Reprinted from Mike Malloy
Hi Truthseekers, we have fresh proof that we're getting older. Our daughter Molly is in 5th grade now, which means her elementary school career is fast coming to a close. Hard to believe she's about to enter middle school in August. Everyone who said the time accelerates when your child grows up is right on the money.
So she brought home a notice today about her 5th grade yearbook. Apparently, this is a BIG DEAL. I don't think we had 5th grade yearbooks back in the dark ages when I was her age. I barely remember my high school yearbooks, and would just as soon forget the photographs (Daliesque, towering asymmetrical 80's haircuts, hot pink eye shadow, lace gloves like Cindy Lauper, and shoulder pads the size of footballs. Thank God that was before Al Gore invented Facebook -- or something). For reasons that would require a separate posting, I only have a couple of those annuals anyway, which, honestly, is just as well. But I digress.
The letter asked us to select a candid photo of her, and write a personal note about her. They suggested a photo from the first day of Kindergarten, a baby photo, or commemorating some significant event or memory -- something that's not embarrassing. And then we needed to add an inspirational quote and/or message about how proud we are of her. Easy enough, right?
Not so much. When we sat down to select a photo -- there were so many. Thousands. And such a variety -- damn that digital technology. And then the memories came rushing back in a landslide. Memories of family beach trips, beloved pets, bad hair days, mountain sunsets, birthday cakes, grandparents no longer with us ... it was a little overwhelming. Countless pictures of Molly wearing home-made costumes. She loved her collection of fairy wings and wands. The photo of Molly holding a "Women for Obama" sign with both hands that was bigger than her 4-year-old frame. Molly clutching at daddy's leg when he was an an anti-war rally in downtown Atlanta when she was two. And, when she wasn't quite two, Molly pretending to answer a call at a phone bank when we were raising campaign funds for Cynthia McKinney.
Photos of her life in politics before the diapers came off. The world's littlest liberal we called her. I wonder sometimes if she will be the last one, too. Looking at those photos was emotional in an unexpected way, they told the story of the devolution of our own perspective on this shining ship of states. The Bush occupation that began in 2000 was like a surreal nightmare, and we were shocked and horrified when the election results returned Raisin Brain in 2004, but we had a newborn and a promising new career with Air America Radio, which we believed would bring the Progressive radio revolution we dreamed of -- we still had hope. Obama came with change we could believe in, with his comfortable shoes for picket-line walking.
What a difference a decade makes. Looking at her 2004 baby photos, so much has changed. Terror wars, bank bailouts, mortgage crises, waterboarding, the Koch brothers, Citizens United, corporate control, auto industry failures, Detroit bankruptcy, GITMO, war crimes without trials, no single payer health care, the Snowden revelations and war on whistleblowers, gun violence without restriction, drone strikes, immigration reform, regulations on frankenfood, environmental protection, EPA standards ... and the beat goes on.
The blame doesn't fall solely on the President, but he has his share. We are submerged in a culture of political corruption, a quagmire Rumsfeld himself couldn't imagine. Trapped here with a collusive corporate controlled media that doesn't report the news or even pretend to abide the independent status that once defined our 4th estate. A brain-dead populace spoon-fed the sticky pablum that lulls us into believing that Madonna's Grammy performance is Important News on the same day drone strikes kill six in Afghanistan, 1,500 Russian troops enter Ukraine, and another unarmed black man is killed by police in St. Louis.
What message of hope for the future could we write in Molly's yearbook dedication? What cute photo and inspirational quote to demonstrate our belief that the years ahead are an open door to a welcoming world of bright possibilities? We searched for a quote from one of our other favorite Molly's -- the late, beloved Molly Ivins -- and can't find a message that's suitable for the tween set, although so many are spot-on perfect. Our Molly wouldn't "get it" -- not yet. And perhaps not ever. So far she's escaped the darkly sarcastic veil we wear to block us from the encroaching reality that we're among the few who haven't swallowed the Kool-Aid. The survivors among The Walking Dead.
This is the thought that sustains. She keeps us going.
Molly's innocence and kindness and sheer joy for life keep us hanging by our fingernails, stops us from sliding into complete dejected cynicism. She still dreams. She still marvels at new discoveries, begs us to stop at the bookstore the day her favorite author releases his next book. She asks if we can send money or toys to a boy she saw on the news who lost his leg in an accident. She packs up her old books to donate to a children's shelter, without any direction from a grown up. She downloads photos of cute puppies and collects seashells and cuts out "special" words in magazines she likes to make a collage and trades earrings with her BFFs and sings in her sleep and acts out scenes from her favorite movies and laughs at her own funny jokes and makes up silly parodies to popular songs and takes videos of her friends at school to send to a friend who's moved out of state and is homesick.
And she still loves fairies. We may not dare to entertain optimism, but we believe that she believes there is good in the world -- and that's a miracle in itself!
So after much deliberation, we chose the photo above: (as Hermione from Harry Potter)... and this message:
" . . . above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it."---Roald Dahl
Magical, musical Molly: Thank you for bringing light and laughter to our lives.Love you more,M + D