My buddy, Laura, and I participated in the Denver Arts Week by checking out their 'Night at the Museums' where they have a bunch of shuttle buses that visit all the museums for free. Favorite part: The 'Women of the West' exhibit, as part of the 'Denver at 150' at the Colorado History Museum. Weirdest point of the evening was being held captive in the Byer-Evans house while a community theater person rambled on and read us a letter from the Civil War era - which would have made some sense had we been in the South and not in the Rockies.
Laura & I met for breakfast the next morning at the Country Road Cafe, ate too much once again, and went for a gorgeous hike nearby at Pence Park. We discussed how living in Colorado has changed us - that our REI shopping list is often longer than our grocery shopping list. We also sat on a boulder, gazed across a snow-covered mountain range and discussed the idiocy of racism. As Laura observed, "What I don't get is, it's PIGMENT! PIGMENT, PEOPLE! I mean, really? The color of cells? That's what people are so upset about? I don't get it."
Post-hike, I had a horse lesson - meaning I rode my Arab friend, Bob, around a ring while Beanie yelled at me: "SHOULDERS BACK! HANDS FORWARD! LOOK UP! INNER LEG BACK! ELBOWS BENT - LIKE YOU ARE CARRYING A TRAY OF DRINKS! THERE! THAT'S IT!" (The next day, my lesson involved riding alone in the ring - not as loud, or as fun.)
Unfortunately, once I got home and showered, I got online and came across this story in the Denver Post: "Anti-Obama Threats Rise" which listed out just a few of the "hundreds" of horrific incidences of racism since Obama was elected President. I found these two particularly horrifying:
"At Standish, Maine, a sign inside the Oak Hill General Store read: 'Osama Obama Shotgun Pool.' Customers could sign up to bet $1 on a date when Obama would be killed. 'Stabbing, shooting, roadside bombs, they all count,' the sign said. At the bottom of the marker board was written 'Let's hope someone wins.'"
"Second- and third-grade students on a school bus in Rexburg, Idaho, chanted 'assassinate Obama,' a district official said."
The article made me sick. At first, I thought that most of the incidents would be in the South (and many were) but they were mostly on the East Coast and very few in the West, with the exception of Idaho, long a favorite of the skinhead community. I liked to think that we, as a country, had evolved from this type of blind hatred but as the school bus incident attests, the hate is merely being passed down from generation to generation.
I was so saddened and distracted that when I drove to meet my friends, John and Camille, for dinner, I parked my car several blocks away by mistake. Then, I looked up and found myself pondering at a street sign far too long. Without realizing it, I was parked on 'Race' street. Sadly, there was so Harmony Street to intersect it.
The next morning, I checked out the Mile High Church with a new gentleman friend. The place is massive and kinda fancy - with a full professional level band and jumbotrons for those sitting in the outer edges, in the non-fanatical sections.
After the service, everyone was encouraged to meet with 'practitioners' standing by to lead you in a short, personal prayer. Since my church date was participating, I figured I might as well. (Praying is not my thing so I can use all the help I can get.)
I asked the woman, named Lisa, to please help me pray for this country and the people who carry hate in their heart. "I am very, very worried about it," I told her, "and don't know what else to do."
So, we closed our eyes and she said a bunch of pretty words, calling out my concerns to the heavens. I just kept picturing that school bus full of children, chanting for the death of their new president and tears just flowed down my cheeks. Finally, she finished and I opened my eyes and saw that her eyes were full of tears too.
Honestly, I just don't know if mankind will ever fully resolve this issue until we are, at last, all one color.