What is the next dreadful thing that will happen? I ask myself. It has been a year of horrible news. The ghastly fascinating watching as bad things crawl nearer, powerless to stop them. Brexit, with all the social and economic catastrophes it has already started bringing. Trump in America, and the inevitable diminution of rights for women, LGBTI people there. The deaths of beloved figures, and yes, OK, some of them were old, of whom Cohen, gone after a full life but at the height of his powers, is just the final straw.
And don’t even think of telling me to fight back. I always have and last year I took the step of joining the political party most closely aligned to my views to do it a tad more coherently. My time is limited and I give a reasonable chunk of it to living in a consciously ethical way already. That is to things like rearing my own hens, supporting my own family. Yes, most of it is a lot of fun too. And no, I do not always get it right. Could do better, will keep trying, OK?
But with the latest grim news, Trump, Cohen (unrelated of course), I woke up today realising that I was not feeling very accommodating myself. I suspect over the years I have been far too forgiving to the attitudes of others. True, some of the worst of them are no longer a threat to me. A pensioner does not have to fend off groping in quite the same way.
I recall, as a young Lay Reader in the C of S, going to an obligatory in-service day. A bloke there targeted me. Trying to trap me in a corner, against a door frame to grope me. Not once, several times. I think of my young self, really scared, trying to slip out under an arm, to make sure she was not alone. Knowing if I approached anybody else I would be told I had solicited the behaviour. Of the flashers, of the wankers, of the other grabbers. At 64, with a skin like a superglued patch on a finger, that is not a hazard. But be very assured that I will totally support others who ARE harassed, and, yes, it still happens. Do you know just one single woman who has never, ever been either harassed or assaulted?
Now, it is more aggressive opinions I have to fend off. So – no, I will not shut up about Brexit. It is coming but I am not obliged to think it a good thing. Yes, I will call out low level racism each time I hear it. I will try to do it gently if it is mere ignorance. My part Asian fiancée is NOT obliged to consider herself white, and she can acknowledge both her Asian and her Swedish ancestry equally as she chooses. Yes, I am free to choose a male or a female life partner, and that does not have to be a constrained or a diminished choice. It is first best, all five stars, thank you very much. Yes, I do think it an outrage that there is full provision for English churches to chose their own male bishop, and yet not for them to claim a female bishop.
I will try to find ways to put this across in ways designed to swing opinion behind me, and not alienate others, but you know what? If it upsets people, well it may just have to. And I may get it wrong. It is not only men who have that prerogative.