This is a Man’s World — Still

AP DEM 2016 CLINTON A ELN USA IASo I haven’t really written much about Hillary Clinton running for President in 2016 yet, but I have certainly been following the news. If you’ve been following this blog since 2007, I’m sure you’ve been reading the news too. But that was a very trying time and before I put myself out there for all the abuse that seems to come with supporting Hillary Clinton, I just wanted to make sure I’m ready.

I’m ready.

Here’s the thing. Hillary Clinton did not have a platform that I agreed with 100% in 2008. Neither did Barack Obama. The only candidate who did was Dennis Kucinich and you know how long he lasted in the race. My opinions are pretty progressive, and I think it’s pretty unlikely that I’m going to completely agree with a a national candidate on every issue. Some people call that holding your nose and pulling the lever. I call it choosing from the available candidates. You vote for the candidates you have, not the ones you want.

Yes, I’m rambling a bit here but my point, and I do have one, is that I think Hillary Clinton 2016 might in fact be a better candidate than the one we had with Hillary Clinton 2008. Although her announcement video was met with much derision and criticism, (hey — at least you remember the logo, right?) she said a lot of things in the video that I can agree with. And in the days since, she’s come out very vocally in a much more progressive, populist way than she did in 2008.

Maybe this is the real Hillary Clinton? Her campaign is saying she’s “the most famous person you don’t really know,” and I wonder if that might just be right? No one would disagree that Hillary Clinton is smart and capable — whether you agree with her stands on issues or not. But what if, during all these years when she was trying to make it in A Man’s World, she was not being true to herself but being the person she thought she needed to be in order to be successful?

We look at Hillary Clinton as this accomplished woman, and we forget that women her age did not have a lot of opportunities. She has said that she wrote to NASA when she was 13 and was told “we don’t have women astronauts.” Of course they didn’t.  See, there’s always been this story in America, that “anyone can be President!” but for me and for every female of course this has not true. And to say that anyone can be anything they work hard enough to be — of course for many reasons that is also not true. But here is a woman who has worked her entire life — going to law school, working for a nonprofit Children’s Defense Fund, partner in a law firm, First Lady like no First Lady ever before, Senator, Secretary of State — and always she has been in a Man’s World. Her laugh — it’s described as a “cackle.” Her age — she’s a crone. There are jokes about her thighs, her breasts, her hair. Mad Men’s got nothing on what she must have lived through.

No, nothing Hillary Clinton has accomplished has ever been viewed in the public eye without mentioning her gender.

So here’s my point (yes, finally). What if she has finally said “Enough!” What if the Hilary who stated today that equal marriage should be a constitutional right, the one who in her meetings yesterday said that the campaign finance system needs overhauling, what if THIS is the real Hillary? The one who finally said, “Enough!”

I am really curious to see what else Hillary Clinton tells us in the coming months. If nothing else, give her credit for what she has accomplished, in a Man’s World. Let’s see what she does next.

NeoCon Heads Are Exploding

Who recently said:

“I want Hillary to win. Even though I admire two of the current potential Republican nominees, I have no interest in seeing either of them lead this country.”

If you guess Nancy Reagan, you win! Hahahahaha. What does this mean for those who worship at the altar of Saint Ronnie? Oh, I hope this gets lots of press coverage. Please, let’s make it so.

The whole quote from The National Report:

Last week, during a promotional press conference for The History Channel’s upcoming series “First Ladies in Their Own Words,” series’ host Ron Reagan shared clips of his interviews with all living former First Ladies of the United States. In a brief video clip with his mother Nancy Reagan, she offered her endorsement of Hillary Clinton as President saying, “The time for a woman to serve as our President has come – really, now is the time – and I think the idea of having a former First Lady as the leader of the free world is really quite a marvelous notion. I want Hillary to win. Even though I admire two of the current potential Republican nominees, I have no interest in seeing either of them lead this country.”

But wait — it gets even better!

Asked about his mother’s endorsement of Hillary Clinton, [Ron] Reagan thought it showed how little America actually knew about the woman behind the Republican icon. “She wants people to know that the First Ladies are tight. They get together once a year to support each other. In fact, Hillary had no interest in running until both Laura and Barbara Bush cornered her at their get-together in May 2013 and talked her into at least thinking about it! So, in a sense, if Mrs. Clinton does run and win, you can blame the Bush family.”

Have a great weekend, JelloHeads!

There’s Too Much To Write About, People!

When I decided to start writing at this blog again I was a little worried that I would be able to find enough topics to write about. What was I thinking?! Rand Paul is running for President, guys! And so is Ted Cruz! The material will be endless! I mean, just look at some of the information already out there:

From ThinkProgress:

To Rand Paul, Abortion Access for Rape Victims Isn’t Worth Talking About

And the man mansplains how to interview here (silly woman!):

And Ted Cruz, well, just go to http://www.tedcruz.com/ to see how his well-oiled political machine is making out these days.

Jeb Bush? Do you really want someone running the country who is unable to correctly fill out a voter registration form?

No, it’s going to be a very interesting run up to the Presidential election in 2016. The Republican side has a dozen candidates (or more) whose beliefs are all over the place. The Democrats seem to only have Hillary Clinton, but personally I think she would be better off if there was a challenger.  The worst thing for her is to be pegged as “the anointed one” from the Democratic party (although given the way she was treated by many in the Dem party in 2008 that title is a little hard to swallow).

Yes, there will be lots to write about leading up to November 2016. And I haven’t even started on telling you about my City Councilman who has only shown up for 55% of the votes!

Gun fight at the not OK corral

I went to visit my 98-year old aunt yesterday at the retirement home where she lives in West Virginia. And there on the front door of the building was a sign on the door that read “No guns allowed.”  Which struck me as (A) very good, and (B) a ridiculous thing to have to tell people. And this is why I am for gun control: If you have to tell the public not to bring their guns into a retirement home, then clearly we do not feel the public is responsible enough to know this on their own. I am sorry if you are reading this and you feel you are a responsible gun owner. I know, it’s complicated. I’ve never held a gun, obviously never shot one, and have never ever felt the need to do either act.

Am I really the exception in America?

I get that people like or need to hunt. I can kind of understand the desire to have a gun for that purpose. As a carnivore who does not kill my own food, it would be dishonest for me to judge hunters. (Although I mean just hunters for food — people who shoot lions and tigers and rhinos have a special circle in hell.) But for all the people who think they need a gun for protection, and who then use that to justify bigger and bigger toys — I have no patience for you. Sorry. Maybe I’m lucky — I’ve never known anyone who has been the victim of a gun crime at the hand of another. On the other hand, I have known several people who took their own lives with a gun.

Am I the exception in America?

Today’s Washington Post carries an article on where each of the potential Republican candidates for President stands on gun control, and it’s pretty alarming. (And yes, they should do the same for the potential Democratic candidates: and Hillary Clinton is mentioned in the article.) For example:

And in the Senate, Rubio, Graham, Cruz and Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.) all helped torpedo Senate bills that would have expanded background checks on gun sales and limited the size of ammunition magazines. The measures had been proposed in the wake of the 2012 massacre in Newtown, Conn.

Because god knows it will take more than a bunch of little kids being massacred before we make any meaningful changes to the way guns and ammunition is available to the average citizen in this country.

I know that people feel strongly about this issue. I’ve told you where I stand. If you don’t understand why, take a look at the website or Facebook page for the group “Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.” It’s not about control, it’s about bringing some sense back into this idea: “Pro-gun activists are worried about losing their guns, and moms are worried about losing their children. You tell me who’s going to win.”

It’s an uphill battle, but my money’s on the moms.

Am I the exception?

Nom nom nom de plume

Are you really still following this blog? Well good for you!  And good things come to those who wait — I’m back!  And I’m gearing up for a feisty political season, and resurrecting our old friend Pooky Shoehorn. Why go “back under,” you say? Well, honestly there are some things that need to be said and that are better said under an alias.

Thoughts? Oh, I’ve got ’em. So stay tuned and get ready to hear what I think about Ted Cruz, ‘leaning in,” Indiana, and much much more ….

Well THIS is embarrassing

Has it really been more than two months since I’ve posted anything here?  Um, I’m sorry? There’s been kind of a lot going on around here, most of it good, some a little sad, some of it stressful, but in short, I have been very, very busy. Also, I was without a laptop for a little while, and that was more limiting on my writing than I like to admit.

Reader’s Digest version:  new job (for both me and Unnamed Partner), new (used) car, that’s the good. The sad included losing Isaac, our 19-year old cat who lived a good long life and brought much joy to our lives. The stressful includes the question of whether my new job was a good idea after all, but time will tell, and I’m embracing the “Quilt Theory” of life right now:  this is merely one patch in the big quilt of life.

Besides which, when I read the news each day I cannot help but think that any troubles  I have are a pittance compared to others here and around the world. When I started writing this blog several years ago, I still felt the youthful energy of outrage at the wrongs of the world, as well as the feeling that things would get better. The whole Hillary thing really took the air out of those sails. Taylor Marsh has written a book called The Hillary Effect, of which I have read excerpts, and I’m looking foward to digging into it completely.  Seeing Hillary Clinton taken down in the public circus that was the 2008 primary season was difficult and demoralizing for many of us.  I hope this book will explain that to many of my friends and acquaintances who still like to tease “get over it already!”

I’ve been a political junky my entire life.  Next year we will be electing the President, and this is the first time  I can recall being so disinterested in the process. When I was in the sixth grade we held a mock election, and I rabidly campaigned for George McGovern. My mom took me down to the local campaign headquarters, where they gladly handed me posters, buttons, and bumper stickers. It’s taken 40 years, but that optimistic little girl who thought the American democratic system worked for the average person, and that the average person could indeed effect change, well, she’s MIA.

I am trying, really trying to get behind Barack Obama’s re-election, if nothing else because the cast of characters over on the Republican side would be comical if they weren’t downright scary. The idea of any of them (save, perhaps, Huntsman, who of course has no shot at the nomination) running this country should be enough to get me out in the streets drumming up votes for Obama.  But the little girl in me still wants to work “for” something, not “against” someone. Or in this case, against a team of bumbling, lightweight, neocon, hypocrites.

So, yes. Apparently I am back to my rambling posts here, but I hope you’ll give me another chance. Together, we’ll see what the future brings. I have a feeling we should put our seat belts on. It is indeed going to be a bumpy ride.

War continues, and we need to know this

The mid-term elections are over, and the results are pretty much as expected. No one should run panicking in the streets: the Democrats still have a majority in the Senate and hello! We still have the White House.

What surprised me more than anything else about this election is the lack of any attention — and I mean any attention — on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.  You can try to convince me that the American people are too wrapped in their own issues to pay attention to war, but I just find that too hard to believe. At the risk of sounding completely paranoid, I truly think that in today’s world of media hype and short attention span, the people who have a vested interest in these wars are controlling the message. And the message seems to be “Nothing to see over here. Move on. Look! It’s a Tea Party!”

If you are more concerned about economics than about violence, then at least pay attention to this: This fighting is expensive. You want a smaller government? How about starting by not sending our troops around the world fighting every insurgent who’s sitting by an oil field?

Let’s pay attention. Let’s know, as Robert Harriman of BagNewsNotes so aptly put it recently:

I think the basic problem is that people, at least collectively, decide to know.  It is not the case that we know and then act.  We decide when we will know, and then we are more likely to act.  You can have the truth staring you in the face, but it doesn’t matter until you decide to suspend all the habits of amnesia, distraction, rationalization, and denial that are otherwise in place and reproduced continuously.  Once we decide, we can look back and see that there was plenty of information there all along.  But we have to make that decision.

The question remains, what will it take to get enough people to decide to know that our war in Afghanistan is futile?  Sometimes, a photograph will make the difference.  But how many photographers and soldiers have to be used up until that day arrives?

When we read about the deaths of soldiers in Afghanistan, news articles are always accompanied by the formal portrait of the deceased. As they should be. These soldiers should be honored in the most respectful and  dignified way possible. But with behind that respect, I worry that the American public has decided that this is the face of war: The shining young face and a well-pressed uniform. When the reality behind those words: “killed by a roadside bomb” are not a pretty portrait.

image: Justin Sullivan/ Getty images

Why not voting is like wearing your sweats in public

I know. Voting is hard. You have to walk miles over rugged terrain to get to the polling place, wait for hours in the hot sun under the watchful eye of armed gunman under fear of death and — oh WAIT! That’s not true in this country is, it? No, voting in the United States is probably incredibly easy for most of us to do.  Even when it’s not easy, for most of us it is do-able. It’s a matter of finding a ride to the polling place, or wheeling our chair up a ramp, or using our walkers and canes to get from the parking lot into the building (as my parents do).

Look, I understand the pull of apathy. I really do. It seems lately that the politicians we voted for last time haven’t changed things very much. The economy is still down the toilet, crime is still rampant, homes are still being foreclosed on, the schools still don’t have enough money (hmmmm. still? even with all the slots money they were supposed to be getting?)

But if you don’t vote, you are basically giving up. You are wearing the faded and well-worn metaphorical sweatpants that proclaim to the world “I just don’t care any more.”

Do you really want to be that person? The one who’s given up?

Of course you don’t. So quit pretending that you might stop by the gym while you’re out doing errands — and stop pretending that you’re making some kind of statement by staying at home today.  Put on some real pants on and go vote.