Dear Governor Ducey,
Tomorrow, my son Max turns six. Six is so old. I can still pick him up because he’s kind of small for six but soon I will not be able to. I don’t want to be one of those mom’s who constantly feels nostalgic for the times the kids were little. I don’t believe in nostalgia. I don’t believe times were better then or that the past was more idyllic than these present, modern, smoggy, warm-climating, huge income-gap, gun-ridden times. I believe things will get better.
I believe that Max and Zoe will go forward into a future that figures out how to power our luxurious refrigerators and furnaces and cars with the power of the sun. I have felt the sun on my back when I’m wearing a black jacket and even with snow on the ground and the temperature hovering around 14, I can still feel the sun’s heat. I believe in the sun the way I believe that sowing a seed in black soil will, eventually, produce a sprout. I believe in the magic of clouds pulling oceans into them and carrying those oceans like upside down aircraft carriers inland and letting go their cargo, bringing the ocean onto my roof, into my gutters, into my rain barrels where I will open the spigot and fill the bucket and carry that one-time-ocean to my now-sprout.
To have kids, you have to believe in that kind of magic. The kind of magic that allows a President to issue an executive order that might protect one small kid from getting shot—maybe my kid. The kind of magic that suggests that the studies that show that students with liberal arts degrees are the students most wanted by industries as diverse as medicine and marketing, hedge fund management and non-profits because these people know how to analyze, to distill, to construct, to communicate. Maybe Max will be a doctor. Maybe a solar power engineer. Maybe he will be a teacher in a place where teachers are valued for the social work and emotional work and the making-sure-the-kid-has-gloves work as well as the math work and the reading work. Maybe Max will be a professor in a university where he can show his students the slow, hard work of understanding how the grammatical structure of a story underpins the meaning of the story. Maybe he will be a professor with tenure who can speak without too much fear (some fear, but not enough to stop him) from speaking up for his students and his colleagues. Maybe he will be a governor who will pride himself on turning his state’s near-to-last-place in test scores and in funding into first place and this will attract solar power engineers and hydrologists and farmers and social workers to this state to work with the forward-thinking graduates from this state’s education system and they will find a way, in Arizona, waterless, sun-filled, to make a place where everyone has access to a reasonable house kept at a reasonable temperature and enough water to drink and wash their hands and water their garden, even as the population grows. It is a kind of magic—taking so many people from so many backgrounds, some with so much and some with so little, moving them into the desert, and saying to each of them, you deserve a great education so you can build a great environment in a state that requires a big kind of magic to support so many humans. I’m pretty sure education is that magic.
Max is at school right now. He wanted to impress his teachers by finishing his homework due on January 31st, by his birthday. He woke up early to write three words that begin with snow. Snowplow. Snowshoes. Snowman. Then he drew a snowman. He’s lucky that he has teachers who will find him some more homework if he finishes this. He’s lucky that he has a sister who will help him with his Spanish. He’s lucky that he loves to play piano. He’s lucky that he will get ever-more Lego’s for his birthday tomorrow. But his future won’t to rely on luck. It will rely on magic. And that magic will only be possible if there is magic enough for everyone.