Inauguration of Change

I have mixed feelings about the whole “change” in America. It’s more like a “shift.” After most inaugurations, original campaign promises are often impossible to follow.

Republicans and hate-oriented radio stations are now restrained from making “black” comments and will have to shift their racist hate against other minorities. Talk hosts will concentrate their energies against Latinos, Chinese, and foremost anyone gay or whatever old-time hate they can resurface. People don’t “change.” Situations shift. I predict immigration, anti-socialism, and preventing comprehensive health insurance or even overturning woman’s rights will dominate the chatter!

Already we have a reversal of pre-prop8 commitment ceremonies; Mrs. Clinton, our Secretary of State, had a shockingly vague response to the fact that the US borders restrict HIV-positive people from traveling into our lands. She needs to be educated about a controllable viral infection. We are still racists to a larger world beyond our borders. The Auto industry still restraints us when using bailout money to fabricate the same old gas guzzlers… “Change” is not easy. Education and embracing science are the building blocks of “change.”

Bush is gone. Justice (time) might let his crimes slip away… He has left us with an utter foreign mess, at war, and a bottleneck of political decision preventing much-needed political change. Exiting presidential administrations leave us with little insight into pardons – a mystery of favors triggering moral questions. First Lady Laura Bush is not far from these critiques: She proclaimed to be proud and, “…fully agree with all my husbands’ decisions.” History usually revisits these players. Even loyal wives like Eva Brown, Evita Peron, Mrs. Gandhi, Cleopatra, and recent Mrs. Clinton voiced their concerns when their husbands had lost touch with reality. George Junior will be accredited amongst the worst leader this nation endured. Undoubldably a perfect children’s book about war amputated children, Lady Laura?

Every exiting First Lady gets to write a White House cookbook – I will purchase yours too; It is a chef’s thing – yes, I am a hypocrite!

While rampant poverty begs for food on the icy streets in America’s cities, we witness the inauguration of America’s first black American President. I want to think he has respectfully received this honor because of his credentials and promises. My initial excitement for him is already fading. The credo that convinced me to vote for Obama is overshadowed by realizing he is not as “fist-down” as I imagined. Fair taxes will not be implemented for the very rich, or corporations and Guantanomo is still a thorn in the eyes of a “freedom promoting nation.” His lavish 160 million dollar inauguration ceremony seems unjust to the poorest of this nation, nor does the widowed wives, parents, or orphans of fallen soldiers feel like celebrating?

To compare the presidential celebration of our nation with historical anecdotes, I am reminded about a clueless mistress in France, feeding thousands of hungry protesters under her palace balcony with Parisian pastries (not factual). Poverty in the US is only getting worse. Sure, Obama will kick into action tomorrow… or after he sleeps out his hung-over. It’s not as bad as I imagine Bush’s idea of a Nero-esk farewell party included burning down Rome for entertainment.

I wrote about being “let go” from a private chef’s job in an earlier blog. My “ominous past” was spooking my client, the current decorator for the new Obama home in Washington. A million-dollar gay Hollywood decorator paid with tax money discriminating against gay people. The idea my past could somewhat tarnish his vision of his own unblemished persona is as far stretched fear. Sometimes we try to change others in the hope of avoiding we have to change ourselves.

Arnold Schwarzenegger (another past client) announced California is broke. That’s it. No solution, nothing. One of the most income GDP generating States is broke? Close to 50 myself, I realize that the Social Security services cant sustain the retirement of the baby boomers… Sure, we can print more money and borrow more from nations we should not have dealings with – but we could reduce our depth if we change the way we consume products we don’t need… Not a change I foresee changing.

CNN broadcasting the inauguration ceremony into millions of homes; or hotel rooms. How did I end up in New York? I’m snacking junk food and imagine an earthquake in California at this moment. We live in a troubled world. Why is this event of political glamour headline? There are so many stories better compared to this. We have a financial crisis, unemployment is rising, evictions are rising, aggressions are rising, and everyone is cheerful, dancing in circles… I could change the channel… Woah, look at Stevie Wonder; he’s gotten huge!

I am proud and happy to be an American. My hope and sense are encouraged with this new helm at our nation. It feels this is better for the Armed forces, compared to a few years ago. I’m just cautious about “fooling” ourselves into believing it all will “change.” Shifting stuff around in one’s own home takes time and makes the place look “different” with the same old clutter. We are a nation of diverse perspectives. Flickers in history get us aligned for a few days, like that airplane landing on the Hudson River. All is good with New York for a few days, and stories like these get people to come together. People crawled out on the wing in fear the floating plane would sink to the icy bottom! And then we’re back segregating. We are torn apart by different stories: was it a flock of geese flying simultaneously into each engine, or was it human error ignoring mechanical signs warning that something was wrong with the UA aircraft days before it crash-landed? I like the Fabio-Goose story better… a chef’s thing, again.

Nine soldiers died this last few days in Iraq and Pakistan… Six hundred children died of AIDS in Africa in the past week alone. Israel is not taking responsibility for having used chemical weapons on the people in Gaza. I do not like my head-strong, angry Israeli friend trying to convince me about the horrible “creatures” these Hamas terrorists are (he shares horrible things about gay people too, gay himself…). He gets so agitated, with bloodshot eyes and shouting, “they need to be destroyed.” He grew up with this hate, hard to change…

While Obama is being sworn in over Lincoln’s bible to “change” the world, these are my thoughts.

My adoptive dad was right when she explained to me as a little boy: You cannot change people, but the world will change you.

We have choices: to laugh a little more, to find the good in others and all actions around us. We have a “choice” to promote actions the way we want them to reflect. We don’t have to twist everything into negativity, and sometimes the hardest lesson is to sit back and “listen” to others’ opinions without taking any of them personally. (please enjoy my irony…) It’s okay to “see” how others see us. “Change” is something we have to be willing to take on, not anything someone can “do” for us. “Shift” is the result of being able to change our attitude. To accept difference and to embrace multiplicity. Change is a hard reality to accept.

I feel there is a shift of action, and I hope I’m okay with it. I accept either way while keep voicing my opinions. That I owe to myself and the future, I love to be wrong in hindsight but could not live with the regret of having been silent (silenced) when confused.

I wish you the best, Mr. President Obama. I too, will stand behind you, critical, however, about all the pretty people dancing there; some I’ll learn shortly what their visions are…

Chef Raphael


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