Friday, October 31, 2008

Expose the Hypocrisy of the McCain Campaign

I'm frankly quite tired of Sarah Palin's constant sarcastic attacks on Barack Obama. Who is she, really, in comparison? He is so intelligent, so classy, so grounded - and just seems to be a natural leader. This was sent to me awhile back. I'm not sure who the original author was, but it is good and puts it into words very well:
"I'm a little confused. Let me see if I have this straight....

If you grow up in Hawaii, raised by your grandparents, you're 'exotic' and 'different.'

Grow up in Alaska eating mooseburgers, you're an American story.

If your name is Barack you're a radical, unpatriotic Muslim.

Name your kids Willow, Trig and Track, and you're a maverick.

Graduate from Harvard law School and you are unstable.

Attend five different small colleges before graduating, then you're well-grounded.

If you spend three years as a community organizer, become the first black President of the Harvard Law Review, help register 150,000 new voters, spend twelve years as a Constitutional Law professor, eight years as a State Senator of a district of 750,000 people, chair the state Senate's Health and Human Services committee, spend four years in the United States Senate representing a state of thirteen million people, sponsor 131 bills, and serve on the Foreign Affairs, Environment and Public Works, and Veteran's Affairs committees, you don't have any real leadership experience.

If your resume is: Local weather girl, four years on the city council and six years as the mayor of a town of 7,000 people, two years as governor of a state of 650,000 people, you're qualified to be a heartbeat away from the presidency.

If you have been married to the same woman for nineteen years while raising two daughters, all within Protestant churches, you're not a real Christian.

If you cheated on your first wife with a rich heiress, left your ill wife, and married the heiress the next month, you're a Christian.

If you teach responsible, age-appropriate sex education, including the use of birth control, you erode the fiber of American society.

If you staunchly advocate abstinence-only education, while your teen daughter ends up pregnant, you're responsible.

If your wife is a Harvard graduate lawyer who gave up a position in a prestigious law firm to work for the betterment of her inner city community, then gave that up to raise a family, you don't represent America's family values.

If your husband is called 'First Dude', has a DWI conviction, didn't register to vote until twenty-five, and was a member of a group that advocated secession of Alaska from the USA, yours is the quintessential American family.

And, finally, if you're famous for your quick temper, you're the one to have your finger on the red nuclear button.

OK, much clearer now." ...Enough said.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Another Opinion on Writing About Politics

After posting my piece on writing about politics, I came across an entry in author John Scalzi's"Whatever" Blog, which addresses the same issue. I guess other writers do indeed want to talk about politics. A written piece, in any form, is a writer's creative expression and opinion. I like what he says about it in his blog:

"Why yes, fiction writers should write about politics, if they choose to. And so should doctors and plumbers and garbage collectors and lawyers and teachers and chefs and scientists and truck drivers and stay-at-home parents and the unemployed. In fact, every single adult who has reason enough to sit down and express an opinion through words should feel free to do just that. Having a citizenry that is engaged in the actual working of democracy matters to the democracy, and writing about politics is a fine way to provide evidence that one is actually thinking about these things."

"Do readers really think it’s wise that writers, of all people, stay quiet on the matters that affect their lives and the lives of their families, friends and nation, because some person they don’t even know might feel slightly discomfited, and doesn’t have the wit to separate a work of fiction from the largely unrelated real world concerns of the writer?"

So, hold our tongues? I think not. We are, quite fortunately, a free country and if we are outraged, we should say so. If we are distraught, we should say so. Our current political situation calls on both of these emotions and speaks loudly to the fact that we should say what we think and comment on what is going on around us. We are privileged to live in a place where we are able to do this without reservation and without punishment.

Some Funny Comments from a Feminist

There is something very significant about funny comments made by an 82 year old woman. This was on "The Daily Dish" by Andrew Sullivan. From her blog, "Margaret and Helen," which celebrates her sixty year friendship with her best bud, Margaret, Helen Philpot really does say what a lot of us would like to. From working extensively with elderly people, I know the older you get, the less you care about what people say about you - and the more you speak your mind. This is often with little or no editing involved. In this case, no editing is needed as this lady is an outspoken gem:
"My name is Helen Philpot. I am 82 years old. My grandson taught me how to do this so that I could “blog” with my best friend Margaret Schmechtman who I met in college almost 60 years ago. I have three children with my husband Harold. Margaret has three dogs with her husband Howard. I live in Texas and Margaret lives in Maine."
Helen goes on to share some not-so-complimentary comments on Sarah Palin:
"Sarah Palin is an ignorant, ranting, whining bitch. There I said it. But lots more are thinking it. Please take your ridiculous hair, your over lipstick-smacking mouth, your Lenscrafter look smarter glasses and your poorly fitted designer jackets back to Alaska. And when you get there, shove a piece of the pipeline up your considerable ass. I’ll be damned if we’ll put our children’s future in your hands. And the same thing goes for McCain - the ass wipe who gave her this national platform effectively pushing the woman’s movement back into the dark ages - knowing McCain that might have been his plan all along."
Feminism has no age limits. Here is an older woman who is a feminist, and a vice presidential candidate who doesn't know the meaning of the word. Helen Philpot does indeed have solid experience and could probably teach Sarah Palin a thing or two.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Politics and Writing

When I started this blog, I knew it would be writings on many different subjects. Since my main passion is writing, I knew that would be the biggest focus.

With the current political environment in this country, however, I have found that everything to date has been about politics. This bothered me at first as, yes, I am interested and involved in politics - and am definitely opinionated - but I thought I had drifted from my main focus.

Turns out that it is hard to not talk about politics right now. There is so much going on, so many things that are bothersome, and we have a country that is in such turmoil in so many crucial areas. How can someone not speak up about this? Especially a wordsmith?

One of the places I love most in my city is The Loft Literary Center. The Loft is a great place for writers - they have classes, workshops, great writing studios, and are adjacent to Minnesota Book Arts. It is an environment very conducive and supportive to writers.

In the latest issue of the Loft's paper, "A View from the Loft," the front page article is titled "The Loft: Then and Now." I remember the old place...a small building in St. Paul where people sat on the floor and an idea to unite writers grew into a full blown literary center. When they moved to downtown Minneapolis, it became the center it is today - a dream to the writing community.

As I read the article, I realized that the political connection to writing has always been there. As Jim Moore states in the article, in the 1970's the environment wasn't all that different:

"We assumed that there was a strong connection between what was happening politically in the country and what was happening in the artistic world. It made perfect sense to those of us who were involved with the Loft at its beginning that if we saw policies or institutions that were inimical to artistic and literary freedom, we would oppose them....At that time, what we loved about the period was that we felt we had the right to speak out and that in speaking out we might make a difference."
After all, how does any creative person not speak out when our rights are threatened? If someone like our current Republican vice presidential candidate gets into office, think of what could happen to our rights - both creatively (she already tried to ban certain books in her hometown) to women's rights (which she doesn't seem to support at all). We don't all have the same beliefs - everyone is different. Truth is, freedom also includes artistic freedom and to remove that with any sort of censorship or barriers is not only stifling but isn't what this country is based on. Writers know this and we are always listening. As Mr. Moore states:
"Without quite knowing what we were doing, we were listening, almost unconsciously, to what was happening all around us. That is what writers do, of course."
Writers indeed observe, comment, and live things twice. We ruminate over things, we discuss things, and we write our thoughts down. To a creative person to have that threatened takes away our individual right to free expression.

I may not be a starving artist, but I'm not rich either.
The last eight years have left everything in a mess and most of us hurting financially in some way or another. Everyone I know is craving an intelligent, educated leader that represents true change. It is time an administration looked out for regular people - be it a painter, a musician, and, yes, a writer. America is a rich country made up of a diverse group of people. It is time we celebrated the differences and expressions and gave everyone a fair chance to obtain their dreams.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

A Great Idea from an Obama Supporter

Barack Obama has always had an especially close relationship with his grandmother and grandfather. When Obama was ten years old, he moved in with Madelyn and Stanley Dunham, his maternal grandparents. They helped in raising him to be what he is today. His grandmother, who he frequently quotes and remains very close to, is seriously ill. Naturally, he took some time off from campaigning to go and visit her.

In response to the question about the $150,000 spent on clothing by the RNC, an idiotic comment was made stating that the real issue was that Obama should have flown on a commercial flight to visit his grandma (a bit unsafe for a presidential candidate). An Obama supporter put together this great idea in response to this comment:
"I created a special Obama-Biden donation page in response to (Brad) Blakeman crossing the line, mocking Obama for "taking a 767 campaign plane to go visit Grandma." It's a way for people to send Blakeman a little message, and far more importantly, make a donation specifically in honor of Sen. Obama's grandmother, Madelyn Lee Payne Dunham."
Here's the link:

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Sarah's Personal Way of Stimulating the Economy?

The news came out today that Sarah Palin has spent over $150,000 of the Repubican National Committee's money on clothing. While it is understandable that she is in the public eye and has to spice up her image, isn't this a bit extreme?

First of all, Ms. Palin makes very good money. She is not an "average folk" as she likes to say. According to a quote from the Washington Post, Governor Palin and her husband make a pretty healthy salary:

"According to the Washington Post and a March 2008 financial disclosure form reported elsewhere she makes, as governor, $125,000 a year in salary, plus about $60,000 in reimbursable expenses. Her husband Todd Palin earns $93,000 a year. Neither have any credit card debt."

Seriously, who needs to spend this kind of money for clothing? And to spend money donated to the Republican National Committee when you have a salary at this level?

I certainly have nothing against any of these department stores - they are good stores with classy clothes. But, I could never in a million years spend $150,000 on myself, friends, and family altogether. And she is criticizing the Obama family? At least Michelle Obama is more sensible in her clothing purchases - and at least she uses her own money to purchase things of this nature. And I'm sure Hillary Clinton purchased her own attire as well.

Second of all, this once again shows the hypocrisy this woman seems to stand for. The dishonesty and finger pointing at others when she continues to take advantage of every opportunity she can is a list that seems to go on and on.

With the struggles most people are facing in the current economy alone, even the most dedicated Republican might have a bit of a problem with this one.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Hatred Continues

One of the cool things about America is that it is a country made up of people from all over the world. Unless you are Native American, we are all from someplace else at some point or the other in our backgrounds. The diversity in this country is what makes it interesting and I, for one, really enjoy that we have many different cultures and backgrounds. We should celebrate this - not label, not generalize, not point fingers. For one race, class or sex to think they are better than the other is beyond understanding to me.

For the first time in our history, we have an African American running for president. And he is doing extremely well - much to John McCain's chagrin. Barack Obama is well educated, has a calm demeanor (fitting a leader), has promising ideas, and is so much more intelligent than our current president there is simply no comparison. For people to look down on him because of his race is ludicrous - especially since he could run circles around most of them.

The lashing out toward Obama from the Republican side continues to get more and more appalling. People yelling out violent suggestions, along with the lies being spewed, never seems to stop.

At the latest stop in Minnesota, Norm Coleman and Todd Palin stand idly by while a sign saying something as sickening as this is displayed: "Charles Manson was a Community Organizer?" At what point will this stop? It not only shows no class, it is absolutely repulsive. To ignore this when you are on the stage and say nothing to denounce it is as disgusting as the person in the crowd holding the sign up.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A Short Comment on the Last Debate

In the last debate between McCain and Obama, the senators once again seemed to show their true colors: Obama, cool and blue, McCain, not only red, but red-faced.

McCain's anger was apparent throughout the debate, many times looking like he was ready to blow. His aggressive attacks toward Obama did not provoke him enough for the reaction that McCain wanted, but he never stopped trying. He was accusatory, biting, and yes, seemingly desperate. When Obama calmly explained the very logical connection of his associations - and who he really goes to for advice - McCain seemed to be seething.

Obama showed a calm, cool tone that screamed leadership. McCain just looked like he wanted to scream. His eyes were darting and angry, and his smiles were sarcastic. With all this rage, is this really what people want in the oval office at a time when our country is crying out for change and strong leadership?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Do They Really Not Know They Are Taped?

The dishonesty in this election has gone beyond ridiculous. Sarah Palin seems to take it to an art form - both in just downright lying and in denial. Does she really not realize that she is on tape for the opposite of what she says?

McCain seems to be doing the same thing. From his hypocritical statements about Obama regarding his associations (when he has the same ones, or worse) to the whole Letterman fiasco - all the contradictions are played out on various news channels. They really seem to have no idea that they can be disputed by simply running a tape.

As for Palin, she seems to only answer in rehearsed speeches that don't really make any sense. A favorite funny man - in Monty Python, various movies, and hilarious writings - John Cleese states it quite well:

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Enough Games

I've lived everywhere from the midwest to the south to the east coast, and places in between. I've traveled extensively - both overseas and throughout the United States. I was raised to be very open-minded and have always seen people as individuals. Generalizing is dangerous - and ignorance, racism, and sexism is just downright stupid.

The current race to the White House just seems to get dirtier and dirtier. When Hillary Clinton was running, we saw some sexism. Unfortunately, sexism continues to be so rampant in this society, it is almost acceptable (except for women, that is). When Sarah Palin entered the picture, she accused people of sexism as an excuse to not answer legitimate questions. This is not acceptable.

She also has been the dirtiest player to date - slinging mud at Obama, digging up old accusations that are greatly exaggerated, and just inciting scary and dangerous behavior at her rallies. She seems to be the mouthpiece for McCain. Of course, McCain has done his own damage as well. The worst was McCain referring to Obama as "that one" during the last debate. Was it racist, disrespectful or both? He didn't look at him and has shown zero respect throughout.

Perhaps if the Republican side of this election was not so desperately playing these games - and actually talked about the real issues - intelligent, educated people would actually take them seriously. Maybe the Republicans should realize that the American people are not interested in games and mud slinging. We are interested in cleaning up the massive mess that the last eight years of Republican control has created in the first place.

Obama has shown class and the true traits of a leader throughout, and his theme has remained constant. Change indeed - and classy, intelligent change at that.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Ponderings on the Debate

I watched the vice presidential debate last week with a sense of confusion. I knew it would be a strange debate: an experienced senator of many years, an expert on foreign policy, debating someone who can't answer simple questions - like what magazines and books she reads.

What it turned out to be was a candidate who answered the questions with knowledge and experience, against another candidate who answered the questions in a rehearsed tone, often answering a completely different question altogether.

As it dragged on, I knew Sarah
Palin was so practiced she would only answer questions that she felt like answering and would instead flow into a prepared speech that had nothing to do with the subject matter. It was comical at best. The same words used over and over again: maverick....reform...often completely out of context. Her folksy answers and down home cuteness, right down to winking at people, was ridiculous for a vice presidential debate and I can't believe people fell for it.

Yes, comical it was...until she really showed her cold side. This self-professed Christian and mother showed zero compassion when Joe
Biden showed a vulnerable side with his heartfelt story that brought a tear to my eye. When he told of the loss he had experienced years ago of losing his first wife and daughter, and not knowing if his sons were going to make it, he choked up and had to catch himself. When done, there was no body language showing any sympathy from Governor Palin, no kinds words as simple as an "I'm sorry," or "That had to have been tough." Instead she showed how rehearsed she truly was and went right back into a prepared speech and ignored his heartfelt revelation altogether.

Her lack of intelligence, lack of qualifications, and total arrogance to all of it have been shown repeatedly over the last few weeks. But now she has shown a coldness that moved beyond all of it. How does a supposed Christian woman, mother of five, show so little feeling to a father who has lost a child and fears losing his other children after a horrific accident? Or was she just working so much on memorization that if she got off of it she would lose what little train of thought she had?

Once again, she was
embarrassing to women when she could be making history in a great way. The cute act was actually very cold and unfeeling - and the experience act was just a memorized mess that refused to answer the questions, was unresponsive to anything around her, and mocked the whole process and the people who are truly qualified.