Thursday, August 28, 2008

From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:

Free at last! Free at last!

Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!

Dr. King would be proud today.

We should all be proud today.

Today, in Denver, history is being made. 45 years to the day after Dr. King delivered the immortal “I have a dream” speech, for the first time in our nation’s history, a black man will be accepting his party’s nomination to run for the office of President of the United States.

Almost 400 years since the first slave ships landed in the Americas, 145 years after the Emancipation Proclamation and only a generation removed from segregation, we are finally starting progress toward a future forged in hope.

It is no secret that I am a big fan of Barack Obama. It is no secret that I am liberal in my leanings. It is no secret that I am a life long Democrat, and proud of that fact. However, I think that all of us need to take a few moments, regardless of our personal political leanings, to recognize the significance of this day. Take a few moments to appreciate the history that was made yesterday as the Democratic Party voted to nominate the nations first black Presidential nominee. Take a few moments to recognize the absolute significance of Barack Obama accepting the nomination 45 years to the day after Dr. King delivered his famous speech. Take a few moments, my fellow Americans, and feel proud.

Today I am truly proud.

I am proud that this history is being made by my political party (hey – at least I am honest about it!). I am proud that this history is being made in my home town of Denver. I am proud of the speeches that were made this week. I am proud of my country and my countrymen. I am proud that I have gotten to witness this day with my husband who was moved to tears by the events of the week.

I can get cynical sometimes, when I see thoughtlessness and when I see ignorance. I tend to throw up my arms in frustration, and can at times feel indignation and anger toward people who want to judge me or my husband by our skin color rather than by who we are and what we have accomplished. It can make a nice girl turn militant and can leave me looking for La Raza so that I can be with La Gente until it’s time for La Revolucion.

But today, I have hope. Today I have pride. Today, I think we are closer to realizing Dr. King’s dream than we have ever been in our history. Maybe one day we truly will be a nation that is able to judge people by the content of our character rather than something as superficial as skin color.

It is my dream too. I have the same dream because the great Dr. King dreamed it for all of us. He spoke about it with such passion that we all know those words. They resonate to the very core of who we are as a nation, stripping us bare to the harsh reality of who we were, and showing us the dream of who we might one day become.

So today, as we reflect on the dream in light of the events of the day, remember how far we’ve come.

And how far we still have to go.

The full text of Dr. King’s speech is available here.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength.

Big Brother is watching you.

Do you ever feel like you have to look over your shoulder constantly because you are being watched? I’m not talking about a conspiracy theory Orwellian kind of being watched (although that would certainly make an interesting topic for discussion… maybe later). What I am referring to is the kind of watched where some nosey character actually physically watches you. This person watches your every move: what you do, where you go, who you talk to, what you talk about, what web sites you visit, what kind of work you do, how often you pee. Almost like a stalker, only this person watches you in plain sight.

Shit! Hold on….

I had to go because she was watching me again, and I am sick and tired of it.

I have an at-work stalker.

Well, not a “stalker”, really. “Stalker” gives this particular moron too much credit. She is more of an at-work “teacher’s pet” only the “teacher” doesn’t really like her, so doesn’t pay attention to what she does or says. So no matter how much she tattles, no matter what kind of tantrum she throws, it falls on deaf ears. I continue to do what I do, because my manager trusts my own work ethic more than she trusts the word of a loud-mouthed busybody.
Only the whole thing makes me rather uncomfortable.

I feel like I have no privacy. Really, how much privacy should we expect at work? Certainly the company can confront me at any moment about how I spend my time. They can pull internet records, phone logs, emails, documents, etc at any moment. And what would they find out, you may ask? That I do more than my fair share of work, that I am efficient, that I help out where I am needed, and that when I have down time I read the news on CNN and check my hotmail. I sometimes update my blog during lunch when I feel like sitting at my desk. I come in on time, stay late when it is needed and am not adverse to coming in on a Saturday or Holiday when necessary. I only take the allotted lunch time and take one 15 minute break every morning. I hardly ever take an afternoon break. I rarely make mistakes in my work, and if I do make an occasional error, I learn from it and never make the same mistake again. That is what the company would learn from me.

If the company watched me as closely as my new best friend seems to, it would also learn the following things: I drink 2 cups of coffee and a bottle of water every day. Or a soda and a water, or tea… I drink something caffeinated and water every day. Sometimes I stare into space when I feel fried. I take vitamins every morning. I listen to my headphones while I work and tap my feet to the music. I am a sucker for Peanut M&Ms and arrange them into color groups on my desk before eating them. I talk to my husband once a day and clean my desk once a week. I bite my bottom lip when I am trying to figure out a problem. I talk to my brother over the cubicle wall. I put lotion on my hands every time I come back from the bathroom which is approximately twice. I play with my earrings and twist my hair. I chew my nails. I keep my supplies in the middle drawer of my desk rather than the top drawer. I put my pens back in the cup every night.

What does she gain by watching me?

Every week in our meeting, she sits in her chair, smug as can be and starts out her list of grievances the same way.

“Some people seem to have too much free time…”

In case you were wondering, I am “some people”. She has decided that because I have time to get water and pee, I have time to take on more of her work. She feels that it is dreadfully unfair that I should get to take a lunch and a morning break. After all, she is the only one entitled to such frivolity. Also, she feels that “some people” are making mistakes (that aren’t being made), “some people” take too much time off (forgive me for getting married in April), “some people”, “some people”, “some people.”

Blah Blah Blah.

My first thought is that people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. After all, I don’t really care if she comes in late (she does), if she takes a lot of time off (she does) takes long lunches (she does) or if she often needs help getting her own meager work done (she does.) I notice, but I don’t say squat, because it isn’t my place, my business or my concern. I go to work, do my work, collect my pay and go home. I don’t need to “one-up” anyone. Maybe this makes me a bit too arrogant, but I know in my heart that I am better than this place and better than my co-worker. As my brother counseled, you do kind of have to feel a bit sorry for her. A very little bit. After all, if taking me down is really all she has to look forward to, her life must be quite small.

Of course, my second thought is, “Butt the hell out, lady”. The thing that threw me over the edge was being accused of not spending enough time at my desk. Then, the other day, she started making derogatory comments about me. Nice. Really freaking nice.

To answer the unasked question – I already discussed the matter with my manager. She assured me that the problem wasn’t mine, but the young lady in question. She told me not to worry, that she will handle it. I have yet to see evidence that it is being handled.

I mentally gave her until the end of the week. Tomorrow is Friday. (Thank GOD!). We’ll see.

Perhaps all of this is just a sign that I am long overdue to seek greener pastures.