Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Shaken, and Stirred

Aren't too many times when I quiver in my boots, being the sturdy-souled daughter of generations of sturdy Swedish women who could lift generations of calves without even breathing hard.

But there's plenty to quiver about, starting with marches 500,000 strong in Los Angeles and ending with the mob of 300 or so hoodlums who ditched their classes at the other local high schools and came marching right up to the front gate of our school's parking lot, led by shirtless boys waving the Mexican flag and followed by the local policia, whose presence kept the mob from turning ugly or invading our campus. We went into lockdown immediately. Now lockdowns are highly unpleasant both for students and staff, but there are times when they are truly justified, as today.

Hiding in a classroom with thirty scared, angry, and opinionated teenagers is an eye-opening experience. You get an earful of what the anglo kids REALLY think about some of the Mexican kids and their intelligence, and yet another earful of what the Mexican kids REALLY think are their rights because of the suffering of their people, and the two worlds don't exactly mix like James Bond's classic martini, shaken, not stirred, with a smooth cocktail resulting. No, ma'am.

More like shaken and stirred. People taking sides, lining up for the conflict they may face for years to come. And one little teacher juggling like mad, vainly trying to balance the teetering tower of discussion, trying desperately to keep it from falling down and breaking up into sharp edged impact in a room gone mad.

We stopped one petite revolutionary who wanted to march out of the classroom, down to the flagpole in the traffic circle, and pull down the American flag, replacing it with the Mexican flag. "Because we were here first," she cried.

So I am both shaken and stirred. Shaken by events, and stirred to defend my kind.

Your people may have been here first, but it's been ours for a good long and

We are here now.