Inauguration Day and History

This blog isn’t about my personal life, but I can’t focus on work – I thought I might be able to until the events begin, but there is no way! What could I have been thinking? I’ve been ruminating on my own personal history, in terms of race and politics and feel it’s worth posting right now, as I am feeling so full up emotionally.
Because I couldn’t concentrate, I thought I’d clean my studio while listening to the NPR news stream. I came across an “essay” I wrote in third grade, which would have been smack dab in the middle of the sixties. I’d moved from Los Angeles at the age of six, just after the Watts riots. I remember quite clearly staying after kindergarten with my mom, who was helping in the after school program for the kids who were bussed in. I loved those times because I got cookies, and my mom was a health freak before it was fashionable (yes, I was the one who was given raw turnips in my lunchbox. No wonder I couldn’t get a trade for Twinkies). I remember having a great time playing with everyone, and my mother tells me now that she was called an “N-lover”. In fact, I was so dark-skinned as a child that I was called that word myself.
I learned something about myself the other night while watching Frost/Nixon. I was at a very impressionable 13-years-old when Nixon was impeached and left office. I remember I felt personally betrayed. I’ve always hated politics, thought pretty much every politician was a liar, and could not, for the life of me, understand how anyone could listen to a politician drone on. My feelings began to change four years ago when I first heard Obama speak. But I was unconvinced. It was a one-shot, I thought. Throughout his presidential campaign, I’ve felt fearfully optimistic. Scared to hope, yet I am now consumed with hope, and excited about what is to come. I’m proud of my country in a way I’ve never been. Until I watched that movie, it never occurred to me that the fact that I hated politics was thanks to Nixon. One of the characters even says something like, “…this will forever change people’s feelings about politics…” (definitely not a verbatim quote!)
So back to the item I just found – this little paragraph of an essay in the mountainous piles of who-knows-what in my studio, and thought I’d share it. It’s funny, somewhat illiterate (I’m a tough critic!), but poignant, too. Enjoy it, and Happy New President Day!
All babies were born with love, but when they grow up they lose it sometimes. They lose because their parents teach them hate and prejudices to them. You shouldn’t hate everybody who is different from you because people are the same as anyone else inside no matter what color or how ugly or pretty the person is. People need love or they might turn sad. Every body has love in it…somewhere.

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