Date Archives November 2016

I am going to be mad for a while

I first heard the yowl at 9:37 PM last night .

“MOTHERFUCKERRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!”

It was coming out of my own mouth. I was surprised at how loud it was. As I walked into the kitchen, I pictured hurling my wine glass at the brick fireplace. Gawd, that would’ve felt so good.

The election was fucking me over. America, and my fellow citizens, were fucking me over. The election process, the media, and my new neighbor on the corner with the Trump sign were fucking me over.

How? Why? HOW?????

I channeled my better self when talking to my children this morning. In America, sometimes your candidate loses. Even though I’m unhappy with the election results, I always want America to thrive. I hope that a President Trump (ouch … that stings to write) will do good things. I hope I was wrong about him.

I do mean all of that. But before I can say all of that without choking, I have some anger and grief to process.

Because my worst self wants to say WAY TO GO, ASSHOLES. My worst self wants him to fail so everyone who voted for him will see what a giant mistake they made. But I can only feel like for about a second because if he fails, we all pay. And no one will feel bad about electing him anyway because any of his failures will be blamed on Obama’s legacy.

People are saying that we have to move forward. Look on the bright side. Make lemonade out of arsenic. Got it. Thanks. But I’m not ready yet. I need to sit and fully feel this horrifying mess before I can start looking forward. And I don’t think having a post-mortem and asking how we got here is a bad idea. I probably don’t have the mental juice to pull that sort of discussion off right now, so instead I’m just going to make a list of things I’m angry about:

  1. A portion of America has been brainwashed. When fact checking is positioned as a partisan strategy, then it’s hard not to think that people are being conditioned to just choke down whatever info is being fed to them. Here’s a quote from a Rush Limbaugh show from September:This fact-check technique is the latest. Let me tell you what it really is. There is no fact-checking. The fact that The New York Times, and The Washington Post, and USA Today, and all these other papers and networks now have fact-checkers is for one reason. It allows them to fool you into thinking they have an objective, nonpartisan staff or person analyzing everything the candidates are saying, and telling you what they’re saying is true, or what they’re saying is false. When in fact the fact-checkers are no different than the biased left-leaning reporters and columnists at these papers and on networks. But the fact-check, the idea that it is a fact-check story is designed to say to you that it is objective and analytically fair, and all it is is a vehicle for them to do opinion journalism under the guise of fairness. Which, if you fall for it, gives it even more power, because if you think that the fact-checkers like PolitiFact or Snopes, or whoever else, if you quote them constantly as the Bible, well then you’ve fallen for it.

    Fallen for what? Facts? How does this make any sense? This has been going on for a while now. Discrediting anything unfavorable to the conservative position as a liberal media ploy is a standard argument for just about everything.

    (Important note: I’m not talking about all conservatives here. I have some conservative friends who make it a priority to dig deep and come to their own conclusions. While I do not always agree with them, I appreciate and respect their dedication to doing their own research.)

  2. The Democratic establishment needs a foot up its ass. (Here you go. Feel free to use mine.) People have spent decades hating Hillary Clinton. Whether that’s fair or not, whether she’s qualified or not … these things don’t matter. There was a massive, massive, massive portion of the vote she never had the slightest prayer of getting. There are people who would vote in a child molester before they’d vote her in. (And yes. I know. They might have. Dear God I hope that story isn’t true because it’s horrendous.) The point is, electability matters. It’s really short-sighted to pretend otherwise.
  3. RACISM. Van Jones on CNN late last night did such an amazing job of characterizing what’s going on our country right now and what we need to do move forward. Watch it. It’s less than two and a half minutes. Paraphrasing here: “We don’t want to feel like someone threw away some of us to appeal more deeply to others.”I think a lot of people who voted for Trump wouldn’t characterize themselves as racist. But after last night, we know 50% of the country is OK putting a racist in the White House. That’s nauseating. (As of this writing, it looks like Clinton may have won the popular vote. Neither candidate got more than 50%.)
  4. I’m gonna say it: my friends who consider themselves people of faith. I don’t get how so many of you could back this hate monger. Even the Pope has spoken out against Trump. I consider many of you very intelligent. I know that many of you are extremely charitable. Are you that conditioned that you’ll fall in line with whoever is at the top of the Republican ticket? That is the only conclusion I can come to.  I do not understand. I do not understand. I do not understand.
  5. People who can’t stop being douchebags now that the election is over. I have not unfriended one single person throughout the election. Not one. Until just now. I’m not quiet about my views and I often find debate useful. But to troll my page the day after the election when a lot of us are grieving and attempt to argue why my and my friends’ viewpoints are wrong … it’s just classless. Post whatever you like on your own page but stay offa mine.
  6. Memories of all the non-sensical, uniformed, offensive crap that Trump has spewed during the last few months. This pussy-grabbing, tiny-fisted racist and his oversized ego are going to be occupying the Oval Office. So many things to worry about there. So very many things. I can’t even start …
  7. The state of journalism. Because of the Internet, journalism is not a money maker any more. There’s still some good reporting going on, but there’s not nearly enough of it. Context is often missing. Candidates are not pressed to clarify themselves and they aren’t held accountable. And now we’ll have a President who already has a history of banning media outlets that haven’t portrayed him the way he’d like. My only hope is that he’s pissed enough people off that they’ll be looking at him very closely.

This too shall pass, right? Right?

The very personal reason I’m voting for Hillary Clinton

1bf055dc3You guys … I am a farking sorcerer. I can predict the future.

For example, I can tell you exactly what’s going to happen after I post this blog. I’m going to get pummeled with arguments from various people who are going to tell me that Hillary/Killary is a crook and should be in jail. (Hello, cousin Bobby and Aunt Pam! Hope the weather is nice in whatever reality you’re inhabiting today. I love you even though I THINK YOU’RE CRAZY.) But since there have already been several FBI probes and countless hours of Congressional hearings covering most of that territory, I’m not going to bother engaging in that argument with you anymore. Just like I’m also not going to engage in arguments about whether or not global warming is real.

We cannot find enough common ground on these issues to have a reasonable conversation. Please, feel free to sit there on your path of scorched earth and throw your tantrum while reading the rest of this blog.

Now that that’s out of the way …

She was my Plan B

Let me say that Hillary was not my first choice. I really loved Bernie. There were so many things on his platform that spoke to me. But it was not to be.

And let me also say that I remain pissed off at a primary system in which a few states have an unfair influence. By the time we get around to voting here in Pennsylvania, the nominees from the two major parties are all but decided. I can’t recall an election during my lifetime in which that wasn’t the case.

In fact, the Northeast Corridor of the country — the area from Boston to Washington DC — is not represented at all during the first few weeks of the primaries. Primaries begin Feb. 1. My state doesn’t vote until April 26th. New York City, which contains the city that is arguably the capital of the entire fucking world, doesn’t weigh in until April 19th. California is June 7th.  It seems that the primaries are not a good representation of the American population. (See here for the 2016 primary calendar.)

But I didn’t pull a lever for Hillary in the primary, even though my vote for Bernie was largely worthless at that point. However, I said that if he wasn’t the candidate I would vote for Hillary instead.

 

I don’t feel like fighting her battles

But I didn’t want her. Why? To be honest, the biggest reason is that people are so entrenched in their hatred of Hillary and I didn’t feel like going through such an incredibly nasty election cycle. (Not even my sorcerer-style powers could’ve predicted just how bad it would get.) I figured that any Republican candidate was likely to enjoy a substantial bump just because he or she (she! as if …) was running against Hillary Clinton.

And I’m pretty sure that’s happening. #sorcerer

My biggest reservation was that I believed that if she were elected, Republicans in Congress would consider it a badge of honor to obstruct her in every way possible. Our current Congress has already refused to allow hearings to fill a vacant seat on the U.S. Supreme Court. It has refused to even allow a vote on any measure related to guns. The “I’m taking my ball and going home” strategy is becoming the law of the land. (Which is something to think about on those down-ballot races … can we vote in people who might actually try to get something done instead of playing politics the whole time? HI CONGRESS. WE ARE ELECTING YOU TO WORK FOR US, NOT GET RE-ELECTED.)

However, despite all of that, I have always believed that Hillary is smart and competent. I believe that she’s done her homework. I have always believed that she has a deep understanding of the intricacies of foreign relations and domestic policies. She shows evidence of having a basic understanding of how our government works, unlike our other candidate.

But all of that? It’s abstract.

 

What Hillary did for me

You know what wins elections? Issues that aren’t abstract. Issues that make people feel fear in their guts and anger searing up their spines. They’re going to come into my home and take my guns! They’re going to let terrorists into our country! Foreigners need to stop stealing our jobs!!! Stop expanding government — except for abortion! And access to birth control! Why should we have to pay for all these welfare babies?

Dems are awesome at running on abstracts. Lefties like to talk policy and nuance. Righties like to talk fear and punishment. These two strategies don’t translate well.

So let me give you one concrete, non-abstract reason I’m voting Hillary Clinton.

She kept my kid out of the hospital.

Benjamin had terrifying asthma from the time he was a month old. I used to have to put him to bed in his cart seat so he could sleep sitting up. Then I’d hover over him to make sure he was still breathing. He suffered all through his toddler years.

My ex and I separated when Benjamin was 18 months old. I was only working about 10 hours a week when my marriage ended. That also happened to coincide with the the time when the publishing industry died. I was a writer/editor. There were no jobs for me. Then my marital home went into foreclosure and I was facing bankruptcy.

And my boy needed four nebulizer sessions a day. There were two different medications, one which cost hundreds of dollars per box. And sometimes he needed another steroid on top of all that when he get pneumonia (which he did, several times).

Sometimes you could hear him breathe from across the room. Like a loud, squeaky rocking chair.

I enrolled my kids in CHIP, the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

I just found out during this campaign that Hillary Clinton was a driving force behind the creation of CHIP. Senator Ted Kennedy, who was largely responsible for CHIP said, “The children’s health program wouldn’t be in existence today if we didn’t have Hillary pushing for it from the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue.”

I had to pay $60.55 per kid per month (I just looked it up to be sure). It wasn’t free. Poor as I was, I didn’t qualify for Medicaid. Writing those checks was hard but I was so, so, so thankful to have any kind of insurance at all. The kids were on CHIP for about eight months — from December to July — until I could afford to get other insurance.

Had I not had that safety net, my son most certainly would’ve wound up in the hospital that winter. Because I could take him to the doctor and because I could pay for the medication he needed, he got through OK. And I didn’t wind up with mountains of medical bills that I wouldn’t have been able to pay. Instead, I was able to work on building new skill sets so I could create new career opportunities for myself.

I used the safety net temporarily. I’m a white, college-educated person with a largely middle-class upbringing. I had the resources to fix my life, thank God.

I can say without hyperbole that CHIP changed the course of my and my son’s life, and it had a massive impact on the trajectory of our family.

 

She’s getting it done

 

I’m voting for Hillary not because Trump is a racist, misogynist buffoon who is far to much of a toddler to be in charge of anything, including his own Twitter account.

Rather, I’m voting for Hillary because I think she gives a shit. I think that she’s able to conceptualize other people’s struggles, rather than just blaming them for having them. I think she has a sense that when we raise up those who need help the most, we all prosper.

Also … this woman is a fighter on par with that much-celebrated American Muslim Muhamadd Ali. She has been beaten down and kicked around my entire adult life. She has been called every name in the book. She has been accused of everything from ripping babies out of mother’s wombs the day before they were due to spoiling your potato salad on Memorial Day.

But guess what? She doesn’t have time for your nonsense. Call her what you want. She’ll still be back tomorrow. She could certainly go home and take up gardening at this point, but for some reason, she keeps coming back, pushing that damn boulder up the hill inch by inch. That’s something I greatly admire.

Hillary: Thank you for what you did for my family. This white lady from the “battleground within a battleground” of Bucks County, PA, will be pulling a lever with your name on it on Tuesday.