Posts Tagged ‘GOP’

64-62 Days Until of Presidential Election: Cookie Monster, Jury Trials and Shopping Malls

September 5, 2012

Day 64: I love my blue furried monster.  I mean, really, how can you not love Cookie Monster? COOOOKIE! (But he doesn’t like celery!).  In a weird twist of fate, Big Bird and I share the same birthday (he’s a bit older, not by much).  I was part of the “original” Sesame Street Generation.  Growing up in the middle of Ohio and then northern Illinois, there wasn’t a lot of diversity: apartments? Corner stores? Different ethnicities? And Spanish?  To this day, I say I speak Sesame Street Spanish (pretty close).  Sesame Street taught me a lot of things: how to count, that really you should eat your vegetables before cookies (sorry my furry friend) and that monsters and birds CAN be friends. I haven’t watched Sesame Street since Mr. Hooper died (I tuned it in because they did a special episode over Thanksgiving my junior year in college: I cried.  My brother mocked me – he’s good at that but he’s an Underdog kid). Apparently Snuffy can be seen by adults but one of the little slivers of that makes this country great is Sesame Street: if anything, it gives those of us who grow up in the middle of the country a glimpse of what another part of the world looks like.

Day 63: I was driving home the other day and there was a new story about another individual being punished by tribunal. As I waited to turn into my parking lot, I realized one thing I’m grateful for: a jury of my peers to determine my guilt.  I’ve never been called to jury duty but it’s the concept.  Yes, it’s really not a “jury of peers” but a jury representative of our community. I’ve lived where there is not a jury system.   We take this right for granted: that if we are accused, we can confront our accuser, we can be tried in an open system.  Yeah, that’s a slice of this place I’d fight for.

62: Ok, I don’t like shopping malls except for in the middle of summer or winter when I’m feeling a bit closed in and decide I have to see exactly how untrendy I am (very) or decide I completely and totally need a (very useless) gadget.  In all semi-seriousness, malls have served some decent purposes: they housed the world’s first indoor rollercoaster (Old Chicago, Bolingbrook Illinois), provided introduction to many people of (American) Japanese, Indian, Thai and Mexican foods, provided countless first jobs, part time work, converted great parks into vast consumerist spots (hmmm, ok that is a bad idea).  Really, the best part of the mall is the store that constantly keeps giving me new iPhones as things keep happening to mine.

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Longest Gay Week

May 13, 2012

Long week. Long, long, long week. A week ago, Joe Biden makes a statement being for marriage equality on Meet the Press. Monday, North Carolina voters re-affirm homophobia and stereotypes. The next day, Mitt Romney is outed as a boarding school bully and Obama announces he supports same sex marriage.

Let the debates begin.

One of my friends wrote a lovely note about why LBGT people couldn’t expect Obama to come out for gay marriage due to the risk of loosing an election. Ok, that became a bit moot later in the day but I wonder? Will this cost Obama the election? I hope not.

I’m tired of being politicized. I’m tired of who I love being news. I’m tired of people who probably eat pork, shellfish, wear mixed fabrics and have probably never studied any religion outside of the four walls of their chosen faith have decided I’m an abomination. I’ve said it over and over, until somebody can explain to me why my marriage, my personal life can explain to me why/how it is a threat to their marriage, personal life without using religious language, I’m not interested in listening. It’s fear. Of course, if I had a marriage, it might be a bit more personal – right now, it’s a construct argument.

I wanted to feel elation when the president said he was for gay marriage. Instead, it immediately became a political debate. Did he do this for the ‘gay vote’? What votes will it cost him? I’m not stupid, it’s an election year. And in Washington, everything is about the next election. I had to explain to somebody all of the federal benefits of marriage: not just the obvious IRS tax code ones. The marrying a foreign national, the Social Security death benefits and on and on. I wanted somebody in the GOP to finally stand up and say, you know what? It doesn’t matter what happens between two consenting adults. I didn’t want to hear pundits bash gay conservatives. Sexual orientation and religion don’t belong in politics. I don’t feel threatened by my straight conservative friends heterosexual marriages and I’m going to guess they don’t feel threatened by my personal life.

Then we hear about Romney the boarding school bully. Just what we need. How can you forget if you cut off a classmates hair? Having been subject to some lovely junior high/high school bullying, I remember who spit on my face. I don’t know if they remember: I’d like to think they do. Of course the student involved was closeted. Of course.

Last Sunday, I thought maybe we can have a civil discussion about what it is like to be gay in this country, and how much it hurts. By the end of the week, I wanted to curl up in my bed and sleep. It’s been an exhausting week. It always is when people get to vote on your rights: and even when the president offers you an olive branch, it still hurts.

The road to equality is long and painful. I prefer knowing my enemies. I applaud Mr. Obama and Mr. Biden for their public change in position. In a few years, hopefully this will be viewed as a moment like President Johnson’s introduction of the Civil Rights Act. Courage isn’t often loud: courage is standing up for your beliefs when you have something to lose. Maybe that is what I needed to hear all week: not Romney the bully, the political gains/losses or did Biden force Obama’s hand. What I needed to hear was that when all is said and done, hopefully Obama and Biden will be remembered for standing up for what is right when it could cost them their jobs. And that type of courage should always be celebrated.

March Insanity

March 20, 2012

I usually enjoy March: the days getting longer, the fun of the basketball games and the general awakening after a usually long winter.

This year? I think I might start by pulling my hair out. I’m over the war on the non-white heterosexual male. Over it. The latest shot? The a legislature in Idaho asking if a woman really would know if it’s rape or not.

Really? Between Susan G. Komen and Planned Parenthood, this simply has to end. Where are the men speaking up in defense of the reproductive choices for the women in their lives? Where are the brothers, sons, fathers, husbands saying my spouse is my partner: she is as strong as I am, she is worth as much as I am, she has the right to make her own choices regarding her health. And yes, stupid representative from Idaho, somebody knows when she or he has been raped.

Where are the men? The silence of the so called liberal men disgusts me almost as much as the conservative war on women by the right. Men, by sheer luck of being an XY instead of an XX, are part of the ruling elite: even if they are not part of the 1-15%. Conservative dialog is part of the process: hatred is not.

Equality is intimidating. It’s time for the men who say they are liberal, who say they are for women’s rights to stand up and shout back to those who seek to oppress the rights of others “this is unacceptable.” The era of Nixon’s Silent Majority is long gone. The stakes are much too high.

The Angry Moderate Rant from Tax Time

February 8, 2012

I’m angry.  And by angry, I mean ready to hop-up-and-down-throw-a-temper-tantrum-mad.  Like this:

Wicked mad.

Wicked mad.

 

I filed my taxes I was smacked again by the inequity of the system.  The NY Times had an article confirming that 47% of American households do not pay Federal income taxes.  Given the fact I’m in the lower 53% for income in tax year 2011, I more than fumed.   I am not going to get into property taxes (paid), gas tax (paid), state income tax (paid, higher rate too).  I’m hoping mad over the federal tax code.  In the past two weeks, I have heard four people state they received more back from the Federal government than they paid into the system.  Say what?  Yup. Paid for not having enough income.  I’m so doing something wrong.

The Federal tax code simply has to be one of the most privileged pieces of stuff created by the Federal government.  Married? Tax break.  Home owner? Tax break (I enjoy this one: however, it is beyond elitist).  Have kids? At least one tax break.  Investment income? Tax break.  And on and on.

I would get over all of this if when I opened my state return and it didn’t say “are you legally considered married by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts but unable to claim so on your Federal return?”.  Flat out: are you gay? Yes.  Why yes, I am.  Thanks for reminding me of all the tax breaks I lose because the Federal government considers me less of a citizen than the person who sits next to me on a subway.  Let me try to figure out with my partner who can claim the kid(s), who can claim the house just so we can bring down our tax burden to that of our heterosexually married peers.  While I’m on this lament also send me such a partner to share these issues.

While those in Washington talk about the small businesses that are the little engine that could of the American economy, where are the tax breaks for small business owners? The real tax breaks that prevent double taxation on the same dollar?  The ones that actually give credit for building a successful business?

Sigh. The tax code drives me nuts.

Can I blame the people who receive more than they pay in back? Meh. It’s the code.  I do believe that everybody should pay Federal income tax.  I also am intrigued by the idea of a flat tax without deductions and single filing only.  I haven’t done enough nerd number crunching to see how it would actually work.

My mood was bad enough and then it was Rick’s night.  Dear Republicans in Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri and (sadly) Colorado: have you guys lost your collective minds?  Or better yet to any woman who voted for Santorum, have you lost your ever lasting mind? More than Newt, more than Mitt and far and away more than Ron Paul, Rick Santorum has all but declared an open war on women and our rights to make decisions on our own health.  And this man has won more states than anybody else in the GOP primary.  Rick Santorum lost re-election to the US Senate by more than double digits.  Do you know how hard that is? And he is now the person who has the most victories.

I despise the primary system (don’t get me started on how I feel the caucuses are completely slanted against shift workers).  I have an issue with the amount of money wasted, the mindless bickering and the general anger.  For me to vote for the GOP, it takes a lot: like not having sex with an intern. I’ve never voted in a primary.  This year, I will do both.  I will vote in the GOP primary. Why? The simple thought of President Gingrich or President Santorum keeps me up at night.

In most states, you can still switch your party affiliation if you have a closed primary in your state.  I urge you to look at the Republican slate and ask the simple question: if one of them was to become POTUS would you pick.  And vote for that person.  You don’t have to vote for them in the general election: but it’s time the moderates take back control.

Why It Does Take a Village

January 22, 2012

I watched the South Carolina primary returns last night.  Most of the speeches recycled stump speech with the “call your friends in Florida”.  Rick Santorum gave his babblific speech where he recycled his line about writing a book in response to Hilary Clinton’s It Takes A Village called It Takes A Family.  Ok, how about both?  Does it take a family to raise a secure child: yes.  Do the historic family structures exist in most cases? No.  Using my family for an example: I live in Boston.  My parents and brother live in Tennessee, my sister and her family live in Oklahoma.  Is it ideal? Yes and no.  We all like the area of the country we live in: aside from some weather issues!  No because to get to see each other it’s a 1-2 airport shuffle.

Santorum is living in this world where people can stay in the area they are raised, close to their families.  Look, I work in biotech.  My brother-in-law works as an engineer in telecom, my sister-in-law is a university professor.  None of these jobs can easily be moved to be close together.  Does that mean that we are not close? Nope.  It means that when a family member need help, we often rely on the village.

What Santorum seems to miss is that we are all in this together.  If a friend (or a friend of a friend) needs a meal delivered, clothing donated.  I do what I can.  Why? I want somebody to do the same if something was to happen to one of my loved ones.  Santorum seems to forget that we don’t live in an era where there are 3-4 generations of the same family in the same village.  As we have become a more mobile society, with smaller families, in many ways we have become more interconnected with others.  If I need a ride from the mechanic, calling my family would be useless: calling a friend, easy.

The underlying aspect of Santorum’s statements are disturbing.  There is a decline in the ‘traditional’ family: how much of this is tied to the high levels of incarceration of minority populations? The lack of adequate education available in rural and inner city areas?  Santorum doesn’t get it: when we work together to improve the quality of life for everybody, our social structures improve and we increase opportunity for everybody.  I don’t want Rick Santorum defining my support system.  I’ll take my whacky village of friends and family.

Fashion and the Politics of Hair

January 21, 2012

First, for the important news of the week.  It snowed in Boston. Twice. Yeah!!  Now for the truly mundane.  Had a minor shopping trip last week with a friend of mine (ok, not really minor in the fact I was actually IN A MALL but work with me).  I realize I’m not the fashionista I once was when I worked for the company from hell.  But given what was FOR SALE I maintain that wearing Dansko’s, khakis and sweater, shirt or t-shirt depending on the occasion is the most sane way of dressing.

The first thing that scared me?

Um, at least it's orange?

Um, at least it's orange?

 

This odd item was at Lord and Taylor.  We were pretty sure it wasn’t a single leg warmer for an elephant.  It appears to be a tube dress for an adult. Ok, growing up when this was fashionable-the-first-time, I shudder that we are returning to the economics of the Ford/Carter/early Regan eras based on what we are being shown as acceptable in the fashion world.  Let’s face it: dress well, feel good.  Putting that on, even if I was a size negative 2, I wouldn’t feel good.  I’d feel lost, misguided, wondering if my friends were secretly plotting to get me on the auditions of American Idol so they could mock me.  As I wondered how such a garment could impact the primary season, my friend pointed out the obvious, most people are too fat to wear that.  Uh, yeah. Sad thing is, most people don’t have her common sense.  I’m still not convinced it wasn’t a dog blanket for a German Shepherd or something. Ok, I really hope it was a small dog apparel item gone wrong that somehow wound up with a designer label.

The fashion crisis only became worse when we went into DSW.  Ok. SERIOUSLY? These are the “styles”.  Note, if you have a kid, urge him/her to become an orthopedic surgeon specializing in ankles.  In about 20 years, there is going to a be a BOOM in the need for ankle replacements.

Hi, I'm here for my PT appointment. . .

Hi, I'm here for my PT appointment. . .

 

For the evenings!

For the evenings!

 

The great shopping debacle led me to realize this is wrong with this country.  We are settling for bad fashion people!  How can we possibly accept the current slate of GOP candidates? How can we take them seriously?  I mean, look at their hair!

Psst, next time dye the sideburns

Psst, next time dye the sideburns

 

Hey, Mitt, can I borrow some of that gel stuff?

Hey, Mitt, can I borrow some of that gel stuff?

 

Stacey and Clinton are around somewhere. . .

Stacey and Clinton are around somewhere. . .

 

Proving that one popular night-time pundit is right: a vote for Herman Cain, is a vote for well, the best dressed GOPer (and hence, not on the ballot).

Of course you can trust me! I won Thumbs up 7up!

Of course you can trust me! I won Thumbs up 7up!