Tuesday, November 25, 2008

On No! Not Another Language Mangler

I suffered through the Bush II presidency. Not because of his policies, because I agreed with some of them. I didn't agree with all of them. But it was his mangling of the English (or American) language that pained me. I read The Bush Dyslexicon and wept. And that was written before he was elected.

I alternately laughed and wept again listening to Sarah Palin adlib a response to anyone. Like many people, I tried to keep an open mind about her qualifications, and yet when she tried to speak off the stump speech, I saw the ramblings of a disjointed mind. The most highly quoted gaff went viral in print, in the blog-s-sphere and in cyberspace within minutes of Katie Couric's interview on 60 Minutes.

"My concern has been the atrocities there in Darfur and the relevance to me with that issue as we spoke about Africa and some of the countries there that were kind of the people succumbing to the dictators and the corruption of some collapsed governments on the continent, the relevance was Alaska’s investment in Darfur with some of our permanent fund dollars."

I lamented the fracturing of syntax to several of my favorite grammar police, all of whom returned my concern. However, only Becky Mushko outdid Sarah with her own spoof. Yes, this is an insider's joke, but I had to share the "sentence" with y'all.

"Well, yeah, but yanno that inspired me enough that I was like thinking kind of that maybe in the course of giving response critique-wise to certain folks who are not really seeking critiques that when they read, which is almost every meeting of a certain organization except, of course, when they're not there, which once in a while they are not, that we could maybe employ certain Palinistic rhetorical devices to maybe detrail the train of verbosity they exude or at least Palinetically hijack its caboose, ya think?"

Ya betcha! One seriously fractured sentence. Thanks to Becky for lifting my spirits and making me ROTFLOL.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Wednesday Morning, 3 a.m.

The day after the election, it took until three in the morning for my mind to calm down. The last of the cross-country phone calls ended by midnight. The last text message came in shortly before one. Some friends were elated at the results; others were in despair.

I kept thinking about what we had just done. We had elected a black man president. I didn't think I'd live to see that happen. We chose youth over age, black over white, and perhaps hope over more of the same.

I grew up in a multi-racial culture in Southern California. My classrooms were the epitome of the rainbow coalition long before the Reverend Jesse Jackson coined the phrase. A typical classroom could have had as many as twenty different ethnic minorities in twenty five seats. I watched the Civil Rights Movement play out on television without really being emotionally or physically involved. I was happy with the Civil Rights Act was signed into law in 1964, but I was more impacted by the war in Vietnam and the Women's Rights Movement.

Then, I went to the Democratic National Convention in Atlanta in 1988. I was in a private area when Jesse Jackson gave his stirring speech on education. I admit to having tears on my cheeks when he finished. I began to understand what he and the Reverend Martin Luther King had been fighting for.

And now we have a president who missed all of this, but in a different way. He's our first post-Boomer president. He grew up with all the rights we have come to expect. He grew up in a multi-racial culture in Hawaii. And he made his own way through university and law school without relying on affirmative action. He did it on the merits of his intellect, not on the color of his skin.

So we are faced with impossible challenges: the failing (or failed) economy, obscene bailouts, two wars, a war on terror, healthcare, education -- who the heck would want this job??? President-elect Obama asked for and got the job. As Confucius said, "Be careful what you ask for. You might get it."

Whether we supported or opposed him during the election, we must rally and support him as our president. We owe it to those who came before, to those alive today, and to our children and children's children who will be paying for our combined fiscal follies long after we are on the wrong side of the grass.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Vox Populi

I promised myself when I began this blog that I would write about issues that concerned me. I promised myself I wouldn't turn this into a political blog. However, election day is tomorrow and this campaign season has been going on for 20 months.

We've been lucky to have several charismatic men and women running this year. Several good candidates dropped out before all the states had a chance to register their opinion. We lost Chris Dodd, Mitt Romney, Hillary and others. Each in his or her own way had a message. Some had more money than others and could afford to stay in the race until closer to the end.

We now have two different men on the ballot. Both are good, honorable, and committed to serving our country. Obama would be the first mixed race man to win. John would be the oldest and perhaps most experienced man to win. Either could do the job, or they wouldn't have gotten this far.

It's now up to us, the people, to make our voices heard. I haven't missed voting in a national election since I turned 21 and could vote for the first time. I even voted at the American Embassy in Tokyo and then watched on television as Reagan beat Carter. I wasn't happy because I had lived in California under Reagan as governor. When he promised to do to the country what he had done in California, I cringed. He did -- he left both deeply in debt. I cheered when we elected our first Boomer president, only to realize that like so many of us, Clinton wasn't all we thought he was. Or maybe he was and we got what we deserved.

I watched in shame in 2000 when the election outcome was overshadowed by hanging chads and the selection of a candidate by the Supremes. I only hope that we do not have a similar outcome tomorrow.

We have so many new voters on the rolls this year. We have young voters excited about going to the polls for the first time. I hope they all show up.

We have a new category this year: LIVs. Low informed voters. Vote the straight ticket. Listen to the slurs and spin without checking facts. Believe the scare tactics. Welcome all, even if I don't agree with you.

We are the people. We have a voice. Let's all go out tomorrow and make Washington hear what you have to say. Join me in line at oh-dark-hundred. I'll be there, reading the Wall Street Journal, holding a coffee in one hand, a cell in the other, and impatient because I can't wait to cast my vote.