Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day and An Apology

Today we get to VOTE. I hope everyone takes the opportunity to participate. It is an important privilege and right that we must use or we will lose.

It is an historic time in America. Who ever wins will bring a big change to the accessibility issue. For the first time we will have either a woman or a person of color in the highest levels of government. It is about time.

Several times in the course of this political race I have engaged in discussions with Sheria and other people on the issues of these cultural limits that exist in our country that have excluded people from full participation in our society. The latest has been in the comments on my post called Lessons. I pushed too far in that discussion and caused offense. Not my intention and I apologize. I certainly didn't mean that my experience with racism or prejudice of any kind equates with the experiences of a black person living through the difficult times of the last 50 years. It's not the same and I understand that. My hope in the conversation was to find a way to raise my children so they didn't end up with the learned prejudices I keep finding in my self and to talk about ways we can promote that kind of future in our world. So, again Sheria, I apologies for offending.

My mom used to tell a story about when I was a young boy of maybe 3 or 4. We lived in the city, and she was quite active in political issues of the time. One day a woman stopped by the house to drop some papers off. Mom was busy and I answered the door. The lady left the papers and went on her way. I went and told mom that a lady had left some things for her. When questioned about who the lady was the best I could come up with was that she was the one wearing the red dress. After looking through the papers mom realized that she was one of the black ladies she worked with on some political issues. At age 3 or 4 I didn't first see skin color. In fact, according to my mom, it didn't even register as a descriptor. Later in my youth, even though we had moved to a part of the state where there were very few people of color and no black people I can remember, I learned to hold them separate. They were different, and in many ways fearful. It has taken me a long time to overcome the bias I absorbed as a youth. My hope for my children and for the future is that the next time a black person, or a Native American, or an Asian, or a woman, or a gay person runs for the highest post in the land, the lead in every news story will not be that this black American or gay American, or woman is running, but that this person, representing these issues, is running. I know the road to my dream is long, maybe too long for my lifetime, but today, with my wife and kids we are going to the polling station to vote the issues, not the color or gender of the candidates.

P.S. We VOTED! The wait was only 12 min. at our polling station, and they had peanut butter cookies and coffee. The kids thought the whole process was fascinating, and posed nicely for the newspaper photographer. They will probably make the paper, all bleary eyed, with their hair poking out every direction, waiting for mom and dad to vote. Democracy! You have to love it.
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