just one dance
January 22, 2009, 10:42 pm
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as i was watching the dance between michelle and barak obama while beyonce sang “at last”, i could not help but have my gender lens on and rejoicing.

I have heard many of my friends and acquaintances talk about their weariness with the idea that obama will be able to single handily create positive change, or mend many of the fucked up realities going on around the world, and i find myself amongst their midst, hopeful but without a hint of cynicism.

as i was talking in schools in the past few days about gender though, i could not help but witness a subtle shift in the way both girls and boys addressed the societal pressures thrust upon them by society. in almost every class obama was used as an example by the students to describe masculinity, and a very different kind of masculinity than the one modeled by W. bush.

as i was watching the Obamas dance and talk to each other, goofy and tender, i witnesses a picture of equality, complicity and friendship that i cannot remember seeing in political leaders, ever. of course it would be shortsighted to think that a president is taken as a role model for all its nation, or even that it would be desirable for that to happen.

at the same time i see this change as a step towards a more equal society, not one that would turn on the news to see a smiling housewife with a vacuous look, and a distant grotesquely masculine husband like in the past 8 years, but a couple of people that are friends, that co-parent, and that exude mutual respect.


on the other side of the road
October 25, 2008, 3:22 pm
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this scenario greeted me on the way to the middle school i spoke at this week, and it was too much to pass. there is so much oversaturatyion of information and opinions about the current election, that even though it occupies my mind daily, i have not felt compelled to write about it. Partly i am just terriefied. i feel like i have been holding my breath for the past couple of months, not wanting to spit out trite and overly used thoughts about either candidate.

i also still feel in this between space of belonging elsewhere, of not being really part of america, of knowing i fit in some outside space where my citizenship status does not even allow me to vote. at the same time everyday i am confronted by political ideas, not in democrat VS republican, but in the way kids at school understand gender, or violence, or sex. in the way i can’t afford medical care, or my daughters orthodontist’s bills. there are politics in oona and florence learning from school that sex is only something a married man and woman do, or that poverty is shameful.  there are politics in every inch of my life, that in the end will be affected by who is president. what is striking is that this whole election feels like a battle where both factions equally believe in their righteousness. on one side we have the obama sub-development, and on the other the mccain’s. i just can’t believe it’ that simple. no matter what ideals are behind these decisions i find that people want the same things: a sense of safety, of belonging, and the chance to have a meaningful life. but there is little talk of common ground, because it doesn’t serve political strategy. there is such palpable tension between people, at least in indiana, to the point that it would seem impossible for an obama supporter to sit at the same table with a mccain voter.

i just don’t see how it’s helping anything. it’s hard. no doubt. it would be incredibly difficult for me to calmly talk to someone that believes women are inferior, or people of color. it would probably physically hurt to have a discussion with people that don’t believe a woman should have the right to chose what to do with her body, or that anyone should be free to love and find sexy whomever they wish. but it seems like closing communication will only be hurtful for everyone involved.