We try to keep politics off the Playground. First of all, we're not a political blog, and SP's undergraduate degree aside, we don't really have anything besides our own personal opinions to go by. And since the five of us don't always see eye-to-eye on politics, there's no way we'd presume to preach anything to anyone else.
That said, being scheduled to blog on what is definitely a political day with historical significance presents me with a quandary. Do I keep all politics away from the Playground and blog about the frantic housecleaning I'm doing (a guest known for her high standards is coming to dinner)? Isn't that a bit like ignoring the giant elephant in the living room? But it would give everyone a break from the wall-to-wall coverage on every TV station in the world, so y'all might like that. Or maybe y'all would think I'm copping out by pretending what's happening in DC doesn't reach to our swing set.
It's a quandary, I tell ya. One I've struggled with all day, and I've started and deleted many possible topics. While what follows is a huge departure from what y'all have probably come to expect from me on this blog, it's something I really want to say.
In fourth grade, I was bussed 45-minutes across town in an attempt to bring a Louisiana school into line with integration requirements. I was the only white child in my class, and one of only a dozen overall in the school. I went to junior and senior high in downtown Birmingham, just a stone's throw from Kelly Ingram Park (where Bull Conner turned dogs and fire hoses on demonstrators) and the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church. I was hired by United Negro College Fund during their fundraiser one year, and I taught at a Historically Black College. I know how those experiences make me feel about what's happening in DC today.
I can't imagine what it feels like for my former classmates, the people who marched in Kelly Ingram Park, or my former students.
As a Southerner, I'm used to people thinking I'm a racist as soon as they hear my accent or ask me my hometown. Three weeks ago, as I sat next to my grandmother's grave for her funeral, I sat in the shadow of a huge Klan cross – the family in the plot across from ours were proud members of the Klan, and since the cross was installed in the 40s, it's considered historical and there's nothing we can do about it. But I can honestly say my daughter had no idea what it meant, and that gave me a small smile of satisfaction on an otherwise horrible day.
I'm not naive – I know that racism still exists, but today gives muscle to what was, until now, a phrase that got a lot of lip service: All men are created equal. I might not know your politics, but I'm assuming all of our Playfriends believe in the inherent equality of people – regardless of the color of their skin, the god they worship, or their possession of a Y chromosome.
To me, that's what today means. And that, more than anything, is what gives me hope for the future.
They estimate 3 out of 4 Americans will be watching the inaguration today. Are you one of them? It's a lot of pomp and circumstance, but I'm a sucker for a parade...