Thursday, November 6, 2008

President Obama

This has been a very hard blog to write - it is my first one in a while. I know some of you have been wondering what has happened to us! We have lots that has happened and now that I am unpacked and a bit more settled we will be sure to update you all! Also we have been under a blog curse -this particular one has been somehow deleted two times already - each time I write it it is a bit different and I mourn the loss of the original - it is as if some power is keeping me away from blogging and I feel helpless and scared - but here I go on this topic again....

Where were you when Obama was elected president?

Will this be the replacement question for where were you when 9/11 happened? Or, for my
parents, when JFK was shot?

Well, we were here, in France - let me talk a bit about that:

First, a bit of political background - I was raised in the gorgeous northern New Jersey
suburb of Ringwood (check it out at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ringwood,_New_Jersey). It
was a Republican stronghold peopled by a similar crowd as the McCain concession speech (95%
white!) and my family (as liberals) was in an extreme minority. One of my earliest
childhood memories was riding the bus home during the 1984 election season as 40 or so kids
screamed "REAGAN BUSH, REAGAN BUSH" and I defiantly stood my groud with my tiny "MONDALE FERRARO, MONDALE FERRARO" (I was 8). I remember my dad always working for the (hopeless) Democrat in the campaigns and I also remember going into the voting booth with him to 'help' vote (thanks dad). He was so dissapointed when I joined the Mormon church, certain I had gone conservative on him. I may have found religeon (for a time - and a topic for
another blog) but I never lost my love for the left wing. I went to see Clinton speak
when he came to Temple University when I was there and volunteered for the Gore campaign.
Andre' and I even marched against the Iraq war and hosted campaign workers during the Kerry campaign.

So, needless to say, we were dissappointed not to be in the thick of things during this
election, volunteering or even just being there at the historic moment of truth. But, the
funny thing is, we kind of still were. People in France were engrossed in the election.
On Wednesday, Andre and I watched a half hour news show and (we timed it) 26 minutes were
devoted to the US election. Here he is on French TV...giving his speech. (wasn't it great?- we had already watched it on you tube earlier)
They also spoke about Martin Luther King Jr. -
It turns out we could have been at an election party (if only we had known) as all night parties (remember we are 6 hours ahead) were being held all over France. People had their faces painted and were crying, screaming and dancing for joy as
the winner was announced. It really was quite incredible to see the reactions.
In the days following the win, people came up to me to share their excitement - I even had one
woman literally say to me "This could only have happened in America."

Really? Is that true?
Personally, I have always been irritated by the ethnocentrism in America. One of my pet
peeves is how every political speech - conservative, liberal, whatever - ends with "God
Bless America" Oh please! How about "God Bless the whole world" or (even better, if you
know me) "Goddess Bless us All". It seems to me that Americans seem to not only think that
they are unique and special (and as with any culture, they certainly are) but that they are
somehow better, chosen or something. I have always thought this notion was completely
ridiculous and a big part of all our problems in the international community. But this
election, at this time, made me realize that perhaps, in some small way, this attitude is
shared by people outside my own country. It is strange because the French have this
reputation in the US for hating America. I don't see this at all (although people
certainly censor around me and, let's face it, I really have no idea what they are saying
99% of the time, even when they are speaking to me). People here seem to be fascinated by
America - I'm not saying they want to be Americans, but our culture certainly has
infiltrated to a greater degree than you would imagine. The music playing in stores is
usually American, the toys in the toy stores are mostly the same as you would find at home,
the TV shows are often dubbed from America, the words on T-shirts are in English and the
kids at Callie and Zander's schools think they must be 'cool' because they are American- it
is so wierd. Andre' and I always say that he US is going to go down in flames and China
will take over - but this is going to take some time based on how things look now! It is
not just about the money - it is something more - something I really don't get. On the TV
news they had some French expert on America going on about how this could only happen in
the US. The interviewer said, "Why not? Sure this could happen in France!" But the expert assured him it couldn't and hadn't and wouldn't (he probably explained why but it
was all in French so who knows?).
I don't really get why, and I'm not even sure I agree - but I do know that I am grateful that it did happen, in my country. It gives me hope for the future of my children. My feelings at this moment reflect Starhawk:"May we become the nation we dream of being, a place where everyone can rise to the level of their true worth, with no false barriers. May truth triumph over lies, hope over fear. May we become the people who can do the great things that are needed to restore health and balance and abundance for all. May we take the dream and make it real." I hope that all of us can dig deeper and work harder to heal some of the wounds of the past 8 years - to do this so we can make not just America a better place, but the world - for us all. (How's that for a bit of American arrogance!)

So mote it be!
Rebecca

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