...greed and practice

I wonder what the world would be like if everyone put as much effort 
into peace and a spiritual practice 
as we do into getting stuff....??
I wonder what would it be like if we took 
more of the effort we put into making our exterior lives look good 
and put it into 
making our interior lives a little better?
Wouldn't there be a trickle down?
I wonder.


It was 1968 when my boyfriend and I moved from San Diego, CA. to Houston, Texas.  The Vietnam war was at ti's deadliest, Dr. King had just been assassinated, Bobby Kennedy murdered, gone...there was a presidential election looming.   Segregationist George Wallace was a leading candidate.  There were riots and protests everywhere....for a black man, or a hippie, Houston was not the most welcoming place...but we, my boyfriend and me, were young, dumb, and sort of brave white kids on a mission to make a difference.  
There were flyers up all over the city of a generic hippie couple with the words Wanted Dead or Alive...I watched the Democratic convention in Chicago on TV and felt fear and disbelief...they were beating people who looked just like me.
....Black men were being shot at an alarming rate by the Houston Police and by the Texas Rangers...these men were accused of trying to run, but there would be powder burns on their backs.....there was a lot of fear that because of what happened to Dr. King there would be riots like the one in Watts in 1965. City leaders were trying to keep a lid on things...the city sort of vibrated with tension. And so many sirens all the time...
I got a job as a cocktail waitress a few nights a week......I only had to be 18 to work at a club. I didn't serve alcohol, everyone brought their own and I would bring them ''set ups''. 
The job was mostly easy and my days were free. I decided I wanted to help register black voters and I was able to find a connection to make it possible. I had a meeting with a minister from a black church...he interviewed me and made a point of letting me know that he couldn't promise that everything would be ok...that I would be ok...My duties would be help people fill out the forms correctly. I took the ''job'' and three mornings a week my boyfriend would drive me to Ward 4 or 6, I don't remember which now. We would arrive in our tiny car which was painted with big red, blue, yellow and pink flowers, and looked like a dozen clowns should pile out when the doors conspicuous we were....and he'd leave me there...It was a sort of secret place, the little house...the summer too hot with emotion, too dangerous to put out a sign saying REGISTER HERE!!! .....There were no lines...people would sort slip in and out all small groups or alone.... and we'd do the paper work.... tension was high...we registered a lot of first time voters of all ages in those few weeks.
That summer I also volunteered for Operation Bread Basket. I volunteered to spend time with a child from one of the Wards a few times a week.....My child, and little friend was Oshee...she was four years old and black as the night. She lived with her mother and 5 brothers and sisters in 3 rooms...she had never played in a bubble bath or eaten an egg. She'd never swam in a swimming pool either and when I let her swim at our apartment complex the other renters called black kids allowed.....I was more than a little stunned....our neighbors seemed like nice people. I wondered then, and still do, what they feared from a 4 year old?
One sunny afternoon Oshee and I decided to walk to the store about 3 blocks away. I'd walked it many time, but this time it was different. In a matter of minutes white men in pickup trucks where calling me a nigger lover...whore, slut...screaming these words at us as they drove by...let me tell you, this hippie girl started shaking in her sandals.....I don't think Oshee had any clue what the words meant that were being hurled at us but she felt my fear, and she could feel their hate......and she held my hand a little tighter, and we both walked a little faster...I didn't know rather to turn around and go back, or be brave and move forward. We went forward, I had promised her a coloring book and crayons.....but I was afraid...really afraid....We never took a walk together again...sigh...I had never felt such intense hatred projected onto me......but I imagine she had.
I often wonder if my time with her was good or not, what impact it had, if any......I wonder with racism still alive and well in this country if she was able to leave that Ward and never look back...I wonder if she has a good life...I wonder if she votes.
I heard a blip on youtube from some Fox commentators the other day. They were talking, and laughing, about the 102 year old woman who had to stand in line for hours to vote in our last national election. They joked...and they wondered out loud what the big deal was?...they asked what else a 102 year old woman had to do besides wait? And I wondered when voter suppression will end in this land of the free and equal....
I wonder.....didn't we already fight this battle?

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