Wednesday, August 26, 2009

RIP Senator Kennedy

Someone posted the following excerpt from Bobby Kennedy's speech after MLK Jr. died. It seemed appropriate today.

In this difficult day, in this difficult time for the United States, it is perhaps well to ask what kind of a nation we are and what direction we want to move in. For those of you who are black - considering the evidence there evidently is that there were white people who were responsible - you can be filled with bitterness, with hatred, and desire for revenge. We can move in that direction as a country, in great polarization - black people amongst black, white people amongst white, filled with hatred toward one another.

Or we can make an effort, as Martin Luther King did, to understand and to comprehend, and to replace that violence, that stain of bloodshed that has spread across our land, with an effort to understand that compassion and love.

For those of you who are black and are tempted to be filled with hatred and distrust at the injustice of such an act, against all white people, I can only say that I feel in my own heart the same kind of feeling. I had a member of my family killed, but he was killed by a white man. But we have to make an effort in the United States, we have to make an effort to understand, to go beyond these rather difficult times.

My favorite poet was Aeschylus. He wrote: "In our sleep pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God."

What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence or lawlessness, but love and wisdom and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of injustice towards those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or they be black...

We've had difficult times in the past. We will have difficult times in the future. It is not the end of violence; it is not the end of lawlessness; it is not the end of disorder.

But the vast majority of white people and the vast majority of black people in this country want to live together, want to improve the quality of our life, and want justice for all human beings who abide in our land. Let us dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man and to make gentle the life of this world.
Let us dedicate ourselves to that, and say a prayer for our country and for our people.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

In honor of John Hughes and Ferris Bueller's Day Off

I found this wonderful retelling of the whole movie tonight, written by an Aussie. What a refreshing perspective on life! Loved that movie. In our Brave Writer film discussion class, a whole slew of teens led by our intrepid Susanne Barrett, discussed this film in depth (of course, it happens to be her favorite film of all time—natch). Strange timing with Hughes' passing (RIP).

Ferris Bueller's Day Off Redux

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Giving credit to Bill: It's the Diplomacy Stupid

In Release of Journalists, Both Clintons Had Roles

If there's one thing I love , it's good, culturally sensitive diplomacy. We've had too little of it for too long. Too many Americans still believe that talking big and never apologizing is the key to a successful relationship with Asia and the Middle East. As if! Have you not read James Clavell? Leon Uris? The Bible, for heaven's sake?

These cultures are governed by shame and saving face, not by unnuanced self-aggrandizement... and bigger-than-you guns.

And so when Bill Clinton, a man I didn't vote for or like or respect (you know, back when I looked just like a Dittohead), manages to get two of our reporters released from North "Send Nukes into the Sky" Korea, ya gotta give the man props... but even more, wonder how on earth he did it? (And let's just say right here - has there ever been a man more interested in having a legacy than Bill Clinton? I enjoyed his success this week for his ego's benefit, after the thrashing he's been through in his personal life during his presidency—all by his own complexity of failings, to be sure, but still. I'm all about humans fumbling their way toward better choices, growth and contributions that matter. I'd hope we'd all be!)

So anyway, back to what I was feeling, writing. Here's what the NYTimes had to say about how Bill may have pulled this off:
As president, Mr. Clinton had sent Mr. Kim a letter of condolence on the death of his father, Kim Il-sung, according to a former official. For Mr. Kim, the former official said, freeing the women was a “reciprocal humanitarian gesture.”
Did you read that? Try it one more time. A gesture of human caring for someone's father (family being everything in Asia), sending the appropriate human gesture, led to a reciprocal humanitarian release. Americans rarely get how powerful it is to show respect, to honor someone's set of values, to get outside our own western, gun-slinging point of view long enough to be genuinely diplomatic! Bill Clinton! Amazing. The guy has got some of it goin' on.

Now granted, we don't know what that release will cost us. Asians have much longer memories than Americans, and they don't do anything for nothing. We can be sure this "gesture" will go on a tally sheet somewhere. Still, for now, today, a decision Clinton made in office to show respect and care came back to serve America this week. That's a lesson we all ought to internalize.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Checking in... testing 1, 2, 3

Yep still works. Apparently they didn't pull the plug on this dormant thing so here I be, back in the saddle.

Life is crazy busy for me (Brave Writer high season) and kids are ever busy with friends, King's Island, church, and preparation for the fall school season. Caitrin woke up today and before even opening facebook, opened her math book. We started the review. Time to dust off the long division skills and get back to work.

Liam will go to the freshman school for two classes so we'll enroll him this week. He says adamantly, "No one can make me go." But I think I may win this one. :) Oh, I'm non-coercive on the whole. Anyone who knows me knows that. I mean: stay up until 5:00 a.m. playing Warcraft - dooode be my guest! But this time, his main reason for staying home and not schooling it?? Sleeping in! Ha! (Maybe that Warcraft all nighter-ing is starting to take its toll.) So I'm more like, "Uh, not this time, pal." If he wants to ski in January every Wednesday, he's got to rise with the dawn and garbage trucks for the whole year. That's the only way it will work. And that, my friends, is what we call holding your child over a ski barrel.

I head out to be with the crazy liberals who want to impose healthcare on recalcitrant birthers and Republicans next week: Netroots Nation in Pittsburgh. Seriously excited about this. I'm such a complete political novice. But I came to love that "little" (cough sputter) community of 200,000 last year during Campaign "No One Can Stop the Man Born in Kenya." We hung out and bled our veins for Obama and ahhhh. Now he's in office and all the ones who hated him then, hate him more now and they ask me things like, "What do you think now that Obama is ruining the country and everything is worse than ever and no one has jobs and he wants to make us have healthcare against our wills and he's not even American and he has to read all his jokes off a teleprompter?"

I'm kind of at a loss. I mean, for crying out loud in the night! I gave freaking George W. Bush EIGHT years! EIGHT that we'll never get back. I let Bush invade a sovereign nation, allow for the deregulation of energy (which led to the Enron crime of the century - the one crime that made me think the death penalty is not punishment enough for white collar criminals - and the subsequent bankrupting of California), violate our citizens' rights to privacy, support and condone torture, and send our country spiraling into out of control debt as well as bailing out banks! And I'm supposed to convert to being a "hater" of Obama, who's been in office, what, 7ish months because it's taking awhile to get the economy righted after the disaster Bush left behind?

Come on! I gotta give the man a little more time and love than that! You know I do!


Life is actually pretty okay these days despite the obvious sources of angst. Had a great time in CA. Feels good to be home in Cincy. Really good. Like, I'm Beyonce "crazy in love" with this city. I knew it when I got off the plane this time that Cincy really is home now. I heart Cincinnati.

Okay, let's hope this little freewheeling freewrite gets me back in the groove for blogging. I've missed you all.