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Tag Archives | obama

maybe THIS murder will change things?

I wasn’t going to write anything about Trayvon Martin. His murder happened a long way away, and the newspapers here in Abu Dhabi are filled with plenty of stories of murder and mayhem (Syria, anyone?). Plus, you know, he’s African American and the murder happened in Florida, and so really, who am I, as a white woman in the Middle East, to weigh in on the terrible thing that happened to him and his family? Isn’t that the way the logic goes? That if it doesn’t directly relate to our lives, we don’t get involved?

Maybe I could say, as Mom-101 did so persuasively, that I’m a mom and so one mother’s pain is also my own.  Or maybe I could say that I’m a mom who wants her sons to grow up without fear of someone thinking they look “suspicious” (my kids have darker-than-white skin and shiny black hair.  They don’t look African American but I suppose you could think they look vaguely Arabic. And you know that all Arabs are terrorists, right?)  Charles M. Blow, in the Times, writes about his fear of his own children ending up like Trayvon…I suppose that all parents worry that something terrible will happen to their children, but for some parents, that worry is more real than others.

Here’s the thing: it seems to me that as long as our country refuses to moderate its insatiable appetite for guns,  all our children are at risk.

Because beyond the simple heart-breaking fact that Trayvon is someone’s son is the fact that his death is–again–about our country’s love affair with guns and vigilante-ism, about our insistence that “they” (whoever they are at the moment) are dangerous and that “we” are always on the verge of being attacked.

Frightened people imagine attackers everywhere, which seems to be how George Zimmerman, Trayvon’s killer, looked at the world.  Zimmerman saw Trayvon as the boy was walking home from the convenience store, where he bought Skittles and iced tea; the gated community neighborhood was unfamiliar to Trayvon because he was visiting, spending some time with his father and his father’s fiancee.  Mr. Zimmerman, a volunteer for the neighborhood-watch patrol, saw Travyon walking home and thought he “looked suspicious.”  Now, in some places, “neighborhood watch” means folks strolling around the block chatting with their friends and picking up errant trash.  In this neighborhood, though, the volunteer had a concealed weapon and was cruising around in his SUV.

What made Trayvon look suspicious? I mean, Skittles are a pretty friendly looking candy, don’t you think? Well, apparently Trayvon was wearing a hooded sweatshirt, with the hood up. Up, of course, is a clear danger signal. I’m sure the color of Trayvon’s skin had nothing to do with Zimmerman’s concern.

Well, folks, we know how it ends. What with one thing and another (and in defiance of the police operator, who told Zimmerman to stay in the car until an officer arrived in the neighborhood), Zimmerman got out of his car, chased Trayvon, and then Trayvon was dead on the ground.  Zimmerman claims he shot the boy in self-defense, which when you kill someone in Florida can be an extenuating factor.

Self-defense? A 28 year old man with a gun against a 17 year old unarmed boy?

Zimmerman has not been arrested and no charges have been filed against him.

The Republican nominees for President have not said a word about Trayvon. I guess they’re too busy discussing the best ways to keep women barefoot and pregnant.

Astonishingly, however, Obama hasn’t contacted Trayvon’s family either, which reveals (again) the minefield created when racial politics intersect the politics of gun control.

Trayvon–and all the other children who have been the victims of gun-related violence–deserve more than silence. What happened to Trayvon deserves to be screamed about, shouted about, twittered, tumblr’d, pinterested, and facebooked. He deserves more than his own hashtag (although he’s got one now); and his family deserves more than the police chief saying “the evidence doesn’t establish so far that Mr. Zimmerman did not act in self-defense.”

If Zimmerman hadn’t been armed, Trayvon would be alive. It’s as simple as that. I realize that I’m shouting into the howling wilderness, but I’ll say it anyway: with stricter gun laws, Columbine would have ended differently; Virginia Tech would have ended differently; and so would have that Florida evening in February.  Remember how after Columbine and Virginia Tech people were sure that this time, gun laws would become stricter?

Should we even bother to hope that Trayvon’s death might finally, finally stir people to speak out against the gun lobby?

I know they say that guns don’t kill people, people kill people. But you know what? It’s really hard to kill someone with a bag of Skittles and a hoodie sweatshirt.

 

Update: on Monday, the US Justice department opened a probe into Trayvon’s death. George Zimmerman still sleeps in his own bed, in the comfort of his own home.  Update unrelated to heart-breaking tragedy: yeah write is open for linkups, so click on through and follow the conversation.  Then come back on Wednesday to vote for your favorite posts.



Continue Reading · on March 18, 2012 in Abu Dhabi, Kids, Politics, ranting

50 is now a lot closer than it was yesterday

So today I’m 47. Yesterday I was a spritely 46. Today I’m only three years away from 50, my back aches and I slept funny on my neck so now it hurts to turn my head.

What will I do today to celebrate, other than put a heating pad on my neck? Gosh, let’s see the list of fun things lined up for me:

we started the morning with a round of breakfast-and-lunchbox making; followed by walking the 5th grader to school and listening to the relentless monologue about Maple Story, a computer game from hell played only by mildly compulsive pre-adolescent boys (I realize this may be a redundant phrase and that all pre-adolescent boys may be mildly compulsive, true).

The mid-morning will be full of dishes and laundry, with occasional swipes at bathtub scurf.

Cleaning will be interrupted by a yoga class where hopefully my creaking 47 year old bones won’t collapse in a heap. Yesterday was yoga teacher Lululemonista’s birthday. She has a streak of green in her hair, blue toenails, and matching aztec skulls tattooed on the back of each thigh. I think probably her birthday was a lot more interesting than mine. Continue Reading →

Continue Reading · on January 20, 2011 in growing up, me my own personal self

Reverb #4: Cultivating Wonder

Today’s reverb#4 prompt: How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year?

I wondered what happened to my waist-line. I wondered what happened to my (aging) skin. I wondered when my children would stop squabbling with each other 45 out of every 60 minutes they spend together. I wondered why so much of my brain has to be devoted to logistics (see reverb #2, on “what gets in the way of your writing?”) I wondered how I could possibly make room to work on a novel, a screenplay, an academic article. I wondered if all the fashion designers in the world got together and decided en masse to forever erase the concept of “hips” from the clothes they design.  I wondered about where we’d go if Sarah Palin & Co actually won the White House in 2012.  I wondered why Barack doesn’t stand up and tell the Repugs to go fuck themselves because there comes a point when trying to play nicely with playground bullies is just dumb. I wondered how I got so lucky as to find a collection of sane & creative mommies to have as friends. I wondered how much it would cost to live in a brownstone with a garden and whether it was too late to become a hedge fund manager. I wondered why sports stars and Kardashians make so much money but give so little away. I wondered if Caleb knows how much joy I derive from listening to his elaborate Lego stories, which spin on literally for hours at a time. I wondered about taking a month off to follow Michael Franti. I wondered why in the hell I live in New York and came to the disconcerting realization that I might be miserable anywhere else. I wondered if I could learn to make a perfect roast chicken and then remembered that because I live in New York I don’t have to make a perfect roast chicken: I can have one delivered to my front door.

In short, I’m not sure I cultivated much wonder this year, but wonder sure seems to have cultivated me.

Next year, I’m going to think about wonder as a noun. And cultivate it. Maybe in a little pot right here on the window sill. I wonder how you cultivate wonder? Probably with the same sorts of seeds you use to cultivate joy. Put that on the list for 2011.

Continue Reading · on December 4, 2010 in reverb10

Cosmo winner, country loser

brown_cosmo

A year ago, I celebrated my 45th birthday watching Barack’s inauguration.  I drank champagne and cried (tears of joy mostly, although the horror of hitting “mid-forty” may have had something to do with it too); the world seemed filled with hope.

A year later, another birthday, another political upheaval, but this one from the Northeast: Scott Brown’s win over Martha whatsisherface.  A triumph of fear and half-truths over…well, over not much, I guess. Martha seems to have ignored the old adage about what happens when you assume things: like assuming that because it’s “your turn” you’ll win the election; or that because Massachusetts is so liberal you can assume you’ll win.  Remember, Martha, “assume” makes an ass of u and me. 

Making fun of Martha is cold comfort, though, given that the stakes in that election seem so high. And while I don’t want to be all  “this is the end of the Obama presidency,” it does seem like the possibility of health care reform is fading faster than you can say “fifty million uninsured.”  Anthony Wiener, the always elegant New York Rep said that basically the liklihood of the Senate bill passing the House is the same as “pigs flying out your ass.”  New Yorkers – we always have just the right thing to say.

Okay, so maybe Martha is no gem, but is that any reason to put your state in the hands of someone who posed–coyly–for Cosmo in 1982? Do you really want to know what your Senator’s pubes look like? I mean, really? True, California voted for Ahnohld, whom we’ve all seen in fewer clothes than we’d like, but that’s California–it has a reputation for being completely loony, legislatively.  Massachusettians used to sneer at Californians but no longer. Get off that high horse, my Mass friends; now you’re keeping company with the Schwarzneggerians and the Venturians.

My grimmest prediction? That Scott Brown and Sarah Palin are going to create some kind of unholy but highly photogenic alliance and run together for the White House in 2012 and that the rest of the country will be so blinded by their shiny white teeth and glossy hair that the Hollow Heads will actually win. The triumph of the shallow will be complete and people like me–grumpy, lumpy, people-who-read–will be rounded up and hunted for sport.

Oh but that can’t happen, you say. To which I say, look again at the picture at the top of this post and tell me why not.

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Continue Reading · on January 20, 2010 in Politics

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