Thursday, 30 October 2008

A Dictionary for Sarah Palin

I’ve made no secret of how much I loathe Sarah Palin. She has gotten under my skin in a way Newt Gringrich could only dream of. Dick Cheney and George Bush can only aspire to achieve the level of agitation that Sarah produces. Really, the only other person that is even in same league with Sarah is that purveyor of political pornography, Ann Coulter. However, even Ann Coulter can’t hold my ire like Palin.

It has not been lost on me that Sarah has actually been good for me in one small way. She has, after all, compelled my compulsion to write to whole new level. And because of this, much to my surprise, a few people have actually started reading what I write. So, because I typically try to show my appreciation to those who do something nice for me, I’d like to offer the following to Sarah as a thank you gift. May it serve her well.

A Reference Dictionary for Sarah Palin

Liberal (lib-er-uhl): noting or pertaining to a political party advocating measures of progressive political reform.

This is kind of like being a maverick, except you actually reform something.

Vice President: the officer of this rank who is elected at the same time as the President and who succeeds to the presidency on the resignation, removal, death, or disability of the President.

This is kind of like being the first runner-up in a beauty pageant, except you can cause damage to the entire free world if you’re not up for this job.

Newspaper: a publication issued at regular and usually close intervals, especially daily or weekly, and commonly containing news, comment, features, and advertising.

In case you ever need some examples: The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Economist, and The Wall Street Journal.

American: of or pertaining to the United States of America or its inhabitants; an American citizen.

Please note there is no distinction between ”real” Americans and whatever, might possibly be, the alternative. See “American citizen.”

Pit Bull: A strong muscular terrier of an American breed with powerful jaws, a broad skull, and short hair, originally developed for dog fighting.

Perhaps you’ve got this one down.

Terrorist: a person who terrorizes or frightens others.

See “Pit Bull” or the closest mirror.

Feminist: the doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men.

This does not mean trading on your looks.

Satire: the use of irony, sarcasm, ridicule, or the like in exposing, denouncing, or deriding vice, folly, etc.

See your appearance on SNL.

Barack Obama: the next President of the United States.

My Friend, Janet

When my daughter was a baby, she cried. A lot. She slid out of me crying and for almost the entire first year of her life, if the child was not eating or sleeping, she was crying. She cried in the car, the grocery store, the bathtub, and church. I would have missed an entire year of sermons if not for friends who, obviously seeing how weary I was of the crying, offered to walk my daughter around and out of earshot of the congregation on Sunday mornings.

One particular friend, Janet, encouraged me to relax. Her blunt and easy manner, as she held my screaming daughter, was hard not to be attracted to. She told me more than once, “Kristi, if I did it with triplets, you can do this.” I believed her and I survived.

Later, as my daughter turned into a toddler, we attended a weekly Bible study together. My often pointed and unusual questions concerning the nature of God were trumped only by Janet. How refreshing it was to be in a room with someone who spoke her mind more than I did. What a relief it was to hear a woman I respected and admired admit, “I asked God for a baby and he had the nerve to give me three. AT ONCE.” Perhaps my sometimes ambivalent feelings about motherhood were normal after all. As I listened to Janet’s honesty, I relaxed and survived my children’s preschool years.

One Thursday morning, Janet brought my three-year-old a pair of pink cowboy boots. My daughter wore them everyday for months. Wore them with pajamas, shorts, dresses, and tutus. Janet enjoyed this very much. I have many pictures of my daughter in what have become known in my mind as the “Janet boots.” One day when my daughter becomes a mom herself, I’ll tell her stories about how Janet was a mentor-mom to me. How Janet helped me survive her screaming and how much she enjoyed those pink boots.

Later, when Janet’s triplets were about to leave for college, Janet called me late one evening. This was unusual because we didn’t have a phone call kind of relationship. She was calling because her daughter was leaving to attend college where my younger brother was attending law school. She wanted to know if my brother would mind being a kind of emergency contact in Houston, if her daughter were to need anything.

After assuring her my brother would be more than happy to provide help to her daughter if needed, we talked for a long time. Her nest was emptying all at once. All three children leaving home at the same time. She encouraged me to enjoy my children while they were at home. She knew how fast they would grow. I listened, relaxed a bit more, and have happily transitioned into being the mom of two elementary schoolers.

It’s a sunny day here in Dallas. I cannot see a single cloud in the sky. The temperature is seventy-five degrees. It would be an otherwise beautiful day, if not for one detail. You see, my friend Janet died just after lunch today. She died after fighting a long battle with breast cancer. The last time I saw her, before she eventually moved into Hospice care, I hugged her and said, “How are you?” She said, “I’m doing okay. We have it all planned out. I’ve told Jim and the kids where I want my ashes spread.” I looked at her thoughtfully and said, “Janet, you know the whole cremation thing doesn’t work for me, right? You know I really need a body to say goodbye to.” She laughed and said, “Well, too bad. I’m doing this my way.” I would have expected nothing less.

Thank you, Janet. Thank you for your kindness, your honestly, and for being my friend. I’m a better mother for having known you. I will miss you, but carry you with me always.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Why? Even in Stepford

The day a few weeks ago, when our Obama ’08 sign arrived, it was a good day. The kids and I arrived home and we were very excited to see the cardboard box sitting on the kitchen table. I yelled to my dad in the living room (he listens to MSNBC at a decibel level I’m not sure is safe for the dog) “HEY! IS THIS OUR OBAMA SIGN?” He clicked off the television (ahhh, blessed relief) and said, “Yep! I think so. Where are going to put it?” I said, “Out front, why?” Seriously, where else would you put a yard sign? He looked surprised and then said, “Are you sure you want to do that?” My eyes narrowed and I said, “Why not?” He said, “I bet you twenty bucks it won’t still be there on Election Day.” I gave him an eye-roll and said, “Come on Dad. Bring your hammer. Kids, grab the camera.” It was a good day.

Since then, each morning I’ve walked by the sign, its mere presence lifting my mood and reminding me of the hope I feel about the upcoming election. Each night when I’ve arrived home, it’s been waiting for me, welcoming me back.

This morning I scrambled out the door with the kids, schlepping all my stuff trying to stay balanced in boots that sport a three-inch heel. I ran up the sidewalk, toward the Palinmobile and then stopped. Stock still. Not breathing, not blinking, my mind racing. The sign was gone. All that was left in the yard was one of two metal sticks. I stood staring until I heard it. A tiny sniffle from a beautiful angelic nose that stood right behind me. I turned slowly to look at my eight-year-old daughter’s face. Tears had welled up in her gorgeous light brown eyes, overflown, and were streaking across her pink cheeks. Her tiny chapped lips trembled. She turned her head and looked down the street. I knew instantly that she was looking to see if our neighbor’s McCain/Palin sign was still in their yard. When she saw that it was, a little sob escaped from her mouth. She then looked at me and whispered, “Why?”

Why, indeed. I can replace the sign. However, there is nothing that I can do to erase this experience for my daughter. Oh sure, I’ll use this as a teaching moment for tolerance and common courtesy, not even mention decency. But my heart is a little bruised that I couldn’t protect her from getting a taste of something cruel and petty.

To the Stepford Wife who I suspect is responsible for making my daughter cry: You better hope I don’t get confirmation of my suspicions. For the pen, is indeed, mightier than the sword.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Kristi, the Paralegal

I received an email this morning that has snapped the tenuous hold I had on myself until Election Day. It has been a long eight years. Eight years that have required me to converse calmly and with restraint with most people in my life. I’m smart enough to know that you catch more flies with honey, and receive more respect with intelligence than belligerence, but I am done now.

Do you hear me self-righteous, non-working, Louis-toting, Palin-loving, PTA Stepford Wives? I am done. Do not approach me, speak to me, email me, or otherwise engage me for the next seven days. You do so at your own peril. I’m no longer amused by you. And to my loyal reader who so recently commented “Just another angry Democrat,” I’d suggest you back away from the keyboard as well.

I would post the email I received this morning so that those of you who are intelligent and informed could commiserate with my pain. However, I’m refraining from doing so because, well, I don’t want this abomination going any more viral than it already has with any help from me. My description, which can in no way do this email justice, will have to suffice. The subject line was “Taxes” and the Stepford Wife’s personal introduction read “Don’t think you won’t be paying your ‘fair share’ … He plans to get all of us, one way or another.” Basically, the email was supposed to be a comparison of the McCain and Obama tax plans. That would not have been a problem. However, neither the facts attributed to Obama or McCain were accurate. Totally wrong ... no basis in fact whatsoever. What made it even worse is that I know enough personal information about this Stepford Wife to know she would be better off under Obama’s tax plan. Oh, the sad cruel irony of that.

Stepford Wives, listen up. Here’s what Kristi, the paralegal, is proposing. For those of you who are voting for McCain solely because you believe Obama will raise your taxes, I have a deal for you. Once Obama’s tax plan is in place, if you see any decrease in your taxes, don’t take it. I mean, why should you benefit for something I voted for? I’m the one who went to the polling booth, cast an informed vote, and help elect Obama. Why should you see any benefit from that at all? I mean, wouldn’t that be, oh I don’t know, a “redistribution of the benefit derived from my vote”? We wouldn’t want anything crazy like that going on. We wouldn’t want to spread the “hope” around, would we? Surely there won’t be enough Obama for us all? Surely I’m entitled to keep that all for myself ... no?

Don’t fret. I’ll reengage you after the election and be back to satirizing your frivolity by the end of next week. I’m sure your behavior in response to Election Day will provide much fodder for my keyboard. For now, I need a break.

Friday, 24 October 2008

Bad Neighborhood

I had a secretly Democratic Stepford Husband ask me a few weeks ago, “Do you ever feel like you’re going to wake up one morning and Al Gore is going to be finishing up his second term as President and the world will be right-side up again?” I paused at this question for quite a while.

First, it’s not everyday that you have a Stepford Husband, who also happens to be a successful attorney, mention Al Gore. Second, after the trauma of the 2000 election and all that has happened since, I have not allowed myself to play the “woulda, coulda, shoulda” game with this scenario. I am an “it is what it is” girl. I split my time between the present and the near future. I don’t spend time looking back because 1) I’m happy with where I am and I know if not for my past, my present would be different, and 2) I do all I can to live without regret—and regret lives in the past—so I don’t visit that dark place very often.

And now, after eight years, the scenario of a two-term Gore Presidency is just too far away for me to get a clear picture of in my head. I tried for a minute, but it was like trying to look through a window someone had painted black. I knew that there was something on the other side, but I was blind to it. So, I answered him honestly, almost in a whisper, shaking my head, “I can no longer imagine what that would have been like.” He nodded, as if he knew this was painful for me.

I had an overwhelming sense of sadness for the rest of that day because, well, his question prompted me to take an unscheduled road trip to regret’s hometown.

As I roll in past the city limit sign, there on the right side of the road is the best job my husband ever had. Although now, it looks like a gutted crack house, seven years after the company that had provided the job closed down. I look away, not wanting to think about the eighty-hour weeks my husband is putting in now to keep us afloat. I know if not for us—me, the kids, and my dad—he would take something, anything, that paid less.

Across the street, sitting on the curb, are the Batman and Superman action figures my then-four-year-old son insisted we carry everywhere in the weeks after 9/11. I turn my head away as I remember his big brown eyes pleading with me from the backseat “Mom! Turn around ... I left Batman and Superman. We can’t go without them.” When I protest, he tells me, “But Mom ... we can’t leave them! If they had been there to hold up the buildings, the bad day wouldn’t have happened.” My daughter doesn’t even remember the “bad day.” I’m not sure if this is a good thing or not.

I cross over a bump in the road thinking about how my dad lost his job at fifty-five and how sure he was another would follow. In the rear view mirror, I can see the remnants of his retirement account, busted open early to finish getting my brother out of college. I catch a glimpse of the roofline of the house he paid on for twenty-eight years. The same house he lost when the thirty-year note only had nine thousand dollars left on it. I speed up.

I reach the cross streets of Iraq and Katrina—the images of each melting together in my mind. Both war zones, both avoidable, both a failure of leadership. Both responsible for so much human loss and suffering. I feel a little carsick.

I move into a nicer, but bittersweet, part of town. There on a hill is the house I thought my kids would live in until they had homes of their own, the house I thought we would retire in, the house I thought I would die in. The sold sign still sits in the front yard. Sold for an additional bedroom and bath so my dad could join our family. That, at least, as been the good that has come out of the bad.

I realize I’m almost out of town. I just need to get past the line of boarded up banks on the right and foreclosed homes on the left. The fear of the economic crisis makes it hard for me to breathe. I roll up the windows hoping to keep the stench out. The uncertainty of this edge of town mocks me from the passenger’s seat. I stop, open the door, and push him out. I speed off before he can get back in. He chases after me. I can hear his footsteps.

I cross out of town and back into the present. And there on an election sign in my new front yard, the sun shining its gossamer rays down upon it, is something audacious. HOPE. And while I can’t change the past, I know I can affect the future. One letter, one syllable, one word, one article, one reader at a time.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Dear Right Wing Republicans

Dear Right-Wing Republicans,

You have some articles that belong to me and I would like to politely ask you to return them. I’m not exactly sure how it is that you ended up with them, but as long as they are promptly returned, unaltered, unharmed, and in their original condition, I’m willing to not ask any further questions. I don’t want this request to take on an accussory tone, so I’d like to explain to you why these articles are so important to me and why it is in your best interest, as well as that of the Nation, for you to return the articles you’ve taken. I’m sure upon some serious self-reflection; you’ll agree it is of the utmost importance that you immediately and without hesitation release them back to their original owner. The articles in question are as follows:

Article III. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
Please stop pretending this applies only to white Evangelical Christians. It also applies to Muslims, Jews, Agnostics, and Atheists, as well as anyone and everyone in between. And while I’m on the subject, I know a particular United Methodist that would also like you to release Jesus. He has some social justice work to do that has been severely neglected since you absconded with him during the Reagan Revolution.

Article IV. “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
Please stop pretending like this does not apply to private telephone conversations. It does. I understand you’re worried that people may be talking about you, but that does not supercede this Article. If you’ll play nicer, they may talk about you less.

Article X. “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel, and unusual punishments inflicted.”
Even if you set the last eight years aside, your mere nomination of Sarah Palin constitutes “cruel and unusual punishment.”

Article XIV. “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
I need this Article back along with the my penumbra before you succeed in completely outlawing a women’s right to choose—even in the most heinous and hearbreaking of circumstances.

Very Truly Yours,

The Constitution of the United States of America

P.S. If it is too uncomfortable for you to drop these Articles off to me directly, I understand. Please just leave them with Barack Obama on your way out of Washington.

Monday, 20 October 2008


My whole life, I’ve been accused of being too serious. I confess this is umm, probably, mostly ... okay, okay … it’s totally true. My kids have lightened me up considerably. However, I am still very serious about lots of things. I’m fiercely loyal, have an obsession with social justice, and am compulsive about seeking out whether or not the people I know or come into contact with have any substance.

I’ve been accused of being aloof and that’s probably fair. I like to observe people before committing to as much as a conversation. I’m not a grocery-line talker or a ladies fitting-room chit chatter. I can be charming, but I’m really not good at frivolity. And Stepford is nothing if not frivolous.

Okay, so it’s through this lens of substance-seeking that I view the world. It has shaped my love-hate relationship with Stepford and created the environment where I can count on one hand the number of people whom I actually call my friends. There are lots more people who I’m friendly with, but when I says friends, I mean someone I would actually wake up in the middle of the night if I needed something and who I wouldn’t curse if they called and woke me up. It is also the lens through which I view Sarah Palin. Hmmm … it has been a less than flattering lens to use on her.

My reaction to her surprised even me. It was immediate, harsh, and unyielding. I was, for lack of a more eloquent word, revolted. Now, my rational brain told me that this was ridiculous, that I shouldn’t feel any worse about her than I do, say Dick Cheney … or George Bush. My rational brain also told me that my overreaction to Palin should be telling me something about myself. Hmmm … now this is getting interesting. I love introspection. So for the last seven weeks while I’ve been ranting, raving, and throwing what we call in Texas a “hissy fit” about Palin, my brain has been working over time trying to put my finger on exactly what it is about Palin, besides the obvious, that has nearly made me lose my mind.

As with most things in my life that I over analyze, the answer felt tantalizingly close, on the tip of my tongue, my fingers brushing against it as I reached out to grab it, a dream that faded from my memory quickly upon awakening, a familiar face I just couldn’t place. Until … Saturday night. I hadn’t planned on watching Palin on Saturday Night Live. However, my husband really wanted to see it, so I watched. The opening segment elicited nothing more than an eye-roll from me as Alec Baldwin told Palin, “You’re so much hotter in person.” Seriously, can we pleeeease stop talking about how “hot” the potential Vice-President is? Can we not show a little respect at least for the office? At this point, my husband fell asleep and I went back to my book.

Then the Weekend Update began and I once again turned my attention to the television. Palin feigned changing her mind about the rap she had planned to do and Amy Poeler agreed to step in. Poeler then began her rap about Alaska. And then it happened … the camera cutting to Palin as Poeler rapped … Palin dancing in her seat, raising the roof, giving an “Ayers” to Poeler’s “Obama” … and the allusiveness of my outrage revealed itself as nothing more than this—familiarity. Oh yes, no doubt, Palin’s deficits in education and experience, her out of touch policy stances, her dialect, all that still bothers me … would be enough on its own to make me speak out against her. But what was making me lose my ever loving mind was the surface-level similarities between us.

Her age, her brunette hair, her goateed husband, her children, her clothes … her SUV … all of it was just too much like me. EXCEPT … I can’t find any substance. I keep looking and I don’t see it. And for me, there would be nothing worse than looking in the mirror and seeing no substance beyond the hair and makeup … looking in the mirror and seeing nothing more than an average everyday Stepford Wife. So, has my objective opinion of Palin changed? No, not a bit. But now that I’ve located the source of my revulsion, I can relax, content in the knowledge that just because I think Palin is all hat and no cattle, I am under no obligation to be the same.

Sunday, 12 October 2008

You're a Democrat? In Stepford? No, Seriously?

There’s an old joke in Texas that goes like this: “What’s the difference between a Democrat and a Republican in Texas?” Answer: “A thin layer of paint.” As with most jokes, there is an underlying element of truth or the joke wouldn’t be, well, funny. And so it goes with this joke. However, there are parts of Texas where being a Democrat is not usually spoken of in polite social circles. Where being a Democrat is viewed with suspicion and with the assumption that the Democrat in question must be, well, (gasp!) a liberal.

I’ve always been amused, and yes, occasionally irritated, at the reactions I’ve received in Stepford upon revealing I’m a Democrat. There is always a great deal of confusion of how exactly it is that someone who chooses to lead a personally very conservative life could have politically liberal views. However, for the most part, I’ve been amazed at the lack of understanding that exists regarding exactly what it is that Democrats actually believe. So with the help of the Democratic Party of Stepford County (yes, one actually exists), I’d like to share with you what we believe. I’m hoping that by sharing this list, it will make us scary liberals a little less scary and perhaps illustrate, in this very divisive political environment, that Red and Blue, Republican and Democrat, Conservative and Liberal do not necessarily disagree on everything. We may disagree on the path we would like to take to achieve our goals, but at the end of the day, perhaps there really are more things that unite us than divide us.

We believe:

Government can be as good as the people. We have faith that democracy, built on the sacred values of family, freedom, and fairness, can afford every citizen, without exception, the opportunity to achieve their God-given potential.

Democratic government exists to achieve as a community, state, and nation what we cannot achieve as individuals; and that it must not serve only a powerful few.

Every citizen has inalienable rights that even a majority may not take away:

the right to vote
the right to fair and open participation and representation in the democratic process
the right to privacy
We believe in freedom—

from government interference in our private lives and personal decisions
to exercise civil and human rights
of religion and individual conscience
We believe in equal opportunity for all citizens—

to receive a quality public education, from childhood through college
to have access to affordable health care
to find a good job with dignity
to buy or rent a good home in a safe community
to breathe clean air and drink clean water
We believe a growing economy should benefit all citizens—

that the people who work in a business are as important as those who invest in it
that every person should be paid a living wage
that no person who works full time should be paid a wage below the poverty level
that good business offers a fair deal for customers
that the burden of taxes should be fairly distributed
that government policy should not favor corporations that seek offshore tax shelters, exploit workers, or pollute our environment
We believe that our lives, homes, communities, and country are made secure—

by cooperative efforts of involved citizens, law enforcement, and emergency personnel
by retirement and pension security
by encouraging job security where it is possible and providing appropriate assistance and re-training when it is not
by the preservation of our precious natural resources and quality of life
by compassionate policy that offers a safety net for those most vulnerable and in need.
We believe America is made stronger by the men and women who put their lives on the line when it is necessary to engage our military to secure our nation.

We believe America is made more secure by competent diplomatic leadership that uses the moral, ethical, and economic assets of a powerful, free nation to avoid unnecessary military conflict.

We believe in the benefits derived from the individual strengths of our diverse population. We honor “family values” through policies that value all our families.

We believe an honest, ethical government that serves the public interest, and not the special interests, will help all citizens realize economic and personal security.

We believe many challenges require national solutions, but talented and resourceful state citizens, blessed with economic opportunities provided by agriculture, “old” and “new” energy sources, renowned medical and research institutions, and high tech industries, should not need federal action to make progress in providing quality education, affordable health care, a clean environment, economic growth, and good jobs.

Based on our belief in a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, we recommend specific policy goals to establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity.

Friday, 10 October 2008

My Response to Oh, No You Didn't

I’ve been thinking a lot about my Granddaddy this week. He died twelve years ago and I still miss him terribly. I particularly miss him at election time. He taught me as a child that “we” were “Yellow Dog Democrats.” He explained to me that “we” would vote for an old stray yellow dog in the street before “we” would vote for a Republican. He would laugh every time he said it. It wasn’t until later that I realized that by “we,” he meant he and hopefully, me, once I was old enough to vote.

And once I was an adult, we did talk a lot about politics. And before anyone gets the idea that my Granddaddy was some sort of straight-ticket voting, closed-minded liberal, hold on a second, because he wasn’t. Despite his self-proclaimed Yellow Dog status, he occasionally voted for Republicans, mostly on the state or local level, every now and then for someone he knew personally. But basically, he was a Democrat and voted as such. He taught me to care about politics and that voting was a privilege and a right that he had taken a bullet for one sunny afternoon in Italy during World War II. He was fond of reminding me, “If that bullet had hit two more inches to the left, you wouldn’t have to worry about what you were going to wear tomorrow.”

He had a fabulously serious sense of humor and he passed that along to me. He was a good, honest, tolerant, decent, hard-working man who loved his country and cared about basic fairness. He wore an American Flag pin on his lapel until the day in 1996 when he died. He always drove a Chrysler, for which he paid cash. I stood at his bedside and held his hand as he took his last breaths with seventy-five-year-old lungs that had been overtaken by cancer. His crystal blue eyes had clouded over twelve hours before as he slipped into a coma. The last words I spoke to him were, “I love you” and his last words to me were, “I love you too, Babydoll. And don’t you forget everything I’ve tried to teach you.” I wish that I could have responded with “I won’t,” but my sobs closed my throat. He signaled he knew what I meant by squeezing my hand. It’s still hard for me that he is gone.

So, a lot has happened in my life in the last twelve years. I’ve become a mother of two wonderful children and I’ve set about the task of teaching them the important lessons my Granddaddy taught me. We talk about politics, social issues, the war, the economy—lots of serious stuff. And we talk about all of these things with a great deal of humor and sarcasm. My eleven-year-old son has gotten pretty good with understanding and coming back at me with a sense of humor. My eight-year-old daughter struggles a bit because she is a more literal child. However, both of my children have a good sense of basic fairness and tolerance. I’m extremely proud of their developing sense of social justice.

I’m raising my children in Stepford because it is a safe place with good schools and nice neighborhoods. I’m fortunate to be able to do so. Stepford is certainly not the real world. The median household annual income is over $100,000 per year and the majority of those households only have one working adult. It’s not Beverly Hills, but no one I know is having to choose between buying groceries or putting gas in their SUV.

I’ve been writing on DivineCaroline for just over a year now. DivineCaroline has given me a wonderful outlet for expressing myself and it has been a wonderful form of therapy. I’ve met a lot of talented writers, some who are like-minded and some who are not. I’ve met and enjoyed interacting with thinking men and women who bring me new ideas to mull over and consider. Some I accept, some I reject. However, I always try to do this with an open mind and even if I disagree, a kind heart. If I read an article that upsets my sensibilities, I move on and usually don’t make it habit of reading that writer’s subsequent submissions. Chit Chats are a bit different ... they are meant to be an exchange of ideas and if someone’s post is offensive to me, I’ll let them know.

Now, thanks to the fact that one of my recent Stepford articles was included in DivineCaroline’s Digest, my writing has received a lot of attention in the last week. Understandably, because of my views concerning Sarah Palin, not everyone who has read my articles has appreciated my sense of humor or my opinions. I get that and because I choose to live in Stepford, I’m used to it.

What I’m not used to is being labeled as angry, intolerant, or close-minded. Nothing could be further from the truth. What I’m rebelling against in Stepford is not that the Stepford Wives are Republicans or Palin supporters. I’m rebelling against the fact that they assume that I am the same and act as if there is something defective about me because I am not.

I had a secretly Democratic Stepford Husband who had seen my “Obama ’08” sign whisper to me, “Why do you bother in Stepford?” I’ve really thought about this question. Why bother? Why not just go to the voting booth on Election Day and quietly cast my vote? This morning while reading some of the less than kind and very personal comments that have been left about my admittedly biting articles regarding Sarah Palin, I’ve thought “Why bother?” I’ve often thought while casting a national vote in Texas, “Why bother? The State will be red no matter if you vote or not.” And every time I get asked or ask myself why I bother, I think of my Granddaddy. I think of him teaching me “Every vote matters. Every voice matters. No matter if that vote is cast for the winner or the loser. No voice lifted ever goes unheard.”

So, to those of you that I have offended, perhaps my writing isn’t for you. To those of you who enjoy it, I’ll continue to bother as long as you continue to read.

Friday, 3 October 2008

Oh, Yes I Did in Stepford

I’ve gone temporarily insane … at least I hope its temporary. If I awake on November 5th to find that Sarah Palin is replacing Dick Cheney, I’m sure my insanity will be permanent. I’m obsessed with Palin. Something deep inside my being is so completely revolted by her that my normally composed exterior is cracking. I can’t live like this much longer. I’ve completely lost the finely crafted filter that I’ve spent my entire adult life developing. My mouth is betraying me. My Republicanesque exterior, so necessary for surviving in Stepford, is peeling back. I’m saying things I would have previously only thought, written, or at least whispered to a safe audience. Cases in point:

1. This morning, just as I was pulling into the parking garage at my office building, my cell phone rang. On the line was a like-minded friend and I immediately tore off into a post-debate rant concerning Palin. I was so completely absorbed in this conversation that I hardly noticed my walk into the building or stepping into the elevator. Under normal circumstances, I’m a “I’ll call you later, I’m getting into the elevator” kind of girl. Not today. Today I barely noticed the five other people in the elevator as I hopped in. That is until I slapped my flip phone shut after saying something to the effect of “If that bitch in pumps gets elected, this country deserves what it gets.” At this point, I realized in the sudden silence created because I finally shut the hell up, that these five people were all staring at me, wide-eyed and open-mouthed. What’s worse is that I knew instantly they were thinking that I was the “bitch in pumps.” I slunk out onto the tenth floor thankful none of the five followed me.

2. Last night, my eight-year-old daughter and I arrived home after her soccer practice just in time to catch the beginning of the debate ... and unfortunately, complete her second grade Tall Tales project on someone named Library Lil. I don’t think for a single solitary second there was ever a Tall Tale written about someone named Library Lil. I mean c’mon people—Johnny Appleseed. That dude that rode around on a blue ox, sure. But Library Lil? Whatever, I digress. While working on construction paper cutouts of Ms. Lil’s books I was listening to the debate and giving a running commentary, out loud, to myself … apparently forgetting my daughter was right beside me and listening. Now, as far as I remember, I kept the profanity in check, but that was about it. I had commented on her clothes, her hair, her voice, her dialect (I can actually “do” a pretty good Palin), her confusing and maddening sentence structure, anything slightly or outrageously inaccurate she said about Obama, you get the picture.

Then my daughter says: “Mom, why don’t you like her?”

Me, checking myself: “Well, the main reason is because I don’t think she is qualified to be Vice-President.”

My daughter: “What does qualified mean?”

Me: “I don’t think she knows enough to do a good job.”

My daughter: “She’s pretty.”

Me: “Yes, but being Vice-President isn’t about being pretty. You have to be smart and have a lot of experience.”

My daughter: “Soooo, it’s kinda like she has a fat, ugly brain?”

And me, before the filter could kick in: “It’s exactly like that.”

Not my best parenting moment. Thanks, Sarah.

3. I’ve recently had to get rid of my minivan. I’m still grieving it and it’s possible that I’m a little bitter. My husband needed what he calls a “commuter car” and I needed him to stop putting $500 a month in gasoline into the Chevy Avalanche he bought last year before gas hit $4 a gallon. So, I inherited the Avalanche since my commute is less than half of his. I call it the Palinmobile. Anyway, I play this little game with myself while commuting each day where I count the number of Obama or McCain bumper stickers I see on other cars. I have been overjoyed that even in Texas I see way more Obama stickers than I do McCain stickers. There are those days, however, that I see more McCain stickers than I would like, and yesterday while on my way home was one them.

I had just pulled into Stepford when I saw it—a minivan exactly like the one I had just surrendered that had been defiled in a previously unprecedented way. The minivan had five McCain/Palin stickers circling the bumper ... three on the back and, for some bizarre reason, one on each side of the front. Then, there were two “Drill, Baby, Drill” stickers on the back glass, one on each side. The grand finale was the “Palin!” sticker that sat in between the two on the back glass. I was horrified.

Further complicating my issue was that the light in front of me turned red and I pulled up directly beside the van. I looked into the driver’s side window to see a typical Stepford Wife behind the wheel. She turned and met my gaze which must have been a sight to see because she immediately rolled down her window as if she was going to speak to me. Sooo, I rolled down my passenger side window to see what possibly this chick might want. And then she committed her fatal error. She wrinkled her nose, pursed her lips, and said “May I help you with something!?” And before I knew it, I said, “No, I was just wondering who you pissed off that they would have pimped your van like that.” If she had been carrying a concealed weapon, I’m sure I would have gotten acquainted with it right away.

Thanks again, Sarah.