Thursday, August 02, 2007

Thoughts on the Run

I was out for a run this morning -- before the 95+ degree heat rolled in -- and I came upon a stone marker that I must have run or driven past scores of times but never noticed. It marks the western corner of the original District of Columbia, whose confines include what is now Arlington, VA.
I've often wondered why my house is in Arlington instead of DC. A century and a half ago, my neighborhood was forest, as was much of Arlington. When the Virginia part of the original federal district was ceded back to the Commonwealth the move was part of the politics of slavery. Alexandria, then a significant port, had a booming slave trade and represented additional pro-slavery votes in the Virginia legislature.
I'm sure these days, with the most progressive voices in Virginia resounding from what was once federal territory, the downstate conservatives would be perfectly happy to see us return to the District -- except, of course, for the billions of dollars in taxes that drain south.
The politics of any given moment give way to the passage of time and leave behind easily missed markers of stone or memory. It is easy from the present vantage to see both the moral blindness of Virginians in the time of Lee and the economic blindness of the District fathers who so easily ceded the forest and swamp land back to Virginia.
Such blindness strikes every age. As I ran past the marker this morning I wondered what moral blindspots plague our time. What are we missing that is as obviously wrong as slavery, as obviously stupid as giving away Arlington?

1 comment:

yo sistah said...

meaning--what logs are in our eyes?

I had an interesting conversation with the other members of the string quartet I am playing in tonight--we are 2 straight white women who came of age in the 70s,and 2 gay folk who came of age in the 90s, one a black lesbian and one a Canadian born guy. The young woman said she dreamed of the day that a family with a composition like hers would show up in a commercial for something like breakfast cereal (the family is comprised of her Eastern-European descended partner and that woman's part Asian daughter)But, she commented, families like hers would never become commonly accepted until interracial heterosexual families were seen as typical enough to be used in commercials. An interesting observation, I thought. Just a comment in passing from yo sistah