The Best of Times, The Worst Of Times

I’ve been absent from the blog for a while.  A new job that I love has had me adjusting my body clocks in ways that nature probably never intended – but I love the job, so I had to vut back on some other obligations to make more time for my own projects, including this blog.  That’s all done now, though, and I’m back and still alive, and living in a transforming America.

The curious thing about the America-to-come is that it seems to be bringing out, simultaneously, the best and the worst of America.

For example, consider this essay, published in the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman (the newspaper of Wasilia, Alaska), written by Waverli Rainey, a 16-year-old high school student, which probably earned her all kinds of new friends in the Lower 48 but none in the Alaska governor’s office.  (Who is the governor of Alaska, anyway?  I forgot.)  In it, she talks about the racist reactions of the people around her after Barack Obama’s victory, and in talking about how the worst of America proudly displayed itself at her school, she shows the best of America in her words:

Angered, I began to think of the injustice of it all and the ignorance of the students I was surrounded by. I wondered where they learned to be so hateful, and I wondered why the teacher never stepped in – why no adult, no student, including myself, had the guts to cut in and say it was not OK. Because it’s never OK for intolerance. It is never OK to cut someone down and dehumanize them because they do not look like you, or think like you, or talk like you, or worship the way you do.

That’s a major what America is about, isn’t it?  Realizing the concept of freedom and equality for all?  This young lady stated this more eloquently than just about anyone I’ve ever seen, and displays in her attitude and pronouncements against ignorance and hatred what is truly the best side of the American people.

And yet.

Across the nation, there has been a sharp increase in gun sales since Obama’s election.  Across the nation, according to an article in the Christian Science Monitor, hate crimes have increased greatly and white supremacist groups are recruiting fervently; I think they’re seizing upon the fear and intolerance and angered stirred up by John McFail’s disgraceful campaign tactics of division, and the inherent prejudice against a non-white, non-elderly man soon to be sitting in the Oval Office.

It has been said that Obama’s election proves that Americans are truly moderate and want change and progress from the socio-political quagmire that has engulfed us for many years.  But the negative backlash shows that some Americans, in this new millenium, would greatly prefer to cling to the ignorance, violence, prejudice, and fear that cost that have dragged this country down the tubes for far, far too long.  The victory that emboldened those of us who truly love our country and yearned to see America become great again also gave strength to our opposites, who only truly love themselves and live in fear of losing their own greatness (whether or not such greatness actually exists).

Wouldn’t it be nice if we just ignored these people?  If the media didn’t cover Klan rallies or give airtime to their new fliers and recruitment efforts?  If, in covering hate crimes, the press would not mention the names of the perpetrators nor seek interviews with them, therefore denying them even 1 of their proverbially-alloted 15 minutes of fame?  If we all simply stopped talking to or even noting the existence of people who proudly cling to their intolerance and closed-mindedness?

Ignoring the ignorant. . .I have to admit, I like the concept.  Might not work so well in practice, though.

This election truly brought out the best and worst of America. . .but, as I’ve said before, the fight isn’t over.  It’s hardly even started.

VS – 11.23.08

P.S. Yes, I know I have completely ignored the worsening economy, Obama’s cabinet picks, Iraq, Afghanistan, and the latest silliness of The Woman From Wasilia.  One thing at a time, kids.

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One Response to “The Best of Times, The Worst Of Times”

  1. I was waiting for you to weigh in. That chick from Wasilia did an interview with a turkey getting its head chopped off… while she pardoned another. Counterproductive, in my opinion, just like her. In other news a boy killed himself online, and people watched for hours before calling the proper authorities. In other other news an eight year old was interviewed.. INTERVIEWED, it was horrible. Granted, he is an eight year old murderer, but all in all the story just keeps getting worse. Oh! And Happy Thanksgiving darlin. I hope you have a wonderful holiday.

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