Tag Archives: conservative

This Just In

I’ve been debating for a week about this post.  After listening to Mayer Bloomberg’s speech, and Chris Matthews’ closing words tonight referencing that speech, I know I can’t be among those who don’t speak up.  And seeing yet another post in my Facebook feed with anti-Islam/anti-mosque sentiment, I know anyone who wishes for peace and appreciates freedom shouldn’t keep her tongue either.

When I was celebrating the last* of our troops leaving Iraq, I came across a thread from a High-School phriend.  Phriends are people who don’t know you (and maybe never did) but want to add you to their list on Facebook because you a) know some of the same people, b) went to school together, or c) grew up in the same vicinity. 

After moving back to St. Louis for a few months, I acquired quite a few new phriends, mostly from my hometown.   

Many are conservatives.
Some post highly political comments.
A few make my blood boil.

Reading that thread which insinuated that our President, addressed as “Hussein Obama,” is secretly a Muslim (and that there would be something horribly wrong if that were true), I felt my face redden.  Seeing violence threatened against the mosque to be built within blocks of ground zero by profile pictures of happy smiling 30-somethings, I recoiled with disgust. There were posts that attempted to justify their proposed hatred and violence because “they,” meaning Muslims, started the violence & hatred.  The ugly commentary was labeled ‘patriotism’ and somehow bled into how the U.S. has gone to hell because Christianity has been taken out of our schools.  Some people find that frenzied fear-mongering entertaining.  I think it’s fascist and hypocritical and I said so.

It earned me an “unPhriending.”  

You’d think an uber-conservative would have gleaned my lefty disposition from my very candid profile but in case anyone missed it,
This Just In:  I am a Liberal, A Capitalist, and a Cubs-Fan.*

Sure, I felt frustration that mine was likely the only contrary commentary his circle might hear and by removing me from the thread, I was taken out of the conversation.  Discourse and diversity are core to this country.  So while the poor fella who couldn’t stomach my retort to hate speech might not read this, I cannot keep quiet about hate. 

Here is the comment that earned me an “unphriending.”  I wonder how many more are about to bite the dust.    

There isn’t much about this thread that doesn’t appall me. The initial post is blatantly xenophobic and propagates disinformation circulated during our shameful election process.

The outrage over the mosque in NY is absurd. There are plenty of religious buildings near ground zero. Why is a mosque any different? Because the terrorists were Muslim? I’m pretty sure Oklahoma didn’t raze every church after the bombings there. It’s just ‘too bad’ we didn’t have any foreigners to blame for that despicable act or we could have started a few more unnecessary wars! Isn’t that the great American way? Do as we say or else we’ll bomb you to death?

Do you know what a terrorist is? Do you know the 100+ definitions for the term? Don’t you think that we are considered monsters for invading and ravaging sovereign nations whose guilt has yet to be determined?

As for religious freedom and the “taking back” of your country? Your privilege to worship as you choose is only as good so far as it does not interfere with mine.

Your right to wave a flag and threaten with shotguns and say God Bless America will and must be tempered by my right to burn that flag in protest, plant a daisy in your gun barrel and exercise my right to not practice a religion.

Pluralism, my friends, is what makes America great. Not Christianity or Conservatism or Democracy. Pluralism. We allow for a great many ideas, beliefs, habits, persuasions, and truths.

To support otherwise would place you squarely in the fundamentalist camp – not unlike the extremists we claim to have been fighting.

You can’t have it both ways.

It wasn’t that long ago that the Russians were the most evil people on earth according to the great American propaganda machine. It turns out that they love their children, cherish their spouses, and bleed just like we do. Huh… what do you know about that.

I’d be careful about using terms like “us” and “them.” We are but one people, universally. You can choose not to accept that but to your own detriment.

Since when is it appropriate to only do right when others do? If we are to ever fulfill our promise as a nation, we must learn to lead by example. Our pluralism is revolutionary. Clearly, 200 years on, we still breed people who aren’t prepared for the responsibility it imbues.

I hate to tell you, but Jesus was a liberal.

As of 8/25/10, 10:15 p.m. CST, the count is at 738.

Stuck in the Middle with You

(This post is modified from a Note I published on Facebook, November 5, 2008)
So you know that commercial for Campbell’s soups with sea salt for flavor instead of heart-ending sodium? It kills me. That actor alone is hilarious to me but the dialogue is genius. “What’s that Taste?” “Taste.” Like the poor guy has gone without taste for so long because of a low-sodium diet he forgot what good food was? I love it.

That’s how I felt two years ago after President Obama was elected.

“What’s this feeling?”


“I like pride. It makes me proud.”

I haven’t really come to terms with the fact that I was wrong. This country WAS ready to elect a black man (or more accurately a multi-racial man) to the Presidency. I was never so happy to be wrong. The electoral votes showed it to be a landslide victory, but 48MM people voted for the other guy. That left a lot of disappointed people.   Just like in the previous two elections.

My original post read, “Let’s do something. Let’s NOT rub this win in anyone’s face. Let’s NOT gloat or be smug. Instead, let’s follow our new president-elect’s humility and dignity and lead by example, be gracious and inclusive, and find our commonality.”

I had felt disconnected and ashamed for so long that the shock of Obama’s win felt like shrugging off a back-pack. I was lighter and more balanced but perversely, I missed the weight that I’d grown accustomed to. 

Having lived in a (mostly) Red state for the last ten months, I heard an earful of conservative speak, saw more “Jesus Saves” billboards than I could believe, and witnessed protests against healthcare or “Obamacare,” bailouts, and taxes.
I was right about one thing – a large number of people were left disappointed that the Republicans were summarily ousted from the majority of leadership roles in our government.  If I’m to believe the news at all, there is a chance they’ll win back at least some of them in November 2010.
But there seems to be so much anger involved politics right now and the “sides” are growing farther apart every day.  The harsh, disrespectful, violent language is uncivilized at best.  Logic, reason, and compassion have left the building.  What remains seems to be the very worst of human nature on both sides of the proverbial aisle. 
When people who are honored with representing me in my government speak in circular logic and pander blatently to interests not aligned with the good of the country, I feel nauseated.  When they fund war but cancel unemployment, I taste bile.  When did treating the sick become the enemy of the “Good Samaritan” crowd?  When did party loyalty nullify sense and judgement? 
I read that something like 46 states could go bankrupt this year
Our national deficit is so big that I don’t even have words to describe it.
In the midst of the liberals pointing and the conservatives bad-mouthing, accountability has been abandoned completely.

I lack an impressive education or advanced degrees.  I am not independently wealthy.  I don’t rub elbows with anyone in power.  But I have a healthy skepticism that enables me to be unawed by these groups.  It allows me to discern the random nugget of honor and leadership that pops up now and again from the absolute nonsense coming out of their mouths and pens. 

Both sides seem to get more extreme by the day.  Each uses fear and hate to build support.  Neither feels the shame they should for the misleading or aggregiously inaccurate rhetoric they employ. 
I miss that feeling of Pride.  Even though I respect the seal and the man behind it, we are only as good as our weakest link in government or in protest.  And our worst has gotten a lot worse.
Whenever I feel down about the state of the union, this rant by the character Andrew Shepherd in the American President always cheers me up.  Hope you enjoy:
“Being President of this country is entirely about character. For the record: yes, I am a card-carrying member of the ACLU. But the more important question is why aren’t you, Bob? Now, this is an organization whose sole purpose is to defend the Bill of Rights, so it naturally begs the question: Why would a senator, his party’s most powerful spokesman and a candidate for President, choose to reject upholding the Constitution? If you can answer that question, folks, then you’re smarter than I am, because I didn’t understand it until a few hours ago. America isn’t easy. America is advanced citizenship. You gotta want it bad, ’cause it’s gonna put up a fight. It’s gonna say “You want free speech? Let’s see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who’s standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours. You want to claim this land as the land of the free? Then the symbol of your country can’t just be a flag; the symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest. Show me that, defend that, celebrate that in your classrooms. Then, you can stand up and sing about the “land of the free”. I’ve known Bob Rumson for years, and I’ve been operating under the assumption that the reason Bob devotes so much time and energy to shouting at the rain was that he simply didn’t get it. Well, I was wrong. Bob’s problem isn’t that he doesn’t get it. Bob’s problem is that he can’t sell it! We have serious problems to solve, and we need serious people to solve them. And whatever your particular problem is, I promise you, Bob Rumson is not the least bit interested in solving it. He is interested in two things and two things only: making you afraid of it and telling you who’s to blame for it. That, ladies and gentlemen, is how you win elections.”


Get over the F Word

Lately I’ve seen a rash of articles about feminism that have me feeling itchy.

Even more maddening, I haven’t been able to name my response.  I just know that it is visceral.

I think it started with this op-ed about the conservative women candidates who celebrated victories in the June primaries.  But as I got deeper into the Great Schism of feminist ideology, bloggers like Taylor Marsh coming down on one side and Kathleen Parker from The Post on the other, I felt my ire rise both at the coverage of Sarah Palin and at my inarticulateness in the face of that coverage.

Sarah Palin makes me cringe.  She speaks almost exclusively in cliches and colloquialisms.  She has the gall to mock things like “hope” and “change” in a country where 50% of the population has felt dissatisfied or outraged for (at least) the last decade.  I think she is akin to one of those wind-socks at a car dealership, blowing furiously for attention, bending this way and that way but lacking actual substance. 

But if we’re to believe her latest campaign commercial, not everyone feels that way.  She was Governor of Alaska and a candidate for Vice-President of the United States so she must have something going for her besides her aw-shucks, Annie Oakley-style rootin’ and tootin’.  Right?  I mean, right? 

With all due respect to Ms. Steinem who categorically denounces Palin as unfeminist by reason of her anti-choice stance, I think she missed the point.  

This isn’t about linguistic copyright infringement.  Saying Palin can’t join our club doesn’t carry any weight because she has her own clubhouse and doesn’t care about our “rules.”  This is about leadership and mobilization and public relations.  She is getting extraordinary media coverage and promoting the idea that she leads a movement of like-minded women.  And we’re complaining that she misused our secret handshake.

There is a beautiful line delivered in the West Wing series by the character Ainsley Hayes where she says, “I don’t think whatever sexuality I have diminishes my power. I think it enhances it.” “And what kind of feminism do you call that?” Celia asks. “My kind.”

There is no doubt that women in politics can be mean girls who deliver catty comments.   There are plenty of arguments for how Feminist Blogs are guilty of the same strong-arm, mind-melting that Women’s Magazines use like in this one from Slate.com.  Feminism shouldn’t pit women against other women.  (It shouldn’t pit women against men, either.)

But Palin is undoubtedly speaking to and for a segment not aligned with Ms. Steinem’s views.  She’s charismatic, and passionate,  and of-the people.  She’s the female version of George Bush with the same bumbling statements and embarassing, you-should-know-better public gaffes.  

I’m of the opinion that the Head of State should be a Statesman (or woman).  A dignified, learned leader and orator who inspires confidence and exemplifies moderation and exercises diplomacy.  I think we have that now.  But about half the country thinks we’re going to hell in a handbasket. 

So wouldn’t that tell us that we have slightly more important things to debate than whether or not Palin is allowed to use the word ‘feminist’ to describe herself?  I mean, you can’t exactly put the toothpaste back in the tube. 

So let’s get over the F-word. 

Reproductive rights are critically important for women to participate fully in society, full stop.  But what of that society?  Is it even worth participating in? 

Or maybe we need another F-word… like F-ocus.  Shine the Feminist spotlight on women’s issues like the war, no, the other war, the economic crisis, unemployment, the obesity epidemic, the oil spill in the Gulf, the energy crisis, the breakdown of our education system, our dwindling competitive advantage in a free-market economy, our crumbling infrastructures, our international relations, our civil unrest, or the growing divide between rich and poor in this country.

F, yes those are women’s issues. 

We are F-amily.  I got all my sisters with me.