Sunday, June 16, 2013

Handing Over the Reigns

My dad was an old-school kind of reporter.  He walked the streets, went to the neighborhoods, hung out in bars with the locals & got their stories, as well as going to City Hall to get the official spin.  He looked up records, sat in on town hall meetings, and did it all the old-fashioned way.  Even after learning how to use his computer and grudgingly dragging himself into the digital age, he never lost that personal touch.
He taught my brother and I that people matter, ALL people.  He spoke and wrote his mind, even when it meant hate mail and, sometimes, death threats.  He taught us the importance of listening to all sides of an argument.
Which is probably why even the people who hated what he stood for said they respected him.  Grudgingly.  And why there were 500 people at his memorial.

It's also why, starting as a teen and continuing now, I take politics to heart.  I've seen, up close and personal, the effects public policies have on individuals, both good and bad.  Because of budget cuts for mental health support in the 80's, my uncle committed suicide. On the flip side, because of recent policies governing special education, both of my kids are in amazing schools with incredible teachers.

I've marched in D.C., sat in phone banks, canvassed neighborhoods.  And I've also written emails to representatives and texted donations using my cell phone (things that would have made Dad curl up in a ball, lol!).
I believe debate and discourse are important.  I also believe we're seeing the slow death of both.  Now it's about who can yell the loudest and say the most outrageous things.

I'm scared for the future.  Things are happening that I thought we wouldn't see in the 21st century. I envision nightmare scenarios coming to pass, and I wonder what the future holds for my kids, and for all our kids.


I have 2 kids who need their mom.  I cannot march on D.C anymore, or canvass neighborhoods, or do all those things I did when I was younger, more energetic, and childless.  I still care deeply, and will do what I can, but I think it's time to pass the reigns to the younger folks.

I remember seeing an interview with Bob and Suzanne Wright, who co-founded Autism speaks after their grandson was diagnosed.  He is the former head of NBC, so they have a pretty big platform.  They talked about the fact that it's important for grandparents to be activists for their grandkids, because parents are insanely busy taking care of those kids.  I think about this a lot: When I was younger I wanted desperately to make a difference and to be useful in the world.  The best way for me to do that now is to take care of my kids. I also believe that teaching theater makes a difference. Scratch that, I KNOW it does.  And I'm hoping to continue that, as well.  But my main focus, of course, is my kids.

And there's one more thing.  It's pretty big: I am SO TIRED of all the Taking Sides!  Of the hyperbole from both sides, too, but especially all the division.  At the end of the day, most of us want the same thing.  It's too bad there are so many people making boatloads of money convincing us otherwise.  And doing a damn good job of it, too.

I often wonder if we're at the point of no return.  If we'll ever be able to find common ground again.  But, perhaps, it's time for me to be a little selfish (again), close ranks, and focus on my family. Let those whippersnappers pick up the flag and run with it.
I'm not nearly as important to the world as I sometimes seem to think I am, lol!

Besides, I need a nap.


Crabby McSlacker said...

First off, THANK YOU for all your past activism, it is much appreciated! And your priorities seem sound; you have kids who need you! And I love the tribute to your dad.

I suspect that the divisiveness and narrow mindedness has always been there and always will be; we just have more media to magnify it now. When you think of the racism, sexism, and bigotry of all kinds that was commonly accepted even a couple of decades ago, I don't know that things are getting worse... just depressing in different and more public ways. :)

Geosomin said...

"The best way for me to do that now is to take care of my kids."
I think a huge part of building the world we want to live in is to build our families and children up to be people who care about others and who look around the world at people with positivity, looking for ways to be inclusive and find solutions to problems instead of blaming and finger-pointing. So much more could be done in our world if we'd put egos aside and do our best to just...well, do our best.
Sometimes I think we still have so far to go but when I read posts like this I think maybe we'll all get there together :)

azusmom said...

Amen, and amen!

I recently learned things about a politician and a commentator, both of whom I've actively disliked, that give me a new perspective. I STILL don't like what they preach or the way they operate, but I have more empathy for them as people.

Funny, that!