Wednesday, October 10, 2001

Tonight I saw President Clinton speak at the Kennedy Center. The speech was a part of a series that Grandma and Grandpa helped me subscribe to. It was amazing. The original topic of the speech was “From Hope to the Highest Places.” Tonight’s speech obviously wasn’t the original planned speech, but something more timely and reflecting on the recent terrorist attacks and the state of the middle-eastern countries.

I wish I had taken notes, I’m going to bring a little notebook for the next speakers…

“They” say that Clinton has a real presence and is an amazing speaker. I concur. He made the emotions that have dried up since September 11th come back to the point of tears-- even when talking about things and stories I had already heard. He reminded us of the heroes and the people that have been affected, and more specifically the children of the affected… that so many children were left without parents who we as a nation now have a duty to tend to and do right to. He spoke of a man who lost his wife in the Oklahoma City bombing drove to New York just to sit and show empathy for victims’ families. He spoke of a Muslim/Egyptian/American man who stood at the armory with tears in his eyes for fear of his future… of the man who worked on the 84th floor and carried a wheel chair bound woman down to safety. All the stories we heard only a few short weeks ago, but already seem a part of history.

The body of his speech centered on all the questions that we as a nation have. Why do they hate us? Are we safe? What now?-- He asked us to think of how we would have answered on September 10th if asked the 21st century will be known for…

He gave four optimistic examples…

1. Technology
2. Advances in Medicine
3. Global Economy
4. The Spread of Democracy

And four pessimistic…

1. The environment
2. Poverty
3. Health Crisis
4. Terrorism and Religious Strife

8 different things, but they all tie together through one thing: GLOBALIZATION and the break down of the walls that keep nations separate. The global world enables all of the positive advancements, but also creates the negative. It is our responsibility as a world, not just as America to help rid the negative in-order to take part in the positive. Also, if we ignore things like health crisis, environment, religious strife and poverty they will eventually take over the positive. The key is that it’s all tied together. Bush has the right idea that we need to aid the Afghani people while getting rid of Bin Laden, but we need to do more than drop food rations.

Over 1 billion people live on $2 a day. 1 in 4 people don’t drink clean water. If the rate of aids cases stays constant there will be 100 million more cases worldwide in 10 years. There is a dead space in the ocean the size of New Jersey and 50feet around Long Island will disappear in 10 years if the rate of global warming continues.

All of those things contribute negatively not to just to America or Westernized nations but to the world, actually more so the greater world. I’ve always sort of felt like America was a Hegemonic society and often does more harm than good… but Clinton said tonight that there are 100,000 New Guinea citizens in New York. The rate of new aids cases in New Guinea is one of the highest in the world. A small, but profound example… How can that not result in affecting America?

Tying all of this back into the events of the last month. The reason that Bin Laden has been able to gain power is that the people that look to him do not have choice. They live in a world without democracy… something that we can’t grasp. They struggle each day affected by the pessimistic examples and kept from the optimistic… they don’t have hope or choice. It breeds the type of dissent for those who have.

Yeah, yeah you say…. this we all know. But what we forget is that as the walls of the world fall down and we become one globalized nation we have to take responsibility for their oppression. Bin Laden is right in that America and Westernized countries can’t just take. He may have other evil political tactics and feel that we are wrong on a religious level… but if we take from other countries, we need to give back… not only because it’s our responsibility but because it will come back to bite us in the ass, if not in the form of dissenters like Bin Laden, in the continued infiltration of the 4 bad things (plus more) into our lives.

We have to “root out the terra and nip it in the bud” (Bush quote) but we can’t stop at just that.

The above was the basic premise of Clinton’s speech. He also went more into detail the history of the Islamic nations and the various Jihad. He reminded us that fighting for the end of oppression is difficult and sometimes self-sacrificing.

One of the interesting things that he spoke of was the need to allow the people in the oppressed countries to have their say. I never really thought about the power of democracy. He spoke of Jordan being allowed elections by King Hussien. In a country that is now half Palestinian and there is great religious strife, a democracy had been created where the Bin Laden’s of the world can try to get elected if they so choose… much like America. If they do make it into office, they have to do their jobs and follow through… from showing up to work to putting together good policy. Usually they can’t cut it or gain enough support and never gain any power—once again American-esque.

On a final note—(paraphrased)-- America is not perfect. We have made mistakes along the way, especially in the form of black oppression, but we are headed in the right direction. One of the fundamental ways our culture differs from that of the Muslim Fundamentalists is that we believe that no one is perfect, that everyone has a right to try to do and be their best no matter who they are. Through that we and for the continuance of that right we will persevere.

Before an amazing 15 year-old girl sung the National Anthem this evening we had a moment of silence for everyone involved in the events of September 11th. It is one of the most powerful things to be in the presence of so many silent people… it was deafening and reminded me of the power that we have if all together.

Sunday, October 07, 2001

I got another job... what you say? when do YOU have time to work? I actually have a decent amount of free time and I am not going to work that much. So, what am I doing? Working at a Spa/Salon/Coffeeshop. I am a Receptionist/Barrista. My first day was Saturday and I really liked it. The people there are awesome and the job not that hard. The biggest perk... FREE SERVICES... I thought I'd at least have to tip or pay for product... not so. How cool is that? My second day is Monday.

My weekend was as low key as I thought. A lot of people are out of town. That was okay with me. I somehow managed to keep myself busy. Today Page's sister and family are in town. I made a pork-roast that got rave reviews. Since I don't eat pork I didn't stick around to eat it, but her sister asked for the recipe. I used a red-wine oregano marinade and put yellow squash, zucchini, eggplant and carrots (for the kids) as the veggies. I was a little nervous but glad it turned out well. It looked like the perfect autumn meal, I'm glad it tasted good.

Cute thing of the day that made me say "awwww" : While walking to the gym a procession led by bag pipes walked by and up the street. It was a wedding procession. The bride and groom closely followed the bag pipers and then the wedding party and the guests. The eventually went into this cute little resturaunt. It was amazing. The best part being the air outside. It is this perfect fall day... probably about 50 degrees. The crispness in the air and the happy people made it a pretty neat sight and sound.