Sunday, August 16, 2009
Portfolio Piece: The Debate
I said in my first blog post that I would be sharing some fiction and work from the archive. I figured tonight would be a good time for that. I will note when I pull something previously written by calling it a "Portfolio Piece". I am posting a commentary piece I wrote during the presidential debates last fall. Old, I know, but still relevant as it is not really about the debate. Anyway, enjoy!
As I sit here and watch the debate I am dumbstruck. Do not worry. This has nothing to do with politics or even the state of the nation. This is much smaller and much more tangible. I am in my living room perched on the couch, work clothes still on, shoes off. I am able to see myself from the outside. I become aware of my breathing and everything seems to slow down. In this moment, like none other before, I realize that I am an adult. I am my mother and my father. I am every teacher that has ever stood before me with a lesson in hand.
I look at the floor in front of me and imagine a small child. I imagine her playing with something that keeps her in one position, like a coloring book. She would be less concerned with the history unfolding on our television and more concerned with what color blue to use for the sky. She would be pulled from her shading when she hears something about polar bears not being able to live on melting ice. That would get her attention. She would drop her crayon and look, not to the television but up at me. She would be waiting for a sign that the world is okay. She would see how intently I am watching the screen and the few men talking feverishly.
She would notice that I examine each word. I weigh the plans and promises of both politicians against my own ideas. I try to search their faces for authenticity. I have thoughts on every topic, but I do not have fear. Just as a passenger of a plane might look to a flight attendant during turbulence, the little girl would look to me and find comfort.
I must admit that my mind is made up. I know whom I will vote for and knowing does not alter my need to watch. I want to feel connected to my country, to this process, to this moment. As the debate moves on, I realize how much I already know and how strong my opinions are. I realize how important this time is and that I am living history. I realize that with or without little kids playing beneath me, I am now my parents and my teachers. I am an adult. It is scary and real but with the new role, I am not allowed to be scared and so I watch.