and weather permit. It’s the place my frequent road trips take me, so the news from Indiana has occupied a great deal of thought and time in recent days. Sadness, astonishment, pride, disbelief — so many emotions rise and fall with each new development in the saga of Gov. Mike Pence’s affirmation of the misguided RFRA.
There’s so much to follow, from the Indy Star’s bold proclamation …
to the ways others are talking about what’s happening in the Republican-controlled legislature, like this column by Gail Collins in The New York Times. I’m bemused by the Saturday Night Live news skit that succinctly suggests the fate that befalls those who endorse this legislation.
Yet, as the saying goes, it’s complicated. I’m hearing stories from friends, stories that aren’t making headlines, about people who oppose the legislation but still suffer from the disdain intended for those passed this law. One small business woman is seeing out-of-state orders cancelled at a rate that threatens her livelihood, no matter that she decries the law and her legislator spoke in opposition. When press release after press release from Freedom Indiana indicated that large companies’ opposition couldn’t stop this bill from becoming law, how can anyone expect a lone cheesemaker to do so? So while I’m thrilled by the strong voices against such harmful and damaging legislation, I’m concerned about the casualties of broad antagonism to what’s gone wrong in the home state of my middling years.
By sweet and delightful coincidence, the not-yet-finished audiobook from my last drive, the one that resumed as I went out to an appointment this morning, is The Art of Fielding. How could I not love a book laden with allusions to that American novel, Moby Dick? How could anyone not love a book so well wrought, so apt in its descriptions of the firm and fickle inclinations of the human heart? When I returned from my morning’s appointment — spoiler alert — Henry was despairing, Mike was missing Pella’s hints, and Guert and Owen had just kissed for the first time. I stopped there. For now, I’m just hoping for a happy ending.