By the time you read this, I’ll be either at JFK, or well on my way to an otherwise undisclosed location somewhere in the Breadbasket of America, to spend a nice long weekend with the Dude’s family. There will be big cookouts at Mom and Dad Dude’s, and pancake breakfasts with Granny Dude, lunch with Sister Dude, and and a day at the waterpark with some friends and their kiddos, maybe some bowling, and whatever other wholesome midwestern entertainments we can rustle up. Lots of food and drinks and catching up about everything but this blog, I imagine. The Dude Family–which is my family, too–is comprised of good, smart people, but they’re not super-progressive. Liberal, maybe, but that’s not the same.
Anyway, before I escape Brooklyn for the kind of freedom found in subdivisions, farm equipment stores, and multiple kinds of potato salad, I wanted to suggest that you check out the recent Medal of Freedom honorees. Sixteen people were awarded the highest honor given to civilians yesterday by President Obama, and the list was surprisingly diverse. Not just in terms of the achievements of those so honored, but in the more contemporary sense of “diversity.”
2 Hispanic Americans
1 Native American dude
2 African-American dudes
1 African dude
1 South Asian dude
1 dude with disabilities
1 gay white dude
1 white lesbian
4 Non-Americans (including the above and an Irishwoman and an Englishman)
And a total of 6 Women (1 Hispanic, 5 White): Nancy Goodman Brinker, anti-cancer research advocate; Billie Jean King, tennis champ and women and gay rights activist; Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman on the SCOTUS; Chita Rivera, legendary theatre performer; Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland and human rights activist; and Janet Davison Rowley, breakthough cancer researcher. Rad.
While I have no doubt about the merits of any of the nominees, I have to think that Obama is sending messages about whose contributions we should value: everyone’s. People of different races or heritages, nationalities, sexes, abilities, and sexual orientations all have marvelous things to offer the world. (Compare to Bush fils‘ list from 2008: 4 white American dudes, 1 Jewish American dude, 1 white American woman.) I also don’t think it’s coincidental that four of the 16 distinguished themselves in matters related to health care.
Anyway, you can read brief bios of all these honorees here, and see a partial list of previous honorees here. You mightnote its very dude-ular, and those women who do appear are often in the arts and entertainment field. Hmmm.
Okay, I’m jetting. See ya next week.