Archive for the 'politics' category

July 8th, 2005

» I see London

Two very different things.

First, my general urge these days to smack most Americans soundly, straight across the face. An urge that started right after 9/11 and has continued on, diminishing and flaring up but pretty much always there, even if mostly at a lull.

First there was this bit from Rick Steves, who does an admirable job of not showing his own politics, one way or the other. Personally I agree with the Danish gentleman, but honestly even if I didn’t I’ve always found that sort of imperious command to pray for anything really off-putting. Apart from a prayer for peace, actually. Asking people to pray for peace is particularly nonreligious and non-nationed, in my mind. Asking a foreigner (in particular) to pray for OUR troops is, I think, exactly the sort of thing that gives Europeans the (probably correct) impression that lots of us are giant asshats.

So I’m really loving this petition about the recent London bombings. That’s another trouble with Americans. Only getting bent out of shape when things come into our narrow little focus — when we can imagine them happening to us. We never cared about terrorism till it came to our doorstep. We don’t care about famine or genocide or the zillion things we could be doing for the world’s impoverished. For our environment. For the health of the globe. So we get in this big self-righteous tizzy and everyone panicks and runs around and acts all angry and superior.

I guess it’s the dehumanization I worry about. And yeah, the people behind attacks like this aren’t acting humanely, but it’s so easy to slide right into a whole ideology of blind hate. People just casually saying that they’d like to just get it over with and obliterate Iran and Iraq, or Afghanistan, or whatever. That we should just nuke them. And I think when you say something like that, whether or not you mean it is irrelevant. Because it starts warping the way you think, and the way the people around you think. If we all say that with the tacit understanding that we don’t *really* mean it, pretty soon that unsaid understanding goes away, and we do start to really believe it’s the best option.

People don’t respect the power of words. It’s all us and them these days and I must be just as guilty. And my anger at the angry people is futile. It’s not like I can peel my Americanism away. It’s not like I didn’t get tight-throated, reading about London. And I feel so bound, wanting to express my concern and caring and not wanting to be That American. And certainly not wanting to make this about me not wanting to be That American, but having done so anyway. I’m unable to speak from any other perspective but this.

Um, so. I didn’t mean to go on like that, really. But there is the second thing I promised, which is (was): Katy’s bachelorette party last night. Great fun. We had supper at A Taste of India (and oh Steph, I was so thrown back to Ormskirk and next time you visit we must eat there), then went to the Gay 90′s for the drag show. Turns out a few of us went to highschool with the bartender, who mixed things quite strongly for us, though I only had two (enough still that I was in giggleland) as I still had to be up for work this morning. Oh 6:20 how I sometimes loathe thee.

What we saw of the drag show was fun. It went on for quite a long time, and we wandered off sometimes to dance, and sometimes for the bathroom. (The bathroom, incidentally, was an interesting experience, as one of the stalls had a door and one did not.) Drag queens, on the whole, have the most amazing legs. It all left me wishing I had the legs of a drag queen.

Anyhow. Instead of sitting here updating this and fiddling with my eyelashes, I suppose I ought to try to get some work done.

November 12th, 2004

» last word re: politics (for today, anyway)

Just grazing through random people’s livejournals. Can’t read much of them because mostly it’s election stuff which just makes me terrified and despondent if I overindulge. One gentleman put his dilemma very eloquently on the morning of Nov 3, though, and I thought I would share:

It’s hard to shave when you’re in the fetal position.

I know people everywhere (notice I didn’t say ‘sane people’, even though I wanted to [and sorry I still couldn't help mentioning I was thinking it, which is probably even worse than having said it in the first place (but proves I understand it's offensive, and that counts for something, right?)]) have been having hysterics for a week and a half now, but sometimes it really is hard to get on with the business of living when you feel your proverbial neck’s on the chopping block.

At a slight tangent — I haven’t read any proposed civil union legislation (I’m assuming there is some) because I’m lazy, but I’m wondering: Has anyone in the civil union camp discussed what to do about straight people who might want them? Because if we somehow wound up with the completely ridiculous (and dangerous and backwards) situation of having a particular institution that’s sometimes called marriage and sometimes a civil union, I would want a civil union.

November 5th, 2004

» this week

This week I am struggling with being an American. With what it means to be an American now. With whether I want to be one any more.

This week I have discovered that there are the aware and the asleep. And this week the aware are scared. They are frustrated and sad and angry and hopeless and hopeful and they are fleeing and fighting and they are wrestling with this notion of America the same way I am, and this notion is huge and strong and bright, and this notion is Jacob’s angel. And there is no good answer to this.

This week people are breathing a sigh of relief because they can remain asleep for another four years. Because they have put someone in control who is big and loud and blustering and it is largeness and noise and confidence that we like here. It is easiness and emptiness that pleases us. Because we do not like to work for anything, because we like to be told what to do and want and be, because we prefer to crown someone stupid like us than someone in whom we suspect a touch of arrogance. This week we have said to the rest of the world: Look at us! We are big and loud and stupid and we are proud of it!

And this week the real question is Do I matter here? Will my voice, my voice at its loudest and brightest and most beautiful, my one human voice, will it, can it, make any difference? Do I fight or do I fly?

What reason is left in a place where the majority believes equality means getting what they want? Where so many people believe that freedom is doing everything possible to keep two men or two women from loving one another? What freedom is there in theocracy, and what reason is left in a place where people name that democracy?

This week people are choosing their issues the way they are choosing their religiousness. This week people are saying I voted on terrorism not the economy, I voted on the economy not morality, I voted on morality not the war. Well I say to you, I tell all of you, red and blue and in between: You voted for everything. When you vote you are giving your approval to every last thing that candidate stands for. You may choose which passages of your holy book to follow in your own life but you do not get to choose parts of a candidate. The stink of this, the blood and shit and suffering that will come of this (that comes of everything, that would come of any candidate), this was chosen in its entirety. When you vote for a Bush who wants to Hunt them terrorists down you are voting for a Bush who believes a woman who loves a woman should pay higher taxes than a woman who loves a man. And if you do not care about that, who will? If you do not care about anything, who will make this world a safe and just and beautiful place? And how can you deserve safety and justice and beauty if you do not care enough to create it?

This week I am struggling to understand how anyone in this country can support legislated bigotry. This week I am trying very hard to figure out how people can hate so blindly. How people can be so afraid of the wrong things.

This week I am feeling defeated and I am feeling tired and lost. I am so very far away from my America. I am so very far from home and from hope.

And I know I will pass through this. I know there is nothing to do but keep moving forward. But I do not know if here is the place for me any more. I do not believe people will change without wanting it, and life for the majority is so very comfortable right now. And I know that if this country is to change there must be a fight, but I do not know if that fight is winnable. I do not know if my life might be better spent protecting my beliefs elsewhere.

Atheist that I am, this week I am praying for peace. Whatever that means.

November 5th, 2004

» politics, but barely

Amusingly enough, this morning on the news they had a short piece to inform people that you cannot just go to Canada, that Canada has waiting requirements for citizenship just like the US does. It makes me feel good that so many other people are, like me, so fed up with the deep stupidity of a large portion of the US populace that they are considering moving to another country.

On a side note: Does anyone know much about the government in Switzerland? I’m thinking if things get really deeply bad here I may have to consider moving somewhere where I don’t know the language, and so I’ll have to start learning it now. I suppose that makes Germany a possibility.

And the other amusing bit from the news. They actually showed this graphic this morning, which is one of the funniest things I’ve seen in ages. I just took the link of the first one I could find doing a websearch — I don’t know where it’s originally from, and I a) didn’t want to hotlink to someone else’s image without permission and b) didn’t feel like uploading it to my own space right now. So just click. I’m all over the USC.

October 14th, 2004

» retraction

I woke up this morning feeling bad that I’d discussed George Bush’s spittle. Not because it’s disgusting (which it is), but because I would hate to have anyone discuss my spittle, on or off the internet. And I don’t think he actually had a stroke, which means his drooping and crazy grinning doesn’t really matter.

Just to clarify, then: I don’t dislike Bush because he looks like a monkey. I have some fundamental differences of opinion with him on how the idea that people should care for one another should be translated into policy. We disagree on what it means to care.

Additionally, I am very, very worried about his refusal to discuss Roe v. Wade. I would have been much more comfortable if he’d just come out and stated his views on it. The very fact of omission seems as bad as lying, even though I have a pretty damn good guess about his stance on Roe v. Wade. Also, I would not be so worried if I were more confident about the way this election will go. I’m hoping hard, very hard, for a Kerry victory, and I’ve heard so much of ‘Anyone But Bush’ that I’m heartened, but the polls are still dangerously close. I’m hoping that will spur ‘unlikely’ voters to actually vote, provided they think of the horrible mess from last time.

In other news, I have new new shoes. The black ones I got last week, as adorable as they were, gave me a wretched blister, so back they went. In their place I managed to pay $30 for a $50 pair of hushpuppies (due to a confusing sale sign, thank you Penney’s). I go around all day feeling positively like I’m wearing slippers. They’re fantastic.

That is all.