Thursday, November 6, 2008

You know, I could spend a lot of time apologizing for myself.  I have an innate ability to open my mouth and offend the delicate sensibilities of women who are content to believe what people tell them to believe. I don't know about the men, but I do know my husband is never offended by my politics, and he's a man if I ever saw one.  

But the point is, I don't WANT to apologize.  I spent so much of my life pleasing others.  Quick to smile, easy going, a friend to all, dependable.  But during that time that I was going out of my way to help others, I was focused on my personal education and development.  I was reading.  I was sponging in the world.  And after the birth of my child, I stopped drinking the kool-aid that everyone was drinking. I began to see how I fit into the world as a mother and wife.  And as an independent thinker. I grew tired of working so hard to understand everyone after I realized I was never really surrounded by people who would meet me in the middle.  I came to terms with the idea that I was only responsible for the goings-on in my own household.  Only responsible for encouraging the socio-intellectual development of my child and not the children of others.  

I can't yet say that I am much happier than I was before. I acknowledge the idea that I am in transition from a woman who did it all to a woman who does for her own.  I quit my job as a school administrator.  I was betrayed by my best friend.  I left everything that I knew and started over.  It will take time to find out where I'll land in terms of personality.  I'm okay with that. 

However, I won't let anyone forget how my experience affected my decision to change my life.  I won't pretend anymore that public education is great.  I won't smile and be gracious towards people who ask, "Do you miss it?"  No. I miss nothing except the teachers.  I miss nothing except the time I spent building their trust and supporting them with a kind word, with an understanding ear, with a true sense of forgiveness and encouragement.  

I don't miss the kids.  I worked in schools that were predominantly low SES and Hispanic for thirteen years of my life, and my nobility was worn down by the constant neediness of this type of community.  Their selfish expectations irritated me towards the end when I began to realize I was spending my time trying to convince spineless parents to take responsibility for their wild children instead of focusing on my own child.  At that point, I began to pull away. 
And that's a phenomenal thing when you consider who I am.  When you consider that I grew up a poor Hispanic girl with little to be happy about. Raised by my grandparents instead of my parents.  Subjected to unspeakable forms of abuse by an adult who was supposed to care for me.  If you consider that, you'd think I'd be an advocate for kids like me.  And I was.  
I was.
I was. 

But I grew tired.  No one was meeting my expectations. The kids weren't listening. The parents weren't growing. The community was not changing.  And that's where I really have a bone to pick with our president-elect.  I was an educator who worked within the same community for thirteen years.  I got my hands dirty.  A native Spanish speaker, I connected with them more so than other administrators.  And the reality is, there was nothing I could do to change the Hispanic community.  Parents were still going to refuse to pay gym fees for lost clothes but send their kids to school with the latest cell phones.  They were still going to apply for clothing vouchers as they drove cars nicer than mine.  They were still going to defend their children tooth and nail, even as I showed them pictures and videos of their children doing the deeds.  I'm not ignorant to community organizing. I'm not ignorant to the reality of it.   So, that's why I have so little respect for Obama.  Because he's leaving out the truth and only feeding people what they want to hear.  "Yes, we can."

No, we can't.  We can't unless we all contribute to our community. We can't unless we all take responsibility. We can't unless we understand the fundamentals of economy.  We can't unless we stop depending on others to redistribute the wealth we didn't earn with our own two hands. We can't unless we acknowledge vices and weaknesses.  We can't unless we quit talking about racism as though only one ethnic group was oppressed during the course of history.  We can't until we acknowledge that we voted for a man with no experience because he made us FEEL GOOD.  Under that principle, we should eat and drink as much as we like because it makes us feel good and to hell with what we do to insurance premiums when there are more obese people in America.  Under that principle, we should give in to our weaknesses like drugs because they make us feel better about ourselves.  We should let our kids raise themselves because it's easier on us.   We should take things from others because we want what they have. Do what makes you feel good.  Vote your feelings.  And then go home and watch your DVR's of Dr. Phil and Oprah.  Feel good.  That's your only responsibility after all . . . 

Do I offend?  I don't care.  I spend my time studying the world around me so that I can make informed decisions.  So that I can protect my child and my unborn child from succumbing to idiocy.  So that I can be a good and proper helpmate to my husband.  And I will exercise my freedom of speech with the same liberty that others exercise their stupidity.