Seriously, I love Betty White. She just cracks me up. I first really got introduced to her during the Mary Tyler Moore show but I remember her more from the Golden Girls. She comes across as the innocence, slightly lost grandmother — in fact, she reminds me of my own, who sometimes is like this. Needless to say, this tongue-in-cheek conversation is great. Enjoy.
I know that many of you prefer to hear my tales of transitioning but I couldn’t ignore this. I did the fatal mistake of checking out CNN and got the shock of my life. If you thought that McCain was bad, he’s nothing compared to Palin and the many Republican supporters that seem to blindly believe in anything that they can blame on someone else. This nation is built on the belief of someone else is always at fault and we must always blame someone else. While I still need to read the details, ideally from multiple sources, as the factual nature of the departure of the Puritans from England I wonder how much of it wasn’t because they were chased out but rather because no one agreed with them and thus, they left England.
Eventually, they found a land where people were willing to give what they had with no question and with true honesty but rather than accept and be part of it, they used their religion to justify to attempt to control and slaughter them (genocide). As Zinn references in his book A People’s History of the United States: 1492 to Present (P.S.), the Puritans, based on the comments by John Winthrop, Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, took the belief that while the local aboriginals had a “natural right” to the land, they did not have a “legal right”. I have no doubts that “legal right” meant only white males. So thus began the nation of the “free” based on Psalms 2:8 (“Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.” — King James version, which was likely the version used at the time) and Romans 13:2 (“Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.” — King James version).
No where does it say “Go forth and commit genocide”.
No where does it say “Only the whiteth of men are of value to Me”.
This belief that only the rich, white have rights and no one else does is appalling. And the fact that it continues to this day is even worse. What I’m finding most problematic about Palin is that continues to fan FUD while totally ignoring the issues that matter. She continues to harp on a misbelief that Obama “pals” around with terrorist (apparently those that have done bad things in the past can never have redemption and learn from their mistakes). When McCain tried to get members of his own party to stop booing whenever he mentioned his opponent and be respectful, they booed him. I was amazed at this. I will credit McCain for trying to take the high road but Palin needs to be seriously admonished for continuing to push the low road.
Her recent “stump” in Philadelphia continues this with a rant about abortion and how Obama is an “extremist” when it comes to abortion views. Really? Because he supports the idea of a woman having the right to chose and to have healthy, medically supervised alternatives he’s an extremist? Weird. I’m quite sure he wasn’t the first and he’s certainly not the most extreme in their view (remember the doctor shootings in the 1990s?). I think her glass house is full of broken windows. You know, I had thought that McCain was a maverick and a right-wing nut until the real Palin began to show through. I do wonder, however, something that I saw elsewhere and I would love to ask her: If you knew the child that you were going to give birth would be gay, would you feel the same way about abortion? I wonder what she’d say if the child was transsexual and gay?
I had to put this in. I have to say that Tina Fey does an amazing job of mimiking Palin. Good for a laugh in an election that is just weird to me. Today (or was that from yesterday’s stumping?) Palin commented that Obama “is someone who sees America, it seems, as being so imperfect that he’s palling around with terrorists who would target their own country” (CNN). Apparently, fact checking isn’t a requirement for someone running for VP. Heck, even CNN was able to find out the details easily. Harping over and over on a falsehood shows poor form and leads to the potential issue similar to what Bush did: jump first and then look for sharp objects (Iraq, Al Qaeda and WMD).
So lots of things rattling around in my head this week. To start off with, I distinctly overheard some of my students comment on my “beard” (it’s barely a goatee but definitely visible and I’m still not fully passing). It was unnerving. But I do think they figured out quickly that I know my shit so beard or not they learned lots. This is a concern of mine. I kinda wished the company could keep me on online stuff for a while since that would make it easier to transition but I’ll have quite a few jaunts over to our NYC facility and at some point, will have to address it with them as the physical changes become more and more prominent. In fact, K commented recently about how much facial hair (mostly under my chin and below) is growing. It almost feels like it appeared overnight.
This is one of the bigger challenges to transitioning while on the job, particularly one that has a work visa hanging over. It introduces whole new challenges into the mix. I’d rather wait until I have my green card to change my name but I think I may have to do it in the new year as the changes are coming far faster than I had anticipated. It must be a gene thing that all the guys in my family, particularly on my mom’s side, be hairy everywhere but on top (male-patterned baldness is very evident but it’s ironic how hairy we are everywhere else — go figure, eh?). It isn’t going to stop me from being open about my choices but sometimes you have to know when to wage the battle. This past week was the first time that I felt I was in a hugely conservative room. It was rather surprising but it has to do with the environment I was in (major, major Fortune 500 company that has huge inter-office politics and maintains an “old boys network” it seems).
Anyways, I am glad the week is over and I get a chance to relax some. I’ve been working on a few blogs, writing more to get myself used to writing lots (I want to participate in the “Write a Novel in a Month” contest/writing thingy — it’s good practise and since writing is something I enjoy, it’ll be fun). I’ve been reading and watching the US political system and it’s still an interesting thing. Last night was the debate and I nearly laughed my ass off when I read the following from the NY Times:
But Mr. McCain’s talk of experience too often made him sound like a tinny echo of the 20th century. At one point, he talked about how Ronald Reagan’s “S.D.I.” helped end the cold war.
Bullshit. The Cold War, as someone who lived through it, was ended because communism, specifically USSR communism, ended. It wasn’t fear of SDI but economic woes and a changing climate. Let’s face it: they knew the economy that they had created wasn’t helping, there were more calls by citizens for free votes and they wanted to do what 99% of all people want to do: just live life, raise their family and enjoy it. Is it that hard to imagine? The US does many great things but it isn’t nor has it been the saviour of the rest of the world. If anything, it’s almost like that over-helpful relative that doesn’t know when to stop. Yes, it’s nice to receive that help but sometimes ya gotta let the rest of us do our own thing. I find it rather ironic that the US Republicans discourage big government at home and it’s involvement in day-to-day life of the average citizen but have no qualms of sticking it’s governmental nose into the activities of the day-to-day lives elsewhere.
Kettle meet pot.
Pot meet kettle.
They baffle me at times. I just want to shake them and go, “Uh.. hello?? Anyone home?” In my web searching this morning, I bounced around a variety of sites and hit upon “Lipstick of a Wing Nut” from The Nation. They have posted an op-ed piece about 10 questions they’d want to ask Palin. The last one is one I’ve always wanted to ask those that are on the far right. But I have to say, the 10 questions are certainly ones I’d love to hear answers to. Not the fluffy answers that the handlers will have her say but honest, concrete with substance answers. Novel concept I know. I leave you with the questions to ponder. Maybe God will show up and offer His insight one day. Now that’d be neat.
§ Suppose your 14-year-old daughter Willow is brutally raped in her bedroom by an intruder. She becomes pregnant and wants an abortion. Could you tell the parents of America why you think your child and their children should be forced by law to have their rapists’ babies?
§ You say you don’t believe global warming is man-made. Could you tell us what scientists you’ve spoken with or read who have led you to that conclusion? What do you think the 2,500 scientists of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are getting wrong?
§ If you didn’t try to fire Wasilla librarian Mary Ellen Baker over her refusal to consider censoring books, why did you try to fire her?
§ What is the European Union, and how does it function?
§ Forty-seven million Americans lack health insurance. John Goodman, who has advised McCain on healthcare, has proposed redefining them as covered because, he says, anyone can get care at an ER. Do you agree with him?
§ What is the function of the Federal Reserve?
§ Cindy and John McCain say you have experience in foreign affairs because Alaska is next to Russia. When did you last speak with Prime Minister Putin, and what did you talk about?
§ Approximately how old is the earth? Five thousand years? 10,000? 5 billion?
§ You are a big fan of President Bush, so why didn’t you mention him even once in your convention speech?
§ McCain says cutting earmarks and waste will make up for revenues lost by making the tax cuts permanent. Experts say that won’t wash. Balancing the Bush tax cuts plus new ones proposed by McCain would most likely mean cutting Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security. Which would you cut?
§ You’re suing the federal government to have polar bears removed from the endangered species list, even as Alaska’s northern coastal ice is melting and falling into the sea. Can you explain the science behind your decision?
§ You’ve suggested that God approves of the Iraq War and the Alaska pipeline. How do you know?
A long time ago, in a life far, far away, I was a conservative. Yes, I bow my head in shame on that now but eh, when your young and exploring life in university for the first time you’re open and vulnerable. In fact, they were the first to treat me as a person rather than a “fat chick”. It was a nice feeling. And granted, there were some things that I had believed in at that point: the reality that the present system just cannot support all the baby boomers about to retire, the independence of the individual and the avoidance of government forcing it’s will on others, the reality that all pay taxes (especially to support the previously mentioned baby boomers) and a few other things. I look back at it now and some things I didn’t have a clear view on. I did figure that being with the party in control would open the door into a life of diplomacy, something I believed in and still believe in. I also believed in Canada’s Peacekeeper role, where troops were often sent in-between two warring states to act as mediator (without guns sometimes) and help the locals with basic necessities.
Then life showed me how naive I really was and how a political life isn’t about making a difference. It’s about image, lies and personal gain, particularly for the status quo (to this day, this remains white males — an ironic fact that isn’t lost on me right now).
As a Canadian living in the US for the first time it’s been interesting watching the political process. I have to say that picking now to move to the US (well, actually last December but close enough) has opened my eyes some what. I’m still trying to understand it all but here’s what I get: each party elects a “leader” who will represent that party as a “presidential candidate”. That person selects their 2nd in command aka the “Veep”. This process takes almost 2 years and costs millions upon millions of dollars. It’s mind-boggling, actually. I rarely see ads here and yet, I remember seeing lots of US political ads when I was home (go figure). So, I get asked what I think about the process.
The one thing that I find fascinating is the lack of info that the average person gets. I mean, unless you actively dig at a politican’s website you won’t find out what they stand for outside of the news bites you get from CNN, Fox, et al. And let’s be real. That isn’t news. It’s just a form of advertising. There is no non-biased news that actually educates us on what the issues are, presenting both sides truly in a balanced method. That hasn’t existed EVER.
But what I found most interesting was the introduction of Sarah Palin as “Veep” for the Republicans and the “swarming” of former Democrat Clinton supports to her side.
Because she’s a woman.
Uh.. say what?! Hey, I don’t deny my past but I got a reality check that caused a major shift in the way I look at things. This isn’t the case. These women are voting for Palin (well, not really. They would be voting for McCain and he’s just bringing Palin along for the ride) because she’s a woman. That’s no better than voting for McCain because he’s a man.
Uh… this is the most important position, apparently, in this country. Shouldn’t you vote for someone who is going to do what they say and because they represent what you believe in??? I suppose it just highlights the white privilege in this nation and the desire to keep the status quo. Looking at the McCain website (or do what I did and visit here to see an abbreviated view of her views) and you can see she is a republican through-and-through: no to abortion (regardless of the reason for the pregnancy); belief in tying of religion and government (so much for separation of state, eh?); believes in Creationism and it should be taught in schools (kids go to school for an education, not religion — that should be a family thing at home); believes that global warming isn’t man-made (uh.. WHAT?! Must be them mooing cows from my last post); thinks polar bears aren’t endangered (right — we’re seeing less because they are on vacation in the Bahamas); supports NRA (just in case those endangered bears threaten, eh?); believes that health care should be market driven (compared to us “commies” up north where we get, at the least, basic health care that can be preventative); and.. well. I think you get the picture.
Add to this that you never really vote for the Veep. Now that is the thing that really gets me. Yes, McCain is old and could kick the bucket soon but I find that those that are cranky tend to have the longest lives because they have the most to bitch about (should mean I have a long life yet ahead of me). So many of Clinton’s supporters who are now switching their votes are doing so because they want to vote for Palin. But, uh, unless I’ve misunderstood something, you don’t really vote for the Veep. You vote for the Prez and they bring their running mate along.
I have no doubts that electing McCain (and thus, by proxy, Palin) would mean that I would be booted out fast (I’d imagine a few citizens would want to join me up in the land of the Snow, Hosers and Beer, eh?) since immigration and tightening of immigration seems on the plate, regardless of what one brings into the nation “founded” on immigation (let’s be real that it was founded on slavery, torture, genocide and other things but that is another blog entry for another day). And, given her views on same-sex partnerships, I have no doubts that my trans status would put me on a list of some sort to be rejected for a visa, although my being white may buy me some “grace period” or “favouritism”. I know that I wouldn’t go over as part of God’s plan (I’ve always wanted to ask someone how they know that this isn’t God’s plan but never got the opportunity).
So at this point, my view is that American politics are weird. You don’t really vote for your president and sure as hell don’t vote for your “Veep”. And it takes about 2+ years to get to here. Compare this to the 30-60 days it takes in Canada (and there you vote for your Member of Parliament, whose party may or may not be the overall winner). It’s a little more direct, IMO, compared to what’s here. At least in Canada, people vote a little more for reasons other than someone’s gender.
It’s definitely interesting to say the least from the view point of this armchair political analyst.