Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Clearly I Am Not Done Talking About Politics

You know how if someone cuts you off in the toll lane and then gives you a nasty look, as if you did something other than driving like a normal person, you are supposed to feel sorry for him (or her) and not hate him (or her)? Or how if some random stranger is randomly rude to you, you are suppose to love him instead of hate him, because love and hate can’t both live in the same heart and all that? I am not so good at that.

A friend of a friend on Facebook recently made a disgusting remark about Obama, which, it turns out, is a federal offense. See, if you put the name of the president in the same sentence with words like “dead” and “get his” and the future tense, you are going to get all sorts of attention that you might not want.

But that isn’t the point. The point is, why so much name-calling? I’d like to think that if McCain won, I wouldn’t be calling him nasty names and saying that he was a loser and saying that this country is going to hell. Don’t we have better ways to criticize people than to just say “he is such a jerk?” So far Obama really has done nothing but get elected and yet there are many people who just hate him. I mean really hate. I respect our freedom of speech and our American right to express our own opinions, but I just wish that we weren’t already at the name-calling stage. What happened to quiet contempt and momentary solidarity?

I also have a hard time reconciling the fact that if I believe in freedom of speech, then I have to respect the fact that people like, say, that group that wears the white robes and burn crosses, are protected under that and allowed to speak their minds too. Freedom is speech is for everyone, not just those who share my opinions.

I will be the first to admit I am a walking contradiction at times. Maybe I should practice what I preach, because I too am guilty of jumping on the Bush-bashing bandwagon. But who hasn’t? Not that that makes it right. Perhaps I have resorted to name-calling aspersions a few too many times. Bush’s approval ratings are the worst ever, and the lowest of any president since the rating system was invented. I should be more specific with my comments. I could go in to detail how his long list of Executive Orders befuddles me. How the fact that he was even signing so many executive orders (which requires no congressional approval….what happened to checks and balances?) scares me because how is that not abuse of power? I could talk about how Bush created permanent military bases in Iraq, and how that seems to indicate intentions better than any speech could. I could talk about how he mislead the country about the dangers in Iraq. I could talk again about that dirty word hegemony and how Bush’s hegemonic ways are frightening. But there are entire sections in libraries devoted to hegemony and presidential power abuse. I feel woefully underinformed. And sometimes it is just easier to skip the library visit and say “idiot” and hope for a better future.

Obama has a long road ahead. He has to prove himself to every single person in this country and even the world. Me, I am waiting to see what he does. I am watching for small signs of change, little acts and indications that reveal the direction of his administration. For example, where will the Obama girls be going to school come January? Once upon a time, education was a huge election year issue. That has been pushed way down the list, thanks to war and economy and energy and other pressing issues. Will the girls be heading to public school? Or will it be private school for them? I don’t understand how the government can justify not taking drastic action to improve education, because sending their kids to private school is an admission in itself that what the public gets isn’t good enough for the rich and privileged. That in itself it admitting that the education system is bad and that many, many children are being left behind, despite having an entire committee in Washington to prevent just that. Obama will earn some respect from me if he sends his girls to public school and puts educational reform on the agenda. What a message that would send to America. (The last president to send is children to public school, by the way, was Carter. Bush and Clinton didn’t think public school was good enough for their kids, I guess.)

After that, all he has to do is fix the economy; fix Wall Street; repair Main Street; shore up American jobs; figure out what to do about the Middle east; figure out what to do about North Korea; figure out what to do about Israel; find a immigration solution; find an education solution; find an energy solution; find a gay marriage solution; find a solution to the climate crisis; find a way to make everyone happy with health care; find a solution for social security; find a tax plan that pleases all; find a way to end poverty and create a better life for every single American. Not too much, right?

I am going to a Prop 8 rally here on Wednesday with Nicole and the girls and a few friends. Should be interesting, since it starts at the girls’ bedtime. I am trying to come up with a good sign. “Prop Hate” seems to cliché already. And “Did WE vote on YOUR right to marry” seems rather contentions, no? I am really sad that this passed, even if only by a narrow margin. The fact still remains that about half of the people are against my right to marry. Ok. So here I am trying again to understand the other side of this. I am trying to put myself into someone else’s shoes and understand why my marriage would scare them or threaten them or go against their religious beliefs. I am having a really, really hard time. I mean, I get the religious beliefs thing, but I feel like if you are going to use the bible as your justification, then you better be following the bible to the letter, including following all those commandments. Very few of us can claim that. Maybe I dislike contradictions so much in others because I dislike them in myself.

Today is the type of day when I just feel a little defeated, a little overwhelmed, a little foggy and very unfocused. The news is focused on an eight-year-old who admit to premeditated murder and a fourteen-year old girl’s throat who was slashed in her bedroom by someone she met online. That pretty much sums it up. It is the kind of day when I think retail therapy will improve my state of mind but it never does. And yet, and this is a big yet, I am so grateful for what I have. Nicole, the girls, our home, our life. I love my life and all that I have been given, and I am trying to focus on that more. See that? I am one giant walking contradiction.

I want to write more but the girls are playing in the bathroom and that spells disaster with a capital D.

Pictured above, look at that belly!! And below that, looks who’s finally watching Sesame Street. They look like zombies, no? I really don’t want them to watch TV too much and yet I want them to have a solid distraction so I can do things like this blog. See? There’s that contradiction thing again.


ms.bri said...

I know I am coming from a skewed perspective, but private school is only partly about public schools not being "good enough." You know I am coming from a defensive place on this, but I truly do believe that private schools can sometimes offer a unique ability to teach to each student's strengths and weaknesses, not being tied in to a set curriculum or teaching to a test. Obviously, these tests in public school are, to me, a sign of a somewhat broken system. But people like tests. I don't think that's going to change quickly. In the meantime, until people realize that progressive education is not about ONE type of education but about meeting the needs of students individually using all sorts of methods, sometimes private school is the right place for the more cutting edge educational theories to play out. Trickle down, if you will? Anyway, the fact remains that I think private schools have a place in the world, and get a bad reputation as "elitest." That bugs me. Why can't they be seen as places that offer different educational philosophies?

Jennifer said...

I totally understand where you are coming from and agree with you. There is a place for private ed and different philosophies, and I like the "bridges" I see in some of these charter schools. A little of both worlds, if you will. My niece and nephew go to private school bec. the public school in their hood is a disgrace. The presidents of year's past did not cite cutting-edge education as the reason the chose private over public. They did not cite differentiated lessons or the difference between synthesizing lessons and just listening. I think Clinton claimed security issues, which i don't understand, since all first children will be followed around by a huge security bubble where ever they go. Here I am talking specifically about pres. kids. And not one president (since Carter) has made the public choice. That says a lot.

Carey said...

I sent you an email with some sign ideas!!

calliope said...

woo hoo! Sesame Street!
Wait- is it lame that that is the first thing I remark on?

I also am having a hard time with all the Obama hating. I know these people are sore losers- but I can't state the, "you just wait- he is SO the antichrist" bullshit that they spew. It comes from a place of fear and it is annoying as hell.

I read some great poster sign ideas somewhere- will have to see if I can backtrack to that site again. I think it was something like, "God made me gay, take it up with him." But maybe more original ;-)