Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Election Day - Happy Birthday To Me



It was kind of bewildering pulling up to my local polling place in Scottsdale today. The cars in the lot were covered with bumper stickers reading “Stop PETA” and “Bush/Cheney.” I’ve known for quite awhile that I stick out like a sore thumb in Phoenix with my homemade dresses and odd fashion sense. Someone came up to me just last week and said to me “you definitely don’t dress like you’re from Phoenix.” I took that as a compliment. Although I feel at home in the Sonoran Desert, I can’t help but feel different in an area that is as homogenous and conservative as Scottsdale/North Phoenix. After all, this is the first place I’ve ever seen someone wearing a t-shirt with the face of Ronald Reagan superimposed on the iconic image of Che Guevara.

This summer I met a couple of my MySpace friends for lunch. I had never seen them in person and as you probably know, people on MySpace don’t always look like their pictures, so I was concerned that I wouldn’t recognize them in a crowd. I had nothing to worry about. My two young friends stood out like exotic, colorfully plumed birds in a room full of gray sparrows. Just looking at them put a smile on my face. I was struck by the colors, patterns, creativity and originality of their appearance, an outward manifestation of their ideas and personalities. I had taken that look for granted when I lived in L.A. and to my surprise I realized that I’d missed it. I guess that’s part of what appeals to me about sewing my own dresses. What I wear is a unique reflection of my personality and background. Wait…does this have anything to do with the election? I guess I just want to paint a picture for you of the extent of the conformity by which I’m surrounded.

I often feel that I live in an ocean of sameness, so my family and I do a lot of traveling to different parts of the state. A couple of weekends ago, I visited Prescott and went to what I thought was an art/yard sale in the backyard of the Catalyst Infoshop, a volunteer run workshop, bookstore and gathering place. They had recently hosted a punk show to benefit Food, Not Bombs. The day I was there, I met some local artists who were bartering and selling their creations and a young man who was giving clothing away to anyone who needed it. The little “arts district” in Prescott had such a good vibe to it that I was shocked to learn that this workshop had been the target of an FBI raid (the owner was arrested and subsequently died in federal custody). It seems sad that in the current climate of fear, such a small group of artists and activists can’t express dissent without the government shutting them down.

Yesterday, my daughter’s sixth grade class staged a mock election. One of the propositions on the Arizona ballot this year is a constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman. It’s yet another attempt to prevent the legal recognition of same sex unions and put them on a “lesser” level than heterosexual unions. My daughter and her friend (who moved here from New York) were the only two students who voted against this proposition. I was so proud of her, even though going against the grain will probably not endear her to her peers.

I started writing this blog entry in the late afternoon, but because it is my birthday my husband and daughter insisted on taking me out to dinner so I put the writing on hold. On the way to the restaurant my daughter asked me about how I’d voted. I told her that I was sure I’d voted for everything that would be defeated. I’m used to being disappointed on Election Day. In the past, pretty much every candidate and proposition I voted for could be counted on to lose. It’s 9 pm in Arizona and this year, it looks like things may turn out a little different for once. CNN is projecting Democratic control of the House, which means we might have our first ever female Speaker. Wow! What a great birthday present…happy birthday to me!

8 comments:

Uncle Jesse said...

happy birthday!
go nancy!!!

Anonymous said...

thank you for being a parent that let's their child think outside of the box.
having an daughter that is original like you, must be very rewarding...treasure this, as they grow up much too fast.

Happy Belated Birthday Alice...

Jenny Lens said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! You don't look a day over 29!! What a wonderful birthday gift: the House, maybe the Senate (pretty good if just a tie), and not only the FURST FEMALE Speaker of the House, but she's from San Francisco, California!! Now if only the Dems have the spine and guts to use the power the electorate has temporarily granted them . . .

We should bloody well impeach the bastard and hold those responsible for torture, wealthy tax breaks and so much more . . . give them just a tiny taste of what they've given us. They've taken so much from us -- time not for payback -- but to get back what is legally ours.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY.

Anonymous said...

Congresswoman Pelosi is going to make a terrific House Speaker. She's unapologetically liberal and unafraid to speak her mind. Happy Birthday! And Merry Christmas too!

Matt "Max" Van said...

As you know, I spent a good, long time in Arizona. It's more conservative than you can possibly imagine. I mean, deep down scary conservative. I know what you mean about sticking out. Keep in mind, I saw entire city councils arrested (in Jerome), and a Town Drunk get nearly elected (look up Sam Steiger) and a guy who thought that "pickaninny" was a complimentary name for a Black person (see Evan Mecham), and a town full of polygamists (Colorado City) and so on, and so on. Meanwhile, I got chased down the streets in Mesa for having a "lobotomy head" hairstyle. I had the cops bust in on my office because my lights were on a bit too late at night. Please believe me: Arizona is a much nicer, happier place, these days. Even with all the anti-immgration xenophobia, and even with all the grey, faceless conformity. If nothing else, I know Arizona has you to restyle the joint. Happy Birthday, and let's hope your gifts get better with time.
Oh, and next time you're going up to "biscuit" (affectionate nickname for prescott: you same the name "prescott" like you'd say "biscuit") you might wanna check out Arcosanti near Cordes junction, and you might wanna stay at the Hotel Vendome on Cortez st. I don't believe in ghosts, at all, and even I've seen stuff there....

Lizzy said...

Happy Late b-Day Alice! I bet its different there especially since you lived in L.A for so long. It's probably a whole different world. I am glad your still Alice though!! Never change! I miss you! Its funny because I just typed in your name on the blogger thing and well there you were!!! I have one too!! Cool! : )

roxy said...

man, you are the coolest.

Andrew said...

Happy Happy Birthday, belatedly. I did my part to help make your day joyous by helping to elect a Democrat from Missouri to the Senate. We have high hopes for Claire McCaskill here in the heartlands.

AC