๐Ÿž๏ธ A Poem About America ๐Ÿœ๏ธ

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America the Beautiful?
Jesus or Money?
Music or Movies?
Sports or Nature?
People or Things?
Children or Cats?
Hobbies or Desperation?
Of Course Dogs.

It’s kind of a joking poem about some of the commonly held passions in the country I live in. Of course, most people watch movies, but it really varies from the people who are really into movies (would watch a making-of movie about a movie), the people who sometimes watch a movie and the people who almost never do.

I think people’s interests exist in a kind of “quanta” or level with gaps, like there is 0%, 30%, 60%, 90% or 100%, rather than 31%… Many people have 0 cats, a few have 1, many have 2, then a few have more than 2 but not a crazy amount and the final tier is the “cat people”.

I’ll Take:
Money
Music
Nature
People
Children
Writing

I’m not so into money (not seriously implying people can’t love Jesus and money either, just a reflection on the founding of the countries nocolonization having been done at the same time in the name of tabaco and capitalism and also in the name of the gossipil in two different locations), but I can’t deny it’s important to us, with a 1-year-old and a 4-year-old there is a higher pressure to hold down the basics than I expected. I’ve made peace with not having our own home, we are renting a wonderful home, I’ve made peace with no being able to buy them “everything” I wouldn’t want to clean up “everything” for them at all… but I didn’t expect the level of pressure to have enough to keep up our modest status quo. I wasn’t blissfully unaware of money before kids, but it feels like I was compared to the pressure of providing them at least the basics – no interruptions – no excuses. I don’t want to think if I would kill someone to feed my kids, but I probably at least might… I doubt it’s ever going to come to that, but it’s definitely surprised me how much my concern for being financially responsible has quadrupled so abruptly. I don’t know how to feel about it, I probably not completely at peace with how much it isn’t part of my chosen identity, yet is part of my actual reality and behavior now.

In Jurassic Park Dr. Alan Grant says “The world has changed so fast we are all running to catch up,” that was the 90s, that was the feeling of the internet and computers changing everything faster than it felt like had happened before. Then genetics hit, the human genome, cell phones, exoplanets, stem cell medicine. It’s like I’m living in the future, but I’m not a person from the future. I often feel like a caveman.

I was born in 1985, young to some, old to others, but at the time of the tech transitions. I totally used a record player for the most part in my childhood, went through the 8 track tape, moved on to the walkman, the CD (always scratched mine right away – poor fit for me), floppy drives, zip drives, USB, finally Google Play Music. I didn’t enjoy it, I was the one in my family who was nostalgic about the older tech and had trouble using the newer ones, I learned just in time to switch again.

I was educated in the US, but found the history to be mostly propaganda and rhetoric. This year was really the first time I learned history that was honest, but not designed to be shame-inducing. I watched “America the Story of US” produced by the History Channel on the 4th of July with my daughter. I found it a really good mix of honesty of hope and horrors.

Today we were learning just a tiny bit about the Harlem Renaissance, and I found it so interesting, they (crash course on Youtube) used the term “duality” to mean the “horrible black experience” and the normal human black experience. I know it can be used to mean a mental and a physical world in philosophy and also the ability to kill and desire to live in peace from “Full Metal Jacket.”

It’s such an intense duality, you can be treated with complete equality for all of your life or you can be sold for $75 (still on the human trafficking market, slaves are not yet free). The police can be trained to be extra polite to your differences or they can… murder you in hot or cold blood. That’s really difficult…

Sometimes I don’t know if my husband is going to hit my daughter or appropriately discipline her and it’s terrifying, I’ve kicked him out of her room, which wasn’t terrifying when I thought she wasn’t safe, yet when I don’t know if I should do anything – that’s when it’s the most stressful when I doubt myself when I am truly on the fence of knowing what to do…

I tell my daughter most police are helpers, most police are good people, most people are good people, but sometimes a few of them are bad and they do kill people.

I have a friend who’s son was killed, he was white, he was shot unarmed, unnecessarily trying to open his own car because he didn’t put his hand on his head fast enough…

I also have a friend who is a police officer, sweet guy, a teacher in his spare time, nothing like you would expect from a police officer.

The unfortunate truth is there will always be bad seeds in every race, every profession, even within your own mind, there is that toxic self-talk and bad habits, I don’t like that cops kill innocent people, but I would rather my four-year-old know that sometimes cops kill innocent people than lie to her.

If I shelter her to live in an imaginary world, how can I send her to that world to live in when she turns 18?

It was sad, because before my daughter wanted to be a K-9 officer, but she decided that she didn’t want to be an officer anymore because even though those bad cops are the minority, she doesn’t want to have to work with them. Now she wants to be a vet.

I rarely allow the news, the news doesn’t give me time to think of how I can best explain horrible things. It often puts things in the stupidest, least insightful manner (in my opinion). But it comes through here and there, as we pass from the dining room to the schoolroom, just a glimpse and it always seems to be the worse glimpse.

Why do I hate the news so much? Because it crushes dreams and spirits and well being. I could have explained the truth over time when I was ready if she hadn’t accidentally watched the news.

We recently watched a documentary about orphans in India, it was horrible, but if we pause it and say that’s enough for right now, not everyone is bringing it up again and again, so it’s a bit different than the news. Also, there is an explanation, about why? The orphans mostly had HIV, 50% of the children were raped, and the ones who weren’t rapes, injected “drugs” that they didn’t know what they were or even have a nickname for what they were… sharing the same needles.

In my mind, I wonder how can a child be forced to live a life that isn’t appropriate for another child to hear about? What about that child? Why is there not a common agreement of decency? How can one person’s reality be completely unacceptable to even hear about for another?

Some of the good things about watching it, my daughter doesn’t want to take drugs. My daughter is grateful to not be an orphan.

They took the orphans to an orphanage who showered them, gave them new clothes and food, but all but the two toddlers went immediately back to the street.

They wouldn’t give up the freedom to do drugs to live in safety (what I hope was safety).

My daughter knows that people abuse children and that is the reason we don’t want her wandering away by herself now, before it was just something we said, like if you don’t brush you may get a cavity. The documentary wasn’t so explicit, but it made it reasonably clear that it isn’t a fun life as a homeless Indian child.

Years ago I had watched a documentary about Mexican orphans, they also sniff gas and glue, but I must say the live quality seems higher in Mexico. In Mexico, you may get raped, in India kids get rapped left and right.

When I was about 12 I had a hard time imagining 1/3 families molested children in the US, which has changed to 1/6 since I grew up, which is great (that it’s better). I don’t think I was grateful for that until I heard the estimate of 1/2 children in India.

Perhaps I didn’t give America enough credit my whole life, definitely not perfect, yet perhaps I don’t know enough of the past to objectively take in the improvements.

India can make new corneas for eyeballs in 2 weeks. So with complete respect to India, that is the “duality” of India, a new customized living eye only takes 2 weeks, yet 1/2 children are still raped… That’s just amazing the difference between the dark and light side of the same place, the pinnacle, and the seedy underbelly. It’s like a two-pack of wonderful and horrible that only comes as a two-pack…

For me the high point of America is Half Dome in Yosemite, it’s my favorite place in the world. I criticize my home country at times, but somehow it holds my favorite place as well. Its high point is my favorite, yet its low point is almost unbearable to witness. A country of extremities.

I’m supposed to explain this world to my kids, I’m still struggling to catch up myself. Some kids are trafficked, but if mine aren’t I can’t tell them? Or I have to? Or should I? But someone did… So what do I say? 95% of the news is beyond what I want to interpret and explain, but then they have to live there. How much should you knowingly not know about where you live? I don’t have all these answers, but the questions are coming “now”.

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