Monday, March 22, 2010

Political Flashback

The day after the inauguration I had a really sobering experience. I have a small vending business that I had contracted out that year to a construction site and was lending a hand that day. In the frenzy that was lunchtime I ran into a friend. I was so excited to see him because we had spent the entire presidential campaign season comparing notes and discussing the numbers and just hoping. When I saw him my first reaction was to hug him and jump up and down like a kid seeing a friend after summer vacation in the school yard. When he saw me his eyes lit up and his face showed what can only be described as glee - for a second. Immediately that face turned to fear. He put his hands in a "stop" gesture and looked around as if he were about to get caught doing something wrong. I was alarmed, to say the least. I said, "Hey! What's up?!" He said, "Can you believe it? But we gotta keep it on the down low, cause, you know, there's a lot of pissed off dudes out here and I don't want any trouble!" I took a good look around. There was rather large group of really angry looking white guys and all the black and brown guys looked like they were handling explosives. That's when I noticed how disturbingly quiet it was out there. I don't want to know what might have happened if ebony and ivory started hugging and celebrating in the middle of all that tension. Ever since that day I've been wishing for the President's safety.

Last night's passing of the HCR Bill jarred me back violently to that day on the construction site. Not that it hasn't been an entire year of obvious racial upheaval in politics, and if you don't see that all of this crap being thrown about isn't mostly racially motivated, look again. The lack of respect for this President is unheard of. Even when Bush and Cheney were wiping their asses with the Constitution, there was still a modicum of respect for the Office of the President of the United States. While Bush was "misunderestimating" his command of the English language, not a single person ever had the gall to stand up and hurl slurs in at him during a speech to Congress.

I am so grateful to have friends of so many different cultural backgrounds. We embrace our differences and celebrate them. We learn from and support each other and enjoy the culture that we have created together. Too bad a lot of our leaders can't do the same.