Friday, December 7, 2012

For Once in My Life

Hellooooo Philadelphia! 

I just went to the National Constitution Center, and I was inspired in a way I didn't expect. I only had an hour to spend, but I decided to try for the whole shebang-show, exhibit, and special exhibit on Prohibition.

The show was 17 minutes long, and involved a lot of videos and cursive script projected on the ground and around the amphitheater. A man in the middle recited his part- "We the people...who are we? What makes us...a people?"

The Declaration of Independence was written, the Revolutionary War played out, the Articles of Confederation sparked debate, and it culminated with the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movements.

At first I thought it was kinda cheesy, and why had I spent 17 of my 60 minutes on this? But the montage with its crashing music reminded me of what I'm responsible to teach. I was brought up with this knowledge. It's a part of who I am. But what I've learned on top of that foundation also calls to me.

I saw the words "nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted" flash on the screen, and I thought of Abu Ghraib and U.S. dollars funding oppressive regimes around the world.

It's my responsibility to help lay the groundwork for a presidential election that recognizes the International Declaration of Human Rights, that doesn't pit a war criminal against a war criminal-to-be.

I also feel a responsibility for following through on what I started in Al Aqaba, and Tubas. I remember that the mayor of Tubas told me there used to be a Palestinian-American school in the city, but it had to close. I remember sitting in on an American Studies class at the University of Jordan, taught by a professor from the University of Portland. They were talking about the dust bowl, that wasn't very interesting....but what would I teach? What would Palestinian students want to know about?

Our Founding Fathers? Native Americans? Our revolution? Our martyrs? Our government, slave trade, immigration, Civil War, suffrage movement, Civil Rights Movement, protest movements, foreign wars!

The relationship between religion and the government, interfaith relations, Evangelicalism, Zionism....

I'm amazed by my country's history, more now because I've seen how it touches the rest of the world.

The American Consulate in Jerusalem has a small grant for projects that enhance Palestinian-American relations. So I know the spirit of what I want to do is, in theory, supported. 

You know what they say, Knowledge is Power!


The Prohibition exhibit was also really cool. I learned how to Charleston at a Speakeasy, and got my mugshot taken with Al Capone.

DC to Philly bus

30th St Station in Philly

Philly subway...quite a departure from the DC metro!

I stayed with a friend from high school, ended up making a usual.

Looking at City Hall from Broad Street

I wandered around with my camera looking like a tourist, yeahhhh

William Penn!

Prohibition exhibit!

So cast off the shackles of yesterday....

I was just dancin all over this....

William Penn looks over the city like Batman

Cool mural


This song was playing at a cafe....I enjoy Stevie Wonder a little more since he cancelled his gig at the Friends of the IDF fundraiser in LA. He said that "such a performance would be incongruent with his status as a UN “Messenger of Peace." Good on ya, Stevie!