Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Of mad plants and Republicans

The younger one came to me the other day – “Mamma, look, this plant is mad.”
“Oh really, what did it do?”
“It’s leaves are pink.”

I didn’t know whether to be amused (at his attempts at classification), or impressed (at his observation skills), or just plain worried.
Worried? What on earth for? Why should anyone worry if a not yet three year old comes up with a cute statement like a plant being mad because it doesn’t have green leaves?

Woman at a US election rally – “I don’t trust Obama. He is an Arab.”
Senator McCain – “He is not an Arab. He is a decent family man.”

I can’t understand the good Senator’s response. He seems to imply that since Obama is a ‘decent, family man’ he cannot be an Arab. Does that mean Arabs are not ‘decent, family men’.
That really cannot be true. Even if the majority of them are not ‘decent, family men’ (which itself is disputable), is it even possible that no Arab is a ‘decent family man’ – none of them, not even one. Because if even one Arab is a ‘decent, family man’, Obama too could be an exception.
More likely ‘Arab’ is just a label for someone you cannot trust because they are intrinsically untrustworthy, and ‘decent, family man’ is one for a person you can trust with slight reservations.

The Republican party pitch scares me, because I have seen first hand the dangers of labelling people. Which is why my son’s statement scared me a bit.

How long before he carries labelling to the next level, and starts labelling people? Not just labelling them, but judging them on the basis of the labels he gives them.

Or am I just worrying needlessly? Maybe labelling people is a phase we all go through when we are different and grow out of. Maybe that is why politicians who label people are so dangerous – because they have the emotional maturity of a three year old.

Maybe I should just chill admire my son for his observation skills and the fluency with which he expresses himself, and not project my secret worries onto him. Despite calling a deviant plant ‘mad’ maybe he will grow up to be a non-judgemental person after all.

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