Sunday, September 25, 2005

Excerpt from The Third Estate Sunday Review

In March, Betty, Ava, Jim, Jess, Dona, Ty, Rebecca and myself (maybe someone else, check the credit for the story at The Third Estate Sunday Review) went to various rallies. We all found people who shared that we wanted very much to include in the article "At the rallies, we ask, 'Why Are You Here?'" As they noted at the time, I fudged the rule of eighty by taking Tami & Rhonda's statements, which did overlap, and crediting it to both of them to make sure they were included. They were two young females, then sixteen. It was really important to them to be at that rally and I thought they needed to be included. Here's what they had to say then:

Tammi & Rhonda, 16 (overlapping): "Our parents said, 'You're not going to some hippie love-in.' So we told them that we were hanging out at the mall. I know a lot of kids at our school wanted to be here and we've seen like five so far but its like everyone's parentals are in denial about what's going down. They can't deal with the fact that we were lied into war and that a lot of them bought into the lie because they were scared. You try to talk about at dinner and you get speeches about how Saddam was a menace and you try to say, 'Well what does that have to do with WMD or any of the lies we were told' and it's like, 'Eat your potatoes.' They have bored us with stories about their wild and radical youths but they can't deal with the fact that they turned out to be these incredibly conformist people who could so easily be faked out by a war criminal. He comes on TV with his tricked out logic and no one thinks to look behind the curtain and look at where we are now. Our parents have a lot of guilt they don't want to deal with. They really defined themselves as so different from their parents and like get togethers are still confrontational but the reality is that they aren't that different from their parents which I think scares them. And we're not saying we're different from them or from our grandparents or that we're this new wave that's going to sweep the country cause that probably ain't happening. But we can look at a lie and call it a lie and that's why we're here."

That was March. Yesterday, Tracey was asking me how to go about asking people to talk for the record. I was about to explain it to her when we hear a squeal and look up to find Tami & Rhonda rushing over. From the still being worked on 100 voices piece at The Third Estate Sunday Review:

100) Tami & Rhonda, 17, 16: Oh my God!
Tami: This is so exciting! It has been so wild since last time! Our parents are all against the war now!
Rhonda: My father.
Tami: Right, Rhonda's father. My parents, her father.
Rhonda: My mother's still drinking from the Kool Aid. But we're here with my father and her parents.
Tami: So keep it down low about March!
Rhonda: I can't believe it's been a year.
Tami: Six months.
Rhonda: Go count on your fingers, I'm talking about serious stuff. My father is completely against the war. This is my weekend with him which is how come we're here. He asked me Wednesday what I wanted to do and I was hinting around that Tami and her parents were coming and not really expecting much, you know, so when he said we could go, I was just blown away.
Tami: She couldn't stop squealing over the phone. So let me tell you about my parents. My mother, wait. Let me explain that Downing Street Memos changed everything in my house. My mother tries to play it like it was no surprise to her and I'm all lilke, "Rewrite history, why don't you?" but not saying it out loud, you know. But my father --
Rhonda: It was like something out of The OC! You won't believe it.
Tami: Back in April, my older brother Heath mistook the mall parking lot for bumper cars. It was raining, and he totally creamed this parked car, the whole side just caved in. So he calls and we all have to go up there because what if he's hurt? So we get there and Dad gets one look at the car Heath hit, then one look at Heath's car and he hits the roof. I have never seen, what do you call it, what do you call it?
Rhonda: Chords on the neck.
Tami: Chords on the neck bulge like that. I mean he was furious. And that was the worst I have ever seen my father when he is angry. So like, in May, Dad's heard the Downing Street Memo thing on the radio at work. And he comes home and he is just not saying a word. Mom goes, "Dinner's ready" and Dad's all, "I'm not hungry, leave me alone." He's just sitting in the living room and like the TV's not on or anything. He's just sitting in there.
So Mom's all, "Heath, what have you done this time?" And Heath's all, "I didn't do a damn thing." And Mom's like, "Don't you curse at my dinner table!" So Mom goes that she's going to go talk to Dad and we should just stay in here and eat our dinner.
So we're trying to hear and I'm picking at my mac & cheese and we can hear Mom whispering stuff and we have no idea what. And then all the sudden we hear Dad scream, "They f**king lied, Beth Ann!"
Rhonda: Which is so weird because her father never curses. Like one time, he hit his thumb with a hammer really hard and it was bleeding and all he said was "Oh my, oh my" over and over and you could tell he really wanted to finish that but he didn't.
Tami: Right. I mean it was so freaking wild. Heath and I were just sitting at the dinner table with our mouths wide open! We were all, "Did Dad just drop the f-word?" Then Dad's hollering for us to come into the living room and Mom's telling us to stay at the table and Dad says, "No, get in the damn living room." F-word, damn, it was just like I was in someone else's house. So we go running into the living room and Dad is pissed. I mean like more pissed than when Heath wrecked the car. And he is marching all over and his face is all red. He turns to Heath and he goes, "Do you know about DSM?" And Heath is all, "I don't care who said it, I don't have a sexually transmitted dieseae!" Heath is my brother but he is so out of it.
Rhonda: He's so stupid. But he's so cute.
Tami: Ew! He is not cute! So Dad has to do this whole remedial ed thing for Heath to bring him up to speed and then Dad tells us that the government lied to us. He goes that is a very serious thing.
Rhonda: And your dad voted for Bush.
Tami: Don't. Remind. Me. So he is like that if someone lies to you like this, they do not deserve your respect and they have betrayed the country and betrayed the office and betrayed the citizens. It was so intense.
Rhonda: Her life is like The OC!
Tami: Well not all the time. I mean usually it's just all, "sit up straight," "turn that music down," and "it's too late to be on the phone, young lady!" But oh, it was something that night.
Rhonda: So now it's like everything has changed.
Tami: We can't believe it. And here we are at another rally and this time we didn't have to sneak out and our parents actually brought us. Road trip!
Rhonda: And we think that's like reflective of the country at large.
Tami: So true. It's like everybody just woke up all the sudden!

That was yeserday. There story is funny (they were laughing as they told it) and also may indeed be "like reflective of the country at large." I think it's great that they were there and great that we have an update on them and on the opinions of the parents. (Which have changed, except for Rhonda's mother.) That was the one thing I couldn't live without it being included. Since they had been in the prior story and since there was a change in three of their parents, that inclusion was the easiest one of the night. It is now morning and we're redoing the lost piece. It is now morning and we're still not done. That may give you an idea of how difficult it is to agree on who goes in and who doesn't.

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