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Native Writes: Two Women

Posted: Saturday, Jun 29th, 2013

Generally spending more time at home due to smoke allergies, I have been watching more TV news.

At first, it was just to keep up with the progress of the fires in the San Juan Mountains, but it has expanded to situations with which I am generally unfamiliar, but find to be of personal concern.

I watched as a defense attorney for George Zimmerman vehemently questioned a close fiend of Trayvon Martinís.

I told him the woman was a witness and not on trial, but he didnít pay attention.

The big concern that came out of all of the badgering was the fact that the young woman wasnít well educated. Inner city kids aften arenít.

She expressed a lack of ability that has also been confessed by my grand children -- she cannot read cursive writing. That means a quickly written letter to any one of how many kids will go unread.

That led to some research on my part. Have computers begun to take away the abilities with which people my age and even a decade or so younger were ingrained?

The grandkids can print, and thatís okay, but it leaves those of us who spent countless hours with an ink well and pen learning Palmer Penmanship shaping our heads and wondering what happened.

My first grade teacher, Mrs. Heilman, thought so highly of cursive writing that her students were taught how to write longhand. I learned to print in second grade to fit in with kids who didnít have Mrs. Heilman.

Palmer Penmanship came later and I got a certificate.

While older folks can read my handwriting if I present it in terms of a note or letter, my grandkids and their peers canít.

Neither can Trayvon Martinís friend Rachel Jeantet, who spent more than five hours on the witness stand because she had been talking by cell to Trayvon at the time of his death.

Just 19, the young woman has been treated badly both in and out of the courtroom, not for committing any crime, but for being who she is.

Sheís no dummy. Her southern drawl may have caused stress among the defense team, but she knew what she was saying.

Listening on her cell, she couldnít testify as to who attacked whom.

My other concern about TV newscasting is that itís mostly opinion expressed by the talking head who is doing the reporting.

This leads me to the case of TV chef Paula Deen and the decay of her ďempire.Ē

I donít know much about her and havenít watched her, but she apparently used the ďN wordĒ at some point in her past and admitted to it.

Big corporations are pulling their sponsorships and her cookware wonít be available in some stores. I canít afford it, anyway, but some people can.

Oddly, she doesnít see the racial undertones in any of it, since she, unlike Rachel Jeantet, has had some lucky breaks and privileges because of her own skin color and, yes, her southern accent, but itís all part of how she was raised.

As our Supreme Court and government edge closer to equality, they seem to recall at least part of the Declaration of Independenceís phrase, ďWe hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed...Ē It also includes women, but thatís relatively recent.

The consent of the governed also seems to have been left behind in the dust of politics and posturing.

Neither Rachel Jeantet nor Paula Deen should be taken out of context. Each is living life as she knows it and, as far as I can determine, neither is a criminal.

Their punishment doesnít appear to protect either womanís Constitutional rights.

A word of warning: Women, beware. Watch your tongues, you donít know whoís listening or what will be done with what is heard.

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