Thursday, August 28, 2008

Denver Musings

I would be remiss in not mentioning the number of protests and the various groups of people expressing their dissatisfaction with the policies of the US gov't. One of the great premises of this country is the right to express oneself freely. Then there are those that are just a few pennies short of a dollar. I was having a discussion with another blogger/activist about race relations and immigration and some other topics. One thing I appreciated was his acknowledgement that he could not presume to understand my life as a Black woman but we could find commonalities in our desires for a quality life.

In trying to have that quality life what are we willing to do to have it? What are willing to allow if it means other people get the short end of the stick? The consensus may be that the Republicans are evil, but even having a Democratic President will only get us so far. The Party doesn't seriously address the corporate crimes, deregulation or the bloated military budget that is bankrupting this country.

Didn't the Dems used to represent the working class? There is no working class left - well they're what's left of the middle class right? Working a minimum wage job and having next to non-existent health care doesn't make you part of the elite by any means. Yet our consumerism is at all time high. Unless you give the appearance of having 'it' society deems you a loser. Remember when people made coffee at home? I can barely remember what it was like to not live in a neighborhood with no chain coffee shop.

I was having dinner Tuesday evening and met a couple who were Hillary supporters and local Denver residents. I asked them why they weren't at the convention center listening in person. I don't remember how we even got on the topic to be honest. They said something to the effect of wanting a quiet evening away from everything and that they were voting for John McCain anyway. They mentioned how Obama should have defended Hillary and Father Pflegger as the reasons for not supporting him. Oh and the wife didn't like Michelle Obama! I was thinking how odd that they were using Republican talking points while claiming to be Democrats. I asked them if they were going to hold a candidate 100% responsible for everything an acolyte or surrogate said then Hillary should be held to the same standard.

It was odd for me to be in a defensive position trying to present a nuanced argument for Obama without being argumentative with them. They were a Latino couple who spoke heavily accented-English. I wanted to ask them how long they'd lived here, but didn't. The husband mentioned that he had a Black sister and how we were all in this together, yet everything they did contradicted that. I mentioned the Gloria Steinhem/Geraldine Ferraro talking points about how sexism trumped racism and asked them how that applied to people in their community or other people who wanted to immigrate to the US given the recent ICE raids and abuses of female immigrants. I also mentioned the lack of support these same women gave Shirley Chisholm when she ran. You could hear crickets from them...but I was also wondering if they had any idea what I was talking about and if there was a language barrier.

There were a group of Black women sitting two table over from us and they gave me a mini cheer at our exchange. I thought perhaps I had been speaking too loudly but they said they had picked up on a few words and had decided to listen in. So I moved over to speak to them. The Latino couple introduced themselves and we sorta wrapped up the talk. I knew they wouldn't change their minds - but one of the women said I gave them food for thought and you never know how that will effect them. These women would be contemporaries of my mother and they said they were impressed that I would come to Denver solo and be so actively involved. They were from Michigan and had planned for the trip months ago. I couldn't resist teasing them about their hip-hop Mayor and the infamous speech Mama Kilpatrick gave about "y'alls boy".

I had also met another couple who'd brought their son with them to Denver to get him involved in the political process and of course to hear Obama's nomination speech. They very kindly gave me a VIP ticket to a private concert where Boys to men and Stephanie Mills performed. I've never seen Ms. Mills live and she did NOT disappoint. It was a flawless show and she looked and sounded amazing. And yes she closed the show with 'Home'!


I am off to meet the very generous Obama delegate who got me a ticket to Invesco. I decided to come to Denver on a whim and have had these amazing interactions with many great people. We may not all agree on tactics but I think we want a better life for those that come after us. I hope this year is the start of a real revolution where the average citizen (and unemployed artists) can come into their own, get involved and make the world a little kinder by example.


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