Saturday, January 31, 2009
Well we have a new President. Wait that should be; holy cow! A new era in American history. We have elected a president who is man of color.
It was tightrope walk for me teaching this to the kids. I did not want to miss this very historical election. However I also did not want to harp on the idea that finally a back person was elected b/c the subject is fraught with so many layers that I don't think they can fully grasp.
Also..uh I didn't vote for him.
My kids know perfectly well that my guy didn't win. They also know my guy never wins. My kids had been known to say, during the election season, "Vote 3rd party" Michael was particularly thrilled b/c 3 is his favorite number.
They were prepared that our guy wouldn't win. So I wanted them to understand the importance of this election but I did not want them to think I was happy that he won.
So it was good that the inauguration came around during Martin Luther King's bday. Last year I showed Johanna MLK's speech on Youtube and she really liked the part where he talks about the little children all holding hands.
Obviously the speech doesn't hold her interest long but we listened to it again this year and I plan on making it yearly event. (As an aside if you've never heard the whole speech please go and watch it. It is incredibly moving. The speech will move you to tears and then you might just be crying a little more abut his death. He was truly AMAZING)
This year we had small set back when she saw a video about MLK in Sunday school and some of the video scared her. So we had to tread lightly and then get back into the discussion. But anyway...we talked about how some people thought b/c others had another color skin that they couldn't be friends with them or that they had to drink from a different water fountain. I asked her if that made sense. She agreed it did not. I did tell her that even though many people were wrong in their thinking that not ALL people were like this. That there were people who helped and knew that everyone should get to be friends and skin color should not matter or eye color or anything else about one's appearance. Only how one treats others.
She knows, also, that her great grandmother was known to say, "I don't judge people on how they look but rather whether they can look me in the eye"
What makes it trickier is that I don't have kids who ever once asked me why someone looks different. They never ask about skin color, disability, tall, fat nothing. My kids are just happy to play with anyone who will play them.
I did not want them to now see something they never did before...but how do you discuss the first black president without discussing skin color? Tricky!
So luckily whole foods had some coloring pages for the kids and we got a couple of those and the kids sat watched and colored. I cried.
Aretha Franklin brought me to tears (yup even in that hat) and seeing this historical moment really moved me. I let go of the Democrat being elected for just the inauguration and was so happy and proud that this country with a vile hateful past of discrimination and judgment and violence that all these people came together to say, "It does not matter his skin color, we need a new man for the job" That our country was able to overlook what so many generations harped on; what so many generations murdered for and tortured for. Imagine being afraid to walk down the street lest one white person decide you shouldn't be there...and now so many colors came together and said, "We know what's right" We came together on MLK's bday and elected the first black president. Even a libertarian can see the beauty in that.
My kids however..eh they were a little bored. they were munching on broccoli and thought it would be much funnier to call him barracoli obama.
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