Flower Power, second in a series, gouache and spray paint on gessoed canvas, image and painting © 2009 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.
Yes you can. Give peace a chance.
My message to you.
Posted in Art, Art of Rebellion, Bones, Culture, Haiku, Politics, Practice, Vision, Wake Up, tagged Barack Obama, Barack Obama face, Barack Obama painting, flower power, Obama, painting, President Barack Obama on April 19, 2009 | 9 Comments »
Flower Power, second in a series, gouache and spray paint on gessoed canvas, image and painting © 2009 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.
Yes you can. Give peace a chance.
My message to you.
Posted in Art, Dreams, Fotoblog, Life, Nature, Personal, Photography, Place, Seasons, Structure, Vision, Weather, tagged April, Barack Obama, Barack Obama face, Barack Obama painting, C. Little No Less, Obama, promise of Spring, rainbow magic, rainbow pictures, spring, spring in New Mexico, the month of April, the process of painting, Virgen de Guadalupe, wind, wisteria on April 14, 2009 | 25 Comments »
This is our wisteria vine just about this time last year, right before a hard freeze zapped the blooms.
We’re hopeful that we’ll see the wisteria go wild this spring, yet the vine’s tender young buds already froze once, last month, and a second set is barely sprouting anew.
This is the time of year when I can’t wait for the weather to make up its mind and choose warm over cold, calm over windy. It’s the time of year when I go crazy wanting to fast-track nature. I’m tired of the color brown and the dull tan of cottonwood leaves and old pine needles. I long to see sumptuous greens and every hue of purple imaginable.
I plant pansies in pots and spend too much money at the nursery. I tempt nature by pulling the geraniums out of the greenhouse, and the jade plant, too. Then nature pulls a punch, with a day of rain that almost turns to snow. And right when I think I’ve once again underestimated how cool these desert mountains of the Rio Grande Valley can be, the sun comes out and a rainbow, too.
April is a windy month in Albuquerque. You can sweep the elm seeds from the porch and in an hour open the front door to an entire elm seed colony waiting to swirl on in and see the place.
But I like April anyway. Good people are born in April. My youngest daughter. My sister. One friend I’ve known since junior high school and another I’ve known since our first job out of graduate school.
And there’s our friend and fellow writer/blogger/traveler “lil,” who recently celebrated a birthday and received an amazing poem from her husband, which she posted on C. Little, no less. Check it out.
Happy birthday to those all you Aries and happy blowy days to the rest of you!
Posted in Art, Art of Rebellion, Bones, Culture, Doodling, Dreams, Fotoblog, Gratitude, Life, Personal, Practice, Structure, Vision, Wake Up, Work, tagged Barack Obama, Barack Obama face, becoming an artist, being tossed away, following through, gouache paint, gouache paint history, learning how to paint, making your dreams happen, not being tossed away, overcoming fear, painters, painting, persistence, President Barack Obama, process, realizing your dreams, second chances, showing up, the creative process, the process of painting, the value of process on April 2, 2009 | 37 Comments »
In fall of last year I had an opportunity. A gallery owner in New York City saw my doodles on Flickr and invited me to join a group show in spring 2009. (Several artists on Flickr were asked to join.)
I rejoiced in being invited yet hemmed and hawed about whether I’d accept. In the end I signed up, making a vague notation in my brain about April being a key month for getting the paintings done. Then I went on with my life.
Thanksgiving and Christmas came and went, as did the new year. I made the intention to Finish what I start. President Barack Obama was inaugurated. I rejoiced again.
I bought canvases for the art show, gessoed them, set them aside in my writing room. Looked at them most days, noted that it was time to begin painting, procrastinated.
In early February I decided to get serious about starting the pieces. I cleaned off my work table, filed three months’ worth of bills. We took on a Mexican exchange student from February 7-21. A pinched sciatica kept me in bed for almost two weeks.
By the time I sat down to paint, I had frittered away four months. I looked up the date when the paintings needed to be in Manhattan. February 28. The show was in early April. I missed the deadline.
I have a new opportunity. Our community, which boasts an inordinately large number of artists and craftsmen, holds an annual art studio tour. This year the tour happens the weekend of May 2-3. I will be showing in a gallery with a handful of other artists—real artists.
Here is my chance to make the leap.
When Obama was inaugurated, I did a quick doodle. As soon as I finished it, I knew I wanted to do a series of Obama faces on 12″x12″ canvases for the New York City art show. My problem was never a lack of ideas; rather, it was a lack of follow through.
I picked up the paintbrush in March. When I started, I painted to the tempo of a little voice saying, I don’t know how to do this. I’ve never painted on canvas. If gessoed, I figured, canvas should act similar to gesso on wood. I was wrong.
Painting is a process. This painting, the first in a series, is a work in process. I thought it was almost done, but then I realized that I hadn’t learned how to control—or, rather, let myself lose control—of the paintbrush.
When I began thinking about painting on canvas, QM suggested that I do a post about my process. I agreed even though I had no idea if my ideas about process would work. I’m not done with this painting, but I can tell you this—it’s not the actual process that’s important. What matters is that you have one.
Here’s what I know. I’m the only person who’s ever stopped me from realizing my dreams. I’ve gotten out of my own way this time. Next time I might be right back in the middle of the road with my hands out in front of me yelling STOP! But not today.
My goal is to paint six pieces for the early May show. I have less than a month to go, and I can only paint in the evenings and on weekends. I went to a carpenter and asked him to make me wood boards to paint on. Canvas works, but I still like wood best.
Thanks to QM’s curiosity, I’m adding these excellent links on the topic of gouache.
Posted in Art, Doodling, Dreams, Gratitude, Politics, Practice, tagged 2009 Presidential Inauguration, 44th president of the United States, Barack Obama, Barack Obama drawing, Barack Obama face, president, President Barack Obama on January 20, 2009 | 55 Comments »
Mr. President, pen and ink on graph paper, based on a photo
in Mother Jones, doodle © 2009 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.
Elizabeth Alexander shared her poem, Praise song for the day.
Reverend Joseph Lowery offered his benediction.
What words do you have for the 44th president of the United States?
Share your poems, blessings, hopes, wishes, advice.
Posted in Art, Dreams, Essay, Fotoblog, Gratitude, Holidays, Photography, Poetry, Politics, Quotes, Reading, Vision, Wake Up, Writers, Writing, tagged 2009 Presidential Inauguration, Amistad, Barack Obama, celebrate poetry, Elizabeth Alexander, historical poetry, Inaugural Poets, Inauguration Schedule, love of words, Martin Luther King Jr., Maya Angelou, Mende Vocabulary, Miller Williams, Poetic Justice, poetry groups, Riverview Theater, Robert Frost, support of the arts, The Last Quatrain, the power of poetry, the value of the Arts, vintage theaters on January 19, 2009 | 61 Comments »
Tickets, mural outside the vintage Riverview Theater, Minneapolis, Minnesota, August 2007, all photos © 2007-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.
A few weeks ago, our monthly Poetry Group read the work of Elizabeth Alexander, the poet selected to read at the inauguration of Barack Obama. When we sat down to dinner the next day after work, Liz announced, “I took a half day off Tuesday. Want to go to the Riverview for the inauguration?” It took a few seconds to sink in. Then, with no hesitation, I said, “Yes, let’s do it. I’ll ask for time off, too.”
Elizabeth Alexander, a 46-year-old professor of African American Studies at Yale, and author of five books of poetry, will be only the 4th poet to read at a presidential inauguration. Robert Frost was the very first during President John F. Kennedy’s inauguration in 1961. When it came time to read, Frost, blinded by the sun, could not see his notes and quickly moved to Plan B. He recited from memory another poem from his prolific body of work.
Maya Angelou read for President Bill Clinton’s first Inauguration in 1993. And for President Clinton’s second, he chose Miller Williams in 1997. It’s been a long 12 years since a poet has had the honor of reading at an inauguration. It’s important to notice this detail; it’s a strong indicator that the Arts matter to the upcoming administration.
I was moved by the poetry of Elizabeth Alexander. She was only a one year old on August 28th, 1963 when her father, a civil rights advisor to President Johnson, and her mother, Adele, brought her to the Lincoln Memorial to hear Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. On January 20th, 2009, she will read at the swearing-in of the first African American U.S. president.
I am obviously profoundly honored and thrilled. Not only to have a chance to have some small part of this extraordinary moment in American history……This incoming president of ours has shown in every act that words matter, that words carry meaning, that words carry power, that words are the medium with which we communicate across difference and that words have tremendous possibilities, and those possibilities are not empty.
- Elizabeth Alexander from the Washington Post article, Selection Provides Civil Rights Symmetry
We’ll hope to have free tickets and front row seats to the Riverview Theater’s screening of the inauguration (you can also watch it free at the downtown Minneapolis Central Library). The Riverview doors open at 9:30am CST with the viewing lasting until around 1pm. And on the wide Riverview screen, behind the original late 1940′s vintage curtains:
11:30am EST — If you have tickets to the Inauguration ceremony, you must have passed through security by this time.
12:00 Noon EST – As specified by the U.S. Constitution (20th Amendment), presidential terms of office begin and end at 12:00 noon on January 20.
12:05pm EST (approx) — President Barack Obama will give his inaugural address, speaking to the nation and world, for the first time, as President of the United States, followed by:
It’s been almost two years since Barack Obama announced his candidacy for President of the United States in front of the Old State Capitol building in Springfield, Illinois. For those who supported and voted for him, it’s the end of a long journey through a couple of grueling years of Presidential politics. For those who did not, it is a time-honored moment in our country’s history, and on the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth, one you will not want to pass up.
I can’t think of a better way to honor the memory and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. than to take time off of work on Tuesday to listen to Barack Hussein Obama II be sworn in as our 44th President. That we will be graced with a moment of poetry falling on the listening ears of millions of people across the world, offers the promise of poetic justice — another chance to keep the magic of poetry alive.
In that moment, really I am the vessel for the poem. It’s not about the poet at that moment, it’s about the poem.
– Elizabeth Alexander from the NPR interview, Poet Calls Writing Inaugural Poem A ‘Challenge’
Poems were meant to be read out loud. That’s part of the joy of hearing others read live in a poetry group. Mende Vocabulary is one of the poems beautifully read by one member at our last poetry group and can be found, along with The Last Quatrain, and other poems, in Elizabeth Alexander’s piece, The Negro Digs Up Her Past: ‘‘Amistad’.”
The essay explores historical poetry and fiction through such works as Robert Hayden’s Middle Passage (which he first published in 1943 and continued to publish in revision as late as 1962), Toni Morrison’s Beloved, and Arthur Schomburg’s 1925 essay The Negro Digs Up His Past.
by Elizabeth Alexander
I see God
did I say it right?
they have eaten
this book is mine
that book is his
this book is ours
I am your friend
The Last Quatrain
by Elizabeth Alexander
and where now
and what now
the black white space
If we contemplate the Amistad as a ship without mothers, the utter absence of mothers in a violently formed society; if we wonder what people dreamed in their captivity, we might begin to understand what they lost, what it took to build themselves up again, and what it might take to move forward.
It is the unique potential of poetry to be able to locate and activate what is in the imagination. Art takes us to knowing that may have no other way of being found, and that is one of the very things we need in order to move more intelligently forward.
– Elizabeth Alexander
- poems and final quote from an essay by Elizabeth Alexander on historical poetry and fiction, The Negro Digs Up Her Past: ‘‘Amistad’’ from The South Atlantic Quarterly 104:3, Summer 2005. Copyright©2005 by Duke University Press.
RESOURCES & READINGS
To read more about Elizabeth Alexander, Amistad, poetry, and the upcoming inauguration schedule, below are links to the resources used in this essay:
Presidential Inauguration at the Riverview Theater - Riverview’s page on their screening of the inauguration, Tuesday (Jan 20th): 10:30AM CST
Inauguration Day 2009 Schedule of Activities and Events – details and times for 2009 Inaugural Events, along with an hours, minutes, seconds countdown
Words on the Inauguration at the Poet’s Website, Elizabeth Alexander - “Words matter. Language matters. We live in and express ourselves with language, and that is how we communicate and move through the world in community.”
Inaugural Poet Part Of History – Again - part of the Road To The Inauguration Series on the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric
The Inaugural Poet: Selection Provides Civil Rights Symmetry - article in the Washington Post by Michael E. Ruanein, Thursday, December 18, 2008
Poet Calls Writing Inaugural Poem A ‘Challenge’ – listen to the NPR interview with Elizabeth Alexander, December 18th, 2008
Weaving Words For The Inaugural Poem – listen to NPR Host Scott Simon ask Elizabeth Alexander for a sneak peek, January 17th, 2009
The Negro Digs Up Her Past: ‘‘Amistad’’ by Elizabeth Alexander - The South Atlantic Quarterly 104:3, Summer 2005. Copyright©2005 by Duke University Press. — document from the author’s website, an excellent essay on the significance of historical poetry and fiction
The Amistad Comes to Life! — lesson planning article at Education World on teaching the story of The Amistad across all grades, a curriculum to bring life to the story of the revolt on the Amistad in the early 1800′s. Great links, one to the historic sites on the Connecticut Freedom Trail.
The Mende Language - a few word translations from the Mende language at Education World, part of the curriculum for the complete story of the Amistad (link above) and the role Josiah Gibbs, a language professor at Yale University in New Haven, played in finding a translator for the Africans so their side of the story could be told.
Circles Within Circles, Casting Light 1950′s lamp at the Riverview Theater, Minneapolis, Minnesota, August 2007, all photos © 2007-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.
-posted on red Ravine, Martin Luther King Day, Monday, January 19th, 2009, day before the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama
-with gratitude to Teri who took the leap and started our Poetry Group over a year ago, has provided strong leadership, and helps Keep Poetry Alive!
-related to posts: Out With The Old, In With The Old (Recycled Fashion Goes To Washington, DC), If You Can’t Say Something Nice…, Why It Won’t Matter To You That I’m Voting For Obama, The Politics Of Primary Season 2008 (A Presidential Primer)
Posted in Art, Everyday Art, Photography, Politics, Vision, Wake Up, Work, tagged 2009 Presidential Inauguration, Barack Obama, environmental art, Green Inaugural Ball, Nancy Judd, Obama coat, Recycle Runway, recycled art, trash fashion, trashion on January 15, 2009 | 22 Comments »
Santa Fe designer Nancy Judd and her recycled “trashion” (trash fashion) are headed to Washington, DC, to Saturday’s Green Inaugural Ball honoring President-elect Barack Obama. Judd, a former Recycling Coordinator at the City Different’s Solid Waste Department and current owner of Recycle Runway, has expanded her gorgeous line of “Dumpster coutre” to include pieces inspired by Obama campaign throwaways.
The Wall Street Journal featured Judd on the front page of its January 13th issue, for having caught the eye of organizers of the $500-a-ticket all-organic pre-Inaugural celebration, which is expected to draw 1,000 environmentalists. Models will display Judd’s garments on platforms in the main lobby area.
Showing her stuff in the nation’s capital is a big step for a woman who used to put on a furry blue costume and sweat her way through parades as Carlos Coyote, Santa Fe’s recycling mascot.”
Using campaign paraphernalia she rescued from a dumpster outside an Obama campaign office, Judd has developed an elegant line of Obama-wear, so far consisting of these three pieces (photos were provided by Judd and are used with her permission):
This man’s coat is made from Obama campaign paper door hangers that have been lacquered and stitched together. (Look closely and you can see lots of little smiling Obamas and Bidens.) It took Judd 200 hours to cut, paste, and sew the coat.
Judd tailored the coat to Obama’s measurements, which she found online. She is hoping he will stop by the event and try on the coat. She even managed to hinge the sleeves to give him a measure of mobility: “He can’t wave, but he can shake a hand.”
Maybe the mental image of that dress made from glass might make people think twice before they throw out a bottle next time.
~Jenna Mack, co-producer of the Green Inaugural Ball (from WSJ)
Judd is shown here modeling an old-new take on the ubiquitious “little black dress,” this one made from plastic yard signs. She has no training in fashion, nor does she know how to sketch. She gets ideas from old paper dolls.
Her pieces are conceived as wearable sculpture and she doesn’t sell any of them. They are educational tools to help illustrate the problems facing our environment and to raise awareness.
You can’t be didactic or shaming or all gloom-and-doom…so you sneak in the back door.
~Judd, on how to talk to others about sustainability (from WSJ)
This stylish suit is woven from strips of voter-registration posters.
For Judd, making dazzling garments to hit home a serious message about the earth is a labor of love. For the past two years, she has been living off of savings and a small business loan. She won’t be making money from the Green Inaugural Ball, either, although she is selling tote bags made from recycled campaign posters to cover trip expenses.
The children were amazed to see that something so beautiful could be created out of something we would normally throw away.
~Pat Bluett, assistant director of a Boys & Girls Club (from WSJ)
I’m relieved to know that some of the printed materials—door hangers and brochures that so many volunteers handed out during the campaign—have been “re-purposed” into such gorgeous pieces. (How she managed to cut the plastic yards signs, I can’t figure out. Those things are indestructuable—don’t ask me how I know.)
More than that, I am proud of this talented New Mexico designer for making it to Washington, DC and to an audience of prominent and influential environmental leaders. She’s created a unique and fabulous way to get across a vital message to people young and old—and people in power ought to see her work.
Speaking of people in power, would you say hello to Obama for me, Nancy? Just give him a big hug on my behalf as you’re helping him try on the Obamanos Coat. Thanks.
Posted in Film / TV / Video, Jugular, Politics, Vision, tagged 2008 presidential elections, 2008 vice presidential debate, Barack Obama, blog flogging, blogging, civil discourse, internet anonymity, internet rage, Joe Biden, John McCain, Sarah Palin on October 2, 2008 | 108 Comments »
Peace Be with US, a flag flies for peace during the rest of the election season, October 1, 2008, photo © 2008 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.
…don’t say anything at all.
It’s my plea to all passionate participants in our national elections.
If you can’t say something nice—about McCain, Palin, Obama, or Biden, and especially about and to their respective supporters—don’t say anything at all.
I’m tired of the bickering. The rage is wearing me down. I am a passionate person myself, and I don’t shy away from making my opinions known, but frankly, I can’t handle any more nastiness.
…you should just shut up and quit showing how stupid you are…
-one commenter to another, on progressive The Huffington Post
…if anyone is a blathering idiot, it’s you…
-one commenter to another, on conservative Michelle Malkin
Every morning I get up, grab a cup of coffee and scan my bookmarked websites to get the latest news on the presidential elections. I check all the usuals: AlterNet, The Huffington Post, Daily Kos, msnbc.com, CNN.com, Politico, RealClearPolitics, and Washington Monthly. It soothes me to go to these sources as most have stories with a “blue-state” bent. News I can hang on to.
I don’t claim it’s a balanced approach—it’s not—but for someone like me, who can feel the anxiety rise every time I think about what might happen November 4, reading articles that confirm my world view keeps me calm. I get how venting about “the other side” can serve as a release and a way for like-minded people to bond. I find satisfaction there, too.
Well, I used to.
Even as much as I am guilty of seeking that kind of validation, I can honestly say I have finally OD’d.
I’m turned off by the meanness. Bloggers, pundits, columnists, candidates and their campaigns all set off the brawls with their claims and taunts. Then the spectators jump in. Behind the cloak of internet anonymity, they turn into hateful, rageful people. They attack. They say things I can’t imagine they’d ever say in person.
Internet rage has been around for as long as the internet has been around; who hasn’t received a flaming email at least once? But civil discourse has gone out the window, right at the time we need it most. We are losing our capacity to see one another as humans.
Right now, with tensions as high as they are, the last thing we need is to beat one another down. Right now, today, we need kindness and compassion. I need kindness and compassion.
Tonight is the vice-presidential debate. It promises to be a slugfest. Palin and Biden will be ferocious, and if they’re not, the internet and spin machines will fill in on their behalf. I, however, plan to swim against the current, and I’d like you to join me.
Before, during, and after the debate, I invite you to come here and say something nice about Palin or Biden or both. Anything. No sarcasm. No underhanded compliments. Find something you honestly feel the candidates have done well, even if it has to do with how they look.
You’ll still get mad at the candidate you want to lose (or the one you want to win) and probably reach a point where you can’t believe what you’re seeing. I’m not asking you to be a saint. But find one nugget. See if it helps shift something inside.
I know this is silly. I know it’s more about me than it is the rest of you. But the way I see it, a lot hangs in the balance and it isn’t just who wins in November.
Posted in Culture, Essay, Photography, Politics, Secrets, tagged 2008 Presidential primaries, Barack Obama, Democratic Primaries, Hillary Clinton, what influences how we vote on February 3, 2008 | 33 Comments »
I got a call yesterday from Mom. She wanted to know what I thought about Barack Obama.
“He was good,” I told her. I went to see him speak on the economy, in an auditorium where I’ve seen George Winston, Joan Baez, and Bonnie Raitt. No seat in the ~2,000-person house is bad.
“It wasn’t a rally like Adam went to,” I explained. Adam is my nephew who goes to school at University of Denver. He’s been an Obama backer since the beginning.
“Well,” Mom said, “Dad and I are voting for Hillary,” and then she ticked off who in the family was voting for Clinton and who for Obama. When it comes to what’s happening in our own party, we Democrats in the family can talk politics without things turning nasty.
I like that my mom and dad know who they want. Not once have they tried to sway me, and not once have I tried to change their minds. That would be fruitless.
Dad said today that he thinks this is our only chance to elect a woman as president. I also know that Dad and Mom love the Clintons. During Bill Clinton’s first campaign, Dad worked as the Assistant Treasurer of the New Mexico Democratic party. He’s as loyal as they come.
“I like Obama, too,” Dad said, “but he’s young. He can be President next time.”
My parents have a deep connection to Clinton, one that transcends her policies. They don’t know Obama.
George Lakoff, linguist and author of several books on the importance of language in politics, wrote a blog post about something that Ronald Reagan discovered. Most voters do not vote based on policy. They vote based on values, connection, authenticity, trust, and identity.
I think Clinton is great. I think she is competent and has done a lot for our country. Why then, was my decision to vote for Obama so swift and so strong? Was Reagan right?
The Iraq War
I remember those first few days when the bombs started to drop in Iraq. Jim and I cried. I was devastated, yet I went to work. In my journal from that time, I have an email memo from a vice president in our company stating that the war had started, that many people had strong opinions — even passion — over these events, and that we should remember that ours was a global workplace with employees from many nationalities.
I read the memo, incredulous. How could I refrain from speaking with passion? I couldn’t concentrate on my tasks. I was overcome by emotion and the realization that we were at war.
Also in my journal is a clipping of a New York Times article on the difficulties talking about the war at work or school. A waiter in New York said customers were sending back French fries because France was against the war. “I’m against the war, so maybe you shouldn’t eat anything served by me,” the waiter was quoted as saying.
The U.S. invasion of Iraq had broad support. People wanted to see something as retribution for the terrorist attacks of 9-11. Three hundred seventy-three Congressmen and women voted to authorize going to war; 156 opposed. Like those 156, I was in the minority.
I remember writing about those first few days. I said I felt like I was in a glass bubble, walking around the aisles at work. There’s Roberta, oh, look, Renee and Gwen, going about their business. I wanted to scream, “We’re in a war!”
But I couldn’t. They wouldn’t have heard me anyway.
To speak out against the war at that time was to show immense personal courage. Our Democratic Senator, Jeff Bingaman, voted against the resolution to approve going to war. But many Democrats gave Bush authority to move forward.
Obama was not a U.S. Senator in October 2002, when the resolution to approve the use of force was passed, but a week before that vote, he made this speech against the war. This is, for me, the primary difference between Obama and Clinton. It is one thing, but it is huge.
I care about the environment and education. I want to see No Child Left Behind ended before it demoralizes even further people like my sister who teach in high-risk schools. The economy, the poor, the environment — all are overshadowed by the nearly 4,000 soldiers killed, the 30,000 wounded, the $600 billion spent.
And what of the almost 200,000 Iraquis killed and 2 million displaced? I can’t see them, yet for nearly five years I have felt in my heart the sadness of despair.
In College I took a Creative Writing class with New Mexico author Rudolfo Anaya. I wrote a fictional account of a true event that had recently taken place in my family.
My dad’s cousin, a priest who left the Church in the late 1960s, was dying of AIDS in San Francisco, and he moved back to his mother’s – my great-aunt’s — home to be with his family during his final days. The archibishop reinstated my dad’s cousin as a priest and allowed him to give one last mass before he died.
I wrote the story from the priest’s mother’s perspective. I had her flash back to memories of her childhood, which I imagined to be sheltered and oppressed.
I noticed in class that students who wrote about sex seemed to get more praise from Anaya than those whose plotlines were tame. In my final draft, I inserted a long scene where the protagonist was sexually molested by an older boy when she was a teenager.
The scene served to show how the mother viewed sexuality and, therefore, what she had to overcome in order to forgive her son. The scene also was my secret experiment, to see if I could elicit effusive praise from my professor.
Sure enough, the feedback was glowing. The afternoon that I got his notes on my draft, I left the classroom wondering what this all meant. I considered drawing up a grievance. I stewed about it for a bit, but in the end I did nothing. I didn’t want to give the university ammunition for dismissing an Hispanic professor. In my journal I wrote, “I am Chicana more than I am feminist.”
In hindsight, I realize I was wrong about Anaya. The scene worked. It went to where the priest’s mother’s emotional pain was. Anaya was not machista; he was simply guiding us to tap the interiority of our characters.
But what I got right about that experience was the understanding that of the two aspects of my identity that most shaped me, I am more loyal to my identity as a person of color than I am to my identity as a woman. This is because of the isolation I felt throughout my childhood, the “other-ness” based on the food we ate, the Spanish my parents spoke, how we lived.
That’s not to say that I don’t relate to the struggles of women. I do, and in my work especially, I am different both for my ethnicity and for my gender.
But for better or worse (and here is how this story relates to the Democratic Primaries), when I ask myself whether Clinton or Obama knows my experience better, the answer I give myself is, Obama. Deep inside I believe this man of mixed race knows me.
I don’t know how important this consideration is, but I suspect it is pretty important if I am to be honest about what exactly my gut is saying when it tells me that I trust Obama.
I’m glad I decided to go see Hillary last night. Nothing can take the place of seeing a candidate live and in person.
She was much better, much more inspiring and trustworthy than I expected. I clapped and yelled. I liked her immensely.
I feel relieved that no matter what happens, it will be great.
I’m also glad I wrote this. I learned that my decision is wholly mine. One hundred percent my own. It is not complex, and yet it is more profound than I ever imagined. It’s based on no more than a couple of simple things, things I’ve tried to distill down to soundbites. “He’s a leader, not a manager.” “He inspires, he unites.”
The endorsements, his words and his presence at the event, the analyses — all they do is validate. They don’t really mean anything more than that. I knew shortly after he entered the race that he was the one.
I’m telling you this because it’s a revelation, not because I want you to join me. I can no more sway you to follow me than you can influence me to follow you. I’m glad I figured that out. I find it calming.
I don’t know what you will base your decision on, but I trust it will be deep, whatever it is. I wish you the best on Tuesday and beyond.
I can’t wait to tell Mom about Hillary.
-related to posts, The Politics Of Primary Season 2008 (A Presidential Primer) and Do You Do Politics?
Posted in 25 Things, Culture, Essay, Jugular, Personal, Photography, Place, Politics, Structure, Vision, tagged A Presidential Primer, Barack Obama, get out and vote, Hillary Clinton, Minnesota Caucus, MPR Select A Candidate, politics in America, Super Tuesday States, the politics of primaries, the structure of U.S. politics on February 1, 2008 | 65 Comments »
New Mexico To Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, January 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.
I’m not a very political person. I don’t follow politics, and haven’t since my more radical days in the 1970′s. But this year has been different. I’ve been energized and inspired by the candidates on both sides of the fence. People seem more engaged, less polarized. And I’ve been keeping an open mind.
The fuel continues to be fired in the comments on ybonesy’s post, Do You Do Politics? There is a lively conversation going on there. I don’t remember many discussions of politics in my childhood. But my mother reminded me (Comment 79) that she was very involved in politics and even met Rosalynn Carter.
My friend Teri commented (Comment 58) about going to see John Edwards speak in St. Paul last Tuesday at the Carpenter’s Union Hall. She was on stage with Edwards; she shook his hand. I was fired up to see what he would do next. The following morning in New Orleans, he announced he was ending his race for the Presidency. His supporters and campaign managers in Minnesota were stunned. Where will they turn next?
I’ve been thinking about voting in the Minnesota caucus next Tuesday – but, wait, how do I do that? I discovered I knew next to nothing about the way the primaries work, or even about the caucus process in my own home state of Minnesota. I had to do some digging to learn about why Minnesota does a caucus and not a primary. We tried once in the 50′s and once in 1994 to adopt a primary system. Both were unsuccessful.
It turns out that voters and politicians feel they have more control over the small town feel of a caucus. WCCO covered these issues in one of their news segments, Good Question when Jason DeRusha asked, Why Do We Do Caucus?
In another of their segments, In The Know, Don Shelby discovered that people are most unhappy in their mid-forties. Well, guess what the median voter’s age in this country is? You can listen to Don’s answer at WCCO – In The Know – Get Don Out Of This Rut.
Happy or not, I plan to vote in Minnesota’s open caucus on Tuesday. To vote for a presidential candidate, I can show up in my precinct at a certain time and cast my vote. To find out where to vote, you can go to Minnesota Caucus Finder at WCCO’s Minnesota Caucus Resource page.
At the national level, things get even more complicated. The Democratic nominee for president needs to capture a majority of 4,050 delegate votes (on the Republican side, it’s a majority of the 2,348 delegate votes).
For Democrats, state primaries and caucuses select 3,254 pledged delegates, who are obligated to vote for the candidate their state has chosen. An additional 796 unpledged delegates — consisting mostly of party leaders and elected officials — are free to vote for any candidate.
On February 5th, Super Tuesday, Democrats are voting in 22 states with 2075 delegates at stake (Republicans in 21 states with 1081 delegates). New York, California, Illinois and New Jersey are among the biggest states holding Democratic primaries.
SUPER TUESDAY STATES – FEBRUARY 5TH
But it’s not over after Super Tuesday. The last Democratic primary is June 3rd with Puerto Rico (the last Republican, July 12th in Nebraska). And there are many delegate-rich states to go. Here are a few of the Democratic states:
Tuesday, March 4th:
Tuesday, April 22nd:
Tuesday, May 6th:
Are you confused about where the candidates stand on issues that are important to you? You’re not alone.
I found a couple of helpful tools:
NPR (National Public Radio) 2008 Election Issues: Candidate Positions – the page has an over overview, then if you click the link under each issue, it breaks the candidates down by detail
MPR (Minnesota Public Radio) - Select A Candidate – this survey works the other way around. You choose the answer to each question, based on what you believe about the issue. At the end, you click and it tells you which candidate falls the closest to your own beliefs. You might be surprised!
Last night over dinner at Taste of Saigon with my friend, Teri, we talked for 4 hours over dishes of shrimp lo mein, and broccoli and beef. At first, we caught up on our writing projects, writers, and our date to see Louise Erdrich at the Minneapolis Central Library in February. But as the night wore on, we began discussing politics. We were both genuinely interested in what each other had to say.
She asked me if I knew who I was going to vote for on Tuesday. I said I was still keeping an open mind, and though I was leaning a certain way, I really didn’t know.
That was until I got home and watched Clinton and Obama on the last debate before Super Tuesday. I asked Liz to tape it for me. And even though I was exhausted when I got home, I sat and watched carefully as Hillary and Barack debated the issues.
After that, everything changed. I am solidly in Hillary’s camp. She squarely faced off with well thought out details of how she is going to implement her plans on healthcare, Iraq, and immigration. And though she and Barack seem aligned in their Democratic mission and vision, I don’t trust Obama to do what he says he will do. He has Vision, but no plan. And when he responded to Clinton in the debate, he reiterated the details of her proposals, rather than telling me his own.
For me, Hillary offers exquisite leadership qualities and Vision along with a detailed plan to back it all up. I think she will get the job done. She’s an inspiring role model for young girls and women, an example of what it’s possible to achieve, against all odds. I’ve done my research. I’ve looked at their records. I’m voting for Hillary.
All that said, I love the way Obama is rallying young voters and those who feel they need inspiration. He has a certain charisma about him. And his views are so close to Hillary’s, that if he does win the Democratic Presidential nomination, he’s got my vote.
My blogging partner, ybonesy, is taking her daughter to an Obama gathering in New Mexico as I write (his appearance at the Target Center in downtown Minneapolis tomorrow is sold out). I’m inspired that she has the same passion for her candidate as I do for mine. And it makes our blog a richer place to visit.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve learned a lot about the way politics work in this country’s national elections. If there are others as in the dark as I was, I hope this is helpful.
And though I now know who I would like to vote for (unless some strange unforeseen event changes my mind), I’m absolutely sincere when I say this: it doesn’t matter to me who you vote for. Just get out and vote. From New Mexico to Minnesota, Georgia to Pennsylvania, every vote counts.
-posted on red Ravine, Friday, February 1st, 2008, 3 days before Super Tuesday