My Nephew, Alex P. Keaton


Sympathy card

Sympathy card (Photo credit: artnoose)

It’s no secret that my younger nephew, N2 is a Republican. During the election of 2008, he used to yell rebuttals at Obama signs as they drove by and while he has outgrown that, he took yesterday’s election results a bit hard.

“Who won?” he asked my sister when she roused him for school.

“Well, N2,” she said, gently, “Obama won.”

He was mute for a moment and then, “But how? Why? Don’t they understand?”

Because for N2, this election was about the economy. It was about taxes and the 53%, which is where he firmly plants himself and his parents.

There were no vagina politics or healthcare concerns for him. He doesn’t have a vagina, and healthcare for him is a moot point. His parents are middle-class and professionally white-collar.

More to the point, he lives in an area of the country that has an unemployment rate of less than 5%. Jobs actually go begging.

Oh, there is poverty. He’s never seen it himself though he’s driven past it on his way to his paternal grandmother’s. It exists just off the edge of the peripheral vision of the city.  Some endemic and some uprooted from Chicago when that city tore down its low income housing and the inhabitants fled to the river cities along the border Illinois and Iowa border.

Like a lot of people in my hometown, N2 has limited patience with those of the generational poverty crowd. Needing help and even taking it is fine but it isn’t a first resort and certainly isn’t something you do forever and then pass on to kids and grandkids.

You work hard. You follow the rules. Pay your taxes and save and you live a good life because you’ve done the things necessary to make it happen. That’s how his father does it. That’s how his grandfather did it. That’s how N2 plans to do it.

He doesn’t think it is fair that some people get to skirt around the self-restraint, work, sacrifice, and in a lot of ways, he is not wrong.

It’s like that bible story of the prodigal son, who demands his inheritance and then pisses it away, crawling back later when he has nothing left. His father, instead of taking the kid up on his offer of working to make it up, simply hands him more. When the prodigal’s older brother expresses some rightful resentment, he is told not to be such a jerk.

That’s how N2 sees it. The rules for him are different, more demanding and requiring that he shoulder his own weight and pony up for the slackers besides.

And while it is a little more complicated than that, he is just eleven. Life is concrete and nuance-less, and some of us never really leave the idea of middle school fairness behind. Which is also not all that bad a thing.

After his mother calmed him down and got him out the door to the bus stop, his dad joined him and N2 ranted himself up into a frenzy again.

“I just don’t get it.”

And though it’s tempting to try to explain the politics of social values, race, gender and those who consider themselves too educated and too far up the food chain to dirty themselves worrying about anything as grimy, slimy as economic realities, it would be a waste of time.

N2 is a simple guy in the making. Family first. Work ethic. Loyalty to friends and community. Politics is and always will be local for him.

And that’s not a terrible thing.

Those who puzzled along with N2 yesterday, maybe still today, are not concerned with the great social agenda as much as they are with impact of a sputtering economy on their families and communities. It’s not wrong to care about those things either.

I ran across FB updates and op-ed/blog posts reminding these people “hey, I lived under Bush and survived, so just shut the fuck up and do the same as I did”, which they’ve forgotten was whine and whinge and carry on like toddlers more often than not. Though they seem to think they were the Dalai Lama and Jon Stewart rolled into one during Bush/Cheney, I remember it differently.

“My condolences,” I said to N2 when he appeared in the background as I chatted to my sister and mother on FaceTime.

“Huh?”

“She’s saying she is sorry that Romney lost,” my sis translated.

“Oh, thanks,” he smiled.

That’s all people want. To know that you know their disappointment and respect their right to it. Saying, “I know you are disappointed just like the time I was but I wasn’t as big a baby as you are being” is not empathy. Just saying.

Pitfalls of Email, Snowpocalypse and the Fiscal Cliff


Red winter coat

Red winter coat (Photo credit: chlywhite)

Had hoped to avoid all US election related updates until at least this evening, but I was foiled by my gmail account of all things. It contained a less than subdued gloat headline from the Huffpo.

I hate Huffpo but I foolishly linked to it via Facebook once and now it spams my mailbox with its tripe. Not consistently though, so I don’t know if I am actually on its mailing list or if my sporadic following of links back to its equally vacuous Canadian version remind it that I exist now and again, and it feels obligated to send me a missive.

Anyway, four more years. Rah. Rah. Whatever. Nothing has changed. My course is set and at some point next year that course and the United States of America will part ways.

I did chuckle a bit when I read a post at ZeroHedge that noted the stock market reacted to the Obama win by promptly dropping.

Not because of Obama but because the odds of a fiscal cliff nightmare showdown went up and the odds of resolution went down quite a bit. Best advice I saw regarding the personal finance health of all US taxable persons came from Simon Black at Sovereign Man who said,

after December 31st,

- Income tax rates are going up
– Capital gains rates are going up
– Rates on dividends are going up
– Estate and gift tax exclusions are going down. Dramatically.

If you are a US taxpayer, you now have 53 days to get your tax affairs in order.

53 days left! It’s like the anti-Christmas.

Meanwhile, a snowstorm blasts it’s way through our neck of Canada. What began as “possibly 5 to 10 cms” has morphed into probably 25cms with a bit of freezing rain, blowing, drifting and shit for visibility.

Had I not desperately needed the massage I was scheduled for early this morning, I wouldn’t have ventured forth at all. But between allergies and hormonally driven semi-migraines, I was left with no choice.

Once in town, it seemed foolish not to stop at the fitness centre for a brisk walk. Here I found a semi pulling an empty flatbed jacked neatly between the curb and a lamppost and nicely impeding inflowing traffic.

It only got better.

At the Safeway, a young blond woman nearly smashed me flat in the pedestrian cross walk because I nearly slipped and she was driving far too fast for the condition of the pavement.

On the way back to our hamlet, I passed one semi in the ditch to next encounter an oversize cube van blocking the entire road. How he managed to get his back half dangling over the banked ditch and his front half at a diagonal cutting off the oncoming traffic almost completely, I still can’t work out in my mind’s eye. Some people are just very talented winter drivers.

At this point, as I was slowly turning myself around, I realized that Dee’s bus would have to travel this road home plus quite a few other back country roads that weren’t nearly as wide or snow cleared. I headed back into town, swung by school for her and took the very long way back home. Long because it involved using the highways and because the blowing made visibility even worse as town receded and was replaced by fields and little else.

Remarkably I am still maintaining a fair bit of zen about this early winter thing. I have considerably less zen about the gloating on my FB feed and I might need to hide more people. While my conservative friends have kept their disappoint largely under control, some liberal friends have been smug fucks for the most part, but I feel bad for people who are now having to resign themselves to another four years under the boot heel (their perspective) of a guy they loathe. I lived under Reagan, Bush I and Bush II, so I get that. Knowing also that there really is no difference in what now happens as opposed to what would have happened under a Romney win, I see little reason for happiness or sadness but I am inclined to be more tolerant of the sad. For now. I believe in a statue of limitations. A reasonable time frame but one that definitely is finite.

And nobody gloats as cattily or with as much “in your face assholes who disagreed with me!!” as a liberal does. Except maybe O’Reilly, Hannity and Rush – and they are entertainers who are paid to do it. My FB friends are just being mean girls for the mean girls in the choir.

I am tired of hearing about people’s vaginas though. And I don’t want to hear about the prepubescent vaginas of my friends’ daughters. Ewww.

Snow continues to pile as I type. Did we have a storm this bad last winter? Once possibly. I think it might be the norm this winter. Damn my sister and her prescient knees.

The winter that Rob and I met, it began snowing here in early November and just snowed like a bastard all winter long. Shoveled snow piled alongside roads and sidewalks until it was like going through tunnels.

I don’t recall what it was like in Iowa that winter. Not that bad because I was teaching at Hoover High in Des Moines, I am fairly certain I walked outdoors at lunch nearly everyday. It was an icy fucker of a winter though and led to a Noah’s Ark spring that nearly did me in with a basement flooding while I was trying to sell in a housing market with the bubble about to burst.

Memories of fun times. Sigh.

However, I am two for two on the “suck it up and drive; it’s just winter” meter. If a little snowstorm stops you in Alberta, you might as well just make like a bear.

That is Enough


English: Logo for the Our America Initiative

English: Logo for the Our America Initiative (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sometime later today (except for this blog and photobombing my own FB feed), I head offline for a few days. I can pretty much count on no one around here feeding me POTUS election results because, frankly, no one in my neck of Canada really cares all that much. While the folks out East gobble up election coverage with the same hysteria that Americans do, we out here in the hinterlands just don’t dwell close enough (apart from Vancouver) to worry over much about the cry baby/sore loser fears, and we puzzle a bit about all the smug gloating. Canadians really don’t do either and consider it one of those undesirable American traits that feed our own sense of superiority – only quietly. Arched eyebrow, slight eye roll and maybe a slightly inaudible cluck of the tongue.

So, if I manage to avoid accidental contact with print media, I might be able to remain ignorant of who is POTUS until my mother arrives for her visit.

That’s my focus of the next several days. My mommy is coming to visit me. The only member of my family and friend set who will brave the trip up to bask in my company. No one else really loves me enough, which is why we trek down there once a year, enduring questionable sleep and GMO-laden foods.

I think my plan is a sound one. I stole it from another FB friend who is employing a similar tactic though she plans to be gone for weeks. Living in Michigan, I don’t know how she will manage blissful ignorance but I admire her spirit.

She is one of the few FB friends I have who didn’t either unfriend me or hide my feed during the last few months as I railed against the lack of fact, tact and general disregard for buying in totally to the age of soundbite and meme politics. One person even blocked me from posting on the blog s/he writes, which is interesting given how infrequently I comment anywhere in the blogosphere anymore.

It’s been an ugly wrap up to a interminably long POTUS cycle (two years and $6billion dollars – they should be asking for forgiveness for such a waste of time and resource), and in the end, nothing much will change. No Mayan end of the world. No zombies. No notably shifts in culture or socioeconomic levels.

When I compare it to a Canadian election cycle – six mercifully short weeks at the end of which politicians actually go back to work – I could weep.

Biggest awareness moment for me is that I have changed. Enough that I need to do some real thinking about quite a few things.

In the past reactionary, lesser evil politics worked well enough for me. Now? Not so much.

I used to be a big supporter of women’s rights but I see now that it is a distraction issue and that civil/human rights issues and laws that don’t distinguish gender, religion, or “race” is really where effort must be put. It only serves the masters when we scramble for scraps and fight amongst each other.

One of my feed updates today said that I just don’t care about how anyone feels – good or bad – tomorrow in terms of the POTUS election aftermath. A friend noted that I seemed to care a lot, but she read it wrong. I care about all the issues that weren’t discussed as folks bought wholesale into the little details they think are at stake and about the continuing degradation of the voting process in the US, but the drama and the gloating tomorrow – because it will be out of proportion, mean-spirited in a personal way that will ruin friendships and hurt family relations – I don’t care about that.

This election isn’t personal in an intimate sense for me, but it is a watershed.

If your guy won, congrats though I still think that he will have no great impact on events to come. They are bigger than he is and the Europeans, Canadians, Chinese, Russians and all the rest have it right – America doesn’t matter as much as she thinks she does.

If your guy lost, I am sorry. Nothing bad is going to result though. Your life is going to be pretty much the same as it was last week and last year. A POTUS can’t really create jobs or fix economies or stop hurricanes from inundating neighborhoods that really just sit too close to the sea now that the climate is shifting (and he can’t do anything about that either). Chin up. People have lived under POTUS’s they didn’t vote for before and even believed was the anti-Christ. They survived without any visible scarring, so take heart.

I will cheer a bit in Gary Johnson gets enough votes to qualify the Libertarians as a real party with a right to federal funding for their candidates. A third-party emerging from this farce is a bright spot to be sure.

Enjoy the election theatre this evening. I am going to teach a yoga class , read a few chapters of The Mark of Athena to Dee before tucking her in. take a long shower with my husband and then curl up with my iPad to finish a book about Henry VII. Fascinatingly, we can virtually nowhere since the days when paranoid monarchs ruled us through fear and favoritism.

Tomorrow is another day for thinking about things. Scarlett may have been self-interested, but she had her priorities straight.

Home


alberta summer landscape

alberta summer landscape (Photo credit: Jodene)

Yesterday I renewed my driver’s license. I have been here that long. Alberta doesn’t have an equivalent to the DMV offices down in the States. The provinces farm out as many petty bureaucratic tasks as possible to private contractors, so in The Fort, we renew our driver’s licenses at an insurer’s, which allows handles marriage and vehicle licenses in addition to registration for provincial health cards and voting.

Depending on the time of the month and the time of day, wait times range from 5 or ten minutes to literally seconds. I walked in and right up to a woman behind the counter who I vaguely know because her son goes to Dee’s school and they have been in the same class on and off since kindergarten.

She took the notification I was mailed, scanned it, asked me if my height and weight were roughly the same – so I lied about the weight part, which is a bit more now, had me sign twice and took my money. Next came the non-smiling photo in which I look grim but on a good hair day and I walked out with a temporary license and the assurance that within a week or so my new license would appear by post.

Five or six minutes – tops. Couldn’t help but remember my last trip to the DMV in Des Moines, which I had to strategically plan for minimum time suckage and it still took over 30 minutes and required me to pass through security. Everything even remotely governmentally related means passing the inspection of this or that rent a cop. Aside from the passport office, I have yet to need to run a security gauntlet for anything here in Canada. Even then, the security guards were jovial types who allowed Dee to go inside and wave to her Dad as he waited to renew his passport last spring.

As the time comes closer for me to take my citizenship test and acquire Canadian status for Dee and myself, it’s little things like these that reinforce for me that I am more home than I ever was in the Midwest state where I was born in the U.S.

While the Roman circus that is a POTUS election cycle drives the bigger discounts – among that Dee and I have more civil rights here than we did there – the smaller things have bigger impact.

Two weeks ago, our ward councillor threw an open house for those of us who live on the outer edges of our county. Rob and I attended, chatted with him and though it is obvious that he is an ambitious young guy who undoubtedly has a future on the larger provincial stage, it was also clear that he knew our area, its issues and that he wanted us to come to him when we need help navigating the bureaucracy.

Back in Iowa, whether it was Dubuque or Des Moines, ordinary people aren’t afforded access to those that make or influence the rules even at the most local level, which is where it matters most of all. Access comes with status that is acquired mostly by birth but also by wealth and network. Our councilor owns businesses where he can be found and will take the time to talk with you (and take notes while he is doing it). He answers emails personally. He usually knows about the issue before you bring it up.

Even at the provincial level, our MLA representative replies promptly to emails and follows up. I have even gotten prompt replies from our MP’s (Member of Parliament) office offering advice and assistance.

Granted, Canada is smaller and Alberta is smaller still, and maybe that’s some of it, but there is a commitment to the importance of citizens that I never witnessed in the land of my birth.

“You should have been born here,” Rob said once. “Meeting me just set the universe right in that respect for you.”

It’s difficult though to disengage from the U.S. Just stop caring about what a cess pool Congress has become and how corrupted the office of the Presidency is after Bush and now Obama.

There was an article in a UK paper this week discussing the fact that while the rest of world realizes that whoever the POTUS is, he’s nearly powerless to affect matters in his own country let alone the world (unless it is through military meddling), most Americans labor under the delusion that they and their government is a vital player and that other countries care deeply about the outcome of this election. The truth though is that while they think that Obama might be a slightly better choice, nothing catastrophic will happen if it ends up being Romney.

My concern is mainly for the state of freedom, which is losing ground daily down there. People I know, well and only virtually, vehemently believe that the American way is the freest and bestest of anywhere but it’s not. And that they don’t know this … is a bit maddening.

I want to tell people “emigrate!”. If you are young(ish) and have skills, there are countries aplenty that will welcome you. Places where health care is a healthy mix of government control and private enterprise. Privacy is a right worth prizing above all other concerns. The common good is just taken as a given. Court systems routinely side with the people in matter of government over-reach. Your vote actually counts even if you don’t live in a “swing state”.

I have to work on the letting go, but someday I plan to be just as bemused by Americans and their elections as any other Canadian. It’s a process.

 

 

Wasting Myself on Facebook


facebook

facebook (Photo credit: sitmonkeysupreme)

In contrast to the 2008 election year, I have barely written a word about politics or the POTUS race here on my blog.

One of the reasons is the fact that I have decided not to vote. After all, I am working toward the disgruntled American liberal’s unicorn known as Canadian citizenship.  In terms of immigration, a person should – in my opinion – be all in or all out.  I am moving towards “all in” and this means I need to disengage from America politically though I concede it is difficult for me not to give voice to my concerns and frustration as I watch the land of my birth spiral down the toilet.

But mostly I haven’t written much because I have Facebook, which makes it easy for me to share, cut/paste and move on.  Writing a blog post requires more of my time because I have to explain my views in my own words where Facebook just needs a link and a blurb.

This morning I shared yet another article stating that President Obama still isn’t hope, change or all that remotely different from Mitt Romney despite the valiant efforts of the MSM (main stream media) to keep actual facts about the man’s first term from a public that it has stirred into an irrational frenzy over vagina politics and health care.

After my husband read the following quote:

“…during the transition itself, Bush’s Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson offered a deal to Barney Frank, to force banks to write down mortgages and stem foreclosures if Barney would speed up the release of TARP money. Paulson demanded, as a condition of the deal, that Obama sign off on it. Barney said fine, but to his surprise, the incoming president vetoed the deal. Yup, you heard that right — the Bush administration was willing to write down mortgages in response to Democratic pressure, but it was Obama who said no, we want a foreclosure crisis.”

He looked up at me and said, “Is this true? You should really blog about this rather than waste it on your Facebook friends if it is.”

It is true.  The article goes on to state that Neil Barofsky’s book, Bailout, discusses how that tax cheat, former Goldman Sachs employee and now Secretary of the Treasury, Timothy Geithner, revealed that the foreclosure mitigations were never about homeowners but about slowing down the process to allow banks the ability to slowly absorb the pain.  It was all about financial institutions for Obama – because he was their candidate not yours – before he even took his oath.

Obama the hope and change was only about hope for Wall Street, who backed his horse, and the change has allowed corporations to come to the point that they are at today. A place that allows them to pocket 93 cents of every dollar  as opposed to the mere 63 cents they collected during the administration of Bush II.

That Obama and Romney approach the near twinship on more topics than not was neatly driven home during the third Presidential debate when Romney seconded the POTUS so often it was almost embarrassing, but my Facebook friends, the majority of whom are female, many bloggers and/or political commentators in one form or another, have been drinking so much MSM kool-aid that a person might think they were already living in a Margaret Atwood dystopian novel, have their fingers in the ears or have muted my feed via the “unsubcribe”.

The truth can’t free them because the truth is too depressing to contemplate and they don’t want to hear it.

That they have been duped by yet another male politician who only finds his inner vagina when he needs actual vagina-possessors to vote for him.

If a person stops believing in the mirage the media pushes so relentlessly, the real Obama is not that inspiring. He professes to be in favor of immigration and making things easier for long-term undocumented workers to become legal Americans while sanctioning the aggressive deportation of them.  More illegal aliens – 93% of them law-abiding and productive – have been deported under the Obama regime than any other POTUS.  He’s launched a hard-ass crackdown on perfectly legal under state law medical marijuana businesses and their customers in states like California, for example, despite the fact that he has been an admitted casual drug user in the past and used that admission to sell himself as a friend of medical marijuana to get himself elected in 2008.

His administration has softly and covertly promoted Chinese investment in American infrastructure and actively pursued trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership that would off-shore American jobs even while it accused Republicans of being the reason so many American manufacturing jobs have disappeared over the last decade.

He favored charter over public schools and the linking of teacher pay to standardized test scores, removed labor protection from the FAA authorization bill, promotes the punishment of whistle-blowers, lied repeatedly about NDAA and has second term plans for expanding his kill or indefinitely incarcerate list over which he, and only he, is judge, jury and prosecutor.

In terms of women’s rights and issues, Obama is no less a man than any other man in Washington D.C., refusing to back Plan B for over the counter until it began to cost him political points with women and then refusing to make it available to teens under 17.  He supports the Hyde Amendment, which means that women who access health care via Medicaid programs have no access to abortion – even if their lives are in endanger.  He’s done nothing about predatory lending practices, which disproportionately affect women, nor has he done anything of consequence to stem the corruption in the foreclosure industry that hits women more than men as well. His amped up drug war and deportation jihad are also “women’s issues” because of the disproportionate effect that he chooses to ignore while touting instead his “johnny-come-lately” stance on birth control access.  Because it’s an election year.  And he crows about a health care act that is losing teeth by the day as employers began to strategically shift to the “part-time is the new full-time job” regime to avoid having to provide health insurance to workers once the HCA kicks in.

In 2008 he decried the Patriot Act, which as POTUS he fought to extend to 2014. He said he’d close GITMO but instead he is having it renovated. He said he’d get the troops out of Iraq, which he did, but only because the Iraqi’s kicked America out when it wanted to leave a few thousands troops behind and expected the Iraqi government to grant them immunity if they broke Iraqi law or … killed people without cause.  Apparently both things were a problem.

One of my Facebook friends responded to the article I posted with the following:

“The final point of this article is to vote for a 3rd-party candidate.  I have done so in the past, and found that my ideological stance did nothing to change things.”

But the point of voting is not to change things as much as it is merely a granting of permission or assent. Voting for X candidate or Z candidate means you are okay with what he/she is going to do and/or has already accomplished, and I find it hard to believe that anyone can be okay with the steady erosion of privacy, civil rights and the wholesale power grab of the Executive Office that includes – but isn’t restricted to – the arbitrary slaughter of civilians in the pursuit of alleged terrorists who haven’t been publicly charged or legally adjudicated.  Fine with that?  Dead children?  Or the support of Al Qaeda groups (the terrorists who supposedly caused 9/11) to topple the governments of other countries like Libya and Syria?

I wouldn’t begin to claim that Romney will be an improvement. He is such an enigma his own party is afraid of what he might or might not do, but knowingly casting a vote for Obama is to sanction all that he has done and all that he plans to do. It’s saying that you totally approve things like murder and skirting the Constitution whenever it is inconvenient.

My father, who died four years ago today, stopped voting for mainstream candidates after casting his ballot for Gerald Ford in 1976, which he did even as he encouraged my 12-year-old self to stump fervently for Jimmy Carter. He was quite proud of me despite not agreeing with me.

From 1980 on, he voted third-party. It was John B. Anderson in 1980 by the way. Unlike me, he went to his grave knowing that he never sanctioned politics that have effectively ruined what little credibility America has left as an actual democracy and plunged it -perhaps prematurely – into its twilight years though arguably that might not be a bad thing for the world in the longer run.  Dad changed nothing in the grand scheme but his efforts locally – through his work in building up a small parish credit union to an independent banking institution that has supported the efforts of thousands in my home town – counts for more than any ballot I ever cast – including the one for Obama in 2008.

Change is local. Your local candidates matter because you can access them, and they are more directly responsible to the people in their community than any POTUS ever was.

A week from this coming Tuesday, you will vote. Although I have promoted defensive and lesser evil voting before – I won’t ever again.  It’s bad for one’s karma, which always circles back at some point and it’s often bitchy when it does.

My Cousin Heckled Romney at The Iowa State Fair. The Family is So Proud.


Or maybe just I am.

Dad’s first cousin on his mom’s side, Joe Fagan, got up in GOP hopeful Mitt Romney‘s eager to be POTUS face today on the subject of Medicare and Social Security. While I don’t disagree with Romney that given its current trajectory Medicare and SS benefits aren’t particularly sustainable given the current and projected worker to retired person ratio, I applaud Joe for exposing Romney for the corp whore twat he is.

“Corporations are people, my friend.”*

Dear Universe, hear me while I scream until my tonsils burst into flames.

My earliest memories of Joe are his visits when he was attending seminary in Dubuque. He would stop by in the evenings, sometimes bringing along a fellow classmate, and he and Dad would reminisce and argue about current events and politics. It was the late 1960’s. Joe was ten years younger than my Dad, who’d served in the Navy in the last months of WWII. To say that they disagreed in those turbulent times would be understating.

Joe admired Dr. King and supported Bobby Kennedy. Dad didn’t understand civil protests and voted for Nixon – every single time.

But Dad always said, “Joe stands up for what he believes is right.”

The organization Joe worked for in Des Moines for decades until his retirement not long ago has been accused of being “socialist”, which in Iowa – indeed anywhere in America these days – is code for “not American”. But they fought for the underprivileged, the working poor, the over-looked and the people who are and will continue to bear the brunt of the economic slide.

He never sought fame or power or riches. He was a working guy with a wife, who taught school before becoming a principal, and two kids.

By standing up and not letting Romney shush him with charm and platitudes, Joe Fagan was doing what every American has the right to do – question the motives of those who seek to lead us. To rule us.

Good on , cuz!

*This statement – destined to be a POTUS 2012 classic – is apparently already available on t-shirts with bumper stickers to follow I imagine.

On Snooki’s and Former Prom Queens


2012 Republican Presidential Candidates

Image by DonkeyHotey via Flickr

If there is one thing I hate, it’s defending the less defensible of my gender from sexism. In the wake of the apparent upcoming tug of war for the hearts and minds of conservative leaning voters that pundits feel certain that Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann will wage, the stereotypes fly about in the thick and annoying manner of mosquitos on an Alberta late May evening.

The Huffington Post referenced it as “the battle of the Snooki’s” and I stumbled across a blog whose author believes that both Sarah and Michele are hot enough to settle their differences in bikinis and a mud pit.

A friend posted a reference to their combined, and supposed, brainlessness to her Facebook status that elicited a lot of yuks, but I just cringe and sigh.

Why?

Because even though there are easily just as many male politicians with batshit crazy ideas in the GOP, they are seldom the butt of jokes that infer that their gender is to blame.

It’s a given that women in the public spotlight, and especially those that dare to seek political office, can be taken down via their appearance, attacks on their single, married, mother or not choices, and by insinuating that their extra X exerts a difficult for them to control influence over emotions and their ability to think. Men are seldom, if ever, held to such stringent accounts. And so even if Palin and Bachmann are intellectually deficient, and I don’t believe that based on their levels of success, unless the same measures of fitness are applied to male candidates as well, this is not a good plan of attack for those opposed to either woman making a showing in the coming 2012 primary season.

The reason I feel this way is simple. Whatever modus operandi is sanctioned for use against them will be used again and again in the future. It will deter women from entering politics and marginalize or sink those that do.

And Palin and Bachmann are credible threats even if you don’t think much of them, their politics or the religious, conservative and very white-power oriented views they represent. What they are pushing sells and given the dire straits of many Americans – particularly the white working class which feels increasingly left behind and victimized – allowing them, Palin especially, a legitimate access to playing the victim role, is bad strategy.

Underestimating women seeking power roles, in my experience, nearly always bites back hard. Make no mistake that both Palin and Bachmann are in politics for what it brings them and not what they can do for their country, and people like that should be taken seriously.