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Emily Grossman


November 1, 2008 at 10:31 AM

I shook his hand today, right before he left to his next appointment. He was tired--that, I could tell right off. And all of those people kept taking photographs with him, with their family, with their friends, with their dog. I felt a little guilty asking for a moment of time after seeing the bombardment he must be getting, day in and day out. But this was too important for me to hesitate, and I needed to make sure he knew.

Here was a man who had just been found guilty. Here was a man who may not be. Or may. I'm not naive enough to believe that everyone gets a fair trial in this country. I'm also not naive enough to believe that authoritative figures are always honest. But that doesn't affect what I wanted to tell him. I moved toward him during a brief pause in the bustle.

"Senator Ted Stevens, I'm a violinist in the Anchorage symphony, and I just wanted to thank you for making this weekend's performance possible. I really appreciate it."

With the combined efforts of Ted Stevens and Ted Kennedy, a federally funded project gave birth to some very unique and amazing ideas with our conductor Randall Fleischer's creation, Echoes. This multi-media composition featured the cultural songs and dances of Native Alaskans, Native Hawaiians, Native American tribes of Massachusetts, and east coast sailors, and showed their connection with each other through the whaling industry. The production will eventually be used in CD-Rom form to teach children in public schools about trade routes and the whaling industry, and how cultures intermixed during the late 19th century.

I was excited to be a part of its premier, and I also knew opportunities like this don't come often. That's why I wanted to thank Ted Stevens for helping make it happen. The audience had received it with ridiculously thunderous applause, having been stoked with a sense of pride in American heritage.

I have a feeling that this world premier was the last thing on Ted Stevens' mind, though. With all that's going on lately, I doubt he got the luxury of sitting back and reaping the rewards of his contribution.

I'm afraid my thank-you wasn't very effective. A dollar in a tip jar just seems inadequate sometimes.

From al ku
Posted on November 1, 2008 at 12:18 PM
we were in alaska this past summer and the people there treat him like a living legend for taking good care of the state and its people. too bad the feds thinks that spending time with a bunch of drug dealers will restitute the situation.
From Nate Robinson
Posted on November 2, 2008 at 5:54 PM
That is fantastic Emily to be a part of such a special event, playing a world premiere for a distinguished head of state. Not many can say they have done that. Congratulations!
From Emily Grossman
Posted on November 2, 2008 at 6:27 PM
You're awesome, Nate.
From Terez Mertes
Posted on November 2, 2008 at 8:37 PM
So nicely put - I love your ability to meld current events, personal experience, classical music, hopes and dreams all into a few compulsively readable paragraphs.
From Ihnsouk Guim
Posted on November 3, 2008 at 2:55 PM

Terez, Actually I admire you and others who commented to this blog for depoliticizing  and returning the focus to the art.  When I read this blog first, my jaw dropped. He was found guilty on all seven accounts. Somehow, making an event possible, an event that he probably doesn't even remember he tried to secure funding for exonerate him seemed mind boggling. From what I understand from the blog, he didn't do anything wrong just skewed judicial system finding him guilty, if they lose the election tomorrow it's not because people feel the country is in a bad shape but due to some weird twist of fortune. We should throw out our judicial system, electoral system, and the media who are trampling politicians' first amendment. I think there used to be a country without judicial, electoral, and mass communication systems. I wonder what happened to it.

From Emily Grossman
Posted on November 3, 2008 at 7:27 PM

Ah, I can finally read it.  Just to clarify Ihnsouk, I had written that not everyone gets a fair trial, but not everyone in power is honest.  That was my way of saying that I was undecided on whether I believed Stevens was guilty of his crimes.  I'm leaning toward thinking that he was, actually.

And yes, the focus of my blog was gratefulness toward someone who made funding available for the arts.  I suppose I should have written it without even mentioning the trial, since that was not relevant to the topic.  Hindsight proves wise.

From Emily Grossman
Posted on November 3, 2008 at 7:40 PM

Also, I'm curious as to whether you kept up with the charges and the trial from start to finish?  Do you know exactly what those seven counts were?  Did you read anything about the false evidence, for instance?  Were you keeping track of it day in and day out, as I was?  (Being in Alaska and all, we do tend to get a lot of Stevens coverage.)  If the answer is yes, then I'm sure we can have a worthwhile discussion, and I will be more than happy to read your well-educated opinions.  Otherwise, you read the cliff notes and formed an opionion from it, just like 90% of the rest of the population.

From Emily Grossman
Posted on November 3, 2008 at 7:49 PM

Oh, and Terez, thank you so much for the compliment.  It means a lot coming from a fellow writer.

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