Monday, November 17, 2008

A Whole New World

I had an experience yesterday that I can't stop thinking about. I honsetly am not sure WHAT to think of it, though.
I've lived a lot of years to have never had that kind of experience until now, and I'm just not sure how to feel about it.
Awed. Inspired. Scared. Really scared. Comforted. Angry (at myself). Shamed. Hopeful. Evangelical about thinking everyone should have the same experience at least once.
Suddenly my mind started going elsewhere with these thoughts, so I better get to the explanation...
So here's what happened. My darling daughter is addicted to swings. My handsome son loves to dress up in various costumes and play outside as a cowboy, robber, alien, superhero, pirate, or some combination of all of those. We thought it would be nice to go to one of the nice city parks instead of the decaying family park in the apartment complex. Sean got all dressed up in his costume, which today was some sort of cowboy bank robber business man, and off we went.
On a side note, I wish I had taken a picture so you could chuckle with me...cowboy hat, button-down maroon shirt, clip-on tie with bright orange/red/yellow flames, nice pants, and cowboy boots, with my backgammon game box as a briefcase.
We drove to our favorite park and found it filled up with softball games. Who knew that softball season in FL began in November...and was played on Sundays?!? We decided we should try a different park that might be less populated.
I had seen a park not far from our house that had lots of swings, so we headed that way. We drove past a soccer field filled with only hispanic players and on to the area of the park with the swings, that also happened to be the area with the basketball courts, where every player and onlooker was black. On a whole city block, we were the only white people around. And the other races were not "mixing".
I don't feel that I am prejudiced. The only neighbors that Sean and Sophie play with are black, and we love them. I just haven't had much exposure to being the minority. Ever. Growing up in small po-dunk town Michigan didn't afford me that opportunity. When minority races were around, it was always a mix of people/races/cultures. In Florida, there are apparently areas where it's not cool to mix. At least on their leisure time. Neighborhoods seem to be segregated. Sad, yet true.
Anyway, we get out of the car. We go to the playground (we did make Sean leave his toy gun behind in the car). I think it was kind of to prove to ourselves that we weren't scared and did belong, but I wonder how it looked to the others. We really didn't belong. I'm not sure we are welcome. I am now TOTALLY apprehensive. I am about the whitest person you'll ever meet, so obviously, we kinda stood out a little.
There were some children already playing on the equipment. And the first thing out of their little blessed mouths? "Wanna play?" "What's your name?" God bless the children. They don't care. They just want to meet new people and have some fun while their parents play their games.
We had a great time. Still I was nervous. Not because I was scared of others, but because I was scared of how they would perceive me. Was I stepping into their territory? Was it not good for us to walk in acting like we had every right to?
And here these children, Theresa, Lily, TayTay, Tayshara, KeKe, and Jevion just had the best time. Oh, and of course Sean and Sophie. It really was a nice park for kids! Chip pushed the merry-go-round, I pushed the swings - then we switched places. It was fun. The slides and the train were in there somewhere, too, but didn't require as much supervision!
I just wonder. If we all took the time to be the only one somewhere - the only white person, the only female, the only male, the only thirty-something, the only...whatever - would we feel as flippant about being the "majority"? Would we feel how it is in someone else's shoes and be more empathetic? I don't know. I don't know if I'll even repeat the experience (doesn't matter who you are, I'm not fond of my kids hearing those words or smelling those smells or seeing those, uhm, activities). And I'm kinda mad at myself even as I say that. But I just hope I keep the experience in my heart and realize that to many, I'm still the enemy. Maybe if I took more time to see life from other points of view, people would be more interested in mine...

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

President Elect

Well, I'm happy for my friend Michael. I'm happy for the history that was made tonight in America. But I'm still not sure it's the right person for the job. I guess I have no choice but to give him a chance now.
I'm fairly certain that none of them really know the answers, so the fly-by-seat-of-our-pants legistlation that's been happening for the past 50 years will continue. And none of those old things will get fixed. And we'll go back to having silverbacked dollars (hahaha). And that everyone who says you should vote with your head and not your heart didn't follow their own advice. Because we all vote with our heart.
The feeling part of our brain will 99% of the time override our other parts. We don't think first. We feel first. So even if we think second, it's still probably not what we're gonna do. I don't care if he's for more taxes - he's a Republican. I don't care if he's GOOD friends with terrorists - he's NOT a Republican.
6 of one, 1/2 dozen of the other.
I applaud those who were brave enough to stick with their opinions and vote for "not the Big 2". I seriously had a moment in the booth when I had to move my pen back from voting for Alan Keyes. Perhaps they'll put him up to the Rep committee again in 2012 (or 2009 when they start campaigning) and I'll be able to vote for someone I believe in rather than just voting to cancel out someone else's vote. :-)
But at least we made a decision tonight.
The Nuge in '12. That's my vote. If we start campaigning today, maybe we can gather enough votes. With me?