Monday, September 25, 2006

Women Rule

In a recent column that appeared in the Dallas Morning News, Georgie Anne Geyer proposed that women take over the leadership of the United Nations. She was writing in response to the exchange at the U.N. between the Iranian and American presidents who were “playing like spiteful boys in the great hall of the United Nations. They said everything to each other but, ‘Yeah, so’s your old lady!’”

She went on to say that having a woman at the helm of the United Nations just might bring it back to purpose and issue. When I read that, I had a weird sense of déjà vu. A friend and I had just been saying that women need to take over government and get us out of this mess we’re in. Could it be that we are all three on to something?

Not that this is a new thought for me. For years I have said that a mother who has taken care of a family and household for any length of time has acquired skills that would serve her well in tackling the issues that concern us.

A mother’s response to the enmity between the Pope and the Muslims – “The Pope apologized, so get over it already. I am so tired of listening to this bickering.”

A mother’s response to the government spending. – “Okay, here’s the deal. No more spending what we don’t have. I don’t care how much you think you need another bomber. You’re just going to have to wait until we have the money. And all you who just gave yourself a big fat raise. Well, give it back. You didn’t ask if there was enough in the budget for that, and you have no right to take it away from the rest of the family.”

A mother’s response to the immigration issue – “First of all, stop all the name-calling, or I swear you will spend the next year in your room. Secondly, this is not a political issue so stop trying to make it one. Now that everyone has taken a deep breath, let’s look at this rationally. We’re worried about the bullies coming over and wrecking havoc, yet we need some help so certain agricultural businesses don’t go belly-up. So why don’t we let Pedro come over to work legally and pay taxes and pay social security and then go back when the work is finished?”

A mother’s response to the ACLU – “Stop whining. Life is not fair, and no matter how hard you try, you can’t change that basic fact. So chill and stop wasting so much money on lawsuits.”

A mother’s response to government entitlements – “Entitlements? Who said you were entitled to anything? You earn what you get by hard work, and don’t even get me started about congressional retirement packages.”

A mother’s response to partisan politics – “Hello up there. You’re representing us, the people. Remember? When was the last time you voted for something because it was good for the country or good for the people, and not just because it was proposed by your party? And heaven forbid you should support a proposal from the other guy. Why, that might lead to cooperation. Down the road he might even have to consider one of your good ideas.”

By now I’m sure there are a few readers who are screaming through cyberspace, “Are you nuts?”

No. Naïve maybe. Idealistic maybe. But not nuts.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Effects of 9.11

Monday marked the 5th anniversary of the tragic events of 9.11. That day had such a profound effect on all of us; we don’t even need to specify the events. We remember it all simply as 9.11.

Many commentators have ventured that the world has not been the same, since 9.11, and that is true in many ways. That tragedy spawned new wars, greater security concerns for travelers, border issues between Mexico and the United States, and a new American political battleground for arguing which political party can keep the country safer.

But in many ways, nothing has changed.

We are still people driven by bigotry, emotions, and ignorance.

In Monday’s Dallas Morning News, a columnist who is a senior at a Plano high school shared what the “Defining Moment” of 9.11 meant to her. Alaa Al-Barghuthi recalled what it was like five years ago when she heard about the planes hitting the towers and her seventh grade class made patriotic bracelets. She wears the bracelet every year on the anniversary so she can remember, but she said she has no trouble remembering. The pain is still as raw today as it was five years ago. “And five years later, the ignorance is still there.”

She went on to say how a fellow journalist asked her if she celebrates September 11 as a holiday. He didn’t ask the question five years ago. He asked her the other day.

She wrote how she experienced a myriad of feelings … anger…hurt…disgust… and couldn’t even respond to the question. Then she ended up feeling sorry for him and feeling sorry for all the people who can’t tell the good guys from the bad guys.

She also wrote that she hopes that not all Americans believe that all Muslims celebrate 9.11 because, “…it is telling all terrorists, all evildoers, all extremists that they have won.”

In conclusion, Alaa defined the enemy not as people but as the evils of hatred, extremism, blame, indifference and ignorance.

I’ll admit that right after 9.11 I lumped all folks who looked like Arabs together in one big pool marked “the enemy.” And I still don’t know how we are supposed to sift out the enemy from the thousands of peaceful Muslims. That is a question that plagues the people who are trying to keep us safe around the world. So maybe we still should be wary of the stranger in the airport, but couldn’t we be a little more open to finding out about the guy next door with the dark skin before we slap a label on him?