Wednesday, February 20, 2008

What I Find Renewed in Obama's Views

Barrack Obama has my attention. To me he is someone who, like Hillary Clinton, has a platform I like, advocating reform in our American policies, but who has more: the ability to inspire Americans to change our thinking, as John Kennedy did for us in 1961. JFK got us into physical fitness and sent us to the moon and more. In 1961, I was 18 and had to take PE in college. Having never thrown a ball or run a race I hated the physical fitness, but now only a fool would disparage physical fitness. At first reluctant, I eventually watched with my family and friends every move of the astronauts, thrilled at every stage of discovery. President Kennedy's ideas affected us on a very personal level. He inspired us and changed our thinking. In two plus years, he churned things up. He and Jackie gave our emerging media based culture something to look at. Nothing wrong with that—we had a soothing role model for classy behavior. Perhaps with some limits in our understanding and his intent, we woke up a little, remembering.....we the people....

The stuck, depressing 50's became the turbulent 60's. We continued to look at things differently. Historians say JFK was not unflawed in his policies. To me, at his best, he got us interested in politics, the first step to social progress. That is what I hope Obama can help us do. He speaks of our constitutional rights as protection for our hard won freedoms. My understanding of freedom is I make decisions about my life, not a King. Now freedom is what corporations have, for they determine our actions. Many of us have been beaten down to hopelessness about political change concerning health care, education, and the environment. Could that change? I want to hear more from Obama on the definitions of freedom and democracy. What I am so very encouraged to observe is that he seems to understand the powerful human need for contribution, which, recognized and encouraged, gets problems solved so that human progress can inch forward. I am excited to think of the possibilities arising from this new viewpoint!

I know there's never anything new under the sun, and the situation is complex, more than I can address in 4 paragraphs. But here's my take: I have a sense that the message of other politicians is: let me help you get what YOU want. For YOU. And let's beat those other guys. Obama's ideas seem to come from a different place—a place of collaboration and contribution, with a focus on democracy to make the politician the employee of the voter, not the other way around. He said he will rely on the people best able to help make decisions.

Obama speaks firmly in support of the US Constitution. I agree that democracy is not perfect, but is a highly evolved social effort, its principles protecting individual rights. World views change—this is not 1961 and the challenges are new, but I look with hope to Obama for taking us to the next level of our education--he's already started. Heck, after listening for just a couple of months, he got me puzzling out my ideas in this blog. Although my heart skips a beat in considering I may have to change some core beliefs---I got through PE....will I have to stop using plastic or attend political rallies or study more simply?---so be it. I want to support him as he challenges our thinking, in his hero’s journey.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Giants Manual

How To, Step by Step, for Brand New Boys

Section I: Introduction
Welcome, little boy, to the earth. We are all so incredibly pleased you are here. And it is such a beautiful place; you are going to have a really great time here. I know, there’s a lot to take in, right at first, but trust me, you’re going to have some fun. Let me give you some of the basics. You have two handsome and beautiful giants at your command who are called parents. They love you more than anything they have ever loved, akin to their love for each other, which of course you may not know about yet, but you will see what I mean soon, and so you can feel safe as you discover your new place. They will protect you and care for you while you are here on Earth.

Section II Sounds, Dogs and Boys
There’s a lot for you to get used to but, there, there, my little one, everything is going to be just fine. Your new place has light and temperature changes and textures and tastes to learn about. It has soft fabric and warm liquid called milk that’s really delicious on your tongue, flickering shadows at the window and the sounds of little creatures up high called birds. They sound sort of like a little chirp. But, well, you will see. It’s really a beautiful sound. I think you will know it when you hear it.

You have in your middle some feelings that are really going to take precedent for you over a lot of stuff at first, and those come from what’s called a tummy. It’s ok, just remember that whatever’s going on there changes constantly, so don’t get too upset about it, honey. Your handsome and beautiful giants will help you with that. In fact they’ll help you with everything.

You will be amazed at what you learn every day. You know what your giants have? A dog! A dog is a little creature, a breathing creature like you, but different, sort of in the same category as the chirping bird, only he’s furry and wiggles and loves to play with little boys. Play means throw a ball and the dog catches it. A ball is a round thing that rolls. Ummm…...round is a shape. Catch is when the little dog gets the round thing in his mouth. Little boys are what you are.

There are more little boys! Isn’t that great? Play is what you will like best. Best means how you feel when your mouth goes kind of wide which is called a smile. Your mouth is what goes for the milk I mentioned earlier. Your giants have mouths too which they use for what we call kisses, which you will like to feel on your skin. Skin is the package you came in.

Section III Water
This section is about water, because there’s something I want to tell you about your giants. They are nuts about water. They like it like you like milk and kisses. Water is something you know about---you came from it not too long ago. This water that they like is very much the same but in a different place. Your giants like being in the water and on the water in, um, things kind of like bassinettes (the thing you sleep in) you’ll learn about later, and flying over the water and just gazing at the water. Water that makes a sound like what you heard before you met them.

There’s a place called beach that has a lot of that sound and they will take you there when you are no older than a minute. They will show you water that waves and moves just like the water music you knew before. And now you will learn about this new water in a place called a city that has weather that is very soft. Soft is what your blanket is. Blanket is what you have over you in your bassinette. Weather…..let’s wait on the weather for now, ok? This all might seem a little complicated right now, but believe me, you will know and love the sound of water when you hear it. And I mean forever, beyond 10 million giant kisses.

Section IV More Sounds and Noises
Your giants might surprise you. Heck, there’s no might about it. Sometimes they’ll come close and wiggle and you’ll think they look pretty goofy, but its ok, go ahead and laugh by making your mouth really wide, because oddly enough, that’s what they’ll want you to do! Then you’ll see some really fun stuff happen! You’ll wonder some days what they’re doing. But don’t worry, just look at them steadily and they’ll do something different. They never met you before either, see —and you are the first little boy they have ever had, so they will take some time to get to know what you like.

Your giants will teach you little by little what stuff is for, and how to do stuff, and they will really like doing that. Isn’t that the coolest? Really, you have got it made. And you’ll like it when they make lots of noises with their mouths as they look at each other and then they’ll come together and look at you, over and over. When they look at you together, you will be so happy you will wiggle. Wiggle is what your dog does, remember? It will be very nice. Oh yes, and sometimes you will hear your giants make their noises from far away, like behind something called a door, hum, hum, mmm, hum, and it will remind you of the same gentle, familiar sounds like the ones you heard before you came out of the water, and you will smile and nod off. That is, close your eyes and go dreaming. And if your guess is that the hum, hum, mmm, hum is them talking about you, bingo!

Section V Giant Eyes
Boy, there’s a lot to learn all at once, but just remember that, when you enter earth’s atmosphere, if it seems a little scary and bright and noisy, and stuff happens that you never knew about before, just look for the eyes of your two handsome and beautiful giants and you will feel much better. You will see something in their eyes (look near the tops of them—their eyes won’t be hard to find because they’ll be holding you near them a lot, looking in your eyes) that looks like the happy dreams you had in the last few months, full of stars and joy and peace and delight in all that is seen and unseen. Just look for the light in their eyes and that memory will be yours again. Your mouth will go a little wide and all will be well.

About the Author of This Manual
Well, there’s more to be written in this manual, because there’s a lot to tell you, but that’s all for now. Welcome, little one, I love you before I know you. That’s the magic of a grand giant, me, which I will tell you about when I see ya. We will have to fly over the water and the waves to see each other but we can be together in our minds any time. See ya.

For Graham, Born December 4, 2007