Tuesday, March 18, 2008

(Not) So Fresh And So Clean

These days, I'm more of a political observer than participant, and it
bums me out. Last presidential election cycle I was in Washington,
DC - working l
ate, working Saturdays. I'd be in the office at 9am
on Saturday morning a
nd send an instant message to a friend.
Which one? Any of them, because everyone was working, burning
the midnight oil. It was e
xciting. I was working for something so
much bigger than myself.

I miss the tactile quality of being in the middle of it. I love
my quiet Portland life, but when I checked the New York Times
this morning, there's Bush saying the war was a success,
and the freshly elected governor of New York was already busy

admitting to his "numerous" affairs, I had nobody to yell with
except the office poodle.
I quietly worked my way through
Obama's acute speech on race in the United States. I also made
my first Obama donation (better late than never). I felt so far
removed from the
process, though.
Click, click, enter
information, done.
Email thank you for
being a part of this

historic event.

Then I got an email from
The White House Project,
an amazing organization
that reminds girls
that the
political, business and
media world is absolutely
somewhere they should be, and helps them get there.
"Bad news," the email said:

From 67th to 71st. The United States' dismal standing as 67th
in the world-- in t
erms of the percentage of women serving
in our legislature
--has now gotten even
worse. Of the 188
countries with national legislatures, we are now 71st—behind
Iraq (33rd), Sudan (65th) and the Democratic People's
Republic of Korea (57th)

I read this, then reached the last page of Obama's speech, which
talked about a young white woman, Ashley, who had watched the

system betray her in every way, but instead of laying blame, she
got involved to change it.
And then there was the old black guy,
who said, "I'm here because of Ashley." (If you've read the speech,

you're probably tearing up a bit, too.) Obama's point: Separately,
we're a beat down white 20-something who lost her mom to
cancer, or an old black man facing an uncertain retirement in
South Carolina. Together, we're changing the world.

I can't tell you how much Obama's speech made the rest of the
day's news (the lack of representation of women in politics,
Bush's stupid and dangerous illusions, Governors who can't
keep it in their pants...) now seem like points of opportunity.
Sitting in my office, lamenting my distance from politics, my
lost voice,
I promise to do better. Obama's trying, Ashley's trying.
I want to help make politics fresh and clean, too;
I figure this
blog post is a modest start.

1 comment:

Tai said...

Canela says, "Go Obama!"