More
Close

Background Noise: Stepford Stories

+ enlarge
 

Week before last, while I was raging about the pompous, spoiled teabaggers, someone said to me, “Let that stuff go. It’s just background noise. It’s unimportant and not worth your time.”

Hmpf. I’ve been ruminating about this. Is it true? Am I wasting my energy on a non-issue? Are the right-wingers so marginalized that for all intents and purposes they are now extinct? Are the Republicans about to go the way of the Wigs? Are those moderates left in the party about to follow Arlen Spector’s lead and abandon their failed ideology? Has the ObamaNation successfully stamped out those who would rule exclusively in their own self interests? Has the Berlin Wall of Conservatism really fallen? Are those who have damned us nearly to hell really obsolete?

Hmmmmmm.

I don’t FREAKING think so.

I took a trip to the Dallas County Courthouse this week. It is rare that I venture into the city, but work necessitated it. My trip slapped me hard right across the face with what it is so easy to forget when you live in Stepford. Left a bad taste in my mouth with the little realities that we in Stepford can so easily pretend don’t exist. Reminded me of the power brokers in Dallas that made it possible for a man with the integrity and intellect of Bush to rise to power in the first place.

Stepford is ninety-eight percent white. The city is not. Everyone from the parking garage attendants to the security guards who rifled through my purse to the clerks who took care of my business were black. I stood in line with whites, rode the elevators with whites, paid for my parking with whites. But, the basic workings of the city are powered by blacks. When leaving the city I decided to take a residential route rather than the tollway. It was getting late and I wanted to avoid a traffic jam and I had not driven through Highland and University Parks in quite some time. I enjoy gawking at the extravagant new architecture of the homes and search out those quaint little originals whose lots would be worth more if someone had already leveled them.
At the edge of the city and Highland Park is North Dallas High School. I came around the corner and hit the school zone minutes after the dismissal bell had rung. My mouth hung open. There were black teenagers everywhere. I searched for a white student. Nada. I hate myself for being so startled. I think about the high school my children will attend in Stepford, state of the art, modern, and very white. It is from another century, another time, another universe from this school. My heart breaks for these kids. Not because they are black, or because their school has a primarily black population. My heart breaks because I know the quality of their “equal opportunity” education is anything but equal or opportunistic. I know my own children will have advantages of which these children cannot dream. The disparity in public education in Texas is shocking and shameful. I hate it.

I moved onto to Highland Park and past one of the many prestigious private schools to which those with money in Dallas send their children. I could only only catch glimpses of these students through the manicured hedge rows. Bits of blond and brown hair, pale skin, and the crisp white shirts of their uniforms. It occurs to me the disparity in opportunity between these kids and my own is as great as it is between my kids and the ones at North Dallas High. I refuse to allow myself to feel my children are deprived. They are not. And I know it.

I turn onto my favorite street. On its corner is a house I’m sure Frank Llyod Wright inspired. I want to live there when (insert publish a book, win the lottery, or strike oil in my Stepford backyard). Then I see why this trip was not a good idea. I knew I was not far from the Preston Hollow street where Bush has made his post White House home. I am still taken by surprise. Yard after yard has the exact same sign. They read “Welcome Home, George and Laura!” As if they know them personally. Then I remind myself, many do. Most probably do. They are old friends, campaign contributors, and faithful supporters. Neighbors. When George and Laura enter a restaurant in Dallas, patrons stand and clap. They are proud. Me, not so much.
Make no mistake. The right wingers may be wounded. They may be temporarily marginalized. But the rich and powerful are still with us and they are still with Bush. They are reorganizing, strategizing, and they will be back. We must stay on our guard, stay engaged in our political process and vote every chance we get. Our future depends upon it. My children’s future depends upon it. The children at North Dallas High, very definitely, depend upon it.

Comments

Loading comments...