Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Worries, Hockey, and Arugula

Dear Friends,

There's been some silence from my end on this blog too! I suppose no longer being unemployed in San Francisco has something to do with it. Anyway, it's school time again, but there was a wonderfully full and fun month in New York beforehand, and I'm confident that this year will be just as full and as fun, if a little bit more of the former than the latter.

Anyway, as maybe you know already, I worry a lot. Much of the time, it's unwarranted, but sometimes, it's warranted. I hate it when it's the latter case. These days, I've been worrying quite a bit.

I went to Toronto right before school started, which was lovely; before I left, I planted beets, carrots, arugula, lettuce, and chives in little milk crates in my front yard, a fall vegetable garden! (I planted them in the crates because of the possibility of lead contamination in the soil, which I have yet to send for testing.) When I got home, a mere four days later, they had already begun to come up. As I told you both, and as I wrote on my new Official School Blog (which is exciting but which will never replace Perspective Heaven), I took this as a good omen for the new school year. I think it was, because I biked all the way to school and back the next day without almost getting hit by a car even once.

But these days, Hurricane Gustav has struck quite mightily, and my poor little vegetable sprouts are drowning. I should have just taken them inside, but I didn't think of it in time. And the problem with calling something a good omen is that when it changes, you begin to think of it as a bad omen. As the rain pounded down yesterday, I watched Sarah Palin's RNC speech on Youtube. She's a good speaker; she was sarcastic, funny, and confident. I understand her appeal, to a certain demographic.

She's also a fucking psycho: believes that Creationism should be taught in public schools, is against abortion even if the mother is a victim of rape or incest or both whose life is in danger, supports off, has an environmental policy "so toxic it would make the incumbent, George Bush, blush," is gun-happy and (obviously) pro-war, and promotes converting gay people to heterosexuality through the power of prayer. Et cetera.

It's obviously a very particular demographic she appeals to; the very demographic Obama has so offended with his arugula and bitter comments (the latter of which Palin alluded to in her RNC speech, predictably). I think the question is just how important that demographic is going to be in this election, and that, I suppose, is the million dollar question. It was certainly important in the last election. A little shining hope I have, though, is that it's been very clear from the start that Obama has been mobilizing people to vote who have never voted before, people who have felt so disenfranchised by American society that they didn't consider it worth their time to show up at a polling booth. We have a very low voter turn-out rate, after all, comparable to India's at the time of Independence when something like 70% of the population was still illiterate!! So the demographics of the American voting pool are changing, with this election. I hope they change enough.

Sometimes I wonder if in my worry, I might be committing the same Obama-esque elitism and underestimating a great many people in small towns across America. I mean I'm from San Francisco, I live in New York, and I grow arugula in my own garden! I hope that I am, and come November, the majority of the country will see that this woman, whether you agree with her policies or not, is in no way fit to be one heart attack away from the most powerful position in the world. But I don't know. Unfortunately, Simon Woods agrees with me, and there are also letters like this one, which strike me as particularly ominous:

To the Editor:

Many of us who feel that Hillary Rodham Clinton was treated very poorly by the Democratic National Committee and Barack Obama’s campaign are delighted to see Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska as John McCain’s choice for vice president.

And yes, we are voting for Mr. McCain, because even though we are Democrats, we do not feel represented by the Obama-Biden ticket. There are 18 million voters who just might share this thought.

Joaquin Etcheverry

West Palm Beach, Fla., Sept. 1, 2008

We'll see, I guess. I miss India a little bit (like always), so I'm going to go eat Maggi and watch Monsoon Wedding. Love you guys.

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