Thursday, July 24, 2008


The first election I was eligible to vote in was the one Bush stole. As an 18 year old back then, I still wholeheartedly believed in the process and thought that it was actually "we the people" who decided who would be our president. This despite the fact that I had a much more than average knowledge of the political process here in the U.S. having taken advanced placement U.S. History (and scoring a perfect score, on the exam). But I still held out hope that the system still worked and that our elected officials were actually chosen by and representative of us. In college after having that first negative political experience, I became very active politically (more so after leaving the academically intense, stifling and frustrating 7-year B.S./M.D. program I was in), fighting to undo the wrongs and make them right. I was quick to participate in one demonstration or another, always loved to debate politics, loved the "Black conscious" poetry scene (and the corresponding persona of a Black conscious sista) and wrote for my school's newspaper. I stopped wearing my hair in braid extensions (I had long since given up on relaxers that just made my hair weak and caused massive breakage but I was still not comfortable with my own natural, highly textured hair) and started to wear it out in an afro. Eventually, I let my hair lock. I stopped wearing my bootie hugging jeans and shirts with plunging necklines and exchanged my "hoochie mama", South Bronx girl look for one that I thought was more befitting an African queen--long skirts, daishikis, and cowry shells. I stopped eating meat and eliminated all animal products from my diet after reading books like Nutricide and becoming convinced that the poisonous food-like substance Black people were eating were actually killing us. Eventually, my politics merged with my spirituality and I started down the path of RastafarI. I wore my headwrap high and could usually be seen with some kind of pin or button declaring my newfound overstanding (understanding) and consciousness. I wanted to repatriate to Africa as soon as possible and leave Babylon to burn.

I wore my politics on my sleeve. I was a rebel and happy to be. It suited me and annoyed and worried the hell out of my parents.

Since leaving college and especially since getting married and having children, I thought I'd become extremely apathetic to politics. I look back at all the posts to this blog and I realize that so very few posts tackle any political issues. When I got married almost five years ago and relocated, I didn't even bother to re-register to vote. Back in college, I may have looked down on this version of Chi-Chi who is not really doing anything to bring about revolution and instead wastes her time blogging. That Chi-Chi would ask, "What about the novel that was to be written by the age of 25 that would be as ground-breaking and provocative as Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart?" She'd ask, " What about repatriation? Shouldn't you already have had a free school built in some remote part of Africa single handedly healing the pain of slavery and colonization?" How is breastfeeding and cloth diapering revolutionary?" she'd sneer, looking down her self-righteous nose and wondering just how, just how did I fall so far out of the struggle? "You ain't even representin' right now . . . where's your headwrap? Where's your red, black and green flag and all your corresponding paraphernalia?" I'd wonder. "You look like an ordinary brainwashed Black person," I'd say, shaking my head in shame and disappointment.

Time (growing up) and the reality of living life has hit and hit hard. Very hard.

But I realize something that has made me feel a lot better about where I am. I'm still not significantly interested in election politics. I don't believe that my vote actually counts on the presidential level and I'm still undecided on if it counts locally. I wasn't registered to vote when my fellow townspeople twice voted down a school budget that would have increased property taxes 8% but that would have also kept interscholastic sports--I'm not sure my vote would have counted to pass the vote as it seems the overwhelming majority voted against it. I can't say I blame them for voting against it either because times are indeed hard and it seems like every day I see a newly boarded house. People are really struggling. What I did realize was that I am intensely interested in the politics that affect women and children, especially women and children of color, on a smaller, day-to-day scale. I've been fortunate to find a few blogs that inform me and and allow me to engage in dialog which as a stay-at-home mom is invaluable. It's often hard to stay current and intellectually sitimulated. when chasing around a 3 year old and a very active 7 month old (hey, the doctor just told me my heart rate is slow which is something they usually see in very athletic people--since I'm the antithesis of an athlete, I must be doing a heck of a lot of running around) and it's even harder to stay intellectually stimulated (I spent about 5 minutes the other day trying to convince Z1 that the orange popsicle was really just as good as the red one and another 2 minutes today trying to convince him to not put his pants on backwards which he did anyway). It's really great to read, learn and feel connected again even if I'm not a visible, outspoken Revolutionary and even if I'm in a sleep-deprived place where I cannot formulate heady, educated, thought-provoking responses to topics that are put forth.

I no longer feel that the revolution is going to be this grand scale event. It's going to happen on a very small scale and may even go unnoticed by those who have willfully blinded their third eye. Gil Scott Heron said it first: The Revolution will not be televised and I posit that you probably won't get an e-mail about it or find it posted about on your favorite message board/blog. The first and most important revolution, after all, begins inside. I feel like my work mothering and being a wife is indeed revolutionary. I'm grateful for these resources that support that.

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