Sometimes it feels odd to mostly focus on the topics close to hand: education, housing, moving, parenting, writing, life. Sometimes when big things happen in the world (four deadly explosions in London) or in the political infrastructure of this country (Justice O'Connor retiring), I feel the need or desire or wish to say something about them. But then I think about what I would say and I feel tongue tied.
I don't know how it feels to be a Londoner tonight. I don't know any of the dead or wounded. I can't even tell what it feels like to be me, thinking about this. A terrorist attack. Unsurprising. Bush and Blair's so-called war on terrorism has done nothing so much as create more anger, more disgust, more passion, more terrorists. This is a truism. This came true this morning, London's yesterday afternoon. This is blood and suffering and dismay and inevitability and I don't know what to feel. Shaken. Sad. Frustrated. Maybe that's it. Maybe that's enough. Maybe.
I don't know what to think about the Supreme Court. I know Iím supposed to be scared of the Court turning radically conservative, and I am. Balance of power shot to hell and back, maybe. Roe V. Wade dead and buried, maybe. Personal freedoms gradually swept away, maybe. But it's all a maybe until it's a definite. I can't fear what I don't know, at least not on this national level. Maybe it's numbness, maybe just pragmatism, or maybe I simply have other concerns right now. And Justices have a way of changing on the bench, on that bench. Some, anyway. Or maybe I'm just too much of a blind optimist to admit the truth right now.
Maybe it's just that Iím not a political junkie. I have passionate beliefs, but most poliblogs make my eyes glaze over, most political debate makes me sigh and turn away. I care. Yes. I do. Very much. But there's something about the endless debate that feels much like a looped recording playing static and noise with occasional words standing out in the clear. I listened to Air America radio for a while last month. I got bored. I'd rather read dailykos.com and get my liberal fix in more satisfying detail and then walk away, contemplating what is and what could be. I don't want to argue with you, I don't want to convince you because I'm not sure I can. I want to change the world, of course I do. I'm just not sure how. Mostly, I don't find this fun. It's too real for that and I'm just one person, in some ways far from the fray. My choice, I know that. But I've always felt it. Singular, unsure. A disconnect, maybe because my father was in the peace movement in the '60's and I saw the chaos of that up close. Maybe so.
Journalism Ė and in this I include bloggers who investigate and dig and uncover and discover and I do not include reporters (and bloggers) who simply regurgitate the latest press releases and gather meaningless quotes Ė journalism is crucial. Truth is crucial, as much as it can be known and felt and understood as such. Truth changes the world, I do believe that. But I don't have that kind of national-level political truth. I just have thoughts and not even terribly profound or new ones, at that. Not about this. About real estate and child development, autism in particular, about huge personal life changes and how to shape a novel, yes, I can talk about those things. I have something to say, something new and maybe important, even. Sometimes I do, I think, yes. But politics? Huge world events? Not so much.
Forgive me if I seem like I donít care. It's not that, not at all. I simply don't have the words.
I read a fascinating article today written by Michael Lind in the Financial Times, then reposted in MyDD (and which I discovered via Daily Kos). It's about the dimunition of the USA as almighty world leader, with examples of how European and Asian nations are increasingly moving forward to form coalitions without the US.
He says, in part:
Europe, China, Russia, Latin America and other regions and nations are quietly taking measures whose effect if not sole purpose will be to cut America down to size.
Ironically, the US, having won the cold war, is adopting the strategy that led the Soviet Union to lose it: hoping that raw military power will be sufficient to intimidate other great powers alienated by its belligerence. To compound the irony, these other great powers are drafting the blueprints for new international institutions and alliances. That is what the US did during and after the second world war.
But that was a different America, led by wise and constructive statesmen like Dean Acheson, the secretary of state who wrote of being "present at the creation." The bullying approach of the Bush administration has ensured that the US will not be invited to take part in designing the international architecture of Europe and Asia in the 21st century. This time, the US is absent at the creation.
Kos calls this article sobering. I have the exact opposite reaction. It gives me tremendous hope. It's obvious BushCo is on a destructive rampage and will do little to nothing to further the wellbeing of the world at large. How wonderful that other countries are stepping in to fill the breech -- not only that, but that they're cutting the US down to size in the bargain. We no longer have any real balance of power in this country as we drift ever closer to tyranny. Thank god this kind of international balance of power has begun to blossom. The US does not need to be a major world power. At this point, it's better for the world if this country is not setting the agenda.
edited to add:
I followed a comment in MyDD and found an article in -- of all places -- International Newsweek that's even stronger in some ways in its analysis of the world turning away from the US model. I wish the US version of the magazine had the balls to print this cover story!
I've been reading a fascinating book recently, called Fire and Ice, by Michael Adams; it was a Christmas present from my brother. It's a national bestseller in Canada, and I can understand why. The author is a pollster; he uses extensive polls taken in the US and Canada over a period of eight years to paint a picture of the social values of citizens of each country. Here's a good distillation of the book's central thesis. There's this myth that Canada is America Lite, America on ice. It's not. If it were, we wouldn't be looking to move there.
But what fascinates me is something Adams says toward the beginning, that
Ron Inglehart's World Values Survey TeamÖ concluded that societies generally exhibit similar kinds of socio-cultural change as they proceed along the path of industrialization and post-industrialization. People in pre-industrial societies hold traditional values, which include extreme deference to authority, especially religious authority, and a general wariness of change, including an aversion to social mobility. Industrial societies manifest more modern values, replacing deference to religious authority with adherence to rational-legal authority and demonstrating increased achievement motivation and a strong commitment to economic growth. Modernity values money and all the things (material status symbols) that money can buy. Post-industrial societies exhibit postmodern values, which implies that people in them are more autonomous and less deferential to all kinds of authority and that their commitment to rapid economic growthÖ is supplanted by subjective human concerns relating to quality of life. Postmodern values also include flexibility and an increasing tolerance for diversity of all kinds.
Canadians, along with Western Europeans, fit the profile, holding post-modern values. During the years of the study, Canadians have moved further along the trajectory toward what he calls the Idealism and Autonomy quadrant of social belief systems. Americans? Not so much. They're (we're?) moving toward the Exclusion and Intensity quadrant. This quadrant includes hedonistic, pleasure-and thrill seeking values, a tremendous materialism, but also nihilism, acceptance of violence and anomie.
Scary, huh? It makes sense to me, it fits what I see. Americans are probably the most materialistic nation on earth. Conspicuous consumption, living on credit, working too many hours and thereby destroying your quality of life and connection to community so you can get ahead, be the best, follow the American Dream, so you can buy what your neighbors have, everything bigger and better (SUVs, big screen TVs, McMansions) but also the flip side Ė everything costs more, the poor have less of a safety net, and with no way out of the hole, they feel an impotent rage. Violence, anomie, yes. And then the backlash, the religiosity which tries to force one group's moral values on everyone else in a vain attempt to make things look okay, seem contained, because it's getting ugly out there.
It all makes sense. But I find myself wondering, how did this happen? Why is America so different from the rest of the post-industrial so-called First World? I have a sense of what Adams thinks from that article I linked to up top (and will discover more as I read on in the book, I'm sure). He makes some excellent points, but I have my own theory.
Most nations didn't so much start as evolve. Italy was a group of city-states during the Renaissance, one fought another and gobbled it up, they merged and split and merged again. Same with most of Europe, more or less. Boundaries were fluid, national identities are still sometimes bitterly questioned, but people have been living there for hundreds of years and in a sense belong to the land. Canada is different, a nation like the US made up of immigrants, but to my knowledge nobody came over and said "We Shall Make a Country Here For Ourselves," it was much more organic and evolutionary a process. Fur traders, settlers, cities, oh hi Queen Elizabeth, nice of you to stop by. (And yes, I plan to delve into Canadian history soon to rectify the huge holes in my knowledge.)
But America was formed by two distinct groups. In New England, of course, we had the Puritans. They fled religious persecution, but were they therefore open to others' religious beliefs? Not to my knowledge. They were a prissy bunch. Much like, dare I say? Modern fundamentalist Christians. Only difference is that they meant it. The current crop of Evangelical leaders? Mmm, not so much. They're in it for the money and power, far as I can see.
Which leads right into the other group that founded our (cough) great nation. Spreading out from Virginia, the tobacco farmers. Slave owners, of course, also masters of countless indentured servants from England. They were very much in it for the money. A greedy bunch, from what I remember of my college history classes. Not exactly ethical, not exactly tolerant, not exactly egalitarian. Far from it, they were practically feudal.
The foundations of America: prudish religiosity and crass, often brutal materialism. You might say their legacy lives on.
Something has changed in recent months. I thought Ė so naÔvely Ė that the election itself, no matter who won, would mean a kind of healing of interpersonal rifts between Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives. Not that Bush or his minions would do anything to help that process; on the contrary, it's been clear that they believe they only need to talk to their own kind and we liberals are Other and Bad. Evil, isn't that what Ann C0ulter calls us?
Anyway, I digress. Or maybe not. The point is, I thought that with the election behind us, we could go back to not talking about politics and pretending we didn't care, at least when we're around people who don't believe what we do. I thought that it wasn't personal, you know? But it is. And it's become only more so since November 2nd. It's so personal we're seriously looking into moving to Canada. So personal I feel gut-punched at the thought of what BushCo is doing to this country. So personal. I feel so strongly about all of this. I may not talk about it much in my blog, but that's because I read blogs that say it much better, not that I have no feelings on the subject. It's become a kind of low-level constant stress. I feel like Iím waiting for things to get worse, knowing they will. Knowing I live in a country where the ruling class want to take away everything I believe is important and do it all in the name of patriotism.
I've always believed that you can be friends with people who live different lives, have different skin colors, have different values. That we can inform and enlighten each other, open each other's eyes and minds, maybe by tiny increments, but that it's very worthwhile. Also that people on the other side of the political fence can be Ė and many are Ė good people, with good hearts and minds. I hate prejudice against Republicans as much as I hate any other kind of prejudice. And yet.
We had a wonderful time over Thanksgiving at Tiny Coconut's house. A crucial part of it was the sense that we were among people who felt the way we do. Who understood the impetus to move, who took that seriously and were willing to not only hear it but talk about the things we all see going wrong and how it feels to be living in these times, to be a liberal under a hostile neo-conservative regime.
I imagine socializing with people who voted for Bush, who truly believe he's the right man for the job and that what he's doing is righteous, and I hesitate. I want to say yes, I want to say of course. But right now the wounds are too raw, my anger and pain and that of the people around me too, it's too fresh and harsh and difficult to be here right now as it is. Normally opposing views are good and even necessary, but right now they feel hostile. Sometimes, I think, you do have to close ranks. To be comforted and to comfort rather than opening yourself up to an argument you can't win in times that are so very scary.
Yesterday I mostly browsed book and writing related blogs. The sun was warm, the breeze was delicious, my child was alternately a pain in the butt and a delight. Life felt... normal. Today I read poliblogs and was attacked by the blues again.
The real issue to me is: was this election a true voice of the people (in which case I'm gravely disappointed in the people but figure they'll come around when they see the havoc this administration will continue to wreak -- extremes don't last, not when most people are essentially centrists at heart) or was it a sign that Karl Rove and his flunkies have so thoroughly corrupted the voting system that we cannot ever, no not ever, take back the three branches of government. That's the thought that terrifies me. I don't want to believe it and part of me doesn't, it seems too crazy (and crazy-making). The other part, well... yeah.
But one thing I read today gave me hope. A letter from three Congressmen to the head of the US General Accountabily Office.
The letter follows:
November 5, 2004
The Honorable David M. Walker
Comptroller General of the United States
U.S. General Accountability Office
441 G Street, NW
Washington, DC 20548
Dear Mr. Walker:
We write with an urgent request that the Government Accountability Office immediately undertake an investigation of the efficacy of voting machines and new technologies used in the 2004 election, how election officials responded to difficulties they encountered and what we can do in the future to improve our election systems and administration.
In particular, we are extremely troubled by the following reports, which we would also request that you review and evaluate for us:
In Columbus, Ohio, an electronic voting system gave President Bush nearly 4,000 extra votes. "Machine Error Gives Bush Extra Ohio Votes," Associated Press, November 5.
An electronic tally of a South Florida gambling ballot initiative failed to record thousands of votes. "South Florida OKs Slot Machines Proposal," Id.
In one North Carolina county, more than 4,500 votes were lost because officials mistakenly believed a computer that stored ballots could hold more data that it did. "Machine Error Gives Bush Extra Ohio Votes," Id.
In San Francisco, a glitch occurred with voting machines software that resulted in some votes being left uncounted. Id.
In Florida, there was a substantial drop off in Democratic votes in proportion to voter registration in counties utilizing optical scan machines that was apparently not present in counties using other mechanisms. http://ustogether.org/election04/florida_vote_patt.htm
The House Judiciary Committee Democratic staff has received numerous reports from Youngstown, Ohio that voters who attempted to cast a vote for John Kerry on electronic voting machines saw that their votes were instead recorded as votes for George W. Bush. In South Florida, Congressman Wexler's staff received numerous reports from voters in Palm Beach, Broward and Dade Counties that they attempted to select John Kerry but George Bush appeared on the screen. CNN has reported that a dozen voters in six states, particularly Democrats in Florida, reported similar problems. This was among over one thousand such problems reported. "Touchscreen Voting Problems Reported," Associated Press, November 5.
Excessively long lines were a frequent problem throughout the nation in Democratic precincts, particularly in Florida and Ohio. In one Ohio voting precinct serving students from Kenyon College, some voters were required to wait more than eight hours to vote. "All Eyes on Ohio," Dan Lothian, CNN, November 3, http://www.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/blog/1...blog/index... ..
We are literally receiving additional reports every minute and will transmit additional information as it comes available. The essence of democracy is the confidence of the electorate in the accuracy of voting methods and the fairness of voting procedures. In 2000, that confidence suffered terribly, and we fear that such a blow to our democracy may have occurred in 2004.
Thank you for your prompt attention to this inquiry.
John Conyers, Jr. Jerrold Nadler Robert Wexler
Ranking Member Ranking Member Member of Congress
House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on the Constitution
cc: Hon. F. James Sensenbrenner
Maybe there still are people in power with the authority and the willingness to look into voter disenfranchisement, fraud, malfeasance, and also, face it, general incompetence and machine flaws. Maybe we won't be subsumed by the red tide forever.
I'm sad and heartsick and scared about what this means for the future and for our country. Will the divide become deeper, more profound? How much damage will the Bush administration ultimately do to us and to the world? How can this happen, how can more than fifty percent of my country believe this narrow minded bigot and his flunkies are worth keeping in power? Is it really about the gay marriage ban? Can it be that simple and that unfathomably phobic?
I love this country. I do. When I was sixteen, my boyfriend and I took a Greyhound bus from Los Angeles up the west coast to Washington State and then across the northern US back home to New York. I remember being given a ride and warmth and stories in Wisconsin, sunrises in Montana, sharing pizza with strangers in a tiny town in North Dakota. I'm sure those people had as many flavors of belief and ideology as any group of random people you could round up. I didn't talk politics with them and it didn't matter. How can I now hate them because of what their beliefs have wrought? How can they hate me? How can they hate my friends enough to tell them they can't marry, shouldn't be allowed to have abortions, don't have a right to a fair wage or overtime hours or even the fundamental right to vote? How can the extremists have made their message so palatable to so many people that it's now taken as, pardon the expression, gospel?
I heard a fragment of discussion on NPR this morning as I drove home from dropping Damian off at school. Someone said what I thought was the most illuminating bit of all the analysis I've heard and read thus far: The people of this country are voting based on values. This is a given, I've seen it discussed many places on this bitter Wednesday. But their values and their concerns aren't necessarily about gay marriage and stem cell research per se. It's really that they abhor the degradation of our cultural values, what we all see every day. More porn, more crassness, more commercialism, less emphasis on ethical judgment in daily life, more selfishness all around. And so some (many?) people's response is to retreat to the shelter of some kind of legislated Puritanism. But it can't be the only solution.
I donít know the answer here, I only know, along with the political bloggers I read, that there has to be one. The Democratic Party has to redefine itself. The center has to hold somehow. This country was meant to be democracy by the people, for the people, of the people. And right now we're not. That has to change. If I was younger Ė or more to the point, if I had more flexibility and less frazzle in my schedule Ė I'd volunteer my time right now. As it is, I'd like to start donating money to the causes I believe in. It's time for change. Morality is not a single sided issue and should never become solely the prerogative of the far right. I don't know how, I certainly don't know how long it'll take, but the pendulum must swing back, at least to the center. At least to sanity. Because I believe that people are fundamentally good-hearted, fundamentally not hateful. It's just a matter of convincing them of that.
Yes, I'm sad and heartsick and worried. I won't pretend Iím not. I don't know what lies ahead. I can only hope that good can come from bad. Somehow.
Tomorrow, in case you've been living in the deepest Sahara or the remotest Himalayas (and in that case, how are you reading this?) is election day in these united states. Not so united these days. But can I say what a relief that it'll be (mostly?) (sort of?) (maybe?) over. The suspense has been carving away bits of my sanity for months now and I know I'm not the only one who feels it. Today while I was waiting outside the kindergarten gate for Damian, I chatted with another mom. She said she's been feeling very stressed lately. The work deadlines she's staring down? No, the election. It's been driving her nuts. She's really scared. Not sleeping well. I know what she means. How on earth did it come to this? I know but I don't understand. I can trace the evolution, evaluate the hate, but it still defies sense.
Part of that hate is good for the Democrats. It may fuel a huge voter turnout, a lot of passion. People want Bush out. People are willing to make that happen. Enough people feeling strongly enough to overcome the now-clear and so-vile voter suppression tactics? Remains to be seen, of course. But one thing that saddens me is how many people are really not voting for Kerry per se but rather against Bush. They seem to think Kerry will be a mediocre president but that this trumps the rabid rightwing thinking and selfish destructive actions of the current administration. They're voting for Not-Bush. And I would too. I'd hold my nose and vote if I thought it was needed. I've done it before. But this time I'm not.
I like John Kerry. As a man but also as a statesman. This assessment by Rude Pundit sums up some of the many times Kerry's acted with strength and a profound moral center, disregarding the politically expedient for the ethically righteous. He has smarts, a knowledge of how Washington really works, and years of experience on Capitol Hill.
I think he's the kind of politician who seldom gets elected these days, with the presidency more of a charisma contest than a serious weighing of strengths and weaknesses, ideologies and capabilities. This is the kind who gets elected in a parliamentary system where he can be swept in as his party's leader. Not the kind of man who gets elected in our lowest-common-denominator smart-people-are-too-snooty we-want-a-buddy-in-the-White-House mentality. What we really want, I think, is a celebrity. Someone who looks good on TV. Someone who speaks in sound bites. So John Kerry doesn't look so good to people. And his campaign manager chose to avoid selling his Senate record to the public because it was painted with complex layers of color, not over-obvious black and white talking points. But the black-and-white types? They're not so good at the actual governing. They look pretty but they can't type. And a man like Kerry, I think he would (and fingers crossed, will) make a very good president indeed.
When I started reading tomorrow's New York Times Magazine profile of George W. Bush, I was fascinated. It confirmed what I've seen and suspected: this is a man who doesn't actually think, who doesn't know how to synthesize, how to analyze, and most of all, how to take in what other people say and alter his conclusions accordingly. He thinks like a child, everything oversimplified, everything black and white. Concrete thinking. He's never really gone through the school of hard knocks, he's never had to grow up. Not really. One description in particular confirms this for me. Bush in his 40's, attending board meetings for a big corporation (got on the board through a favor to his dad, of course); never anything of import to say, just a lot of dirty jokes (and this after his supposed crisis of faith). The article gives more chilling anecdotes by far, but this one reveals the emptiness of the man. The rest follows from that.
Like I said, when I started reading, I was fascinated by the glimpse behind the curtain to a man who prefers secrecy. Turns out he also prefers lockstep unthinking loyalty. Again, I'm not surprised. But somewhere in the final third of the article, I became very very depressed. People on the religious right worship this guy. They believe as he apparently does that he's God's chosen prezdint. And boy does he have plans for his second term. Oh yes. Does he ever.
God help us all. And may we wake up on the morning of November 3rd to a prezdint in past tense.
Okay, so I'm still in debate detox and apparently not doing a very good job of it. I think I had more browser windows open than last time though I saw less of the debate itself. So what does that make it? A draw? Tamar 1, obsession 2? Or maybe the other way around? Pundits everywhere scratch their heads.
In the meantime, I nearly fell off the bed tonight laughing at this ebay auction. Warning: only funny if you watched or otherwise ingested tonight's debate. Also probably only funny if you're a Democrat.
I come before you tonight to expose and atone for my addiction. I vow to clean up my act, purge my bookmarks, do whatever it takes to get on the road to sanity -- and save myself a serious time sink, to boot. Yes, I've become obsessed with the upcoming presidential election. I read blogs and newspapers, click refresh and click through to all kinds of analysis and controversy. I believe strongly that this is an important election year, that the contrasts are stark and our votes matter more than they have in a long time. But that doesn't mean I should spend hours reading and thinking and reading some more. I have a child to play with, dinner to make, books to read and stories to write. I have a life to live and I can't live it online, nor can I change a damned thing by sitting at the computer reading about other people's struggles to make a difference.
I come by it naturally, I'm afraid. My father is a political junkie, especially when it comes to national elections. He's so biased he thought Dukakis came off well in the debates back then. But unless I'm willing to throw myself into campaigning for the Dems -- and I'm not -- or ferreting out secrets and lies and analyzing them on my own blog -- and I'm not that either -- I should back away from the computer slowly, my hands at my sides and my WiFi inactive.
I need a break. November 2nd is still weeks away. I need to think about something else for a while.
The question is, can I?
I was curious about the presidential debate tonight but too scared to watch. Well, no, not scared exactly. Bush makes me physically ill. I don't want to feel ill. I don't like feeling ill. I didn't want to watch. Nevertheless, curious. What to do? Why, load Atrios a dozen times, read his take as well as the bulging comment threads.
Are they too partisan, though? Seeing what they want to see? I have to check for myself. Turn on the TV. Can't stand Bush's fake bonhomie, though, don't want that voice in my ears. What to do? I've got TiVO. Rewind reality, go back half an hour, watch a bit of Kerry here and a bite of the moderator there and go one click faster to watch Bush speak without hearing a word. I even know enough to switch channels to go to a network that's got the split screen action happening. Fascinating to watch the candidates listening to each other.
Now I know what they're talking about on Atrios. Now I feel like I've seen the debate. Only took about ten minutes (I didn't actually listen to everything Kerry said, just enough to hear his voice and know his tone and a few select things he had to say). A summary. Painless. Kind of fun, even. Technology can be your friend.
I think I know how I'm going to spend the evening of November 2nd.
Very tired (the blowback from staying up until three a.m. Tuesday night making hard decisions is a sleepy couple of days) so I'm going to throw a couple of links your way and go to bed.
First, you must read Toni's very funny and very true description of how a writer takes notes. As a writer, you need feedback like you need a fresh printer cartridge. That doesn't mean you have to like it.
Second, I've been meaning to link to a political site for a while. I have trouble reading newspaper articles about the election these days. Blog reading reveals that "fair and balanced" crap as transparently false. But I have trouble with a lot of blogs too, they're too blustery and make me scared and angry. And yet I have to get my election year fix somewhere. So I've been turning every morning to this site , which tallies the current electoral college polling. Sometimes the news is good, sometimes it's bad. The webmaster often has fascinating things to say about the polling process, which is far more inherently subjective than I ever realized. Between the polls and the papers, I wonder if it's ever possible to truly be unbiased and objective.
And then there are times real life is all too real. Abu Ghraib. I can't write about it, not in any coherent way, and yet I have to say something or it'll be an odd emptiness in my blog archives, as if I didn't care when I care too much. I've been reading with disgust and literal nausea. I have nothing to say that hasn't been said elsewhere with vehemence and eloquence. It's a travesty and a disgrace and a horror and I'm absolutely certain is endemic to this administration's parody of governance, commanded or at least condoned by higher ups all the way to the top. People aren't human unless they're our kind of folk. How fucked, how absolutely and completely fucked.
My dear friend Chris, who sometimes comments here, has done something brave and wonderful, along with her partner Rachel and eight other couples: they applied for marriage licenses in Orangeburg (coincidentally Dan's hometown) knowing they'd be turned down. They did it so they could form a plaintiff's suit instead of merely letting the officials performing the marriages become defendants. I'm proud as hell of them.
Oh, and happy seventh anniversary, guys. Seems like yesterday!
Okay, here's substance. From someone else. I've read a lot of good commentary on the gay marriages in San Francisco (I have just one thing to say on that: Yay! Okay, two. Also Woo Hoo!) but the best point I've seen is Rob Rummel-Hudson's. I just hope he's right.
Oh, I do have one more thing to say. I think it's fascinating that this is happening -- San Francisco and Massachusetts (and what's up with Hawaii these days?) making steps toward making it legal for two people to wed regardless of gender -- during such an oppressive, backwards regime. It's as if the overarching government mindset has nothing to do with the populace. Could it be? A sea change is necessarily underwater, tugging at you from beneath the surface. This is the more powerful kind of transformation.
I usually avoid talking politics, particularly online. There are plenty of blogs that go there, I see no reason to add my voice when I donít know what Iím talking about. And from what I see, people are rarely able to change each otherís minds in this ongoing, often nasty debate.
Having said that, Iím going to go ahead and talk politics. Iím sure youíve heard the sexual harassment allegations against Arnold Schwarzenegger. Iíve been waiting for a story about it; I read the Premiere article a couple of years ago with disgust and was baffled that nobody was talking about it now. Then the LA Times article hit. I guess they just needed time to get their sources lined up, as well they should. Itís incendiary stuff.
I keep reading conservatives complaining that liberals were all for keeping Clintonís sexual peccadilloes separate from his policies but now weíre hypocrites for claiming that Arnoldís actions should make a difference. Itís a legitimate criticism, at least on the surface. But hereís the thing: What Clinton did was stupid and more than a little sleazy, but in every report Iíve ever read, it was always consensual. He had affairs, one night stands, assignations but he always waited for a response from the woman. All the accounts Iíve ever read Ė in the LA Times and Premiere Ė show Schwarzenegger as a predator, an aggressor, someone who gets off on the power he wields. Thatís scary. Thatís one step away from rape. I saw Arnold Schwarzenegger once, standing outside Barneyís New York with his entourage. Most movie stars are diminished in real life, just normal size. Not this man. Heís big. Dominating. If you were a woman alone in a bungalow bathroom with him, if he shoved you against the wall, ignoring your protests, how would you feel?
Yeah. Itís different.