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Why I Can't/Couldn't Watch/Listen to the State of the Union Address

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Okay, here goes. There are those of you as of this moment glued to the television or the variety of streaming devises at your disposal. And while I hear the applause in the background where my husband is doing what he feels is his civic duty, I keep as far away as possible. It is not because I am such a rabid Obama hater or enough of a radical to have a facile availability of disgust. And it's not because I like any of the Republican possibilities any better.

I am outside the watching room because it hurts my feelings to know that Obama will be trying to reach an optimism I do not see as real. In my odes to the value of sensitivity I am respecting the ache in me that no political figure is a true leader who cares about poor and rich people, about the impact of going to war just because, about whether our kids are inspired by curiosity and creativity and questioning. And that is about that, plus it makes me nervous.

I hear the people closest to me -- some of them that is -- saying it's my responsibility to know who I am voting for. But is it? Is it really, when there will be a contest in the press about which I will be able to read about saying whether Obama scored points or not and with whom. And besides, it's a done deal since despite the fact that I swear to myself that I will refuse to vote another time against someone instead of for, it's not the truth.

I will vote for Barack Obama even though he will congratulate our soldiers without apologizing for our wars and our continued torture, he will tell children to do their homework even though some of them have so much to teach us. Valuable family time is wasted in rote repetition. He will remind us of an American Dream even though our children, and even we, need to create and reinvent our and their own dreams. I will vote for him because the other "side" is more arrogant and fiercely aggressive in foreign policy, less cautious about environmental protection, and in the dark ages when it comes to moralizing and basing key decisions on moralistic fervor.

There will be few facts in the speech or if you are reading this after, there will have been few facts in the speech. This is not a time in America for facts, but rather a time for belief over fact, since it has begun to seem that whatever the religious belief system one espouses will for many people determine their positions on a host (pun originally not intended) of things. It doesn't matter that I have seen social services to the poor work when well enforced and planned, but rather it matters whether you care or you don't and whether your version of Christianity includes caring or whether your version of Judaism includes concern for people not Jewish or whether your Islam or Hindu or agnostic beliefs have any space for an interest in evidence.

Of course you won't see evidence of anything unless you care to probe, unless you/we are open to a kind of caring that pushes us towards real curiosity, real wondering.

Tonight I'm claiming my right to be outside "the" room because it seems like a distraction, it seems like hype, like another sporting event so close to the Superbowl and yet so far. Oddly enough it feels like I am choosing to stay focused on my objections, and choosing to opt for not becoming more agitated by the close ups on who applauds and who doesn't, by the combative tenor of our system at the moment.

I am not entirely pessimistic either. At the moment I still want to fight for justice and to fight for awareness as a key ingredient to coming closer to justice. This isn't a mere ode to a far off ideal, but the practicality that we won't change or solve a thing without sobriety about where we are, on what we do and don't do.

One could argue that I'm placing myself out of the important loops of the media, sans Twitter at the moment, without the capacity to debate the debates that will come after the speech of the evening. Perhaps I'm trying to hold onto my sanity, all the while knowing I will be able to access You Tube within moments and so much commentary as to make a person ill.

So outside the watching room, I bid you good evening... and that's the way it was, and is. At least for the moment. "God" bless the freedom to feel.