Welcome to Perspectives, a blog of thoughts, commentary and observations ranging from autistic adolescents to intimate portraits of urban communities.


Just Wondering

Sorry for the delay. Technical difficulties this morning. Unknown if they are related to Sandy. Would you be intimidated if you got a letter from your boss that said “another four years of the same presidential administration” threatens your job?

Of course not. You would see through such strong-armed tactics and, thanks to the secret ballot, retaliate without fear in the voting booth.

But would you wear your Obama pin (to date, all letters have backed Mitt Romney) to work? Or park your bumper sticker in the company lot?

These company-wide letters, which several large employers have recently sent out, might be counterproductive in individual cases. But their overall effect is chilling. Just as your boss didn’t build his (the senders are male) business by himself, so you can’t build your rebellion by yourself. It requires communication, the exchange of ideas, open discussion. No one will note who is wearing a Romney pin, but it takes courage to show the other guy’s face.

These small things matter. When was the last time you saw a national politician without an American flag in his lapel? For me, it was in 2008 when someone asked Obama why he didn’t wear one? He does now. It’s part of the uniform.

When I taught school, I didn’t say the pledge of allegiance. I didn’t make a spectacle, but stood respectfully, because I don’t believe in rote oaths of fealty. Some of my students noticed and asked me why I didn’t say it. They did not ask those who did.

I hope some day one of them will.

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