Point of View

Point of View
and if you wanted to drown you could, but you don’t...~David Whyte

Friday, October 31, 2008

Heil Obama?

I have received two emails in recent days warning that Barack Obama is the new Hitler. One was couched as a personal email from a survivor of Nazi Germany; the most recent quotes Fouad Ajami, with an emphasis on his Arab-American ethnicity, as a source for why Obama is to be feared.
These are indeed difficult and exciting times: difficult in part because information is irresponsibly dessiminated on the internet and elsewhere - responsible journalism seems to be a thing of the past - exciting because information can be dessiminated by anyone, from anywhere, all over the globe via the internet. Free speech and true democracy is accessible through the electronic gateway and, as long as the information continues to freely zoom along the internet highway, any Joe Blow (or should I say any Joe Plumber?) may join in the fray of public discourse, such as it be.
It is my choice to post a link via this article to Fauad Ajami's incendiary commentary because, in light of my enthusiastic endorsement of Obama, I to want provide readers with some of the misinformation that is circulating via the internet and email.
The only answer I have to a discourse like Ajami's is to point readers in the direction of Barack Obama's book, "The Audacity of Hope" as another source of information; in my mind, a better source of information for those who truly want to get to know the man, Barack Obama.
Fear appears to be the weapon of choice among Obama detractors. It is a corrosive, debilitating tool - it steals into the hearts of the most honest, sincere and authentic among us. It plants it's seeds of discord and moves on. Witnessing its clever disguises, my heart is heavy. My heart is sad. I am afraid for us all.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Barack Obama - The One and Only?

In both humility and hope, this is my endorsement of Barack Obama for President of the United States of America.
Because he speaks so well for himself, I will quote his words from the prologue of his book, The Audacity of Hope:

...I am new enough on the national political scene that I serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views. As such, I am bound to disappoint some, if not all, of them. Which perhaps indicates a second, more intimate theme to this book - namely how I, or anybody in public office, can avoid the pitfalls of fame, the hunger to please, the fear of loss, and thereby retain that kernal of truth, that singular voice within each of us that reminds us of our deepest commitments..."

Obama then submits before the reading public a portrait of himself as a three-dimensional, whole person, a human being, a man, a father, lawyer, legislator, husband, and son. It is his awareness of who he is, what he comes from, and where he is headed, as well as his astoundingly clear vision of the issues facing us and how to lead us through them, that resonate for me. In the third chapter of the book, entitled "Our Constitution" he writes:

The Constitutions system of checks and balances, separation of powers, and federalism may often lead to groups with fixed interests angling and sparring for narrow advantage, but it doesn't have to. Such diffusion of power may also force groups to take other interests into account and, indeed, may even alter over time how those groups think and feel about their own interests.
The rejection of absolutism implicit in our constitutional structure may sometimes make our politics seem unprincipled. But for most of our history it has encouraged the very process of information gathering, analysis, and argument that allows us to make better, if not perfect, choices , not only about the means to our ends but also about the ends themselves. Whether we are for or against affirmative action, for or against prayer in schools, we must test out our ideals, vision, and values against the realities of a common life, so that over time they may be refined, discarded, or replaced by new ideals, sharper visions, deeper values. Indeed, it is that process, according to Madison, that brought about the Constitution itself, through a convention in which "no man felt himself obliged to retain his opinions any longer than he was satisfied of their propriety and truth, and was open to the force of argument."

After studying, listening, watching, and reading this election period, I think I am beginning to understand why Oprah Winfrey said of Obama, "He's the one" - not because she meant to imply some messianic status to Barack Obama but, to the contrary, because she believes, as I have come to believe, that he is a man capable of leading the USA through one of the most difficult and challenging periods in our history, that he is the one we need to lead us into the 21st Century. This because, more than anything else, he is a man of humility, courage, and moderation; one who can encourage us, the entire nation of you and me, to have a conversation that will result in what American democracy was founded to do - ensure the Union's survival and that of our individual and collective liberty. Barack Obama is the one in which my hope now lies, the one that I will vote for come November 4th because I do believe that he may lead us, our children, and our children's children, in the direction of a solid future true to this country's highest aspirations.

That is not to say, of course, that he is the only one but, rather, that Barack Obama is only one of many who have played a crucial part in the formation and preservation of this democracy, and he is also one of the few, among those who have led us, capable of accomplishing greatness as a man - but, more importantly - capable of accomplishing the great task of navigating our country successfully through the formidable challenges of the 21st century.

I must share - I finished reading "Audacity of Hope". I put the book down, turned to my dearest companion, my husband, and said, "He is the one."

Please vote November 4th.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


Clyde, the Fraud Dog, and I head down Jeremy’s Trail on our bluff and perch on the spot just before the deep drop where Jeremy tied the rope off. I can see the tide as it comes in, close below us, hear the busy sound of breaking water, its soothing rhythm.
The sun is high in the sky, as high as it will get today and I look up steadily, straight at it, like I warned my children not to, lifting my face. I am hungry for sunshine as winter approaches in Alaska; I never knew how much I needed it until now. Facing my sixth winter here, after a long gray and overcast summer season, I am outside at the mere hint of the sun’s appearance, throwing myself at it, beginning to understand sun worship as it was practiced by ancient peoples.
The image of a chariot pulling the Sun across the sky comes to me as I stare at the too small yellow globe high above me. I don’t have to imagine; I can see it in the Alaskan sky, a sun chased far.
In the Nordic myth, the Sun rides in a chariot pulled by horses that are chased by wolves, known as Skoll (treachery), across the sky and below the horizon. Living in Alaska has made me conscious of nature in a way I’ve never experienced elsewhere – and by necessity. Here treachery becomes stronger in the winter, weaker in the light of the summer months, when it takes Skoll longer and longer to chase the Sun below the edge of the world. Some day, according to the mythology, Skoll will catch the sun and eat her; that day is known as Ragnorokr, the twilight of the Gods’; destiny.
Until then, the Sun deity is worshipped, loved, offerings are made. Until then, I do my daily dose of light, 10,000 luxes of it, every morning. I take Calcium with Vitamin D, suck Vitamin D lozenges, and eat the salmon stock-piled in our freezer from the summer’s catch.
Clyde puts his paw across my arm purposefully and snuggles his doggy face into my shoulder, letting me know he highly approves of this activity. He is happy to sit perched halfway down the bluff with me, to worship, even to resist the temptation to plunge down the hill to chase the shorebirds mocking him from below.
The sun warms me in a place I know I had better nurture if I want to survive the darkening winter. The light sparks my imagination like a piece of kindling taking catch. I think of my father’s people way far off and long ago when they first came to America, soldiers for the Revolutionary War. I picture their odyssey from the eastern shores of the Atlantic through Virginia and on into Kentucky. Our people lived among trees in hollows, near branches of lakes and rivers and streams and something moved them, perhaps the rushing water. They made music and spells, spun stories, like me. Might they ever have conceived of a descendent of theirs’, gone this far north, all the way to Alaska?
This is the same sun, I think, that they saw a hundred years ago and more.
My father told me once, as if in warning, or perhaps in apology, “The Deckers were some wild people, you know. It runs in our blood.”
Remembering, I pull my hat off and loosen my coat, think, “That’s me. I’m a Decker, a wild woman. I was a wild girl. I always will be.”
Somehow, I don’t think any Decker girl way back then or now - say a girl like my Grandma Ollie Mae was once - would mind a’tall, not a’tall, as she would say.
Clyde, the Fraud Dog, and I stay where we are then, perched on our small church platform in the alders, long into this day’s journey across latitude 59 and the Alaskan sky.
Skoll is running fast, chasing the light, the horses’ hoof beats fading.

Finding Home in the music

There is nothing more beautiful than a soft southern accent like my
mother,father and ky people had and have!! They were born with a song
in their voices, and I wish I could of been so lucky----dad