November 6th, 2008

niki de saint phalle - real

Education -

I was shocked to read that Sarah Palin thought that Africa was a country, not a continent.  It reminded me of Bush's statement, "Is our children learning?"  It would appear not.

I remember learning that we can't heal what we can't feel.   If our world is so narrow, that we are unable to see and celebrate the differences between and among us, then, how can we work to ensure that life is good for everyone.  I suppose if you think that the world began 6000 years ago despite all evidence to the contrary, you can blind yourself to the different countries and peoples on the planet and think there are two, us and them, but as I read of the transition of the Obama's to the White House I see how fully they embody what we need to see represented.

When Obama speaks of parents feeling concern about sending their children to college, I think of Sarah Palin who doesn't even seem to feel concern that her children finish high school.   Education is about curiosity, and experiencing and integrating different forms of knowing, about celebrating diversity, and then, coming to know where you personally stand, so you can process and celebrate your own unique niche.

I watched Zach on the playground yesterday.  He is not even three and yet he is aware that he was once afraid of the bouncy bridge, and now there are others who are, and so he mustn't bounce when they are on it.  He puts the needs of another above his own while staying true to himself.   Bararck said the Republicans called him a Socialist because they heard he shared his toys in kindergarten.   We socialize our children early.  We teach them there our needs of others as well as their own.   We allow them toys that are only their's, and we teach them when it is time to share.

Somehow, Bush became president.  He seemed to not understand these basic concepts.  Now, Palin almost slipped in.   She never held a press conference and yet people voted for her, because as one Louisianan, an otherwise intelligent friend of a friend of mine said, "She is perty."   We must learn to differentiate looks and the surface from integrity, intelligence, complex thought and depth.   My cat Bella is beautiful and very smart within her world, but she could not handle the presidency.  At least she is smart enough to know that.  She has no desire to run, so don't nominate her next time around.  She has her section of the couch to warm.

I believe we now unite in the celebration and practice of sanity, compassion, logic, integrity, and intelligence, manifest our ability to utilize not only an opposable thumb but also welcome and celebrate the complexity of thought.  

May each of us now expand our world even more  to further embrace the differences in others, and better integrate our own.

A joyful, celebratory Thursday to All!!

Book Cover

Maureen Dowd -

Op-Ed Columnist

Bring on the Puppy and the Rookie



Published: November 5, 2008


I walked over to the White House Tuesday night and leaned against the fence. How can such a lovely house make so many of its inhabitants nuts?

There was no U-Haul in the driveway. I don’t know if W. was inside talking to the portraits on the wall. Or if the portraits can vanish from their frames, as at HogwartsAcademy, to escape if W. is pestering them about his legacy.

The Obama girls, with their oodles of charm, will soon be moving in with their goldendoodle or some other fetching puppy, and they seem like the kind of kids who could have fun there, prowling around with their history-loving father.

I had been amazed during the campaign — not by the covert racism about Barack Obama and not by Hillary Clinton’s subtext when she insisted to superdelegates: “He can’t win.”

But I had been astonished by the overt willingness of some people who didn’t mind being quoted by name in The New York Times saying vile stuff, that a President Obama would turn the Rose Garden into a watermelon patch, that he’d have barbeques on the front lawn, that he’d make the White House the Black House.

Actually, the elegant and disciplined Obama, who is not descended from the central African-American experience but who has nonetheless embraced it and been embraced by it, has the chance to make the White House pristine again.


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alan's beach photo

Diversity -

It seems some feel there continues to be too much talk about race in this election. After all, Barack Obama is also half-white, but let's remember that his wife isn't. She is part of this too and the reason the Obama camp had had to work so hard, and work they did, despite having the highly superior candidate, is because of the perception around the color of his skin.

I am a Rosen Method Bodywork Practitioner. Because the majority of the practitioners are "white," there has been a concerted effort to bring diversity to the community. When I came to the work many years ago, there was a Diversity Workshop in which I participated.

It lasted for a weekend and there were many aspects to it, but what I most remember is this. We were divided into groups as to what we were or were not. We would stand and look at each other. For example, everyone was once a child, so in that case, we all stood on one side of the room. Then, we divided into male and female, and then, it went from there, Jewish, non-Jewish, Black, White, Asian, White, Hispanic, White, abuser, abused, gay, lesbian, single mother, single father, divorced, and on and on. The two groups would stand and look at each other for a certain amount of time. I don't now remember all the categories, though they seemed endless, but what I remember is this.

The people in each group often judged those within their group more harshly than those of us who were outside of it. Also, many women who feared or disliked men because of sexual abuse saw that there are men, too, who have suffered abuse, either physical, mental, or sexual. People were made vulnerable. We stood and looked at "other," and saw vulnerability and saw we were the same. We all witnessed pain. In my case, yes, I was a child, but a well-respected one and I have never experienced discrimination that I am aware of due to being a female, so I watched and felt, and learned that when I say to myself that because I am not prejudiced, there is not prejudice in the world, that that in itself is prejudice, naive, separatist, and elitist. It denies the experience of those I may know and love.

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alan's poppies

Evening -

I drove to the dentist today considering this subject of what the election of a Black or a woman means to my generation, understanding it is different for the younger generation and appreciating what that means that it is different for them, less dramatic in some way, more expected, as, of course the best candidate wins. 

I shared my thoughts with my dentist.  She shared something with me from a friend of hers who is in a biracial marriage.  It shows the progress that has been made.  She ended up in tears and I was hugging her and telling her how much I love her and this is the modern world where you can share so much with your dentist.

I am tired tonight.  I woke up one night in Italy with great pain in a tooth.  Uh, oh, I thought.  I have had a root canal so know the symptoms.  I have been babying that side of my mouth, hoping it would go away, and, things like this don't go away, so I'll go tomorrow to a root canal person and hopefully it is just the one tooth and in and out she will go, and that will be it, right?   Well, I stopped at the store and bought comfort foods, including my indulgence for times like this, Kozy Shack pudding, almost like homemade, almost.  There I saw that Christmas egg nog is in the stores, already.  I have heard a few Christmas tunes and seen some decorations, but egg nog.  I thought it came out the week before Thanksgiving.  

I wonder if anyone remembers the old joke which I can't quite remember how it goes, but to answer it you need to consider that the doctor in the case is a female.  People of my generation struggled to figure it out because the assumption in those times was that a doctor would be male.  My daughter-in-law Jan is a doctor.  Times have changed.

I think I wanted to convey today what this victory means to me.   I was holding my dentist today and she was crying and saying what it meant to her to see Jesse Jackson with his face all wet.  I think this is bringing up years and years of memories for some of us.  Someone sent me what the suffragettes went through to get the vote for women.  They were beaten and went to jail.   Sometimes we forget.   I think we won't forget now though what this Tuesday means.

I read in The Nation that "a flyer of unknown origin was circulated in Hampton Roads, Virginia bearing the seal of the state Board of Elections and instructing Democrats that, because of an emergency order of the state General Assembly, they were to vote on November 5 ... the day after election day."   I thought of the energy it must have taken to conceive of and put out such a notice.  Why not just run a decent campaign and choose a viable candidate?   Why all the subterfuge and lies?  It makes no sense to me and it failed.  It failed.

We are starting to see more of the sad state of the economy.   Obama inherits a great deal.

The Nation points out that Bush can not legally pardon Karl Rove and Harriet Miers.   It seems that if Bush tries to "pardon crimes which were advised by himself," he must be impeached.  

I'm not sure if the country has the energy for that, and we'll see.  For tonight, I am very tired.  Bella is here with me, and we are considering an early bedtime.  It has been an exciting week.   I am grateful to be alive for it, and I will be grateful to be in a wee bit less pain.

Sleep tight!!

Sweet dreams!!

Book Cover

Letter from Alice Walker to Obama -

Read in love, joy, and peace!!

Nov. 5, 2008

Dear Brother Obama,

You have no idea, really, of how profound this moment is for us. Us being the black people of the Southern United States. You think you know, because you are thoughtful, and you have studied our history. But seeing you deliver the torch so many others before you carried, year after year, decade after decade, century after century, only to be struck down before igniting the flame of justice and of law, is almost more than the heart can bear. And yet, this observation is not intended to burden you, for you are of a different time, and, indeed, because of all the relay runners before you, North America is a different place. It is really only to say: Well done. We knew, through all the generations, that you were with us, in us, the best of the spirit of Africa and of the Americas. Knowing this, that you would actually appear, someday, was part of our strength. Seeing you take your rightful place, based solely on your wisdom, stamina and character, is a balm for the weary warriors of hope, previously only sung about.

I would advise you to remember that you did not create the disaster that the world is experiencing, and you alone are not responsible for bringing the world back to balance. A primary responsibility that you do have, however, is to cultivate happiness in your own life. To make a schedule that permits sufficient time of rest and play with your gorgeous wife and lovely daughters. And so on. One gathers that your family is large. We are used to seeing men in the White House soon become juiceless and as white-haired as the building; we notice their wives and children looking strained and stressed. They soon have smiles so lacking in joy that they remind us of scissors. This is no way to lead. Nor does your family deserve this fate. One way of thinking about all this is: It is so bad now that there is no excuse not to relax. From your happy, relaxed state, you can model real success, which is all that so many people in the world really want. They may buy endless cars and houses and furs and gobble up all the attention and space they can manage, or barely manage, but this is because it is not yet clear to them that success is truly an inside job. That it is within the reach of almost everyone.

I would further advise you not to take on other people's enemies. Most damage that others do to us is out of fear, humiliation and pain. Those feelings occur in all of us, not just in those of us who profess a certain religious or racial devotion. We must learn actually not to have enemies, but only confused adversaries who are ourselves in disguise. It is understood by all that you are commander in chief of the United States and are sworn to protect our beloved country; this we understand, completely. However, as my mother used to say, quoting a Bible with which I often fought, "hate the sin, but love the sinner." There must be no more crushing of whole communities, no more torture, no more dehumanizing as a means of ruling a people's spirit. This has already happened to people of color, poor people, women, children. We see where this leads, where it has led.

A good model of how to "work with the enemy" internally is presented by the Dalai Lama, in his endless caretaking of his soul as he confronts the Chinese government that invaded Tibet. Because, finally, it is the soul that must be preserved, if one is to remain a credible leader. All else might be lost; but when the soul dies, the connection to earth, to peoples, to animals, to rivers, to mountain ranges, purple and majestic, also dies. And your smile, with which we watch you do gracious battle with unjust characterizations, distortions and lies, is that expression of healthy self-worth, spirit and soul, that, kept happy and free and relaxed, can find an answering smile in all of us, lighting our way, and brightening the world.

We are the ones we have been waiting for.

In Peace and Joy,
Alice Walker