A Year of Morning Thanks
I'll admit it--one of my favorite places in the world is a swap meet. Love 'em. Have for years. There aren't any around here, so when I'm in some city like Phoenix, a place I know where to find them, I'll show up. Even if I don't buy a thing, the gallery of folks who hawk their blessed junk are themselves worth the price of admission.
Not long ago, I was the only white guy--give or take a half-dozen--at a swap meet in Gallup, New Mexico, and the experience was, well, different. All alone amid what seemed a thousand Navajo, I was conscious of myself in ways I almost never am. Odd phenomenon, but good for the soul.
This morning, NY Times columnist Maureen Dowd claims that Michelle Obama is already in the cross-hairs of conservative talk show heros. Some people, Dowd says, may well have more trouble perceiving a black woman as first lady than a black man as first man. Don't know, but it too is interesting.
Race is not only about them (whoever they are), it seems, it's also very much about us (whoever we are). I'm not sure anyone who claims he or she is unconscious of it is ever telling the truth. The fact is, race makes a difference. Last spring, accompanying a choir of kids who were half-Native, I went into schools I would likely not have entered if those Native kids weren't along. They opened doors I would have never entered.
Barack Obama is, after months of bruising battles, the presumptive nominee (as he's called) of the Democratic Party. On a night that now seems eons ago, I walked across a elementary school gym floor to gather with other Obama supporters in the Iowa caucuses. I've been sympathetic to his cause for months, and I'm happy he's the standard bearer.
For white America, it's going to be, well, different (a hedgy but familiar Midwestern qualifier) to have a black President and a black first lady. But it's worth remembering too that Obama, should he be elected, will, simply on the basis of who he is, walk into places where other candidates, even Presidents, could never enter.
"Christmas at the White House," starring Michelle Obama. Ought to be lovely. She's a kid from Chicago's south side, as American as apple pie. Just different. Yeah, well, different.
Sometimes it's dang good to experience things that are, well different, like a walk in a Saturday morning Gallup swap meet.
This morning, I'm thankful for change.