Wednesday, August 25, 2010

tales out of high school

In twelfth grade, I, along with all the other seniors at my high school, took American Government. I have a few particularly strong memories from that class. It taught me to carry as much as possible in my pockets when I fly (y'know, in case the plane splashes down into the ocean and I need a snack or a magnifying glass). I was reminded yet again that my being good at school is kind of embarrassing and that I'm not comfortable sharing this nerdiness with classmates. And, I learned, that I was one of very few liberals I knew.

We did an activity -- I can't even remember what it was now -- to figure out if we fly left or right. Out of a class of 20+, there were a whopping two of us, myself and one of my very best friends ever, who leaned liberal. (I'm not sure if this friend still identifies herself with us left-wingers or not and I'm okay with not knowing.) I was surprised then, because it was the first time I knew this information about our group. You'd think I'd be over this kind of shock by now, especially considering where I live, but, well, I guess I'm not.

Earlier today, I was reminded just how conservative we trend around these parts. In order to demonstrate the idea of context when writing, I brought up (very briefly, and not at all in-depth), the proposed Islamic cultural center that is causing so much hullabaloo, y'know, the "ground zero mosque" (and, yes, I used air-quotes). Why is it such a big deal?, I asked. Why do we care so much? Because the context for this debate is this post-9/11 US we live in. When I asked where others were learning about this topic, the most-oft quoted source was Fox News. The conversation was as predictable as would be a homeschooling conversation around the blogs I frequent. O, how ensconced we are in our comfy little enclaves. And, O, how alone I felt, on my own little island of bleeding-heart liberalism. Ah, well. We'll broaden one another's minds, yes? Yes, we will. I actually very much appreciate hearing perspectives that are different than my own. I love to learn and I love to hear others' (preferably respectful) thoughts.

Now that all of us in these conversations I'm being wonderfully vague about are out of high school, I hope our conversations will be fruitful and mind-opening. Here's to moving on and growing up.