Entries Tagged 'McCain' ↓

An Election Poll: The Bumper Stickers I’ve Seen in Florida.

I am facinated by bumper stickers. I always have been. I can’t help but look to see what people have to say, what they believe in and what they choose to support publically as they drive around town. It’s no suprise then that I have a few bumper stickers of my own. Lots of people I know don’t like bumper stickers, they argue that they are even unsafe since they give away a lot of personal information. But, well, I just couldn’t help myself. My car is hardly very flashy as is, so I see no harm in spicing her up with a little bling.

However, my facination with bumper stickers has been fanned and ignited from a mild interest to a full blown obsession with this election. You see, I live in a suburb in Florida that is kind of a big deal right now. According to the polls, it is still one of the fewer areas in Floirda that they cannot predict for this election. And our state overall is still on the fence as to which way it will go. So depending on how my neighbors vote, the results for this county might actually help determine whether we become a red or blue state tomorrow. The people driving in the cars all around me could help decide who our next president will be. So when I started seeing campaign stickers plastered on the backs of cars in my area, I couldn’t help but take notice. I was literally seeing who these drivers will vote for.

Last September, I started a little poll in my car. Since about the second week of that month, I started keeping track of every Obama and McCain bumper sticker that I saw. I was curious to see if my poll might reflect the polls for our state. Plus it helped me feel like I could have some sort of “heads up” about which way the area I lived in was voting. I was curious if I was the only Obama supporter for miles. It turns out I’m not.

I should also note here that I didn’t count any signs or other parphenalia that I saw. (Until recently, the large majority of signs were for McCain.) And I tried to be very careful never to count the same car twice. (For instance, kindergarten pick up means seeing many of the same cars everyday.) And even if a car was covered in Obama stickers, it was only counted once. I also continued my poll if I drove out of my area. I drove to Orlando twice during my poll and counted the stickers I saw. I am not sure how scientific my methods were but, for the last month and a half, I have been on hyper bumper sticker alert, hunting down stickers at every traffic light, traffic jam and parking lot I found myself at.

And now – cue drum roll – a day away from our national presidential election, I would like to present you with my results.

Total cars with bumper stickers: 114

Obama bumper stickers: 62 (54%)

McCain bumper stickers: 52 (45%)

It looks like Obama won, right? Well, I should also tell you that I attended an Obama meeting and counted 9 stickers there (I am sure there were more but thats as many as I actually saw). So, if I hadn’t attended that meeting, Obama would have only won in this poll by one bumper sticker.

So what does it tell me? Of the sample of cars I saw during my drives around town daily, the polls reflect pretty much what I saw. Elections results for this area of Tampa are going to be very CLOSE tomorrow.

And now, back to wringing my hands and hoping all goes well tomorrow. But before I go, I am kind of into this polling thing recently. Who are you voting for?

[polldaddy poll=1071805]

The Top Ten Reasons I Voted for Obama

It finally happened. I voted today. As an democrat and American citizen, I could not be more proud to cast my vote for Barack Obama and Joe Biden. However, as a fellow American or global citizen, you may potentially be asking me: Why? Why did I decide to vote for the Obama/Biden ticket? With November 4th only days away, I thought I would share with you my own personal reasons for voting for Barack Obama to become the President of the United States.

1) The Economy. You and I know that our economic troubles are extraordinarily complex. Neither candidate is going to have an easy go at fixing these issues. However, I believe Obama’s focus on creating new jobs, supporting small businesses, holding banks and lenders accountable, and providing tax relief to middle America will certainly make an enormous impact. He is not about protecting the wealthy elite, he is about creating job opportunities and supporting hard working regular middle class folks – like me.

2) The Environment. We need alternative energy resources. We need to quit our addiction to oil and focus on more environmentally friendly transportation options. We all need to be held accountable for our planet. Obama takes our environmental issues seriously. However, he also sees this crisis as an opportunity to create new jobs and empower our own nation to reverse the damage done.  By putting our greatest minds and entrepeneurs on task, I expect we will discover clean energy solutions and escape out from under the thumb of foreign oil companies in the near future.

3) The Supreme Court. During the next four to eight years, it is very likely that the President will have to appoint one or more supreme court justices. As a woman who firmly supports a woman’s right to choose, I believe Barack Obama would appoint Supreme Court justices who will serve fairly and protect my rights as a woman.

4) Foreign Relations. It’s time for a President who can put the United States first while also respecting the countries that support and work along side us. It’s time for a President who cares less about his ego and more about diplomatically and sensitively working out peaceful solutions.  Its time for a President who thinks before he shoots. As a South African friend of mine recently noted, the world is watching and hoping for Obama.

5) The Iraq War. This war was a mistake. We need to be held accountable for this war – and the damage it has left in its wake. And then we need to bring our troops home safely. It will not be an easy task and troops cannot be pulled out immediately. But Obama has a plan to actually bring our troops home within 16 months, including phased deployment and more emphasis on diplomacy.

6) No more hate. I am so exhausted by the hate in our country. Offensive, from the gut, hateful emotions have boiled to the surface recently unveiling our country’s true discriminatory colors. Obama will be an important example as he guides this nation away from divisive, destructive leadership and towards healing and resolution. It’s time.

7) Education. Obama believes in recruiting capable teachers and compensating them appropriately. He is working towards making a college education affordable for everyone. A priority will be integrating parents into the education process, encouraging them to play a more active role in their child’s learning. Obama also wants to reform the half hearted attempt at No Child Left Behind.

8 ) Women. Obama will work towards equal pay for women in the workplace. Both nationally and internationally, he will stand behind victims of domestic abuse as well as HIV positive women and their children. He will put an emphasis on women’s health care research. He will also protect a woman’s reproductive rights and her right to choose.

9) Biden would be an able president. If something were to happen to Obama, God forbid, I feel that Joe Biden is 100% capable and ready to lead this country.

10) A leader I trust. Obama communicates a steady, strong, smart, honest sort of leadership to me. Yeah, he’s a younger candidate and he’s newer to the game. However, I would rather have a sensible, capable person of solid character in office, than an erratic, inconsistent, temperamental Washington good ol’ boy.

Every American has an obligation to vote for their President. And every voter bases their choice on their own perceptions, opinions and retained bits of information. The reasons I have listed are simply my own. This is where I have landed after processing all the information thrown at me during an exhaustive election year. My reasons may or may not jibe with your reasons or choice for President. Never the less, from where ever you sit, you have the right to your own opinions. And it’s time to act on them. Be the change you want to see. Please vote by November 4th.

Cross posted at Type A Moms.

Having a little Election Fun.

As I write this post, I am watching my usual political pundits review today’s electoral goings on. They are updating me about the sound bites, the polls, the accusations and the tensions sourrounding this presidential campaign. Like so many Americans these days, I am all kinds of fired up. Posts of the liberal kind are tumbling around in my brain, willing my fingers to type.

*Deep breaths*

Enough already, its time to take it down a notch. For a change of pace, I would like to share some election fun with you. Lets have some laughs, let’s allow for some silliness and enjoy some light hearted looks at this presidential campaign so far. Not convinced yet? I’ll even promise you some ice cream for your troubles. So turn off those pundits, read on and have a laugh - I know I sure need to.

So, here is what I am going to do. Over the past couple weeks, I have been collecting funny links that have given me a chuckle. Mostly, my finds are of the democratic and Obama persuation, but all are worth a look and a laugh.

Halloween and Obama come together at this wonderful site: Yes We Carve. Do you have a hankering to carve a Barack-o-latern? Find the pumpkin sculptor within you and then post your pictures at their site. They even have stencils you can download for a more easy carving experience!

I don’t know about you, but I sure could use a calming, life sized likeness of Obama for my living room. On tough election days, days like today when I hear McCain is eeking out a lead over Obama in my state of Florida, this might be exactly what I need. BO can stare at me across the room and assure me that his lead in the polls will remain. Perhaps his likeness could inspire even my children: “Yes, we *CAN* eat our broccoli!” (Cue cheers, signs and confetti now.)

Did you realize your vote counts not only for your family and your children – but your vote counts for your pets too? Grab your pooch, some kleenex and get all patriotic while watching this “Pets for Obama” YouTube clip. Oh and don’t leave the dog out of election fun either with this cute t-shirt.

Have you ever played the game Stratego? Well, have you ever wanted to play a presidential election style stratego-like video game? Well, now you can at miniclip.com! You pick you presidential nominee and then you can choose your staff, each armed with their own under-handed campaign skills. Your mission? To gain the control over each U.S. region and eventually win all of your nation’s votes. Beware, this game is hard – but fun for the campaign manager hiding in each of us!

Is there a birthday coming up? Do you need to brighten someone’s day with an e-card? I’ve got your political e-cards right here, thanks to good ol’ Jib Jab. My fav? “Sentence structure with Sarah Palin”.

In case you have been living on the moon and have NOT seen any of the Saturday Night Live bits, NBC has all of their videos online for your viewing pleasure. Make their site a favorite and replay them when O’Reilly has you screaming into your couch pillow again. (Or am I the only one who does that?)

I assume all of you are planning to vote, correct? And I assume all of you love ice cream? And now the two shall meet. (Cue heavenly light from above and angels singing.) Ben and Jerry’s is offering free ice cream on November 4th to anyone who voted. That alone is almost enough of an incentive to vote. …ALMOST.

And finally, the funniest bits of election humor I have seen yet are the speeches both John McCain and Barack Obama gave last week at the Alfred E. Smith fundraiser dinner. Of course, I thought Obama’s was better (shocking, I know) but I would encourage you to watch both. On the evening following a very stressful debate, both candidates proved that they could find some very funny common ground during this event.

My friends (to quote a certain republican nominee), it’s been a very long, exhausting, emotional election year. And with only days left until November 4th, I don’t expect it will get much easier. Let’s try to take a moment, find the humor in all that we do, and be good to our neighbors – no matter whose political sign they’ve got posted out on their front lawns.

Cross posted at Type A Moms.

My Wake-up Call: Racism Will Affect the Outcome of this Election.

In case you’re new to these parts, here’s a news flash: I’m white. And I have been deeply in denial about a certain issue in this election for far too long. Racism and discrimination. Because I am white, it has been fairly easy to live in a happy little ”we all get along in this world” fog of denial, thinking that our country would never discriminate against a political candidate based on the color of his skin. Oh no… never. Or discriminate against a candidate based on – cough, sputter, you’ve got to be kidding me here - the sort of his name he has. Impossible.

Wake up, white girl. We’re in big trouble here.

Besides the warnings from my friends of color here and abroad, here are some recent news stories and videos that have slapped some sense into me about racism in our election.

First of all, this study. It found that 40% of white Americans have at least a “partly negative view towards blacks”. And this would also include one third (ONE THIRD!) of democrats and independents. That happy “la-la land fog” I am living in is clearing up right quick.

Second of all, Pundit Mom has clued us all in once again. If you are living in the same little land of denial I have been, please – I beg you – watch these videos she posted. They are eye opening and outrageous.

And then finally, Rachel Maddow examined the Bradley Effect last night. She explained the effect by which folks might SAY they are not voting based on race – however, in the privacy of their own voting booth, they do in fact vote based on race. While the video of these McCain rallies seen on her show and on PunditMom’s site strike cold fear deep in my heart, the science behind this social tendency was somewhat fascinating to learn about (maybe in a “gotta look at the car crash” kind of way). But I don’t think she or I were talked off our ledges about this very scary possibility.

And can I please put in a sidebar here? I do NOT - I repeat - I do NOT believe that all republicans are racist. No. That would be extremely close-minded of me. But obviously (see above), there are racists that happen to be both republicans and democrats. However, for the McCain folks to try and fan the flames of discrimination in their rallies - not only by what they are saying, but by what they are NOT saying- well, they should be ashamed of themselves. I don’t care how desperate they are to win. If I were a repub, I’d be outraged.

So, the bottomline is, I am scared of how much our country ACTUALLY DOES (insert a huge “duh” for this white girl) discriminate. I am scared by our country’s seething hate for all things different. I am scared that while current polls happen to be in favor of Obama, he could loose based on the very simple fact that he is black and he has a funny name.

Wow. … Some awesome “world power” we are. We suck. And DON’T TELL ME that this is the stuff of human nature, or thats this is just “the way it is”. It’s inexcusable, it’s hateful, it’s outrageous and I need to be very careful not to fade back into my little fog of denial (which is part of the entire problem in its own right).

Phew. I am a worried, disappointed, bugged out, STRESS case right now.

I know I promised I would try to chill out about this election more. I know I promised to turn off the news after 8pm. Nope, I am still not sleeping well. And it is THIS topic that is keeping me awake at night. I am hoping this post is a “worry purge” of sorts. Next topic will be zen-like, I promise. Selfishly, for my sanity – even more than yours.

Peace, my friends.

Political Burnout: Has the Election Taken Over Your Life?

I used to care about other stuff. I used to talk about topics other than the election. I used to go days – even weeks - without thinking too hard about my political values or hopes for the future of our country. But not anymore. This election has taken over my life, I tell you. I am feeling some serious political burn out. And how exactly has this happened? Let me share with you some examples. And then we are going to figure out a way for all of us to focus on something other than the election, even for a short while.

On a debate night, I almost always dream about the candidates. Usually, they are in some stressful predicament; once Obama and I weren’t able to find a voting booth on November 4th. And those dreams are exactly what I deserve for staying up well after the candidates have left the stage, watching all of the post-game pundit chatter late into the evening. In fact, my husband and I both toss and turn – there is rarely much hope for a fresh start the next morning.

Once awake, we face the computer or morning news. The pundits are still there: rehashing, replaying and repeating everything my nightmares were about. And I dread opening that full inbox listing political updates and reminders. Did you know Joe Biden is speaking in your town today? What are YOU doing to help win this election? Could you donate even $5 to make change happen? It’s barely 8:00am, and I already feel the weight of the world on my shoulders.

I usually find some comfort in a bowl of cheerios while I stare at Handy Manny on the Disney Channel. Of course, the next thought that pops into my mind is: Handy Manny could use a President like Obama who will stand up for middle class folks and small businesses. I mean, what if Manny can’t get the loan he needs to keep himself and all those tools employed? These are hardly lucid thoughts. My lack of sleep is apparent once again.

And even the stilted conversations at the playground have to work very hard to avoid the topic of politics. We all try but… really, what else is there to talk about? The Red Sox? Yeah, that’s good. My son’s math quiz? Eh, ok. “Did you hear that Obama and Brad Pitt are related?” “No way!” Red alert, politics approaching. ”Did anyone see SNL?” Ok, here we go. I give up.

And have you tried to get a cup of coffee at 7-eleven recently? There is no escape there either. You can pick your own Obama or McCain coffee cup and declare your vote to the world. All of those Joe and Jane Six-packs, familiar after standing in the same convenience store line every morning, are suddenly having to “out” themselves politically. Will it get weird for them now? Will there be a throw down?

I am hardly the only one suffering from the tension of this election. While I have had some positive experiences with my Obama paraphernalia recently (“I love your t-shirt!”, “I love your car!”, smiles, waves, “woo-hoo”s) – other friends have experienced the opposite. And the spray painted “X” through the only Obama sign I’ve seen sent me into a woeful, angry tailspin this afternoon. It seems as if our nation is slowly fading into two shades of citizen right now: blue or red. A line is being drawn down the middle of our lives – a line I can’t seem avoid no matter how hard I try.

So help me out. How do we take a mental break from this election and spiraling economy? Certainly, we can not afford to give up on it all together - but what are some ways to regain our strength? How can we wake up with a fresh perspective, re-energized and ready for November 4th? Here are some of my suggestions that I will swear to try – simply for my own sanity:

  • Exercise. Lots of it. And don’t play any Ani DiFranco on the Ipod either.
  • Play with your children outside: the grass, the kids, the birds, the sidewalk chalk, the bicycles are all bi-partisan, I promise.
  • No news after 8pm. Say “No” to Keith Olbermann (which is hard for me) but say a heartfelt “YES!” to Project Runway.
  • Turn off the computer at night. (Even I am muttering out loud here,”You’re kidding, right?”)
  • Read a book. Something brilliant, funny and distracting. Perhaps something by Jennifer Weiner?
  • Take up a craft. I actually did some painting recently. Not good painting, but it was distracting.
  • While sitting criss-cross applesauce on a yoga mat with a candle burning and your eyes closed, repeat to yourself: “Everything will be ok…” until you actually believe it.

In the midst of all of this political and economic stress, what are your ways to remain calm? Or even better, how do you simply sane? Please share. I desperately need some help. We all do!

Cross posted at Type A Moms.

You can do it, Sarah!

Maybe all this bailout mess has left me twitched out and over stressed. I am not sure I am thinking in the right state of mind. That’s gotta be it. Because here’s the thing. I am sort of suddenly rooting for Sarah a little bit right now.

Egads! Has my evil twin taken over my blog? No, I swear. It’s still me.

Heres the thing. It is becoming decidedly clear that Sarah is not at all prepared to be the Vice President of the United States, let ALONE (…choking on my Cheerios here…) POTUS. …Shudder. And I am also thinking that most of you agree, even my repub readers. Sarah’s knowledge base has been tested over the past few days in interviews with Katie and Charlie. If you haven’t seen the interviews, check them out. I kind of can’t watch them more than once. It’s just the cringe factor, the “Oh my God, she really doesn’t know what she’s talking about, does she” thing, you know? But you should watch them, no matter which party you belong to.

And now Sarah will debate Joe Biden on Thursday. As I type this, there is no doubt she is studying like a mad woman, with coaches in her ear and stacks of talking points spread out all around her. Maybe even flash cards. Or timed tests while someone holding a stop watch stands over her shoulder. All the while, she’s dressed in a sweat suit with the Rocky theme song playing in the background.

And, to be fair, I would bet Biden is going through his own preparation too: “Don’t talk too much, Joe.” “Be cool, Joe.” “You know what you’re talking about, just stick to the facts.” “The responses are timed, Joe, don’t forget that!”

But, holy canoli, Sarah’s preparation is an impossible task. Just as Joe Biden did, she came in knowing what she knows and she, unfortunately, just doesn’t know enough. And that’s not necessarily her fault either. It’s McCain’s fault for not picking a more qualified candidate. And now her ignorance and ineptitude is being uncovered and displayed for all the world to see, question in disblief, or even laugh at.

I just can’t imagine. Perhaps I am simply relating to her as a woman and mom right now, trying to do too much, and knowing that no matter how hard she works, it’s never good enough. Being this far in over her head, how must she be feeling right now? 

And Joe Biden, Mr. “I’ve been in the senate since I was 29 and I can talk circles around you”, is smacking his lips, ready to rip the holes in her knowledge base even wider. If I were Sarah, I’d be crying in my glass of wine at night, I’d be sick to my stomach nervous and entirely overwhelmed and ready to hop the first plane back to Alaska.

But here’s my other dilema. Is my assumption that she is crying in her wine completely unfeminist of me? Am I being too soft on her? Would I be saying the same thing if she were a male? Am I underestimating her abilities? I truly don’t think so. If anything, as a woman, I actually gave her the benefit of the doubt thinking she could seriously be the Republican’s secret weapon. And now. No. That’s not the case. She’s just a person not prepared to be Vice President, as simple as that.

Here’s the thing, however - I really don’t WANT her to fail. No, I mean it. Please note that it is not my intention to come across snarky, condescending or patronizing here. I mean what I am saying. I WANT her to be good enough for this position. I don’t want to see a train wreck on Thursday - that will not make me feel good. I’d like to see a good solid debate with too qualified individuals sparring off on the issues, both on equal ground. (And of course, notes the Democrat in me, then see her loose fair and square.)  Honestly folks, I don’t want to see someone – who could very well potentially be POTUS afterall – be so damn clueless. And I’ll also admit, the idea of a woman finally being so close to the White House potentially failing so miserably makes me sick to my stomach. Amoungst everything else going on right now, Sarah Palin is just plain old scaring the crap outa me.

So Sarah, c’mon woman. You can do this. Show us what you’ve got. Let them be wrong. I won’t be on your side politically but I will be rooting for you. You’re Rocky, Biden is Mr. T - come out preprared and swinging. Let’s have a good clean fight.

SNL Gets it Right for Hillary.

SNL cracks me up with their own Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton.

I am sure many of you have seen this clip already.

Oh man. I just watched it again. Now THAT is what I call GOOD television. Phew.

Not that any of us were surprised by how dead on Tina Fey would be for a Sarah look-alike. I am thinking Lorne Michaels did everything in his power to get her to come back for this one. But if I were Tina? Oh, I’d have been fired UP to work that imitation to perfection. And she did. Applause all around.

But it wasn’t the Sarah Palin/Tina Fey thing that got me here. It was what SNL was trying to say between the lines. It was Hillary and what is probably really going on with her right now. 

They so get it, don’t they?

SNL Sarah: Just look at how far we’ve come. Hillary Clinton who came so close to the White House and me, Sarah Palin, who is even closer.”

Seriously, can you imagine what is going through Hillary’s mind???

Hillary jumped into her campaign many moons ago with both eyes wide open. She’s a smart lady, I’d even agree with calculating (which can be a positive thing, seriously) - she knew what she was doing. She lined herself up for the nomination and busted her hump to get it. I know we dems harped on this quite a bit at the DNC but I’ll say it one more time – she ran a great campaign. And she lost by a hair, a wee few Obama lovin’ delegates hairs really. And while folks have noted sexism went down during it all (I’m one of those folks), still, she lost fair and square. What a shock for her, an incredible loss.

Then the DNC comes along. She truly becomes the star – the hero – of the show. What is Hill gonna say? How is she going to convince her supporters to vote for Obama? Don’t you remember? The orange pantsuit? Bill mouthing “I love you”s from the crowd. Her kick ass speech? And THEN the dramatic final nomination as she handed over her delegates?

Wow. This woman lost the nomination but it was suddenly HER responsibility to make sure the democrats win this presidency. No doubt about it, Obama needs her support like a fat guy needs cake. So she had to ride that DNC storm with dignity, with grace and with purpose. In the midst of her own personal loss and frustration, she had to convince an army of women that they had to vote for the other guy. She may have lost me at the end of her campaign but, no doubt about it, I have boatloads of respect for this incredible woman.

So, ok. Now the DNC is over. She knows she has to stay on the campaign trail but thats nothing compared to the drama of the DNC, right?

Well, in steps Sarah Palin.

Who??? Oh, right, the Governor of Alaska. Yeah.The obvious choice for McCain, right? I am sure he has… valid… reasons for his choice.

And not only is this wild card an overnight celebrity, but in one sudden moment, SHE is closer than Hillary ever got to becoming the first woman president of the united states. Wha…?

SNL Sarah: “Its truly amazing and I think women everywhere can agree, no matter your politics, its time for a woman to make it to the White House.”

SNL Hillary: “Noooooo, MINE!!!!”

Yeah, Hillary, how are you not flipping the freak OUT right now? And as the SNL skit points out, maybe Hillary didn’t even care about being a woman president – or at least that was never the priority of her campaign (as it shouldn’t be). She just wanted to be PRESIDENT for crying out loud. She is a smart, knowledgeable woman, well versed in politics, been waaaaay down the road and back when it comes to life in the Oval Office. And here comes Sarah Palin? Stepping off a plane fresh from the north pole, hair piled to here, blinking at the world around her with not. a. clue. about how to run the free world. Great google mooglie.

And Hillary, after ALL that she has accomplished, is left to re-invent herself and figure out some kind of ”Al Gore” comback story.

SNL Sarah: “And now I am just one heartbeat away from becoming the President of the United States. It just goes to show you that anyone can be president.

SNL Hillary: “Anyone. ANYONE. ANYONE!!!

SNL Sarah: “All ya have to do is WANT IT.”

SNL Hillary: Insane giggles…. “Yeah, if I could change one thing, I should have wanted it more.”

Hillary, how are you not losing your mind right now? Are you thinking the world has gone mad? Are you asking – just like I am – how the novelty of a lipstick wearing, pit bullish, hockey mom in the white house is so much more of a draw for votes? Because, really, who cares about her stand on the real issues or what kind of president she could make, she is in the PTA, JUST LIKE ME!!!!

Hillary, do the voices keep you up at night? Are you in therapy? Maybe a nice trip away to a buddist temple or something very remote and very grounded might do you some good once this election is over. I am worried about you.

But here is the bottom line though folks. Pay attention. This is really important: Sarah Palin is not – I repeat – is NOT running for president. That guy to her right, not First Dude, nope, the other one. McCain. Yeah HIM. He’s running for President. And Hillary Clinton is also not running for president, Obama is, with her full support. Let’s keep our eye on the ball.

One final note. SNL Hillary invites the media to grow a pair or she will lend them hers. SNL, tsk tsk. That’s the one thing you got wrong. Testicles are clearly not what are going to get it done around here these days. Women, the voters and the candidates, are the ones making this election spin. I would invite the media to actually grow a set of ovaries to find out where the real strength lies in the midst of this very historical, however maddening, race for the presidency.

Palin Posts: Sharing Some and Not Really Writing One.

So its been quite a week for our good ol’ boy McCain. On the heels of the DNC and in the midst of a hurricane, he announced his VP choice.

What, you didn’t hear? …Yeah right.

Palin has been dropped into the middle of the political scene, her entire life spilled out onto our national sidewalk, to be picked through, stepped on and assessed.

In my view? It needs some assessing. And you know that isn’t a partisan opinion either.

But I have to say, I have not been quick to paw through her stuff and sky-write my opinion. I am just too damn overwhelmed. There is too much to consider, too much to say but quite a bit to separate also: the real issues and then her personal issues. They are over-lapping, whether they should or not.

And yup, she’s a woman and I’m a feminist. And? Sure, I appreciate that the Republican party seems to want a woman VP. (I say “seems” assuming McCain really truly didn’t pick a woman to strictly gather left-over HRC votes. A crazy idea, right… right?) But that’s about as far as my feminist tendancies stay on board. After that, my feminist tendencies and I jump ship.

I guess I have been just kind of sitting here, with my mouth agape, trying to wrap my head around exactly what McCain was thinking.

While I am still not quite able to form complete sentences about the Republican veep choice, I am able to read about her. Like we all have been. And as I read, I started to gather together my favorite posts. A collection of sorts. And I thought I would share it. Check them out.

The Third Rail

Sarah Palin and Mommy Wars.

Why Sarah Palin is Good For Feminism.

I Want Sarah Palin in a Bad Way.

It’s Stuff Like This…

Palin in Comparison to Biden.

An Astonishingly Arrogant VP Selection.

No Way. No How. No Palin.

Palin Bashing.

Sarah Palin and Her Children.

As I am posting this, Palin is officially accepting the Republican nomination for VP right here -live- in my living room. While I post this, my brilliant blogger counterparts are probably doing a fabulous job of dissecting her speech and stringing it up so we are fully made aware of its innards. I’ll be reading. I am sure you’ll be reading. Do you have any favorite Palin posts? Share them below.

Meanwhile, back to the RNC. I mean… what the… I just can’t… how can she… why is this… how could they…

Yeah, I am still at a loss over here. So many thanks to all of you whose brains are working and making complete sense of this utter train wreck.

While we fantasize, Obama faces “The Devil in the Dark”.

Have you ever wondered what would happen if the presidential nominee of your choice won this election? Of course you have - and I have too. I have been thinking about it a lot recently. Well, maybe “fantasizing” is a better word to describe what I’m doing. Every time I hear about gas prices creeping up or more foreclosures or famine or floods or earthquakes, I like to sit back and think about something very hopeful - Obama being elected as our next president.

(Cue dream-like chimes and fuzz the picture in your minds…)

I imagine election night, with my husband, at home, eyes glued to MSNBC, hastily gulping down my glass of wine – hopeful, hopeful, hopeful as the returns come back and show red states turning blue. And then I go further and imagine a landslide victory and sending my husband out for champagne (I could never buy some early, I’d jinx the whole campaign!) while I gleefully jump on the couch and scream and kiss my sleeping kids and call my friends and family. Because that win would be so huge, so tear-worthy, so much bigger than even the Red Sox winning the World Series (the first time). I know I would feel so much relief and optimism. I picture the celebrating in Washington - shoot, I’d want to have a party myself (c’mon repub friends, join the fun!), I’d want to dance in the streets, I’d jubilantly bust out “The Cabbage Patch” AND “The Running Man” in a fog of champagne and joy in front of anyone who’d want to see. And you can hold me to that too.

I can also imagine McCain winning. I have to, there’s nothing to say that possibility couldn’t happen. NOTHING surprises me after our last election. I can picture my husband and I sitting on the couch, quiet. I would probably be gulping that wine then too - and, yeah, that moment would be tear-worthy also. While impossible to imagine, it would actually feel so much worse than the end of the Superbowl when the Patriots managed to “poop the bed” and experience the biggest upset in NFL history. But as I did then, I would turn the TV off right before the end to avoid the celebratory speeches from the McCain camp; I’m not sure I could even bring myself to watch Obama’s concession speech either. That night, I’d probably have nightmares and fall into a stressful “when is it ever gonna end” slump for a bit. It would suck. Royally.

When the fantizing is over, I do actually think very hard and very realistically about what our next president is up against. Right now, along with many other fellow citizens (c’mon admit it), it is very easy to blame all horrible things on Bush. Granted, his antics, horrid judgement calls and general stupidity make him target rich material. So, the logic follows in my mind that everything is his fault. The value of my house went down $50,000 – it’s all because of Bush. My favorite bread rolls went up a whole dollar, Bush strikes again. I stubbed my toe on my bedframe, that asshole Bush, that never would’ve happened if he wasn’t president.

And as much as I blame Bush for all things evil, I often ask myself if everything is then fixable just because we elect Obama? I worry a great deal about all the eggs we have in his basket. While I know he is the best choice for president, let’s not forget that the actual act of electing him will NOT solve the gas, the floods, or the real estate issues come January 20, 2009. Yes, yes, having him president will bring us a great deal of hope for change. But, those are just dreamy, inspiring words. We need to prepare ourselves for all of the work ahead and keep ourselves in check here. We are so so many miles up shit’s creek, and Obama is a paddle that will have to bust it’s ass, like no paddle ever has, to steer us clear of the mess we are in. Let’s stop, think and truly consider what an enormous burden he will be taking on.

For many years, the world according to the Bush Administration has been an oversimplified, black and white, “you are either with us or against us” cowboy story. There is no complexity, there is no grey area. Uh huh. Well, just because you say there is no grey area, Dubya, does not make it so. It has been sitting there toiling and unheeded for far too long. Obama is staring this breathing, living, disenfranchised ”grey area” right in the face, and probably muttering – however eloquently – some version of “What. A. Clusterf*ck.”

(Can I digress here quickly? This mess? This grey area? I find myself picturing a Star Trek episode called “The Devil in the Dark”. You know the one where the moving rock is eating everything up, people included, and Spock mind melds with it to find out that people have been killing the rock’s eggs? Yeah, that’s what this mess – this angry mass of grey area - really is. …And please tell me you know what I am talking about and I am not just coming across as some Trekkie geek, ok?)

So what exactly does this complex grey area comprise of? Well, here’s only a small slice of it; you should all recognize it well enough. 

  • Obama has to get our troops home before any more are killed – but he must resolve the mess we’ve made while bringing stability to Iraq. And he can’t forget about Afghanistan – you know, where Al Queda originated from, poppies grow throughout and Taliban are thriving currently? Yup, the same place where, ironically, there are hardly any troops, support or resources available? Um, it’s kind of an important country too.
  • He has to focus on the environment, global warming and alternative fuel resources – but also smooth talk those oil companies into bringing gas prices down to something reasonable so we can actually afford to get our butts to work in the meantime.
  • He has to sort out the gridlocked rat’s nest that is our economy. Oy vey.
  • He has fix healthcare – and that’s like saying he has to fix that huge crack down the middle of the grand canyon.
  • He has to carefully and sensitively repair the remains of international diplomatic ties around the globe while assuring them of economic security and domestic investment promise. The dollar needs to be worth the paper its printed on again, and he has to convince the angry mobs outside our borders that it is.
  • Oh yeah, and borders, what are we going to do about those? We need migrant workers, they are part of what makes our economy work, right? According to farmers in California they are. But wait, do they get the same rights as American citizens if they’ve entered our country illegally?

Oh, its a grey grey world and Obama has to find some sense of color and reason again within it.

I was in Washington D.C. when President Clinton was elected for the first time. That city was practically fanning itself from the exhilaration of hope, optimism and saxophone playing it had riled itself into. It sort of scared me. Would he live up to these expectations? Could he get all that work done from up top of such a high pedestal?

I worry Obama’s inauguration would mirror Clinton’s - but 100 times over, feverish with expectations and jubilation, frenzy and froth. Election night will not, in of itself, get this figured out. Let’s welcome him into office and then think carefully about what we, as a whole nation, can do to work these complex issues out. He is only a man – with extraordinary potential, YES – but he is only a man, becoming president for the first time, bringing a green yet talented team together. It’s going to take a little time and heaps of work on all of our parts to make the change we hope to see. Grey area, folks, don’t forget.

And if McCain wins, we all better take some deep breaths. Yup, this election is as partisan as it gets. But democrats everywhere can not take their ball and go home to pout if we don’t win. We will need to buck up and work harder than ever before. We have a supreme court on the brink. We have an environment that can not go ignored any longer. We have oil companies ruling our lives. We have a religious right butting their noses into government. We have citizens not being treated equally. We have rich folks staying rich but poor people getting very poor. We have to do everything we can to come together and fix this. It may even take some version of bi-partisanship to do anything and everything to push, ease, cajole, and even beg McCain in the right direction. But, if he is elected, we won’t have much of a choice, will we?

Granted, this sort’ve reality check is honestly no fun during a time that is “cheek to jowl” (as my mother would say) with sobering reality checks. I would much rather just let my mind wander back to that uncoordinated display of joy in my living room on November 4, 2008. Couch jumping, “The Cabbage Patch”, and I think my husband even knows how to do “The Worm”.

So, positive thinking folks. Drag your friends and neighbors out to vote and shine up your boogie shoes, we can win this thing. Those dances of jubilation ARE a reality. And, with work from all of us, so is cleaning up this mess. It has to be.

From my father’s perspective: Vietnam today

  

I just got an email from my father yesterday and thought this might be a good time to write my second post about him and his adventures. So, if this topic interests you, read along and learn a little bit about Vietnam today.

Since April, my father has been the acting director of USAID in the Vietnam Program Office in Hanoi, Vietnam. Vietnam remains a communist country (we lost, remember?) and Hanoi is in the northern regions of this country. So far, my father has found it fascinating there, living in a town he never would have dared visit 35 years ago during the war. His apartment is just down the road from a very interesting memorial. On the shores of Truc Bach lake, there is a little statue commemorating the capture of a certain solider during the Vietnam war - a man we know now as Senator John McCain. My dad said it is not paid much attention, it’s a bit overgrown and covered with bird droppings. The fact that my father can take a walk on a day off to see this memorial absolutely fascinates me. This city was extremely dangerous at one time, and a man currently running to be the president of our own country was captured and almost killed there. Wow. And now, Hanoi is like any other developing Asian city, and this memorial stands there, and its really no big deal. (We are no different; we have our own war memorials, commemorating something big and now standing ignored, collecting bird droppings - the dates, battles and people inscribed rarely even acknowledged anymore.)

There is no doubt that Vietnam has been through a great deal over the past 35 years. However, one fact remains: this country suffered enormous losses, just as we did, during the Vietnam war. When my father arrived in April, his first time back to Vietnam since the war, he could not help but feel conspicuous. He was in Hanoi. And his country was responsible for the deaths of thousands of people with relatives in that very city. He expected a cool reception at the very least. This was not the case. In fact, he found that as he spoke with Vietnamese citizens and co-workers, and they would compare war stories, a knowing look would pass between them as if to say: “you were there, you knew it was bad, we both suffered, it was a horrible time, and we are forever bonded”. It was as if they had an immediate connection and understanding of one another. The Vietnam people are wonderful and strong, they have made peace, forgiven and moved on. I know I have mentioned this story before, but it is a lesson I can’t help but be overwhelmed by.

So my father sent me a batch of pictures along with his email and I am posting two here. A little while back, his crew visited the Cu Chi Orphanage in Ho Chi Minh (formerly Saigon). Interested in what USAID is doing there? Well you can read lots of details here about the program but, in a nutshell, USAID is working in areas with a high prevalence of AIDS to educate men and women about AIDS prevention, deliver safe and effective anti-retroviral treatments, and provide testing services. As the website notes: “By March 2008, the USG Emergency Plan Vietnam team will collaborate with partners to prevent 660,000 new HIV infections; provide treatment to 22,000 HIV-infected people; and provide care to 110,000 people infected and affected by HIV/AIDS, including orphans and vulnerable children.” So yeah, that’s what he was doing at this orphanage.

When I talked to my dad about his experience at the orphanage, he could not help but be extraordinarily moved by the children he met. It is run by a sister (seen on the left of second picture) and all but one of the girls in this picture are HIV+ or have AIDS. Most of these children have already lost their parents to AIDS or they are in the process of dying and can’t care for their children any longer. If the children live long enough, the sister tries to enroll them at a local high school. However, these children are usually shunned and pushed out of their communities; their futures are short lived and extremely bleak. Nevertheless, the kids my father met were full of life and hope and fun. They took turns trying on my father’s shoes and clomping around. They also gathered at his feet, poking at him and petting his arm – very hairy arms are not all that common amongst grown Vietnamese men. My father must have seemed like this enormous, pink, smiley, sweaty, laughing giant. I can only imagine him playing and swinging those kids around like he does with his grandsons. He said his work in Hanoi has not been easy but this moment gave him perspective and renewed energy. The little girl he is holding in the first picture was wonderful he said, but also suffering from full blown AIDS (as you can see by the legions on her hands - nope, that’s not magic marker folks). She does not have a chance to live very much longer. But let’s hope, with increased education, medications and care, orphaned children like her will have a chance to live longer in the future. It could happen. My dad sure does seem to think so. 

So what can I carry away from this story? Things are tough right now in the U.S. But we have some sort of health care, we have education and we have support for our HIV+ citizens. Most of our children have parents and hope. Let’s remember what we’ve got and keep our perspectives in check. And then, let’s educate one another about what our global citizens don’t have. Remember our privileges folks - don’t feel guilty about it, just keep yourself informed and count those blessings with an open heart. Now excuse me as I shut this silly, over heating, time consuming computer down and go play with my kids.