Friday, November 4, 2011
How to do it when you're 98 years old
I have a friend with whom I'll often argue, good-naturedly, most of the time, about private and public schools. Her children go to two of the most expensive schools in the city of Los Angeles, and she is adamant that they are two of the "best" schools, that having money gives one the opportunity to have one's children go to "the best schools." And while she doesn't come out and say it in these words, I know that she thinks the public schools in Los Angeles are terrible, and that if one had the money, one would never go to them. I chafe at this and have probably reflected for hours upon it. Would I send my boys to "the best schools" if I had the money? Am I so filled with resentment that I don't have a lot of money that I find reasons to not want to send my children to these bastions of privilege?
I don't know, and I think I do know.
I know what I want to be. I know what I hope my children will be. I know that I don't want to be surrounded by wealth and privilege. I know, too, that my judgments of that wealth and privilege are often harsh, but I don't know of any other way to be, to reconcile this churning conflict. While I yearn for peace, I have a red-hot core most of the time and feel, when I look at the excesses of our culture (including the spending of $40,000 to send one's child to high school), of our country, of capitalism in general, that it's all rotten and perhaps even rotten at the core. I don't know what that means -- whether I'm just an angry fucked-up individual, or whether I am just out of place and should, rather, be flying my freak flag with similar minds.
Anyhoo. (how revolutionary does that sound?)
I watched this series of videos of Grace Lee Boggs who thanks and champions the Occupy Wall Street movement, but I was most struck by her challenge to the Occupy Wall Street protesters to examine their own minds and motivations on whether if given the opportunity, they would join the culture they are against.
Grace Lee Boggs' Message to Occupy Wall Street Part 2 from American Revolutionary on Vimeo.
I think I know where I want to stand but do I have the guts and strength and fortitude to stand there? These are the questions that torment my little mind when I'm not peeling my daughter off the floor after a seizure, or arranging medical consultations or buying laptops that need to be installed with special software for the learning disabled or warning my son about the dangers of sniffing crushed Smarties (he didn't but kids are doing it).
How about you?