Tag Archives: America

American Mutt Takes A Taste From The Melting Pot And Craves More

Peg, at Square Peg in a Round Hole, tagged me for this exercise. It sounded like fun so I decided to play along. It prompts you to tag 5 other people but I’m going to do a broad sweep and encourage all and any of you to play! (I’m all communist that way!) It was perfect for me since I was suffering a bit of blogger’s block. Even if you’re not suffering blogger’s block you can play and then store the post to use later. Perfect for an easy-peasy post sitting in your stockpiles.

Here are the rules:

  1. Go to your first photo file and pick the 10th photo in it.
  2. Tell the story behind the photo.
  3. Tag 5 other people to do likewise (or everyone because you’re an equal-opportunity blogger like me!)

Now, on with the show!

I am a true American mutt. I am Irish, Scottish, German and Polish. Our families immigrated to America between the mid 1800’s and World War II. All were escaping poverty. All were seeking opportunity.

I know very little about my history. All of my grandparents have passed. My parents and aunts and uncles have little interest in our family tree. But my second cousin, who sent me this picture, is very interested. She has been collecting information and searching for new leads. I’ll be interested in what she finds.

The above picture is from a part of my German side. I say part because I have some family that came in early 1900 and some who escaped during WWII. These are my great-great grandparents. Entrepeneurs. Strong work ethic. Amazing role models for my grandfather who became quite successful in business. Once they arrived here to America, they never worried about money again.

My mother brings the Polish side of my family. Fun-loving. Silly. Family oriented. Funny. I remember family gatherings where aunts and uncles would sit around and tell, of all things, Polish jokes – and crack themselves up at the absurdity. My grandfather would enter a contest in the local paper. A cartoon would be shown and contestants were asked to enter a caption. He won so often they limited his winnings to once a month.

One of my favorite stories on my Scottish side was of my great-great-grandfather. When asked the spelling of his name at Ellis Island he switched it to the Irish spelling because he was angry at the Scottish government. I loved that story and likened my rebellious spirit and political activism to his. Alas, that story was merely a myth. My great-aunt set the record straight at a family reunion. When my newly married great-great grandfather and grandmother arrived they were asked their name. The officer wrote it down with the Irish spelling. To honor my great-great-grandmother (she was Irish), my great-great-grandfather let the switched and omitted letters slide. “Awwww, how romantic, ” we all sighed. So, I’ll liken my feminist spirit to that of his, instead.

I wish I had appreciated the many family gatherings and story telling sessions when I was younger when many of these relatives were still alive. I long to ask questions of how we came here to the United States and how we thrived. There seems to be a generation of disconnect between my grandparents and me and my cousins. I’m thankful my cousin is stirring the pot. The smells from the kitchen have piqued my interest. I’ll let you know what I find.

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Filed under family

Making an Ass of U and Me

(Warning: The first (of probably many) posts that will most likely alienate me from 70% of my readers…because I always seem to be in the minority.)

I have very loosely kept an ear out about the Obama-Addressing-the-Children speech. When it was first criticized my impressions were that parents didn’t want their children to be exposed to political rhetoric, “brain washed” to agree with the latest health care bill. Ok. I get it. Personally, I wouldn’t want my young, impressionable children exposed to that either. As a former teacher, we were not allowed to express our political views in the classroom. It’s not the place. Even if it IS the President of the United States. Now if both sides are represented, such as political debate, that’s a different story, a learning opportunity. Which is why, I thought, parents were upset.

Then, as the event neared, copies of the speech spread through the internet. It became obvious that the speech was an innocuous attempt to encourage children to value education, value and believe in themselves.  Then I came across this article reminding us that George H. W. Bush (the first George Bush) did the same thing: spoke to students and the Democrats cried, “FOUL!” Reading further I find that this is something every president since Ronald Reagan has done.  Former First Lady Barbara Bush (the second one) said on television she supported Obama’s “speech” to the school age children.

As soon as I was armed with this new information I came to the conclusion that this whole stunt was political grandstanding. The bru ha ha seemed silly. Just another attempt of the Republican party to put a wrench in our president’s progress.

 Ridiculous. Overblown. Insignificant.

Then I started reading the blogs out there. And comments on Facebook. And the twittering. And more than one – ok, just about every one – brought up race. “Those redneck parents are just racist.” (Speaking of the parents in Texas) “Get over it. Our president is black. Live with it.” I’m not talking about the news media suggesting that race was an issue. I’m saying that individuals out there on their blogs, twitters and status bars are still, STILL focusing on the race of our president. And my plea?  Get. Over. It. Please.

How can race be an issue with the majority of Americans, as many would like us to believe, if we elected a 1/2 black ( remember- ’cause he’s also part German and Irish – his mother’s side- just like me!)  President of the United States? Yes, 95% of black voters voted for Barack Obama. But, turnout of black Americans was still only 13%, up 2% from previous voting years. That means white America played a significant role in getting Obama elected.

And that’s a good thing!

That tells me that race IS NOT the issue some would like us to believe. If you’ve read any of my previous posts you know my husband’s nickname for me is Pollyanna. I may be way off base with this. Maybe I am painting too rosy a picture of my fellow Americans. It seems to me that a vocal minority is creating an issue that doesn’t exist. Because whenever I heard people being interviewed about not wanting their children to hear Obama speak, not one brought up the color of his skin. And I don’t think I’m immune to hearing the truth about discrimination based on skin color. I sit here, raising two children with much darker skin than mine. We’ve heard our fair share of racist comments. But they are so far and few between.

We create our own reality. If we choose to live in judgement of others we are choosing to surround ourselves with criticism and blame. I’m not saying that there aren’t people out there that do not support our president based on the color of his skin. I just don’t believe that the good parents of our country, making a decision to protect their children from what they thought was going to be a speech centered on a political agenda, should be attacked. The full text of the speech wasn’t released until a day or two before. They didn’t have all of the facts – just some politically inspired tongue lashing in the media and school parking lots.

It should not be assumed that their decision was based purely on race.

Because we all know what happens when we assume.

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Filed under parenting, People, Soapbox