So Grateful I Was Raised by These People

Missing Dad and Moz today, but so glad they’re not here to see what’s happening to our poor country.

I spent an hour today driving around to the places Dad and I used to go on our drives together – feeling the echo of his presence still there, talking to me. I had a flashback of a time when a young black man in a hoodie stopped to open the door for Dad, and I remember how Dad took the time to stop and thank him before he went into the building. It was a brief exchange – very quick – but the power of the brotherly love I felt being exchanged between Dad and the young man is still with me.

Thinking of Moz and imagining her shaking with indignation and anger at the injustice and racism we’re seeing – just as she did when I was a little girl and we encountered a racist at the Sears store. The man had nodded his head towards a little black family and said they should be shopping in their own store. When Moz understood what he was saying she was furious – “They have as much right to be here as you or me!” she told him, trembling with rage. The man realized, then, who he was dealing with in Moz and got all red in the face and scurried away. That was a moment I will never forget – it had a huge impact on me. I remember feeling very proud to be Moz’s daughter.

I remember how Moz and Dad celebrated the night Obama got elected – they were both so happy. Dad said he never thought he’d live long enough to see an African-American in the White House – his whole face was lit up with pride in his country. Moz had tears in her eyes with the joy she felt that night.

I’m so grateful I was raised by these people – so grateful I was brought up to see beyond the color of someone’s skin to what was in the heart of people. My parents gave me a kind of freedom with that.

Here’s Moz in her Obama hat. 

This picture of my mom, wearing her Obama cap, always puts a grin on my face.

“Democracy isn’t a spectator sport.”

“Whatever inspires with wisdom, Truth, or Love—be it song, sermon, or Science—blesses the human family with crumbs of comfort from Christ’s table, feeding the hungry and giving living waters to the thirsty.”
– Mary Baker Eddy

Man, I am really going to miss President Obama. I’m sitting here, wiping the tears and snot from my face, having just listened to his speech. We have been so blest to have him at the helm the last eight years. Here are some quotes from his speech that really inspired me (and I really needed to feel some inspiration right now):

“It can be frustrating, this business of democracy. Trust me, I know… when the other side refuses to compromise… (but) I promise you when we keep at it, when we change enough minds… then progress does happen. Democracy works, America. But we gotta want it. Not just during an election year, but during all the years in between. We all need to be as vocal and persistent as Bernie Sanders’s supporters have been this election… Feel the Bern! “
– Pres. Obama

“The American dream is something no wall will ever contain.”
– Pres. Obama

“We can honor police and treat every community fairly – we can do that.”
– Pres. Obama

“Democracy doesn’t work if we constantly demonize each other. For progress to happen we have to listen to each other and see ourselves in each other and… fight to find common ground.”
– Pres. Obama

“Democracy isn’t a spectactor sport. It isn’t about yes, he will. It’s about yes, WE can.”
– Pres. Obama

“America is already great… and I’ll tell you that our greatness does not depend on Donald Trump. He’s betting that if he scares enough people he might just score enough points to win this election… He’s selling the American people short. We’re not a fragile people. We’re not a frightened people… we don’t look to be ruled. Our power comes from those immortal declarations “WE hold these truths to be self-evident…” It’s not about what one person can do FOR us, but what we can achieve together.”
– Pres. Obama

“We’re not done perfecting our union…and that work involves a big choice this November… this is not your typical election… this is a more fundamental choice about who we are as a people and whether we stay true to this great American experiment in self government…what we heard in Cleveland wasn’t particularly Republican, and it certainly wasn’t conservative… (when) we turn away from each other and isolate ourselves from the world… that is not the America i know. The America i know is full of courage and optimism… decent and generous… we are challenged to do better, to be better…(as I’ve traveled around the country) what I have seen more than anything is what is right with America…I see a younger generation full of energy and new ideas.. ready to seize what ought to be… I see an America of every party, every background, every faith…. who believe we are stronger together… that’s the America I know.”
– Pres. Obama

In 2012 I was a delegate for Pres. Obama at the 2012 Washington State Democratic Convention. Here I am with Cory Booker. Yeah, I was a little excited. 🙂

Cory Booker and Karen

In Support of President Obama’s Immigration Executive Order

(originally published January 25, 2014)

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free;
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless,
Tempest-tossed to me
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!
– Emma Lazarus (words on the Statue of Liberty)

The rich in spirit help the poor in one grand brotherhood, all having the same         Principle, or Father; and blessed is that man who seeth his brother’s need and supplieth it, seeking his own in another’s good.
– Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures


Have I ever mentioned that I am the descendant of illegal immigrants? Yup. When my grandfather and his brother immigrated here from The Netherlands they were supposed to each have $20 in their pockets to get into the country. They only had one $20 bill between them – so when they passed through the line at Ellis Island the first one held up the $20 bill and then under-passed it to the one behind him who, in turn, held up the same bill. Those two hooligans should never have been allowed in this country. And, I shouldn’t really be here, either, I guess. Or half of me shouldn’t. Half of me should probably be shipped back to Amsterdam, home of my hooligan grampa.

That might be kind of messy, though. And I’m not sure how, exactly, they’d decide which half of me to send back.

My other half is descended from people who immigrated from a German colony along the Volga River in Russia. And also Basque reptile aliens. I’m pretty sure. (My mom has rh negative blood which – according to highly scientific research I googled 🙂 – seems to indicate she has a Basque reptile alien somewhere in her background. Yeah. As you can imagine, I’m pretty excited about this.)

We are all immigrants in the United States, aren’t we?  I mean, human life did not start here – everyone immigrated from somewhere else.  It’s believed the first immigrants crossed the Bering land bridge from Asia to Alaska and then worked their way down through North and South America. Then came the Vikings, Columbus, the Mayflower, the Dutch, Spanish, and French, Swedes, Norwegians, Germans, slaves from Africa, the Irish and Chinese, the Japanese, immigrants from southern and eastern Europe, refugees from southeast Asia, immigrants from India and the Middle East… and all of these immigrants – with the exception of those who were forced here on slave ships from Africa – have one very important thing in common: They came here in search of a better life.

Are the newest immigrants to our country really so much different than the first immigrants? The newest immigrants, too, are looking for a better life for themselves and their families – looking for work, education, religious and political freedom.

Why would any of us – descendants of immigrants ourselves – want to deny others the same opportunities we and our ancestors had?

Pres. Obama is my hero right now. It would have been awesome if congress could have worked together and taken care of the immigration question for us – but since they couldn’t and wouldn’t – I’m so very glad our president had the courage to do so.


A Canadian’s View On Our Disrespect Of President Obama’s Presidency

One Canadian’s view on the manner in which Americans treat their current Commander-in-Chief – awesome blog post!

A Canadian’s View On Our Disrespect Of President Obama’s Presidency.