Thursday, August 17, 2006

august thoughts are a couple of comments all rolled up into one post.

I now have exactly two months until I begin orientation with Mennonite Central Committee (October 17). The orientation will take place pretty close to my home (about 25 minutes away) and will last about 2 weeks. I'll leave for Guatemala right after that, so end of October/beginning of November.

It was lovely for Rachael to visit Lancaster after the wedding that we attended in Oberlin. I drove her to the airport in Philly yesterday, and would like to share a scene from my trip back to Lancaster that relates to Emily's Globalization post. So, as I was nearing Lancaster, I noticed some protesters along the side of the road (picture a two lane highway with lots of restaurants and stores along the way) They were holding signs, and had flags wrapped around, and a couple were wearing masks or other satirical outfits. Typical left-wing protest. There were other people just lined up on the sides of the road. Then I remembered that President Bush was speaking at a hotel right around that area, in the afternoon to drum up support for the PA Republican gubernatorial candidate.

I drive another minute or so, and get to the "Bookworm Frolic" (a big outdoor book sale) at the Mennonite Historical Society. So, I decide to stop, look at some books, and see what the scene is like in preparation for Bush's arrival. There are police cars lined up, and I find out that Bush is landing in a helicopter on a field owned by the local Mennonite High School. (Apparently, people at my parent's workplace called the principal of the school to express their outrage that he allowed Bush to land there!) Anyway, so he was supposed to be driving right by the book sale to get down the road to the hotel. There was a strange mix of people looking for books, people lined up on the sides of the road to see the president, people waiting to see the president, but looking at books because they were bored, and protesters! Among the people lined up waiting to see the president was an Amish family, drinking Starbucks iced drinks.

An interesting scene. I'm not sure that it actually comments on globalization, but there's an interesting juxtaposition of lifestyle choices present in the group of Amish people involving themselves in politics enough to want to see the president, and involving themselves in the capitalist society enough that buying drinks from Starbucks is okay, even while retaining very specific ways of dressing and living simply.

Plus, it makes me mad that the president can fly in and out of places, while only having to be on an actual road for 3 minutes. Can you imagine what an inaccurate picture of the country you would get? Coming to a city like Lancaster, from what I know of his trip, he only saw some fields, a bunch of generic restaurants, some protesters and admirers, the book sale and the hotel. But would he ever go through normal residential neighborhoods of any kind? It seems unlikely.

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Beth said...
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