Monday, November 17, 2008

Can You Please Walk About Ten Feet Behind Me and Pretend We Don't Know Each Other?

I recently finished reading Judy Blume's Superfudge to Jack. In the book, the main character Peter is embarrassed when his younger brother Fudge plays a significant role in a school assembly. Peter slouches down in his chair, trying to hide.

Jack asked me why Peter was the one who was embarrassed. Why wasn't it Fudge? He was the one doing crazy things?

I tried to explain to Jack the whole idea of guilty by association. We were soon to go to the playground. I said, What if I walk around the playground and fart loudly all over the place?

Jack gave me a frightened and worried look.

I asked, Would you be okay with that or would you be embarrassed to be seen with me?

He said. Embarrassed to be seen with you.

Lesson taught and lesson learned.

Last night, I got my first email newsletters from Kevin Rudd! I was thrilled. Jack and I watched the enclosed video together. It was about the global economic crisis. I turned to Jack and said guess who's to blame for that one?

He said. Us?

Yeah. Pretty much so. No, Jack and I didn't single-handedly cause a global financial crisis. But we're citizens of the country that has caused a huge chunk of the world's current financial problems. It's a bit embarrassing.  I've wanted to sink down in my computer chair as Peter did in his auditorium chair.  

Guilt by association.

It's not fair. Right?

Then neither is pride by association.

If I relinquish my duty of being completely humiliated when Jack has an outburst in public, I also relinquish my right to be a proud mother when he does something brilliant in public.

When I was in college, I went through a total Jewish pride stage. I thought being Jewish was awesome. I loved the fact that so many cool celebrities were Jewish. I was so proud of being associated with people like Steven Spielberg and Adam Sandler. Then in 1994, a Jewish man opened fire on Muslim people praying in a Mosque. Several people were murdered. I felt very ashamed.

No, I did not personally kill anyone. But it's not fair to be proud of my ethnic association with Billy Crystal, yet at the same time deny an association with a murderer.

If I'm going to be proud to be an American the night that the first black man is elected president, than I have to have some shame over the George W. Bush presidency, Japanese internment camps, slavery, what happened to the Native Americans, the war in Iraq, etc.

The thing is though.....I think a feeling of shame is all the punishment I deserve. I am STILL an innocent. I don't deserve to be killed in a terrorist attack. I don't deserve to have my reputation stained because of these associations.

When the stuff about Obama's association with Reverend Wright came out, I wanted to say to people, what about all your associations?

I don't think any one of us can say that we completely avoid associating with any person who we morally disagree with. We all have relatives with political beliefs that make us cringe. Some of us have friends or family who have been convicted of crimes. We all have weird branches on our family tree.

See.....

All of you reading and commenting on this blog now have an association with a vegetarian homeschooling mom who doesn't believe in God and believes she gets spiritual messages via her dreams. You are all now forever tainted.

Sorry.

8 comments:

CherryBlossom24 said...

I feel you with this post. I am proud of being American, but I feel guilty for all the bad America has done, not that I personally could have done anything about it but it does make you feel guilty anyways.

Dina said...

cherryblossom24,

I think the only thing we can do is feel sorry and help to make things better. ???? I guess.

mscherrylane said...

lol between you and me i'm not sure who tainted who first! ;)

Dina said...

mscherrylane,

The problem is...by me being friends with you, now I'm double trouble. So, that makes everyone who visits my blog even more tainted.

I'm trying to repress the evil laugh that is trying to escape my lips right now.

Retarius said...

Baruch Goldstein was the killer you referred to, I think. He and his like have nothing to do with Judaism, so there's nothing to be disturbed by in your own conscience. (Alright, the odd kherem or two - but that's a long time ago.) These characters are a manifestation of Zionism, not Judaism. I don't believe the two things are remotely related.

Dina said...

Retarius,

I'm sorry, but I totally disagree. I don't think it's up to me to decide who is a true Jew and who is not. I'm sure many of the Jewish celebrities I admired did not do much to practice the religion.

I don't believe in God. I VERY rarely attend Synagogue. Yet, by most standards, I'm still considered Jewish.

If I did something amazing and wonderful, I'm sure the Jewish community would happily claim me as one of their own--who cares if I practiced the religion or not.

So, if I do something absolutely awful....I think they still have to claim me.



I do think this is a common reaction to crazy horrible people. We deny they're part of the group. Such as the 9/11 bombers weren't really Muslim. Or Christian Nazis weren't REAL Christians.

I think the Goldstein was a real Jew. The bombers were real Muslims and there WERE Christian Nazis. It's just they were bad at it. They twisted the religion to fit their evil ideals.

Those are extreme examples though.

But you see it all the time.

Some bitch once hinted that my husband wasn't a real Jew because his family was converts. Never mind that they had done more to practice the religion than I ever did. I could have gone back and said she's not a real Jew because Jewish people are supposed to FULLY accept converts.

A Christian person might point to a gay church and say those people aren't real Christians because the Bible says you aren't supposed to be gay. Someone else might point to that guy and say he's not a real Christian because Christians are supposed to be accepting of everyone.

Lightening said...

Great post Dina and very thought provoking!

I'm curious, do you think getting Kevin Rudd's emails are worthwhile? I haven't signed up and I'm curious what is in them.

Dina said...

lightening,

Thanks : )

I've only received one email newsletter and it was just a link to the video. There's nothing too earth-shattering yet. I think I just like the idea of being included.