if its not yummy, then we better make it funny.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Something for Paul Loeb's book : Soul of a Citizen, a book on citizen involvement

Paul asked me for an account of my recent years in a couple of paragraphs for a profile in his book. Being quite darn busy with school assignments... I agreed anyway and wrote this up. He can edit the thing.

I am an American woman who lived on San Juan Island, an idyllic little
spot, for about 20 years. After retiring from Restaurant ownership (with
plenty of hosting of political community events) I married a customer,
Jordan, who happens to be one bright physicist. He worked at a tiny high
tech company on the island, eventually collaborating on "Dept of Energy"
research. I had a couple more kids directly (I already had one on my own
then, a ripening teen) and continued my lifelong avocation of peace
activism, sometimes even dragging my babies to frozen Washington DC or a
sweltering Cancun WTO meeting. This was in the early 2000's, after 911 and
leading up to the Iraq invasion. My husband and I clumsily and naively
reinvigorated the local public access TV station. We had to
storm a few city council meetings to keep the right to air Democracy
Now! We were like a pesky fly to the local Adelphia cable office. Jordan
got the submission and airing of material functioning digitally and made
an automated schedule. We were bumping along. I tried my hand at board
membership for Peace Action of Washington. This experience, while
inspiring, (after all that's where I met you, Paul) had some unsavory
feuding unraveling and it made me sad and a little queasy. The
disturbing turn of events as the election seemed to be rigged again got
us even lower in morale. When I added this to my guilty enjoyment of
money from the dubious funding source, Jordan's spooky fusion puzzles; I
started thinking of my lifelong fantasy to move to New Zealand. We just
didn't want to participate anymore, paying the taxes or supporting war

We decided to get more neutral (remember that naivety) We sold
everything but the house and got wills drawn up and we split the
country. We cashed in retirement accounts. Some of our friends implied
we were shirking our responsibilities, but we went anyway. Jordan forged
ahead to get his PhD from an Auckland University so he could eventually
teach science for a living. I delved into a new and quite different
culture. We started our residency by touring New Zealand in a van for
four months (that's five people.) We participated in some Wwoofing, a
farming labor exchange, and got to meet some very resourceful people and
revel in spectacular locales. Later, we struggled to find our place in
Auckland, moving six times in three years. We remembered what is special
about America and Americans by removing ourselves from them. It was a
great day when we got the Obama election results. We celebrated with a
dinner party with some English folks. We all met again for a 5:00 am
breakfast party on inauguration day. Despite the struggles evident these
days, I feel renewal and optimism. I can say without hesitation that I
look forward to coming home.

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