Monday, March 31, 2008

A Conversation Worth Talking About!

I asked for comments, and I got one that I felt was important enough that I didn't want to just bury it in the comments section. I am excited that, even in disagreements, there is honest political dialogue happening!!

Aimee, you want comments! Isn't your decision to vote for Obama based on a speech he gave about race just as shallow as a woman voting for Hillary because she is a woman. You want to talk openly about race, great! Over the years, there have been multiple opportunities in this community to do just that. Many that have not gone well, mostly because I think many people are confused about what they are trying to accomplish with these conversations, people come to these discussions from many different maturity and experiencial levels of dealing with the topic. As a white person, I agree, racism has gone no where. It definitely still exists, needs to be addressed in a gentle way as to not scare white people off, who have the privilege in the first place ... but to vote for a guy just because he made a speech about race! Do you honestly think that if a white candidate sat in a church with a preacher for years, who condemned and ridiculed people of color, and then while trying to run for a political office was called out on it, and they said well I don't agree with his comments, but we are still friends and he is like family to me, that that would fly!!! Hell NO ... all hell would break loose. They would be labeled a racist and in my mind would be a racist to have tolerated in any way shape or form that kind of speaking. If we are going to have open diagolues about race, then we need to have an open playing field that is equal for everyone to speak and to be judged on the same criteria in terms of their comments. It can't be a person of color making rude, obnoxious comments about white people being acceptable, and white people saying anything about people of color automatically be labled as racist and shunned. I have seen it happen over and over in this town. There is deep need for talks about race, in a respectful manner. But back to the issue of president. I won't vote for someone because they made a good speech about Race ... for gosh sakes, our economy is a mess, our country is at war, and it is getting worse again. Our own people are dying due to lack of health care. Yes, let's talk about Race, but not necessarily vote for him for president for that reason, he made a good speech. Start a discussion group. But vote for someone who can turn this country around. We are in deep shit. You are not talking to yourself.....!!!!!!!!!!
March 30, 2008 9:36 AM

Aimee said...
I appreciate your comments. This is exactly the kind of dialogue that I think is needed, not just here in Flint, but across our nation.

You are absolutely right, our country is in deep shit. On those issues you mentioned, I have not seen a significant difference between Barak and Hillary. Neither one is advocating for a Universal Healthcare plan as is needed, but they are both proposing improvements to our current system. Both have said that they want out of Iraq, although I'm not quite sure of the details of what they are each proposing. The economy sucks. I'll say it again...the economy sucks. I have no idea what either of them are proposing to fix it. This incentive package that we are all supposed to get just for filing our taxes this year, will barely scratch the surface. I already have it spent to pay down credit cards with way too high of interest rates. My own fault.

Did I mention that the economy sucks? However, I have job security because I work with juvinile offenders within a child welfare system that is broken and a criminal justice system that is criminal and not just. I also have no idea how they each plan (if they plan) to fix those things. I'm also unsure about how, exactly, they will improve schools and increase school funding so that maybe some of the kids that I meet are more likely to get excited about escaping into literature than escaping into ludes or cocaine or alcohol or ...

There is so much about our country that needs fixing. My voice in the selection of the democratic nominee, for example. But since I live in Michigan, my voice and my vote (or not) are irrelevant.

No matter who is nominated for the Democratic ticket, I will vote for them!!!! As I said before, both candidates are remarkable and have the possibility of making the world better through their presidancy.

However, I favor Obama because I have heard Clinton qualify her call for change to imply that qualitative change is impossible within our present political system. I need someone more optimistic, or perhaps even naive about the so-called impossibility of changing the system.

By the way, if you click on the link to the right, you can hear one of Rev. Wright's so-called racist speeches, where he calls on our government right after 9/11, not to jump into a reaction of violence and terror, but instead, to take time to look within ourselves as individuals and as a country to find a better, more peaceful response. Listen to it. Nothing anti-white about it.

Also, after reading your comment, I found an interview with Geraldine Ferraro that was done after the so-called race comment. I stand corrected. I do stand by my statement of feeling that she was no racist, but when I heard her explaination, I (and, I think the media and most listening to that media) had it wrong. She wasn't saying it out of ignorance, but in a spirit of solidarity. Watch the video. Interesting.

I still am crossing my fingers for Obama.

About the race thing....I'm not supporting Obama just because he is black. Nor am I supporting him because he preached great rhetoric about the racial divide in this country. I am supporting him because I believe that in making that speech, he spoke out honestly about something that he really believes in. He didn't just bury his head in the sand or make excuses or empty promises not to respect his mentor any more. He responded honestly to some dishonest criticism. I believe that the moment that he decided to speak out, he made a decision to follow his heart and not the pollsters predictions. I believe that in making that speech, he showed bravery beyond what most politicians are capable of. I believe that through this speech, he indirectly challenged ALL Americans, regardless of color, to look honestly at their fears and anger, acknowlege them and move beyond them to a place of healing. I hope Obama wins the nomination because he was honest enough to step up and be open about who he is and the difficulties that this nation needs to face together.

I still am crossing my fingers for Obama.

Did I mention that our electoral system also needs to be fixed? Not just hanging chads and malfunctioning machines and racist exclusion at the polls, but we need to eliminate the electoral college altogether!! In this day and age of computers, telephones and airline travel, we should each be able to speak and vote for ourselves without an intermediary. It's kind of like going to confession with a priest who can't hear, but automatically tells everyone to say three hail marys and call the doctor in the morning.

That is one issue that I haven't heard any politician advocate for.


  1. Ok Aimee - I have had to print off your response so that I can comment to your respones.
    First, this tax incentive is shit ... How stupid. We get $300 a piece to help simulate the economy, yes ... and then what? We are right back to where we started before we got the incentive. And ... how many millions of dollars is it costing to send out all these mailings and process all these checks and forms to begin with. Crap. I have been calling it blood money! I dare say that if we stopped spending billions on the war everyday, that may help our economic situation. But naive and stupid as I am, I just found out in the last couple of months through a film I have seen twice now - Iraq for Sale - that those billions aren't going to our military but to PRIVATE CONTRACTorS WHO ARE MAKING A PROFIT OFF THIS WAR. Grrr ... Our Minister David said that profiteering off of war has always gone on. Yea ... well we are supposed to have evoled and grown as people over the years. We are still just as greedy and stupid, Halliberton, Blackwater, Cico ... anyway. Turns out a lot of people already knew about this issue. I am just a little slow figuring it out. By the way, if you didn't know, Chaney was CEO of Halliberton before he became Vice President, hum ... couldn't be why they get so many of the contracts ... Chaney is no longer CEO, but I have heard, he is still on the pay roll. Let's keep the war going, 4,000 lives, private companies are making money. Ok enought of that.
    I totally agree with you about getting rid of the electoral college. I have always felt that my vote has not counted in the presidential election, and yes Michigan and Florida are being screwed ... I get so sick of the big goverment bullshit, that I have learned to direct my efforts into our local govt. and needs. For gosh sakes, we have enough correction down at City Hall and our own police dept. to address, we don't have to go national.
    The Race issue. I have many strong feelings about it, because I have been through many anti-racism training and experiences, most of which I have really enjoyed, built wonderful relationships and learned so much, but there have also been a couple of bad experiences that have made me so ... angry. Would take to long to explain, that after going through the facilitor training for the program that comes out of LA, I said NO WAY ... there is already enough hate in this town. I refuse to facilitate or promote this program to ANYONE... Undoing Racism is wonderful, in your face but wonderful, Healing Racism was great. FACTER fell apart because the steering committee couldn't get along!! That ought to tell you something. All the Community Dinners I participated in several years back, were GREAT! I hosted about 4, where people came to my house that I didnt' know. I made and served them dinner and we had open dialoges about race. But still we are so racist. We live in a racist town. We need to correct that, but I have to say, I truly believe that most people don't know how racist they are, they don't understand, they don't know why African American People would be angry at us. They are ignorant, and I say that in a gentle way. That is why I said we have to approach the subject in a gentle way. They have the privilege. They can walk away, to just jump on them as racist doesn't work. I get really tired of being blamed for the sins of my whole race because I am white. I am white, and I am doing what I can to bridge that gab, understand people of color stories, where they are coming from, understand, and work in my own little section of the world.
    Sorry, I wanted to respond more, but I am late!!
    Aimee, I am listening. You aren't talking, again, to yourself!!!

  2. Sorry, You can sure tell that I did not proof read the prior entry before I sent it. I was late for an appointment, and just pressed - send!

  3. I haven't done much formal anti-racism work, zI must admit. Mostly, I just try to live honorably, look people of all colors in the eye and greet them as equals. Sometimes, I have the opportunity to begin a conversation about the messed up raceial divide in this town. (I think you've heard this example before...) Like the time I was sitting in Midas waiting for my car to be fixed. In the waiting room was just me and a black woman ab out the same age as me. I began talking to her about job availability here. (this was several years ago, when I was still working at the bookstore in Okemos.) From there, we began talking about our educational experience, then I mentioned that I had lived in Lansing for over 10 years and I was shocked with the amount of segregation in this town. I told her I was used to seeing interracial couples and interactions among the races in restaurants, stores, etc. I told her I felt disjointed and frustrated here because of the way that black and white folks seem like oil and water in this town. She opened up and agreed and gave her own perspectives on this issue. This was no formal race relations seminar, just a conversation in a car repair shop.

    I did go to the Truth in Translation performance and workshop last summer. That was awesome. I can't remember if I talked about it in a blog entry before or not. I also, a couple of years ago, read a book called Soul Work, by Marjory Bowens-Wheatly and someone else whom I have forgotten. That was a wonderful book about race relations within our own UU denomination. It also was a powerful, dynamic, interracial discussion. The book chronicled a seminar on race attended by people of several races and economic levels. Very powerful example of how race discussions "should" be when planned and intentional.

    I have not been involved in plitics, really, since living in Lansing. I do sign petitions, vocalize my opinions, and, importantly, I VOTE.

    I know that I am not as involved as I "should" be, but in trying to be compassionate with myself, I try to be patient with knowing that my time is limited and I have to sleep sometime. Not to mention, Deb doesn't get as much of my loving attention as she deserves. So, more active politics is not doable right now. Hopefully, my voice can help motivate others to action where I can't go.