"Fire is motion / Work is repetition / This is my document / We are all all we've done / We are all all we've done / We are all all we've done / We are all all defenses."

- Cap'N Jazz, "Oh Messy Life," Analphabetapolothology

Thursday, January 22, 2009

post-Inauguration Day notes

post-Inauguration Day realizations:
-i remember being extremely turned off by the strong Christian fundamentalist undertones in the speeches and ceremony, and especially by this guy:

(edit: and how fitting. the video, like the man, just doesn't seem to want to shut the hell up. it starts without you wanting it to, one of my ultimate peeves when it comes to internet usability: the automatic video that creates loud obnoxious sound when you don't want it)
(edit 2: fixed! - 1/25)

Warren's invocation made me extremely uncomfortable, thinking how the separation of church and state is really just an empty promise. and the part about asking forgiveness from Almighty God when we disgrace our fellow human beings and the environment made me extremely upset and angry, as we are fully aware a war (a genocide) is raging in Gaza, and we are content to just "ask forgiveness," shrug off any awareness of reality, as if it was all in God's plan. that kind of rhetoric is dangerous and had me gritting my teeth the whole time.

-the hope/change sheen is wearing off pretty quickly, too. i've been a huge cynic/buzzkill since november anyway, but i can pretty safely say that i am ready for the novelty of the moment to wear off so America can quit fantasizing and day-dreaming and snap back to reality. things do not change overnight. i don't know why i'm not as excited as everyone else seems to be about the new administration, i guess b/c i don't see substantiating empirical proof for the improvement, and i honestly cannot grasp the significance of having the first Black President. i know, i know, it must be absurd/impossible for other ppl to understand, but i, personally, do not feel that sense of awe and wonderment that everyone else seems to have in seeing a Black man as President. it does not surprise me that Obama is President now, and it makes perfect sense, so i guess i just don't get what all the fuss and pageantry and adoration is about, b/c frankly it just makes sense. i dunno, call me racist if you want to, the funny thing is that i think i feel this way precisely b/c i don't see race as any factor in it.

-i remember being surprised by how charged and passionate my students were around Election Day. i noticed many of my students taking vehement opposition to one another's political views, showing off their limited knowledge of campaign slogans and parroting rhetoric in transparent efforts to back up their support of a candidate they'd chosen to represent a deeper-seated world view and political affiliation. i noticed all my Black kids were for Obama, wore shirts with his face emblazened on the chest, would yell his name as if it were a cheer, would cheer at the mention of his name. the interesting thing about this was that usually, my Hispanic kids would grow silent, look sullen and sink down in their seats, would tell me later when i could hear them whisper, "i wanted Hilary to win." the braver ones would pretend to joke in class, "McCain for President!" what i came to realize later was this stance was chosen not out of opposition, but as reaction. true, some of my Hispanic students' parents probably legitimately supported Hilary and her pro-Hispanic community campaign. but what it came down to, perhaps, was a sign of bitterness towards what had obviously become a race race. when the nomination and the election came to be framed as a race issue, it became less about issues, and more about identity and belonging. who was going to be recognized and included, and who was going to be left out? when it seemed like Obama would win by indisputable margins, the election discussion in my classes became about control, and controlling who gets to stand for one's identity: "if this Presidency is supposed to represent me and my country, i want someone i choose, not someone thrust upon me. i want someone who can understand being the outsider, i want someone who can understand being left out, i want someone who can understand being misunderstood, i want a woman, i want an underdog, i want a Republican..."

2 comments:

Chelsea said...

the guy who gave the benediction bothered me more than this guy...him and his juvenile rhymes, saying that white still doesn't know what's right or whatever. i thought we were past that! white is still the majority, and obama was still elected president, so it looks to me like the majority of us have put those prejudices behind us (or never had them to begin with, i mean it's 2008 for crying out loud, not 1868).
i look forward to the day when people don't label each other "african american" or "asian american" or "hispanic american." (i'm not "european american.") to me those titles shouldn't exist; if you're born in america, you're an american. obama is american. people call him african american, but he's half white american, too, so that label doesn't make any sense. he's a great man, and hopefully a great president. i hope, (no, i believe!) that in all elections in the future, race won't event be a factor.

stephan!e lee said...

say it, sister!