Saturday, January 24, 2009
Thanks also to D2 who reminded me that many of us have travelled different paths to come to this place in American history. I’m glad you’re here.
PreTzel and Ablecutegem made me think that although many of us are currently inspired by Barack Obama and the challenges that he has presented to us, quite a few folks aren’t sure about what they can do. I am a firm believer that even the smallest of actions can change the world and grace is where you find it. So instead of continuing on my current rant which includes a fair deal of bitching, groaning and finger-waggling, I’m going to keep things on a more positive note tonight.
So for those people out there who can’t seem to think of what they could do to improve the lot of America and the World, I offer a list of suggestions. It’s not a top-ten list because I haven’t rated things in any sort of ordered fashion, and although there are 12 of them, it’s far from a 12-step program to build better Americans. However, I do think that twelve steps in any one of these directions would get us off on a good foot….
So here’s my list of things that I think any of us could do to improve the lot of all of us:
•There's a light on somewhere in your house right now. Turn it off.
•Next time you're in the market and you see the produce manager stacking tomatoes, say 'Good Morning' or 'Good Afternoon', ask him how he's been, give him a smile, enjoy some idle chit-chatter.
•And when you're done, ask him if the tomatoes were locally grown. If not, could he get some? How 'bout some cucumbers? Scallions? Ooh... lettuce would be lovely.
•To hell with Victory Gardens. Grow a Peace Garden. Plant twice as much as you need. Donate the excess to your local women's shelter.
•Call your local senator's office and ask to speak to a senior staffer or aide, then ask them if they what country Darfur is in. If they can't answer, hang up the phone, print out a map from the web, drive to down to their office, and shake the map in their face. Raising a little hell can raise a lot of awareness. (Those of you who just googled Darfur have made a step in the right direction.)
•Next time you hear someone rail against immigration, remind them that immigrants aren't taking our jobs... they're doing the jobs that our parents or grand-parents or great-grand-parents did.
•Make a list of your ten closest friends. How many of them have the same skin color as you do? Think about that number. Think about what it means.
•Find someone who's wildly passionate about something... it could be saving whales or saving box tops, it doesn't matter what. Spend some time with that person. Way back when there was something that you were passionate about, something that you've almost forgotten... but see, you haven't forgotten, have you? Let that person's passion fuel your own.
•Go to a mosque or a synagogue or a temple... any house of worship that's different than the one you were raised in. Spend some time there. Look for things that are familiar. Listen for words that you've heard before. Search for commonalities. You don’t have to convert. But please remember that they don’t have to either.
•Check out your local public school's music program. Ask if hip-hop is on the curriculum. Remember when you dreaded music class but dreamed of Rock and Roll? Now, don't get so caught up in the poetry of your past that you ignore the poetry of our children's present.
•Go out and get to know all of your neighbors, then ask them to go out and get to know all their neighbors. Make a ripple go across America.
•Stop saying "Yes, we can." Start saying "Yes, I am."
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
I didn’t think much about it until late in the election cycle. Then one evening I mentioned to my wife that if Barack became president, I might just fly the flag again.
Yesterday, I wandered the aisles of Home Depot until I found myself back in the back corner, just down from the bird feeders and behind last year’s inventory of garden supplies. Go to any Home Depot in the country and in the same place you’ll find the same thing: a small display of flags and poles looking somewhat disheveled.
I stood there for a while, thinking about Barack Obama. I believe in the man. I think he is wise and patient and presidential. I campaigned for him, and I support him more now than I did then. When he speaks, I feel things that I haven’t felt in years, and I often find tears where tears should be. He gives me hope.
Still, I left Home Depot without a new flag pole. Having given it more thought, I realized that I could not fly The Flag for just one man. It should be flown for the whole country, and I still don’t have enough faith in us. After all, this is the country where we package our flags in neat cellophane then let them gather dust in the back corners of our hardware stores.
President Obama challenged us in his inaugural address today. He spoke of the difficulties that surround us, and he said in simple terms that the only thing that can turn America around is the American People. I wonder if we can. I wonder if we are willing enough, wise enough and passionate enough to turn the tide of history.
I lay out the same challenge for our people as the President. America, can you dig deep enough in your hearts to do that which is good and honest and true? Can you pull together as a people, as The People, as that energetic mass that powers the shining light on the hill? Can you open your arms to the world and show them strength and kindness? Can you teach your children that passing a school test every year does not prepare them to pass the test of life?
America, can I fly The Flag again?
Thursday, January 1, 2009
Obama Defeats Axis of Evil
Bush, Cheney to Leave White House
Palin Admits: I'm a Natural Blonde
(C'mon... if Katie Couric can make you look stupid, chances are…)
McCain: The Economy is Sound
(I didn't even have to make that up and it was funny)
Texas Authorities Take Wives, Children from Polygamist Ranch
(Apparently, the state had run out of backwards, white trash, redneck women, so Texans robbed Peter to play with Paul)
California Bans Gay Marriage, Half of all Homes in Foreclosure
Illinois Governor %#$-Up
Microsoft Zune Warranty Good Till 12/30/2008
Palin, Bridge to Nowhere: Who Can Tell the Difference?
Lehman Brothers, Fannie Mae, Chrysler Testify to Congress:
Bush Doctrine Worked!