Monday, August 24, 2009

Both Ways Is The Only Way I Want It

I'm reading a beautiful book of short stories by Maile Meloy called "Both Ways is the Only Way I Want It". The stories are perfect snapshots of ordinary lives, capturing the melancholy and joy and stillness of everyday life. I would highly recommend it to anyone.

I bought the book on my Kindle, but I'm going to buy a hard copy of it as well. This is a book I will definitely read again.

Crazy Liberal Nazi Democrats

I've had it with the town hall crazies - absolutely and totally fed up with the inane, hateful, and uneducated vitriol being spewed from hateful, uneducated people. The biggest example is the "Nazi" comparison. Do these people know anything about history? It's unbelievably dangerous to compare healthcare reform to the Nazi platform. In doing so, it diminishes the historical impact of Hitler and makes him just another politician with whom people disagreed.

We can't allow "Nazi" to be used as just another insult. Comparing Obama to Hitler is also equally unacceptable.

Wanting to provide decent healthcare to all people is not the same thing as Mein Kampf. Please, people - let's get back to a civil and reasonable discourse.

When I Grow Up...Part 2

So I think I've worked out a tentative plan. I'm so fascinated by the Organizational Communications masters program, but I don't think I'm ready to start classes on Sept. 8. Instead, I've applied for a part-time job at the vet as a client service associate (cross your fingers), with the goal of starting grad school (again) in January. This program would give me the opportunity to eventually get my PhD, teach, or consult with companies. I'd LOVE to work on a political campaign - this would definitely open some doors.

But I'm a little nervous about starting a new program. After all, I never finished the first one. What if I decide that I don't like this course of study? What if I'm no good at it? What if I don't get along with my fellow students? And so on and so on.

This is a huge change from my previous life and career, and I know that any change is scary. I stayed in finance for so long not because I liked it, but because the status quo is pretty comfortable. I could easily go find a job in finance again, make good money, wear all those suits hanging in my closet...and continue to feel stuck.

Deep breath. Has anyone else made a big change like this?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Racism Today

I watched a terrifying special about the Ku Klux Klan on the History Channel recently. Having grown up in Birmingham, Alabama, I'm very familiar with the history of this particular brand of virulent racism. Every child has to study civil rights in depth in elementary school, and my mother told me all about her experiences growing up during that era. Birmingham is actually a very integrated city now (much more than Charlotte) - perhaps due to the fact that the city has made a very concerted effort to not sweep its history under the rug. Race is openly discussed, which I think is a much healthier way to deal with the issue. I loved living in Atlanta because it was such a fabulously diverse environment; Charlotte is an entirely different situation, which is disheartening.

Anyway, my point is that I grew up with an understanding and very real fear of the Ku Klux Klan. My mother's high school was one of the first schools in Birmingham to be integrated, which incurred the wrath of the Klan. They marched on the school, and my mother's description of the event still sends chills up my spine.

The television special focused on the history of the Klan, but also discussed its current incarnations. Contrary to popular belief, the Klan has not faded away into obscurity, but has experienced a surge of popularity in the past few years. Unfortunately, Barack Obama's election has provided bigots and racists with ample motivation. It was terrifying to watch video of recent Klan rallies (complete with children and infants in hoods) rail against the President.

While we've made unbelievable progress in terms of race relations over the past 40ish years, it's not enough. And as long as there are young children being indoctrinated into this belief system, it's not going away any time soon.

I think all school children should be required to watch "Mississippi Burning". It's such a powerful movie - and even more so when you consider that those feelings still exist in our country today.