Wednesday, January 21, 2009

My Thoughts on Inauguration Day, 2009


How did Barak Obama become president?
He was not descended from slaves, nor was he born to a black woman, but he has spent his life being perceived as "black." What better person to bring us as Americans--in all our diversity--together.
Mr. Obama spent part of his childhood in a foreign country; one that is predominantly Muslim and that has a very different culture from ours. He has relatives there. He has roots in another foreign country--one with a different culture yet--and has relatives there as well. What better person to be our face to the world.
Our new president has some special gifts beyond these characteristics, though. He is an inspirational speaker. He has truly American values and trust in the Constitution that unites us. He sees the possibility that we can rise above our natural selfishness and fear. He has had years of experience guiding people to work out their disagreements to forge a better idea than any of them could come up with alone. Like all humans, he has his feet of clay, but with our support and help, he has the ability to guide us in a positive direction and help us solve the dire problems that face us.
As a nation, we have much to be proud of. The Marshall Plan and the Berlin Air Lift come to mind. We also have much to be ashamed of, such as the Japanese internment camps during World War II, and Guantanamo Bay, places where our fellow human beings were either unjustly incarcerated or mistreated and denied their rights under the Geneva Convention, which we perport to subscribe to. We entered a war without adequate justification, leaving the battle that needed to be fought insufficiently supported.
We also have a history of giving preference to caucasians in our society. My kindergarten teacher was Jewish. My first grade teacher was an African American. (We said "negro" then.) They were the only good teachers I had in elementary school. If they had not been minorities, they would have been teaching in a country-club school.
During my life, I have watched the integration of the schools and busing. I have watched the protests of a previous unjust war. How amazing that we finally can elect the best man for the job, even if he's of African descent! How wonderful that we can embrace his values of true freedom of religion and equality of races, genders, sexual orientation!
It has been a long time since I have been proud of my country. It feels good.
How interesting it is that our new president has the same number as Hank Aaron's uniform number: 44.
Note: The photo was taken during an inauguration brunch yesterday in Park City, UT.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Working Sundance

We do this every year. We work at the Eccles Theater at Park City High School. It can be hard work, but it's fun. We usually alternate days, so our two minipoos, Rocky and Sunny don't have to stay alone too long at a time. (Rocky is our "Pudelfreund," and Sunny is the "Pudelfreundin." They are very different from each other, but they are great.) This is our ninth year volunteering for Sundance, and our eighth at Eccles. Of course, I take my knitting, in case I get a job where I just sit but have good light.