Friday, November 9, 2012

I Am Just Disgusted...No Room for Amusement

When Elvis Costello wrote Angels Want to Wear My Red Shoes, he didn’t have the right wing noise machine to make him cynical.   However, in the days since the election I found myself becoming more angry and hostile to that wall of ignorance that drives most of talk radio and the Fox News Channel and spills into the hearts and minds of ordinary people who are losing their minds and vomiting their bile all over the internet and to anyone who will listen.  The fact free world of the right wing is so destructive and while we can take heart that a majority of Americans chose to take a stand against it the other night, we have a long way to go. 

As the election returns were coming in the ground work was being laid at Fox News for the narrative that would carry on the rest of the week.  As news agencies including Fox called Ohio which gave the President enough Electoral votes to claim re-election, Karl Rove challenged the conclusion of his own network, citing his conversations with the Romney campaign and thinking he knew more than the vote counters in the backroom.  At one point suggesting the counts coming in were not accurate.  This narrative was reinforced by two line mention of voting irregularities which now have some on the right questioning whether the count is real or just President manipulating the data.  Let’s be clear, Rove had a great deal invested in Governor Romney winning.  Millions of dollars in other people’s money were spent with Karl in charge.  His return was minimal and frankly his apparent on air break with reality could have been a very real and very public display of what goes on in our heads when cognitive dissonance sets in.  But none the less, his crazy reaction to reality is becoming a narrative that was echoed by an equally lost soul in Donald Trump, who called for revolution and called the election a sham.

But that was small compared to what we have seen since election was called.  There has been an unrelenting attack on the voters, over 61 million, who chose to rehire the President over the Republican challenger.   We have been called lazy, maggots, takers, moochers, looking for the golden goose.  There are those who have said we just want people to do for us and not work for what we need.  That the women who voted for the President just want to be able to have sex with anyone and have the government take care of their birth control or abortions.  Beyond that there are those who say we have a mental illness, one radio shouter suggesting we all have brain damage.  The people on the right have been so soaked in the miasma of the right wing echo chamber that any reality that challenges what they are told by carnival barkers.  When faced with reality they will call anyone who challenges their lies and vitriol all manner of names. 

Let me be clear.  I am not lazy, I work for all I have, I am pretty sure I am not mentally ill or injured, and neither do the hundreds of people I contact daily.  To call me that because your party failed to win an election is stunning, and your anger at the fact that America chose to give the President a second term if far more an indication of perhaps the need for mental health evaluation than the of those who voted for Democrats.  But there is hope.  You can fully ignore the disease that is the right wing media and focus on thinking for yourself.  You can listen and evaluate what is going on around you, but do from a position of knowledge not emotion.  There are plenty of ways that one can be critical of this or any President and hold his feet to fire without resorting to questioning his patriotism or calling him treasonous.  But if you persist to simply elect to carpet bomb the universe with lies, attacks, ridicule and silliness I am going to respond.  I am sick and tired of having to constantly explain to people reality, but perhaps that is one way I can make a difference.  If you are going to support something, good for you.  But if you are going to simply attack I will be waiting and this blog may call you out.  By name.  And one thing I am good at is making sure that everyone will understand the facts.  

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Dear Mom Part 2 Thanksgiving

Dear Mom,

We are all looking forward to seeing you in the next two weeks for Thanksgiving.  I always liked Thanksgiving.  As a kid it meant the start of a different kind of season, school was in full swing, vacation was coming and so was the snow.   But there was a change in the community.  Food drives, parties and of course the December holiday shopping season was about to start.  Back then the Red and Green tsunami had not yet hit the stores and the Thanksgiving was not seen as a day to carb load for the coming day of shopping.  Thanksgiving truly was a day to give thanks. 

The thing I most remember was how you and dad made it a family day.  We had all been home from school, from early morning you were both in the kitchen, prepping the turkey, chopping veggies, the giant industrial work bowl full of croutons that will soon be stuffing and dressing (there is a difference), and potatoes, yams, cranberry sauce, and your ever present bottles of Liebfraumilch.  Dad had made some pies days before and you had added your own.  Food was in abundance and there were many welcome at the table.  I can’t imagine that we added people to the table as we were enough to field a ball team if Hannah’s boyfriend came and with Oma in the early years.  But I often recall visitors.  But for me it was family.

The day was always fun, when little I remember hanging out in the kitchen a lot and as I got older running off mid-morning to the park with friends. After Dad died you kept up the tradition as best you could.  You cooked for so many, tirelessly in my experience.   The main meal always seemed to start around 2 pm  which was part of the tradition.  But no one suffered from hunger, between the early morning breakfast and the meal, there was always something available to eat.  Your strict habit of keeping us out of the food all day long was relaxed for the holiday.  It truly made the day special in a way that didn't feel like a normal day off from school. 

While I will always remember Thanksgiving, it was when we were all little that was the most special.  There were traditions and those still make me smile.   One was the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. We kids would watch for the balloons and celebrities, however I was always more interested in the kitchen, which meant I did dishes as the day went on.  The parade was often followed by two movies that still give me a good feeling of family.  Laurel and Hardy’s March of the Wooden Soldiers, a classic came on in the late afternoon.  I used to think that it was only allowed to be shown on Thanksgiving.  Scary, funny and really a strange film, it was something everyone would sit around an watch before football took over the TV on that day.  But when the meal was over, the dishes mostly done, and the sun had set, one of Dad’s favorite movies seemed to always be shown.  The Wizard of Oz became a family tradition and I can still see his face smile as he attempted to enjoy the wonderful pageantry of Emerald City.  

By late evening there was a sense of calm in the house, many of us had already started on left overs.  You took a well deserved seat in your chair, as the night went on and we drifted off to bed you shared your moment of your own thanksgiving.  I don't know if I ever thanked you for all you gave me, the feeling of comfort, the feeling of family, the ritual, tradition and thoughtfulness.  And thank you for all the food.  I hope this year our visit will give us the feelings we had all those years ago.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Rape Thing

I was wanting to avoid making this blog about the election for the last few weeks, but I continue to feel the anger and outrage growing.  I have plenty of forums to attack those who seem to be going after the President in deceptive and ridiculous ways but I want to say something about Congressional elections.

For a couple years there has been a GOP chopping away or attempting to on organizations that provide women's health when that included abortion.  Abortion is a topic worthy of debate, thoughtful and well meaning people can have a clear opposition to abortion in many situations, but recently the far right wing of the party have made statements about abortion that show a lack of concern about women and reality.

I am not going to repeat them all here.  We all know what was said because even the main stream Republican party was outraged.  Be it a clown from Missouri who ignores science to a Senate candidate from Indiana who thinks babies from rape are an intended gift from God, there seems to be an environment where outrageous statements have become the new normal.  At least 12 candidates for the House and Senate have said things that suggest that rape victims who become pregnant are somehow compounding the evil and should be made criminals if they seek to end their pregnancy.  When that argument doesn't work they have said things like "incest if very rare", "the body shuts that whole thing down of suggest if there is a rape exception there will be lines of women, irresponsible and promiscuous lying about being raped to get abortions.  Clearly their vision of women is one of lazy, slutty, manipulating and irresponsible.  Heck, I half expect one of these guys to ask "How did she get raped any how?"

A new tactic is to suggested that abortion is not going to be an issue in the next Congress.  Pay no attention to all those, including the VP candidate of the GOP who said that abortion is just another form of conception.  How quickly do rational people think this will become an issue if the GOP has full control of the Congress and perhaps the White House.  Will women's health care and access to abortion in the case of rape or incest, something that almost 80% of the country feels is appropriate, become a bargaining tool in a split government?  Should it?

I know there are many issues for all of us to vote.  I know that it is difficult to focus on any one issue and feel good about a vote.  But when you go to the polls on Tuesday in one of the districts or states where one of these candidates have dismissed the horror of rape as just another form of God making babies, conception or like having a child out of wedlock PLEASE THINK ABOUT A WORLD WHERE THESE PEOPLE HAVE THE POWER OVER YOUR LIFE. If this is what they will say out loud, in front of people, imagine what they are being quite about.

I Don't Wear My Kippah at WalMart

Several years ago I was sitting in a cafe with someone who suggested I take off my kippah.  The neighborhood we were in was a predominantly...