Tuesday, February 21, 2006

This one's for you, Baby.

This just in from the DC self-governance movement:

We need your help to take a stand for our rights and strike a blow for democracy in the District of Columbia.

Please take a minute, and use the form to the left to send a message to the International Olympic Committee. We need them to support our efforts to field an Olympic team for the District of Columia. They've approved teams for the other territories of the United States, like Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, why not DC?

Please support democracy. Take a minute now, and send a message to the IOC. Tell them to officially recognize us. Tell them to: LET DC PLAY!
That's right. Curling is how DC is going to show Congress that it's ready for full self-governance.

I have to admit, this is easier than setting up and maintaining an actual government that provides basic services. Like, for example, a police department that, when recovering remains, can determine if, after an exhaustive search, they missed something.

But doing that would just take energy away from the real progress that DC is making toward independence by sliding rocks on ice.

And, while this is perhaps amusing on the surface, it distracts us from the real, serious problems that exist in DC. Those are problems that, while they don't affect me directly over here in Virginia, do affect me indirectly. For example, there is a part of me that likes being in DC, right on top of everything that it has to offer. But there's no way that I'm going to have Baby growing up in a jurisdiction where it takes 35 minutes for an ambulance to show up to tend to an officer critically burned in an explosion.

That's how, I believe, I've gotten sidetracked from my original purposes here--keeping family and friends up-to-date on us, and writing down a little record for us and for Baby of what having Baby is like. The closer we get to having Baby here with us as a separate person, the more that I find myself mulling over and caring about these issues. I'm still able to chuckle at the good humor of the DC democracy movement for setting up a curling team and trying to use the IOC to grant them legitimacy, but at the same time, I'm asking myself--again, "How do we create a responsible government in DC? In this region? Across the country?" This time, I'm looking for an answer that I can give to Baby when he or she asks me those questions.

I want have an answer when Baby asks
"Why do we let bigots keep people from working due to the color of their skin or the language that they speak?"
Or, "How many times must we learn this lesson?"
Or, "How many times will we stand by while mobs are incited, while churches burn, and while "traditional American ideals" are used as an excuse for the vicious cowardice of louts, dullards, and dunces?"
The answers are not easy, the solutions are not quick, and these are problems that are woven together with many others like them. But, "what good am I, if I'm like all the rest?" What good are we if we just laugh about stones on ice while a burned DC corrections officer lies in the street, dependent on the kindess of strangers? If stand idly by while fear festers into hatred, and when that hatred once again rules over us?

I'm neither going to solve these problems by writing about them here, nor answer these questions tonight, no matter how late I stay awake turning them over in my mind. But I can't ignore these questions--they have tied me to the tracks, the train is coming, the clock is ticking--nor do I want to. I do want to be able to look Baby in the eye and say, "We did the best we could."

Will I be able to do that? That's what keeps me writing about these things. That's what keeps me up at night.

(Tomorrow, however, there will be the ultrasound, so you'll have to find your own social issues to fret over for a day.)

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