Friday, March 6, 2009

Hey, Michelle: your roots are showing. . .

. . . your Midwestern roots that is. I couldn't have been prouder to see a news article on Mrs. Obama's recent visit to Miriam's Kitchen, here in Foggy Bottom. Compassion isn't solely a Midwestern characteristic, but it often seems to be in short supply in our current neck of the woods. When I first arrived in D.C. in 1968, my Midwestern roots got me into some awkward spots. I was accustomed to greeting everyone I passed on the street. A cheery hello, good morning or howya doin' earned weird looks from strangers who seemed to be thinking that I had just arrived from another planet. This openness is a trait I've found nearly impossible to give up -- even after all these years and chiding from spouse. Making eye-contact and conversation with strangers is something I cherish and appreciate in other people. Michelle Obama is setting an example I hope others will pick up on. Breaking the ice this way can lead to a friendlier society and greater understanding among groups who tend to isolate themselves in their comfy professional, cultural, or whatever corners. Life is too short to live in isolation. As Mrs. Obama proved with her actions, homeless persons need not be feared and many appreciate a kind word. It's all about the Golden Rule. P.S. OK, so I'm a bit of a Polly-anna. I'm not stupid though. I know how to watch out for my safety and avoid danger. However, benefit of the doubt works more often than not.

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