Sour Grapes

I’ve noticed something this week.  Moreso than I noticed in the week or so after the election.  I’ve noticed a LOT of whining. 

Not from the Democrats.  Not from the people that got hung up at the gates trying to get to the Mall to see the inauguration.   Not even from most of the media (and yes, I’m including some conservative media in this).  But from Republicans.  And not just any Republicans.  But the ones who chuckled at the Democrats who were depressed after the election in 2004 and even 2000.  I remember vividly hearing Republicans say, “Stop whining!” when Bush was re-elected over Kerry.  I recall Republicans teling Democrats to just get used to the fact that Bush was the President instead of Gore in 2000.  “It’s better for the country” was the common refrain back then.  All this complaining and doomsaying would be bad for our nation.  It was divisive

So… I have to wonder… why are these SAME Republicans whining, wailing, doomsaying and gnashing their teeth now?  Is it somehow better in their opinion to complain about an elected leader (and dare I say, a leader elected by a far larger margin of victory) when it’s not someone of their own political party?  Becaues that is exactly how it looks.  It makes them look like hypocrites.  It  makes them look petty.  And small.  And worst of all, small-minded.  

I want to beleive the best of people.  I really, really do.  But I have had it up to here with the double talk.  The old “it’s okay for me and mine to do it but if you dare to try it then you’re toast.”   And I probably wouldn’t care but people who have thought and believed as I do have been called all the names in the book for the last eight years.  We have been called unpatriotic.   Simply because we questioned our President’s decisions.  Simply because we don’t like the guy.  “We’re at war!  You need to support our President during a war!”  (I could say it’s just as important to support the President during a financial crisis too.)  (And not to mention that we’re still at war.)

You know what?  No, you don’t.  I’m not saying we could/should/etc march on Washington D.C and stage a coup.  I’m saying that in the privacy of our homes, among friends/coworkers/people on the street and on our blogs, we should be able to question our government without a group of small-minded individuals questioning our love for our country.  

So yes.  These whiners, these Republicans who are so very bitter about the new President, are allowed to bitch, moan, whine, complain and doomsay.  I’ll defend to the death their right to do so.  But I don’t ever want to hear those same people tell me I cannot do the same.  Never again.

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A new day has come

I couldn’t think of a title that was important enough to express how I feel about today.  So you get a cliche.  I’m sorry.

Long before I thought it was possible that Obama would be our president, I looked forward to this day.  I’d say I’ve been looking forward to this ever since that gray and rainy and cold and miserable Wednesday in early November back in 2004  when I learned Bush had four more years in the White House.  I’m really sorry if any of my readers like him or voted for him or any of that but DEAR LORD.  I’ve never particularly liked him.  And over the years, that feeling has soured even further.  In the last year, I’ve felt more and more desperate to see him leave office.  The state of this nation has deteriorated so rapidly and so throughoughly that even I am shocked at how completely this country has gone down the crapper in the last eight years.

All that aside, today is not just about seeing Bush leave office, but it’s more about seeing Obama take office.  This is historical.  This is HUGE.

Words are failing me.

I’m just proud of my country.  And I’m inspired.  And I’m excited.

I’m going to be watching a lot of television today.  I want to be able to tell my kids when they’re older about this.  I want to be able to tell my grandkids.

I don’t know what else to say.  Happy Inauguration Day, everyone.

One last post about the election…

I know we’re all sick to death about the election.  Even those of us whose guy won last night.  Maybe ESPECIALLY those of us whose guy won last night (wasn’t yesterday completely nerve-wracking??).  I am so completely glad that I can watch television without fear of seeing ANOTHER election ad.  No more will I open my mailbox to be bombarded with postcards and mailers promoting or bashing a candidate.  That’s just awesome right there.

But before let this historic (and make no mistake, this election was completely and utterly historic) election fade into history and get on with important topics such as “When Will Evie Sleep In Her Crib?” and “Liam Is Single-Handedly Threatening My Sanity” and “When Will I Be Able To Take Thyroid Meds Again?”, I have a few last things to say about it all.

There are a lot of posts out there today about the election and the results last night.  Most of them, so far, are effusive in their joy and hope.  But there are some that are less so and these are by the people who were not Obama supporters.  One refrain I’ve heard a lot of in the last 12 hours is, “I’m just so worried about the future of our country right now!  What have we done?”  To that I say: “Now you know how I’ve felt the last 8 years.”  I have very, very little sympathy for the people who are wringing their hands and furrowing their brows this morning.  Because they had very, very little sympathy for me when Bush won both elections.  That may be small and petty of me, but it’s the truth.

I’ve spent 8 years being worried (and I think history has shown that I had a right to feel worried) about our country.  And now I see HOPE on the horizon.  So I’m going to embrace that hope.  Feel free to revel in your cynacism, your doubt, your discouragement… Nothing I can say will help you feel better anyhow, I imagine.  But think for a minute that if you just let go of that worry that maybe it would be easier to move forward.  I had to do that with both elections.  You could say I’m well practiced at it.

And don’t get me wrong.  I don’t think Obama has all the answers.  He is just ONE man.  And the problems facing our country are HUGE right now.  Surely, he’ll make mistakes.  And I fully expect to call him out on those mistakes.  ALL presidents make mistakes.  (Just turns out, some make more than others.)  (*cough*BUSH*cough*)  He’s not PERFECT.  But I do believe he has the ability to help us move forward.  I believe in him and I believe in our country.  THAT is what this election was about and THAT is why I voted for Obama.

The work is just starting.  And for the first time in a LONG time, I feel like we can do it.  We have a chance.  And just for today, I want to feel happy about the status of the world out there.  Don’t rain on my parade, mmkay?  I’ve waited a long time for this.

The Time is Now

Eight years ago, things were very different for me and my family, as I imagine they were different for you and yours.  We were living in an apartment complex over in the northwest part of town (a part of town I often wish we still lived in, though not in the apartment, thankyouverymuch).  We had actually moved to our third and final apartment in that complex just days before (in fact, if I recall correctly, we hadn’t finished the moving process entirely just yet), and it was a lot larger and nicer than our previous apartment.  Harry’s first birthday was rapidly approaching and we were planning a big bash with lots of out-of-town family to take place that weekend at the clubhouse.  I was working at the apartment complex, actually, leasing out apartments.

I didn’t work on Tuesdays since they and Mondays were “weekends” for me.  So I had Harry at home with me when I went to vote at a nearby elementary school.  I remember him in his stroller as I pushed him over to the booth, my sample ballot in hand.  It was a rainy, grey day and I didn’t doubt for an instant that Al Gore would be our next president.  I was probably (probably?) a little naive.  There wasn’t anything to it.  No way would people want BUSH to be president.  Pfft.  Yeah.  I was DEFINITELY naive.

I grew up in California, after all.  My blood just defaults to Democrat.  And while not everyone I knew growing up were Democrats, liberalism was just a way of life in California.  Particularly social liberalism.  So I was surrounded by this way of viewing the world from a very young age and as I’ve grown up, I’ve often been surprised that not everyone thinks this way.  Remember what I said about naive?

Waking up on the day after election day in 2004 was a harsh reminder.  I couldn’t believe that the election was still so close.  Still, I expected Gore would triumph in the end.  When he didn’t… well… I had a hard time understanding how that was even possible.  But, Bush was our president and he probably couldn’t screw up the country THAT bad, right?

SNORT.

We all know the rest of that story, don’t we?  With our economic system in shambles, our troops mired in a war that we shouldn’t have had to fight in the first place and the disease of fear running rampant like it never has before, I think it’s safe to say that Bush did in fact screw up our country.

Let’s not make that same mistake again, okay America?  Please?

I know the lines may be long today, and there might be some last minute tactics to stall, influence or just flat our steal your vote, but you have to VOTE.  Get out there and do it for your country.  Because I still have faith in our country to heal itself.  After all, isn’t it when we’re down that we show the depths of our strength?

I don’t know if I can stand the waiting today.  Tonight, Kile and I plan to put away our laptops and cell phones and turn on a mindless movie of some sort.  Anything to keep us distracted.  Then, about midnight, we’ll dare to turn on the news.  And see if we have a leader.  And hopefully, it’ll be the guy we voted for.  We have plenty of alcohol, either way.  We’ll either be celebrating or mourning.  But there WILL be booze.

Now that’s looking on the bright side!

Yes We Can

I’m writing some of this at 9:25pm, Pacific Time, on the 4th.  I’m sporting a fine champagne buzz and a feeling of disorientation.  Is this a movie?  Is this real?  It’s real.  I just watched The Speech.  It was marvelous.  It was stirring.  I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve teared up tonight.  It started when, at 8pm, when I was nursing Evie to sleep and Kile and I broke our “no news” rule for the night to turn on MSNBC and see some returns.  We gaped at the TV as some returns came in and theories were made about the remaining states.  Really?  Could it happen?  And then, at 8pm, it came.  The west coast projections were in.  Obama was our President-Elect.  And without even a warming, the tears flowed down my cheeks.  I stroked my baby girl’s back and murmured in her ear.  At last.

We went downstairs shortly thereafter, our laptops and phones back in hand (they were locked up in the guest bedroom), to tell Harry the good news.  We let him stay up to watch Obama speak at Grant Park.  This is history, after all.  He needs to be able to tell his children someday that he remembers the night Barack Obama became our president.

Even McCain’s speech was good.  The best speech I’ve heard him make so far this year, in fact.  Because FINALLY, I was hearing the John McCain that I used to admire.  He was gracious and dignified and commanding and GOOD.  It can’t have been an easy speech to make.  And Sarah Palin definitely looked verklempt.  But he owned it.  And he made it good.   Good on him.

I’m so proud of our country.  For eight LONG years, I felt weighted down.  I didn’t want to have “nostalgic” pride for my country, I wanted to be proud of my country in the present.  And I don’t want to make it sound like I haven’t been proud of my country at all the entire 8 years.  But there has been this weight on my shoulders.  It’s been on a lot of people’s shoulders.  And now?  Now, I feel like we can FINALLY move forward as a nation.  We can indeed come together after this election, and heal ourselves.

And that’s a lot of it.  This election is finally OVER.  No more speculation.   No more politics.  We can all go back to being friends, right?  We can all come together and unite again, right?

Right now, I’m just humbled and awed and excited and happy and tired and incredulous.

Wow.  Just… WOW.

What I'm doing to distract myself from the fact that the election is in one week

I surely can’t be the only one who is just about DYING for this election to be over.  One way or the other.  I’ve made a habit of watching Keith Olberman and then Rachel Maddow when I’m nursing Evie to bed at night.  And while, being MSNBC, they aren’t really telling me anything that I don’t want to hear, it’s not exactly distracting me from the election.  And I find myself examining electoral maps and the latest polls and pretty much wanting to drop kick all campaign strategists, regardless of party affiliation.  And now that I’ve voted, I have even less patience for it all.  LET’S JUST GET IT OVER WITH!

But, alas, it’s a whole ‘nother week away.  And since it doesn’t appear that either campaign is willing to take a break, I need to find ways to distract myself.  Here is what I’ve come up with so far:

  • I’m watching Evie do this thing with her nose where she closes her mouth (almost making “duck lips” if you will) and snorts in and out of her nose in a rapid fashion.  The end result is almost too cute to bear and if she does it again, I’m going to go beyond distracted and just eat her.
  • I’m also stalking goodmama prints.  If you’re unfamiliar with cloth diapering and the community surrounding it, this probably sounds very strange.  Suffice it to say, they’re releasing some great prints this week and I’m hoping to be able to snag one.  Fingers are crossed (and websites are refreshed)!
  • I’m still researching cameras.  Hmm.   Kile’s wondering if he can find someone local who has a camera that is looking to upgrade their professional rig and is interested in selling at a reasonable price.  I’m not going to hold my breath, but I am going to hope that there’s a new camera in my future!
  • It’s now less than a month until the “Twilight” movie comes out!  Am still planning to go see it by myself.  Because I’m a major loser.
  • I’m trying to catch up on my blog reading.  This is a never-ending project, it seems.  I am NEVER caught up.  I think I cleared the reader ONCE in the last two months.  GAH.
  • (OMG, Evie just did her nose thing again.  Save me from myself.)
  • We’re watching DVR’d episodes of “Blue’s Clues” and “Jack’s Big Music Show”.  Good thing I have them DVR’d, because our On Demand STILL doesn’t work with the new box we got.  SIGH.  But I think I’ve now officially seen every “Blue’s Clues” and “Jack’s Big Music Show” episode in existence.  Hey, did you know Joe’s real name is Dominick (cuz I’m a dumbass) err Donovan?  WTF?
  • I’m contemplating ditching out on Trick or Treating altogether in favor of a Harvest Festival or something of the like.  Just cannot get excited either about handing out candy or dragging the kids around the neighborhood this year.  I may change my mind yet again.
  • We’re planning a trip down to Elko for the second weekend in November.  Harry’s birthday is that weekend and there’s a craft day at my in-law’s church that I used to go several years ago.  It was always a lot of fun and I’m looking forward to going again.  This will probably be the only time we go back there during the “holiday season” so why not make it awesome?  Not looking forward to the price of filling up the van’s gas tank, but thank goodness gas prices are down!
  • Naturally, we’re not answering our phone so we don’t have to listen to robo calls or anything.  Not like it would matter because we’ve already voted!

That should be enough to keep my mind on other things, don’t you think?  So what are you doing to distract yourself?  (I heartily endorse not answering the phone, by the way.)

Weekend Follow Up

First off, I feel I should clarify yesterday evening’s post about undecided voters.  Loralee and several other wonderful commenters hit the nail on the head when they explained why they were undecided.  She explained that she holds both conservative and liberal views and doesn’t know which views to give the most weight to.  On top of that, she genuinely doesn’t care for either candidate.  I can respect that sort of undecided voter (even if I don’t agree, since I obviously think Obama would make a fabulous leader) because at least they are informed.  I suppose the bulk of my “rant” was directed at the uninformed undecided voter.  The people who haven’t taken the time to educate themselves on the issues.  That… I simply don’t get.  Of course, to some people their education comes from cable news or the email forward they got from their crazy Aunt Regina or whatever and that’s hardly better.

But just to make things clear, I do respect the people (and friends as everyone who commented on that post is someone I consider a friend) who are undecided for genuine reasons.  Unforunately, I think those sorts of people are few and far between.

And, before I move on for good, I want to say that I still love and respect my Republican (and Independant and, yes, undecided) friends and family.   This election is but a snapshot, a moment in time.  Yes, it’s an IMPORTANT time, but here in a couple weeks, it’ll be behind us, one way or another.  And I harbor no ill will to anyone.  I may have unfollowed a few people on Twitter, but that’s mostly for my own sanity and I will most likely follow them again after the election is done and over.  I imagine that several (or maybe more than several) people have unfollowed me in the past weeks as well.   It’s par for the course.  I have no hard feelings.  Time will tell if other people do or not.

***

We had a date night last night!  Nothing too fancy because we had neither time beforehand nor did we want to spend any money.  I made sure I got a shower during the day and I put on nice jeans and a nice top, did my make up and made sure my hair wasn’t too much of a rat’s nest (quite the feat these days).  I did forget to put on earrings, but… oh well.

We got the kids fed and put the little ones to bed.  Harry got sent to the loft with popcorn and instructions to watch TV up there and not venture downstairs.  We had a nice dinner that Kile made with various ingredients available in our kitchen.  It was darned yummy too.  We ate it in the living room, in candlelight, with some light classical music playing from one of the cable music channels.  We talked and talked about many subjects and after we finished we just sat on the couch together and talked some more.  It was very nice.

We finished off the night with a bowl of popcorn and “Pride and Prejudice” on DVD.  It meant we were up quite late, past midnight, but I’m glad we did it.  I think our first official “date night” was a success.  I don’t think it’s something we can do every night, but certainly at least once a month.  It truly felt like a date, which I guess is what the point is, right?

***

I still don’t have my thyroid meds.  When I refilled my refill-less prescription two days ago, they said it would take at least 48 hours to contact the doctor and get the refill taken care of.  Or something.  So hopefully today?  Maybe?  I don’t know.  Kile isn’t very responsive to my suggestions of leaving the house so far.

“Go to Obama rally?”

“…”

“There’s a Halloween thing at the mall that Liam would get a kick out of.”

“…”

“Early voting?”

“…”

“Pick up my prescription?”

“…”

Soooo… fingers are crossed.  I’ll keep ya posted.

Undecided My Butt

Like many of the pundits on the cable news networks, I too find myself more and more disbeliving of so-called “undecided” voters at this late stage in the game.  In fact, I dare say that they don’t really EXIST except to people who ask them who they’re voting for.  Nope, instead, I think these people know exactly who they’re voting for and for whatever reason are reluctant to “share with the class”.  Could be they are going to vote for Obama but are surrounded by a conservative bias and don’t want to have to answer to their buddies for why they’re “jumping ship”.  Or, they’re going to vote for McCain and are afraid of looking like they’re prejudiced if they admit it.  Could be that they dont’ want to be talked out of their decision.  Could be that they know their reasons for wanting to vote for whichever candidate are flimsy and they don’t want someone to find out.  Could be that they like the drama and attention they recieve as an “undecided” voter.

Who knows why the crazy do what they do?

I’ve heard it said that these people have had more than enough time to research the candidates for themselves and make an informed decision.  I would have to agree.  This has, in essence, been going on for a good year.  If you don’t want to vote for Obama, you should have the cohones to just come out and say so.  If you don’t want to vote for McCain, the same thing goes.  If you don’t want to share who you are voting for, simply say “I don’t want to share that with anyone right now.”  SIMPLE AS THAT.

I have a similar issue with complaining about the candidates.  Everyone complains about politicians.  I’ve heard more than one person call out this behavior as being “fashionable” and I think I have to agree.  If you don’t like one candidate or another and are hesitant to pick a side (see my above rant on undecided voters), it’s so much more stylish to simply say “They all suck!  I don’t want to vote for either!”  Fine.  Then don’t!  You can mark “none of the above”, can’t you?  Instead cast your ballot for the local races that you feel will greater impact you (and they will).  I could maybe buy the “They all suck” song and dance back in 2004 because it was more voting AGAINST someone than it was voting FOR someone.  But this time, it’s different.

I truly and honestly believe that Obama is the answer to our country’s problems.  I think he offers the change we so desperately need.  I don’t believe that he’s “just like any other politician” as I’ve heard some people say.   I think people only say that because they don’t want to vote for him.  It’s fine if you don’t want to vote for him, but to call him “just another politician” is just downright untrue.  For one thing, his campaign has been so vastly different than the presidential campaigns we’ve seen in recent years.  I’ve been truly impressed with how he has done things.  The issues have truly been what is important and the American people have been delighted to see it.

I do think a lot of “undecided” voters don’t want to vote for Obama for one reason or another, but aren’t thrilled with McCain either.  It brings me to mind of John Kerry in 2004.  I sure as HECK wasn’t going to vote for Bush but I wasn’t really excited about Kerry either.  But I voted for him.  And I suspect that a lot of people who tell you that they don’t really like either candidate will actually vote for McCain.

I just wish they would come out and say so already.  Own up to your choices!  Embrace your inner self!  Be free!  (Oh, and don’t forget to vote on November 4!)

Breaking the Political Silence

I had this big post planned, where I would touch on a variety of political topics including some thoughts on independent voters, how I feel about our economic downturn, how Obama’s tax plan is incorrectly viewed by most conservatives and how Sarah Palin has just gotten worse since I first heard about her.  And I also wanted to talk about how all the relentless politicking has just worn me down to a cynical nub.  Again.

But.

Then the whole race issue started rearing it’s ugly head in the last week.  I’ve long been concerned about this becoming a major part of the race.  It could be one of the reasons I initially supported Hillary Clinton, because I was afraid of racial backlash.  I wish I could believe that some of my fellow Americans are beyond the backward thinking our country experienced as recently as the 1960’s.  But, apparently, we’re not.

We’ve all seen the soundbites on television where supporters at McCain rallys have shouted out racial slurs and disturbing calls to violence.  That’s frightening enough.  Because, as we all know, it only takes ONE person to pick up a gun.  It only takes one person to set the world on it’s ear.  And, whether you support him or not, you have to admit that if anything were to happen to Obama at this stage in the game it would be catastophic for this nation.  People. Would. Flip. OUT.  I don’t want that for my country.  I want to see us start to heal our wounds and move forward with a plan for the future.  But I am starting to wonder if that will even be possible.  Because the hate that some people hold in their hearts frightens me.

Take Gayle Quinnell, the McCain supporter who at a recent rally in Minnesota told McCain that she was afraid of Obama because he was an “Arab”.  To McCain’s credit, he quickly and simply told her that she was wrong and that Obama was a decent family man, etc and so forth.  But is it too little, too late?  Because Ms. Quinnell proved to us in an interview after the rally that she still believes Obama is dangerous simply because his father was a Muslim.  Even when the interviewers tried to correct her, to tell her that Obama was indeed a Christian and was never a Muslim, she responded, “Yeah, but he’s still got Muslim in him. So that’s still part of him.”

This makes my heart hurt, people.  It’s “the sins of the father” all over again.  And this is even assuming that simply being a Muslim is a crime (which is definitely is not).  It’s “in him”??  Hiding latent underneath the layers, only to rear it’s ugly head once he steps foot in the Oval Office, causing him to rain destruction and mayhem on our fair country?  DOES SHE REALLY BELIEVE THIS?  And if she believes it, how many others do as well?  I’m afraid to ask.

The thing is, I’m sure you could sit down with someone like Gayle Quinnell and explain to her the facts about Obama and it won’t make one bit of different.  Because calling him an “Arab” is an excuse.  For whatever reason, she doesn’t want to come right out and say that she is afraid of him and won’t support him because he’s black.  So she clings to this other excuse, flimsy as it is.  And there are SO MANY other people who are doing the exact same thing.

In Gayle’s case, she’s 75 years old and it was just how she was raised.  My mother is nearly the same age and grew up in a similar part of the country.  Though she is voting for Obama in this election, she understands why so many of her generation cannot get past the color of his skin.  They were raised to view African Americans as wholly different from themselves.  And not different in a good way.  At “best”, they see them as mentally insufficient.  At worst, they see them as dangerous.

It makes my heart sick to think of it.  It causes me pain to realize that we still have such blind bigotry alive and well in our country.  I guess it doesn’t surprise me much, seeing all the things that have happened in the last eight years, but it does disappoint me.

You know, vote for McCain because you agree with his policies and his ideals.  Don’t vote for him because you have ignorant, racist assumptions about people.  I can respect someone voting for McCain because of his stance on the issues.  I cannot respect someone who comes up with some bullshit notion about Obama being an “Arab” or trying to link him to terrorists simply because they cannot stomach him being a black man.

These next few weeks are going to be brutal.  And I can only hope that once November 4th rolls around, that we use our heads in the voting booths across the country and make a choice that ISN’T based on hate.