I Thought…

…that having a Democratic win last night would make it easier to live in America.  Yes, the negativity and partisan bickering would still be here.  Yes, there would still be Christians trying to turn their religion into policy and legislation.  Yes, there would still be large number of hateful, fabricating far-right nut jobs.  But the democrats would have given them all a huge spanking and sent them to bed without dinner.  And they did.  Republicans were publicly spanked last night, and bad, because the race was so very close.  But this morning my Facebook is clogged with hateful posts, the negativity still exists, the partisan bickering.

I don’t know.  Being a Libertarian myself, I don’t get a huge surge of party affiliated pride, but I do take comfort in knowing that even though Obama will continue to present a lackluster performance compared with his campaign promises, at least there are enough people in this country who still believe in individual freedoms, who still care enough about social issues, to come out and vote for someone who doesn’t want to fill the pockets of the mega rich and deny gay people the right to marry.

Social issues were a much, much larger factor for me than economic issues.  Probably stupid but, hey, we who don’t make 250 thousand a year a used to a little financial discomfort.  Not as though Obama created it and I don’t really see how he was supposed to dig us out of the hole that Dick Cheney’s trained monkey put us in (and everyone before him – it’s never one president all on his own making problems, they work together).

As far as foreign policy goes, here’s my thinking:  We are fucking infants on the world’s stage.   We are giant babies with big lungs who have a tendency to stomp our feet and scream really loud.  That’s why we’re a major player.  We effect what goes on in the world because we just pull out our dicks (and our guns) and run in wherever we want without thinking of how it effects everyone else.  We need to knock that shit off and grow up or, please believe, there’s going to be a violin wailing while Washington burns.  We are the new Rome.  You’d think we’d learn a little something about hubris from them.

But whatever.  I am a white voter living in a red county, in a blue state, who voted for a black president and won.  Diversity is so fucking cool.  And guess what?  It doesn’t matter who’s president.  We’re going to go deeper into debt, less and less people are going to believe the conservative Christian rhetoric and more and more will stop voting to prevent others from having rights based on their own dogma.  For the far right community, their fears are a self-fulfilling prophecy.  The world is getting worse for them.  But it’s getting a fuck of a lot better over here in the center, where more and more people are conceding that we shouldn’t be worrying about forcing everyone to live the lifestyle we’ve chosen.

Why did I vote for Obama?  Because I’m a woman in a country where women and minorities are, both historically and currently, treated as second class citizens.  Romney wanted to overturn Roe v. Wade.  Fucking A.  That would have set the women’s rights movement back 39 years.  39 Years!  That’s unacceptable.  Sending women into back alleys with wire coat hangers because your god expects them to raise whatever life they’re impregnanted with, even in the case of rape or incest.  Unacceptable.  No.  Just no.

Okay.  I could go on all day long.  The point is that while I feel vindicated and just a twinge hopeful given that Obama captured both the popular vote and the electoral college, signifying a real change in thinking on social issues across the country, I’m still a Libertarian who loves everyone, including racial and ideological minorities, living in a very vitriolic red country.  I got what I wanted.  Romney went home with his tail between his legs, as all good liars should.  But nothing has changed, the rhetoric and blindness to reason are now even stronger among those who cling to them, and it was still close enough of a race to remind me that we have a long way to go as a country in developing true compassion and empathy for fellow human beings.

Oh well.  At least a little over half of us still have some sense.

11 thoughts on “I Thought…

  1. I was interested to hear on the radio this morning that the Smith and Wesson share price has risen on the strength of an expected surge in gun sales in certain areas in the wake of Obamas re-election.

    I really want to write a post about that but I can’t think of anything to write yet other than AAAARRRRGGGHHHHH!!!!

    We in Australia don’t take politics at all seriously, our pollies would never get the kind of reception those in the US do. Each time I see those hordes of cheering supporters for either side almost crying with adoration I am amazed. Then I hear about this projected surge in gun sales and it makes me glad we don’t take it so seriously.

  2. That’s one of the worst things about this country – it’s a place of great extremes. So many Americans tend toward fanaticism and excess. I really don’t get into politics myself at all if I can help it, but I do take voting seriously and I get as much information as I need to feel as though I’m making an informed decision. I’m so center of everything. I just wish we could all let one another be and stop making policies based on what boil down to widely varied religious beliefs.

    The first time Obama ran there were people showing up at his rallies with automatic weapons. And it was allowed as a display of our second amendment rights. If they’d show up at a white man’s rally with those weapons they wouldn’t have made it onto the premesis. Then there’s the crazy ass tea party and, yes, there are many many people in my town who believe that he is a Muslim, Kenyan antichrist who will deliver us straight unto Armageddon. And then they’ll turn around in the next breath and say that it’s in no way related to race.

    I just don’t know how issues like this continue to be a problem. Maybe it’s just something in our water. *sigh* I will say that my political interest is motivated infinitely more by preventing someone with a complete lack of empathy and compassion from having the ability to legislate my rights to my own body than it is by an adoration for any one candidate. I distrust anyone who adores their candidate and has complete faith in him or her. Those are usually the ones on the way to the gun store.

    • I think that your politicians have to encourage that fanaticism as voting isn’t compulsory. If they don’t whip people up a little nobody will even bother to turn up on election day.

      We have compulsory voting here, and our campaigns only last a few weeks. We only vote because we have to and we vote for the one who annoys us the least, it is definitely not a popularity contest.

      I completely agree with you, if only everyone could just agree to disagree and do what is best for the people, not best for their career.

      Religion is such a big part of politics in the US, isn’t it? That really brings a whole other dimension to the arena and certainly gives people another reason to hate each other.

      • Unfortunately, religion is a huge part of US politics. It shouldn’t be. That’s the problem – the biggest one – with President Obama and his re-election. Here’s what it is:

        England kicked the puritans out for being a bunch of surly buzzkills. They came here and colonized this country, stealing it from the native inhabitants and giving them all polio. For a long time the puritans were unchallenged and so government reflected their ideals. But the US became a place for many people from many cultural backgrounds to live. This has created great diversity of philosophy and beliefs. The white Christians in this country are just now beginning to become a minority, and their ideals and values are no longer shared by a majority of the population. This past election has proven that, not only with the re-election of Obama but in the many ballot measures that were passed – recreational marijuana in Colorado, gay marriage in four states, and an assisted suicide bill in Massachusetts.

        These white Christians are used to running the show. Now they are being told that they are wrong (something they find incomprehensible) and that they are no longer going to be allowed to force their way of life on others. Rather than accepting that their freedom to live as they choose should be a right shared by everyone – even those who live differently from them – they are throwing a royal tantrum. Rather than minding their own business, they are attempting to continue minding everyone else’s.

        Add to the problem of religion in politics the problem of race in our country and you can see the threat that some of these people are feeling. Not only are their notions of superiority in the moral arena being negated, but their notions of race superiority are being torn to shreds. There are many people in this country who still harbor the same feelings toward blacks as their grandparents and great grandparents who lived through the civil rights movement. And a black man in the white house, to them, is a huge threat.

        Whenever you have a group of people who are connected by heritage you’ve got an ingroup. When that ingroup feels threatened it lashes out at whatever and whomever it perceives as an “outsider.” It bands together to maintain its identity, like a hive of bees protecting its nest. But America is filled with so many different ingroups that they all tend to show their teeth whenever they thing that another ingroup is attempting to infiltrate them.

        What we all need to learn here in this country is that we can maintain our identities without having to force our identities on others. Our identities are ours. If you’re a white christian conservative, great! Continue to be that. But let the rest of us be what we are instead of trying to make us be the same as you. Don’t like abortions? Cool. Don’t have one. Too proud to accept welfare? Great. Don’t accept it. Not into gay sex? That’s cool. Don’t engage in it. But it’s not up to you to make everyone else mirror your beliefs and lifestyles. And these types of social issues should never be legislated. Forced “morality” is no morality at all. You’re not lowering the amount of gay people in the country by forcing them to live straight. And furthermore, why should you want to?

        It just irritates me that people can’t let others be. No one is holding a head to a christian’s head and forcing them to engage in gay sex or have an abortion. So why do they feel the need to hold a gun to anyone else’s head and force them to stay pregnant or be straight? It’s outrageous.

        I am given a lot of hope for the country, though, given that Obama won the popular vote and that so many progressive ballot measures were passed. It shows a real shift in the national intellect toward center and away from such fanaticism. I can only hope that the reflection of the christian religion in our national policies will continue to dwindle until it becomes unrecognizable. Or at least indistinguishable from every other religion’s influence.

        It’s not that I hate christians. It’s just that I hate having christian ideals forced onto me and being told that I can’t have a right to my own body because someone else’s god forbids it. I don’t see this attempt to control and subjugate coming from any other religion. it’s time for it to stop.

        As the bumper sticker says, “I don’t have a problem with Jesus. It’s the fan club that’s got to go.”

        ./rant. =)

      • Funny how similar our countries starts were if I just change a few things… “England kicked the criminals out for, ummm, being criminals. They came here and colonized this country, stealing it from the native inhabitants and giving them all disease and alcohol.”

        In American you have such a separation of cultures, Obama’s speech, although it was being inclusive of all people, still listed all of the different types of people you could be.

        To an outsider it seems that there is no singleminded “lets make the country better” attitude, it seems as though each minority is struggling to make their own situation better believing that all the others are against them. I know that you have the history of slavery that is a huge issue. Having an entire race of people whose only reason for being in the country is that they were enslaved. would certainly make that separation more obvious.

        I think that a difference here is that although we started as a penal colony used as forced labour, the convicts outnumbered the upper classes and as such don’t seem to have developed a minority attitude (generalizing here). Starting with this mentality seems to have bred in a natural streak of anti-authoritarianism and our attitude to religion reflect this. If our politicians profess their beliefs that is ok, but they had better not go on about it. We don’t want it to colour their policies or seem to influence their attitudes.

        The reason I don’t like religion is, just as you said, they so often try to force their beliefs on us (don’t get me started on missionaries). I don’t go knocking on their door telling them not to believe or drop anti-god pamphlets in their letterboxes, why can’t they keep their beliefs to themselves and just be happy. I know that many people need a crutch and I am not going to deny them theirs, I just don’t need one, well, maybe chocolate, but that’s it….. There is no all knowing god guiding me, I have a conscience to do that.

        I thought I would share this with you too, zero from three, what on earth was this kid thinking? Oh, wait, not thinking at all…..

  3. That’s exactly the problem I was trying to articulate – thank you for boiling it down for me! You’re exactly right. There is no singleminded desire to make things better for all of us. I guarantee you that republicans in congress (particularly white christian republicans, which is mainly what the party is made up of) will throw a temper tantrum and stall everything that Obama is trying to do. There are posts all over Facebook from conservative Christians talking about how to, even at the personal level, prevent Obama from doing what he wants to do. It’s sad. And then they’ll turn around in the next breath and talk about how Obama is a liar and doesn’t do anything he said he would. I just want to scream at them, “that’s because he’s not the only person in government capable of effecting change!” Gah! It’s madness!

    Oh, God (no pun intended), I saw this girl on The Young Turks, which is a progressive news show on YouTube. I love them. If you ever want to laugh and Americans being generally stupid (both politically and generally), check it out: http://www.youtube.com/user/TheYoungTurks

    That girl is everything that’s wrong with my generation. I have told my husband (who, by the way, has restored my faith in Christians by learning to be open-minded and tolerant since being with me) that our girls are going to be educated, but they are also going to be taught to think for themselves and to question everything they are told or that they read. I don’t want a couple of blind faith ignoramuses in my family. Or should I say a couple more? We certainly already have our fair share. I encourage everyone to believe whatever they want. But there are two rules: (1) Know why you believe it, don’t just believe it because someone told you you should and (2) don’t expect anyone else to believe it. If they don’t share your belief, then either agree to disagree and continue to be respectful of one another or move on. Religion is like a penis. I’m glad you have one. It’s okay to be proud of it. But please refrain from shoving it down my throat, please and thank you.

    I think Obama, more than any other president (and we’re coming out of eight years of functional retardation with the Bush Jr. administration, so it wasn’t hard to exceed the precedent), has tried to appeal to and work with every different demographic that exists here. He’s got hard work in front of him, though, if he hopes to unite people who seem genuinely intent on being as divisive as possible. I’m hoping that this is a generational thing, and that as more and more people my age raise children, and those children raise children, and so on, that this mean streak will be slowly bred out of us and that we will be able to maintain our individualism without doing so at the exclusion of all other groups.

    I want to come to Australia. I don’t think I could tolerate the weather for long, but I just want to experience a life where I don’t need Xanax to quiet my brain from railing against the complete lack of reason by which I’m surrounded. I feel like i’m taking crazy pills here in America. And I’ve heard the food is aaaaaaaaaaahhhhh-mazing!


    • You would love it here, you just have to plan your destination to mesh with the kind of weather you like, south- cool, north- steamy hot, middle- hot dry 🙂 We have our share of idiots here, although we are probably more relaxed!

      We are really lucky and have great fresh food (and coffee). Although my experience of the US only extends as far as movies and tv sometimes I wonder if anyone there ever eats anything not fried or processed! 😉

      One similarity we have to the US is a disenfranchised minority in our indigenous people. They are a small minority and their health, financial and educational situation is dismal.

      One problem I think is that every time the government tries to target them and do something to help it is decried as racist and shouted down. The problem is that they (not all, but many) don’t live like the majority (and seemingly don’t want to) so how can they be treated the same? They still hold a lot of anger towards white Australia for stealing their lands and culture and I understand that, but if it hadn’t been the British it would have been the French or some other society. Rightly or wrongly, they certainly wouldn’t have been left in peace.

      I have no idea as to what might better their situation. Alcohol is a major problem and when we travel north and see the same groups of people shambling along the road every day to the nearest bottle shop and see small dirty children left to their own devices in the street it is awful to think that nobody has a solution, but it seems that is the case.

      Same old story isn’t it. Politicians can’t do everything, the population has to have their own best interests at heart too and that doesn’t mean making yourself happy at the expense of everyone else.

      I love your rules 1 and 2. Even though neither the Man or I have any religion the kids do religious instruction at school. I feel that, like it or not, it pervades so many aspects of life that it helps to have a grounding in those beliefs. They both know we don’t believe and are free to make up their own belief system. They have both done so, one is intensely logical and is still making up his mind about the world. The other believes in god a little, but I expect that is only because he thinks that there needs to be someone to blame for all the bad stuff that happens in the world. Funnily enough, they both believe strongly in reincarnation. 🙂

      • I would definitely need to be in the south. I start wilting once it hits anything over 70 degrees and if there’s any humidity present I’m done. Summer makes me physically ill.

        This whole processed food thing is really out of control. I’m a little surprised at how backward we are in that you can get a bag of Cheetos and a two liter of Mountain Dew for less than fresh vegetables and chicken for a dinner for two. When I was in England and France (end of the 90’s, but still not that long ago) the prices of processed foods and sodas were outrageous. Here we pay a mint for a glass of wine with a meal. There it was cheaper than a Coke. We have a lot of people jumping on the whole foods bandwagon (myself included) and I love it. I really want to get my raised garden bed filled in the summer and have my own small garden. I’d love to have chickens (for the eggs for baking, not for the meat – I could go vegetarian pretty easily). For a country that was heavy on farming in its history we certainly seem to have a hard time knowing what we should eat and telling real food from frankenfood. Scary.
        I’m making all of the girls’ food myself and keeping them off processed foods for as long as possible. Obviously it’s not unavoidable and it’s easy to go too overboard with that as it is with anything else, but I try to decide what to eat by the easier its ingredients are to identify. Obviously whole fruits and veggies are the easiest. Too bad they can’t be a bit less pricey.

        I have a hard time with the taking over of native lands by colonists. I know it’s going to happen and to hope for anything less would be the epitome of naivete, but it really does suck. I try to think of what it’s going to be like when the extra terrestrials come to colonize us and I think of all the majority populations that will be so indignant that they’re being subjugated due to their technological and intellectual inferiority. I always think, too, of these white conservatives talking about how horrible is that “all of these immigrants are sneaking into the country” and how we ought to just “built a wall to keep ’em all out (hyuk hyuk hyuk pass me a Budweiser and let’s watch some Nascar).” I can’t help wondering whether they feel the same frustration for the American Indians and their plight. Were he on the Mayflower would he have stopped everyone and said, “you know, guys, we really weren’t invited…” Just another example of a struggle for superiority and infringement on the privilege of the majority.

        But you’re right. There’s so much hostility between the American Indians and government and the lifestyles are so different that there’s no real way to fix the injustices of the past. It just seems like there ought to be a way to work towards a better future. Unfortunately, I don’t see humans as a race getting more altruistic. I see us getting meaner. What makes America so great is its diversity, but sadly it’s that same diversity that I fear will tear us apart. Not enough people are interested in making connections and far too many are interested in polarizing and dividing us even further. =(

        I really think we need to give instruction in all world religions in our schools. I plan to make up for all of the places where our education system fails. These are the things the next generation needs to know. Most people where I live just automatically assume that all Muslims want to kill them and have no inkling of what any other culture or religion believes. So you’re right, it’s absolutely necessary to understand these things. My husband goes to a church that’s pretty fundamentalist Christian and so it’s pretty amazing that he and I get along at all. But he’s somehow managed to transcend the blind inflexibility and is able to allow room for others’ lifestyles in exchange for the freedom to practice his own. I don’t go to church at all and consider myself Agnostic – I have no knowledge of anything when it comes to a higher power. I’d like to believe it, but not falsely. So I just claim utter uncertainty. I don’t think it’s meant for me and religion to ever mesh. I have too much love of and respect for science and facts. Love them. Total science geek. Mike does take the girls to his church and I’m okay with that as long as we also give them instruction in tolerance and open-mindedness, which he’s totally on board with. The deal is that when they can give us a valid argument as to why they don’t want to go anymore then they don’t have to. It can’t just be “because it’s boring,” but that they’ve thought about it, considered it, and are not on board with what’s being taught. If they never feel that way, that’s okay too. Like you, I’d never deny anyone their crutch. I know I have mine (love you, Camels). But I will not have intolerant and inflexible children. That’s my biggest issue – tolerance. As long as no one is hurting someone else by pursuing their own happiness, I say go for it.

      • My parents always took us to church but once we (mainly me being the eldest) could put up a decent argument as to why it was not our thing we were allowed to stop.
        I was a book loving child and I often wondered out loud why a more interesting book wasn’t the one chosen for us to all believe in as the bible didn’t explain all the science-y things I liked, dinosaurs, cavemen, aliens….. No wonder the sunday school teacher didn’t like me!

        We live outside of Melbourne, the southernmost capital, apart from the entire island of Tasmania, and don’t think I haven’t tried to get the Man to move down there for colder weather! 70F is about 21c (all celcius here) and that is good weather for me too. The temp here goes from around 0-10c in winter to 30’s or more in summer. 40’s are unbearable and I become dangerous to be around! 😉

        We live in a sort of rural area, farms all around but lots of vineyards. Plenty of fresh food to be had though, we don’t often eat takeaway. Fortunately, cooking fresh food is a fashionable thing so the quality is great. We are very lucky that the nearest KFC and Maccas (McDonalds) is about half an hours drive away too!

        The Man bought me a chook house last week and I am really excited to get it up and running. No eating the chooks, but eggs will be very nice. I really just want them because I hate any waste and they can eat my fruit and veg odds and ends each night! Plus all the damn snails that eat my plants… grrrr….

        You are right, humans are getting meaner. I wonder if our materialistic consumer driven society is to blame? More people coming in mean less stuff/money/space to put my stuff so people only see new arrivals as competitors and their stuff being taken from them instead of the world being a place to share.

        I really think that early colonists didn’t necessarily mean to take the entire land away from any aboriginals already in residence. Countries are so huge and I bet they never looked forward in time to the day when their people would be everywhere, having pushed out the others. I wonder if they just thought everyone could just get along and share and that they just went about it totally wrongly?

        Ah well, who’s to know? We look at everything that happened in the past through the filter of how we see the world today, that goes for both sides of the story. Back then the world was a very different place and we soft first-worlders probably wouldn’t survive a week in a new country with only the things we thought to pack on our boat.

      • Hey hey, Miss Metan. I’ve abandoned WordPress for Blogger and am trying trying trying to be a good girl and update. I just wanted to let you know that you were the first, and almost the only, person who ever commented on this old thing, so if you want to follow me on blogger the link is http://shiftingeers.blogspot.com/ I’ve been so horribly busy and I just got this up and going but I wanted you to know I still lurk on Buried Words. =) Hope all is well with you.

  4. I was wondering what you were up to, glad to hear you are still out there!
    Being an at home mum means your brain isn’t really your own for a few (ok, more than a few) years, so I am always impressed when I read a long blog entry from a person who is also trying to keep a small person alive at the same time (that goes double for you!)
    I like your new blog, good luck with it! I will (still) be a regular reader 🙂

    In case you are interested my sister is a fairly new, mainly at home, mum too and has recently started up a WP blog about her travels and tribulations with the sprog. http://melbournewiththerocket.wordpress.com/
    She mainly writes reviews about eating out in Melbourne but she is known to go on a bit so you might be amused by her difficulties (like not spilling things on the baby) even if you aren’t eating in the same country 😉

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