I've been firmly committed to Obama's run for the Presidency since early'06. That's when our 16 year old daughter chirped up to announce that she had found who she would vote for in her first presidential election. It was the sound of complete conviction that requires any parent to sit up and take notice. "Really!?, Honey, Who?!" That winter, every night on the way home, she and I navigated the snowy highway as we listened to The Audacity Of Hope,
We've always kept our isolated lifestyle informed about the larger world through our library cards and great FM reception of community public radio, available exclusively on those long drives home. The news comes at us in timely, semi-digestible portions. Hannah, our final edition and youngest voter, born in 1989, cut her baby teeth during her first trips to town, as we all listened and grieved over the Exxon Valdez, one of her home state's and our nations more pivotal environmental disasters. Her brother Micah had just celebrated his 19th birthday when we caught radio wind of 9/11/01; somewhat bookend events in my thoughts. He left almost immediately for CUNY, graduated, and is now working toward documentary film making in N.Y. City. .
The best exposure to change and cultural shifts has been through our questioning, adventurous kids as they've gotten older. I guess that's every parental generation's best effort toward the audicity of hope. Give them the best you have to offer, introduce them to the world, then stand back and learn.
All three kids were fully involved with the drama and debate teams of their tiny, rural Alaskan high school. Their outstanding coaches from Haines High, well educated community volunteers and teachers, pushed hard. The teams generally ruled in the SE regional tournaments and always gave 'em hell from one of Alaska's smallest schools at the state tournament in Anchorage every year. They are of the kids that go on to do outstanding things. What ever they choose to do they're open to a larger world and fully equipped to navigate wisely. As a parent, You learn to listen when they say they know who they'll vote for two years hence, and why, and stand a bit taller cause they're thinking and caring toward the mess each generation takes on.
I've been in the lower 48, away from home now for several months. I'm semi stranded (on bad days), isolated in the middle of the city with my grand, old shut-in, Elder Ma. During this fractious time, my considerably amped up exposure to national and world affairs has been given additional depth via her tried and true periodicals, her sizable well read personal library, 83 years experience from a life conscientiously lived, the Internet, and XM radio. Except for humoring me by listening to last nights POTUS coverage of the VP debate, she stay's away from the last two. Her daily digestible in take of news would fit right in to her Alaskan family's style. It's just that in her eyes, Haines, Ak. even in the best of times, is way too much like the depression era of her childhood in the U.P., Calumet, Mich. Scrappy, subsistence oriented, economically poor, labor class families that lived proudly and took responsibility for change in the world. After graduating, she did the same thing I did with Kern county: bee-lined out, barely glancing back.
Since the end of August there's been a growing, queasy pit in my center. I'm quite aware of the obvious reasons for forgetting how to find air. I'm way more than just a time zone away. I've always lived a conspicuously chartreuse/ eggplant and rust colored lifestyle. Gardens, raising goats for milk. meat and compost, (also fine family members) fishing, trading for moose, deer, and mt. goat, keeping old stuff functioning with conservative use and making repairs. Our way of living would register so green in these southern regions that most people just lock down and question our sanity or look at what we do as something from "six-pack Joe's" reality TV shows.
At home in the Chilkat Valley, our homesteady choices smell somewhat like the very old guard. As undeclared, in many circles, we conjure distrust and present the challenge of either being from the Other Side and therefore some how suspect, or flat out wrong. It's assumed political cross dressing or guilt by association. Keeping a fairly low profile while volunteering across all boarders works best for me. I get to do for everyone and maybe, over time with a foundation of trust, influence a bit by proxy.
These are Cherokee Eastern Band skills attributed to my mother's paternal ancestors. The ones who stayed put in their Blue Ridge/ Smokey Mountain homes of 2000 years. Thousands of those horn schwaggled, militarily forced to march, Principal People on the Trail of Tears, and renegades, such as Tsali and his family, paid the ultimate price demanded by that era's white Mavericks. Our people went underground.
Having come of age just as an entire generation of promising US leadership was gunned down or shipped off for an older wrong war, I practiced political defiance as a teen here in Kern county. We were bold, resilient and generally a stones throw away either chucking or receiving. We mostly stood our ground and took chances on people. There were a lot of broken windows and family victims of early urban warfare in our demographically changing neighborhood.
I know, I know. I know. There I go again. Always backward looking.
Of late, my internal pressure cooker keeps registering dangerously in the red. There's been so much said about Alaska this month. Exposure directly attributable to another Alaskan girl away from home. In the span of a few short weeks, all things I detest most about my home's state politics, snowballed gregariously across the national landscape. Everything I abhor about our nation's politics and greedy aspects of Main Street and Wall Street American culture came barrelling out, with the 44 year old cheer leading mascot from my 35 year old adopted homefront. It's felt like the nightmare where I was the perpetrator of a barbarically, inhumane act upon another who turns out to be myself. Disturbing to a point of well blended agitation, recognize this: with the same 'ol, same 'ol, we are all being offered a wilderness smoothie laced with environmental and cultural anthrax.
But'cha know, this morning, I'm feeling somewhat better following last nights VP debate. Now, knowing that the governor's sheep clothing is falling away, I'm left pondering: if she appears more capable of holding her own, not such a backwoods bimbo, and having consciously chosen the glamorous seduction on board this hurricane, am I now released from my obligatory old school Alaskan survival code: "always try to help your neighbor out even if you can't stand the sight of each other?" Are the days of proverbial mixed potlucks for Sarah and I over?
Of course, if I run across she and the kids stranded along the highway, I'll do all I can to help. Or if Todd's boat or airplane goes down and I'm near by; in a heartbeat. And I'll leave my number if her kids ever need safe harbor, or a babysitter for the teen parents, one who'll listen to their young adult baggage and might offer a different perspective on life.
But politically speaking, from here forward, in this nation of nations, I'm hollering with a resounding Yop! No More! The Unaccountability and Creepy Deception Stops Here. Now.
With This Election, We Demand A Fresh Start.
I think that'll fit on a home grown yard sign, and I know how to replace a broken window or two if needed.