Women’s Tennis – Officially Unwatchable!

On a Sunday afternoon, on a cool September day, there is nothing quite as enjoyable as watching a Tennis match.  I’ve always enjoyed individual sports more than team sports (other than Baseball).  I’ve often watched Tennis players like Roddick, Agasi, Nadal, Federer and others, and truly enjoyed it.  Back in the day I used to like watching Chris Evert play.  It was beautiful, graceful, and yes, powerful.

This past Sunday, September 9, 2012, I happen to be channel surfing and came upon the US Open women’s final.  Williams and Azarenka.  It was almost over.  Not the match so much (although it applies to that as well) but my interst in watching was over before it really got started.  To listen to Azarenka play tennis was like listening to a group of Muslim woman at a wedding.  She was wailing and ululating on each and every movement, so loud and distracting that I just couldn’t do it.  I had to change the channel.  I didn’t care who won at that point.  I realized that all of these years, while “grunting” has been a bone of contention in the sport, it was the grunting that prevented me from watching.

While some male tennis players do grunt, it’s really the women who have turned it into an art form.  Starting with Monica Seles, whose extreme grunting made ME want to stab her, it’s just gotten worse.  Now the World Tennis Association (WTA) is considering cracking down on it.  They want to start young tennis players out, learning how to play the game without the gruning.  I say – More Power to ‘Em, the WTA, I mean.  Detracters want to “grandfather” current tennis players from the rule, citing that the change would affect a trained athlete’s game and that’s not fair.

It’s not just that the grunting (and in Azarenka’s case, wailing) is distracting, it’s annoying and makes tennis unwatchable.  It’s unnecessary, undisciplined, and to be honest, tacky and rude.  It sounds like they are constipated and trying to squeeze out a log right there on the court.  It’s disgusting.

But Azarenka takes it to a new level.  I had never heard anyting like it before.  I was only half paying attention when I was channel surfing.  As soon as I heard the ululating wail, I had a flash back to 9/11 and the pictures of people ululating in the streets of many Middle Eastern countries, celebrating the carnage.  When I looked up and saw it was a simple women’s tennis match, I was quite literally shell-shocked.  I was shocked that this is what women’s tennis has turned into.  I was shocked that this was allowed.  I was shocked that this woman wasn’t embarassed for herself, I was shocked that the TV network didn’t bleep it out (because it’s as offensive as if she screamed “FUCK” every time she hit the ball.

Azarenka doesn’t belong in this sport, or any other sport, except maybe Olympic Weight Lifting.  But even that sport doesn’t allow excessive grunting.  And these men are dead lifting more than their own body weight – they should be allowed to grunt.

But what Azarenka is doing isn’t grunting.  It is wailing and it’s meant to distract her opponent.  It would be the same if Azarenka paid someone to lob tennis balls at Serena Williams from the side lines while Williams is about to return a serve.  I don’t know how this got so out of control.  There’s a thing called “sportsmanship”.  Wailing like a banshee at every turn isn’t sportsmanlike and I have to believe that the TV ratings for women’s tennis take a hit because of it.  In our society, the only thing that speaks is the almighty dollor.  So let’s stop tuning in to women’s tennis until it stops sounding like a delivery room during a breached birth.


Maine gets Gay Marriage just right

When I listened to Governor John Baldacci of Maine give his speech following his signing of the of the Gay Marriage Bill  just a few short hours after receiving the bill, all I could think of was “He got it right”.

I watched and listened to what he said, not as a gay man,  but as a citizen of Maine, and the United States.  Even though I am gay I have not always agreed with the arguments FOR or AGAINST gay marriage. 

It wasn’t until I heard the Governor explain that the new law is about affording equal rights to all Maine citizens as outlined in Maine’s Constitution that it all made sense to me.  The Constitution’s first Article states “All people are born equally free and independent, and have certain natural, inherent and unalienable rights, among which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing and protecting property, and of pursuing and obtaining safety and happiness.”

Baldacci used this first and most important Article to first understand for himself that allowing Gay Marriage in Maine is not about granting the same rights to gay people that are affording to heterosexual people.  He said we are all equal and all deserve the same rights and when he looked at the issue from that perspective, he could not come up with any reasons not to allow Gay Marriage.

 He went on further to say that that no religion will be required to conduct same-sex marriages, or even recognize same-sex marriages within the realm of their own belief system because Maine has strict policies about the division of church and State.  And Maine whole-heartedly abides by the Church/State tenet.

These are ideas that I had never heard anyone express in this specific manner before; the idea that the State will allow gay civil marriages but it won’t force any church to recognize them.  So if, for example, the Catholic Church doesn’t want to recognize gay marriage because it goes against their belief system, they don’t have to.  But the Catholic Church can’t tell a gay couple what civil rights they can or cannot have.  The same applies to any other religion.  On the flip side, a gay couple cannot force a religious organization to perform or recognize their marriage and cannot claim discrimination if that church will not recognize their marriage or perform their marriage ceremony.  Under these circumstances, anybody against same-sex marriage CAN hide behind their religion, and take comfort there.  But they can not deny rights to others.

I believe that this is as close as anybody is going to get to writing a law that makes sense when defining gay marriage.  It covers all the bases.  Nobody is forcing anyone to “believe” in anything and those who call themselves “believers” can’t squelch equality and civil rights by hiding behind their religion.  So, like the U.S. Constitution has done so many times, it was Maine’s constitution that acted as the final document to guide us through this divisive issue. 

Governor Baldacci was never comfortable with the gay marriage issue.  But, he found it in himself to understand that legislators, or politicians if you wish, need to take a stand and can not continually defer to public opinion.  All of the far lefties, and far righties have had more than enough time to express their viewpoints on this issue, and they have.  Neither is a shy group. 

The Governor said that he realizes this will not be the last word on the issue.  In my opinion, it should be, but it won’t be.  Instead of worrying about real problems, the whack jobs are going to come crawling out of the woodwork.  

The Maine Legislature and the Governor have laid down the gauntlet.  There are no “reasonable” arguments against this law as it was written.  First, anybody who protests this law must first say to themselves, and then the public, “I intend to take away the civil rights of others”.   Secondly, anybody who intends to use the Bible or their religion as an argument can stop right there.  The law clearly states that you don’t have to religiously recognize gay marriage or perform gay marriage if you don’t want to.  So what’s left?

Well, there’s the “I simply think it is wrong” argument.   Hmmm?  Are they also against heterosexual couples who get married and never intend to have children, or those who get married for convenience, or those who get married to obtain property, money, or social status (you know, the reason marriage was invented in the first place).  What one “thinks” or “believes” is wrong is immaterial.  Because under the Constitution of the State of Maine, all citizens have equal rights and included in that is their right to marry whom they choose as long as it is not breaking any other laws (like the minimum age for marriage or harm to animals). 

There is only one argument against Maine’s Gay Marriage law and it’s a faux-argument called “hate, fear, and ignorance” none of which are viable arguments against ANY law.  Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean some people in Maine won’t mind standing up and saying “I hate, I fear, and I am ignorant” to try and get their way.

Why Obama is the right person, right now

We know the economy is a mess.  In a way I feel lucky because I lost my job in April of 2007, lost everything, was out of work of 18 months, without any programs to help me.  I’m now back to work making half of what I did before.  I am still struggling to stay afloat after those 18 months, for most of which I did not receive unemployment compensation.  And while I am working now, it is for a small business with 13 employees.  So I can’t count on anything going forward.

Lucky?  You ask quizzically.  Yes, because I already went through what many people are going through now and will continue to go through.  I don’t have a car payment anymore because I lost my car to the repo man.  I don’t have a mortgage because even before all this happened I didn’t make enough to own a home.  Some would say I did.  Many tried to convince me that a single person like me making the kind of money I made, should be investing in a home.  I’m glad I didn’t.  Rent is just fine with me.  And while I almost lost my apartment, the kindness of friends, family, and an understanding landlord have helped me hang on.

I watched President Obama (I still love writing that) last night in his non-State of the Union Address.  Have you ever in your life heard a President be so bold to tell the truth?  He told the truth about the current condition of our country and gave us hope that we can get through it.  There is an awful lot to be said for having the right attitude.  And Barack Obama has it.  I get the sense he truly does believe we can turn this situation around. 

The President is not letting the “party of NO” stop him from going forward.  The American public spoke.  They spoke in November of 2006 and in November of 2008.  One party is in charge right now for a reason.   Can you really imagine John McCain being the President right now.  Really?!  For Christ’s sake he’d still be talking about “the surge”.  And while I have learned a new respect for Hillary Clinton, I don’t think she would have the same oratory skills required for the job.  Not to mention that Bill Clinton would be an incredible distraction.  The Clinton’s would have been skewered by the neo-cons and so much distraction and shell-gaming would be going on that the country wouldn’t have a chance.

When they call the GOP the “party of NO” they mean it.  Republicans are so out of touch with the pulse of America right now that they should all be sued for malpractice”.  And soon-to-be former-presidential-candidate Bobby Jindal with his insinuations last night that Barack Obama’s message included something about America ‘s best days are behind her.  What is that all about?  Did you, or he, hear something I didn’t?  I watched the President and listened to what he said.  THAT, my dear Jindal, is NOT what he said.

What I am about to write is not an original idea but it keeps popping into my head.  Democrats will tell you what the are FOR, and Republicans will tell you what they are AGAINST.  That is one of the major differences between the two parties right now.  The GOP has no leaders, no platform, and has lost the trust of the American people.  Average Americans are not even listening to what Republicans have to say, because all that comes out of their mouths is blame, finger pointing, the word “NO”, or nothing at all.

There’s no question that I am a Barack Obama supporter.  I don’t agree with many things he has said or done.  The one thing I have to hold on to is that I trust him.  Unlike the Bush Administration,  Barack Obama is in this for the American people, the Americahe loves.  The Bush Administration was in it for their own egos, their own power, and in many cases, their own pocket books.  (Can you say “Halliburton”?).

And one last thing.  Karl Rove didn’t show up AGAIN for his testimony to Congress.  It’s time to hold him in contempt and throw in him jail.  That’s what we do to criminals, don’t we.  Barack Obama said last night, unequivocally, “The United States does not torture”.  But if Rove doesn’t want to play by our rules, let’s play by his.  Anybody have an extra water board lying around?

So back to my original premise. Barack Obama is the right man for the job.  There’s another Democrat (and certainly not a Republican) who has the balls to do what he is doing right now.  And as for these Republican Governors who lambaste the stimulus package and then want some of the money, you can’t have it both ways.  Grow a backbone already.  And if you don’t know how, ask Obama.

The Bush Presidency for Dummies – 8 years in 8 minutes

On the eve of the Inauguration of Barack Obama it is natural to reflect upon from where we have come and how we got to this one moment in history.  We can all sit around and argue about what went right or wrong with the Bush Administration but to do so the opposite side would have to admit that indeed Bush made mistakes.  They must admit there is a possibility that he lied, or worse, committed crimes.  That in and of itself is a tough thing to find.  Even today with Bush’s approval rating at 18%, it is still the voices on Fox News who refuse to admit the truth and the voices on CNN who don’t want to admit that there is a reason to reflect.  They simply want to move forward. 

Keith Olbermann put things in perspective by encapsulating Bush’s 8 years into 8 minutes; a time frame of the mistakes and lies.  It is worth a watch.  And if you combine what he says (video highlight below) with his “Special Comment” today (you can easily find that on MSNBC (countdown.msnbc.com), how we need to move forward is clear.   Start here, just take a listen:


For those with a slower computer be patient.  It has to load and the player will show a short commerical; but it’s well worth the wait.  You can just copy/paste the URL above into your broser as well.  While you’re there check out “Special Comments” about prosecuting torture.


Why are we bailing out General Motors?

The worlds #1 auto maker is bleeding cash (in their own words) and want the infamous $770 Billion bailout to be partially funneled in their direction.

Why?  Why are we going to bail out a company who sells products that the American market neither wants not has the credit to buy?

It makes no sense to me.  I consider myself to be an average American when it comes to consumer purchases.  However, while I am recently employed, I was unemployed for 18 months, causing unbelievable damage to my credit and changed my way of thinking when it comes to quantifying what is a “necessary” purchase.

When my car was repossesed, I relied on friends and family to get me through.  I borrowed cars from family and friends, most of which were old beaters not even remotely road worthy, and would never pass inspection, but I had to take a chance.  I needed a car to get to interviews, if I ever got one, or god willing, a job, if I ever got one of those either.

In the end, it was a very good friend who loaned me money, to be paid back “whenever” to buy a decent used vehicle.  I bought a used, 12 year old Toyota.

I have driven at one time or another, just about every car out there.  Wehter it be through test drives, rentals on business trips, or just driving cars owned by people I know.  There is no way in hell I would ever buy an American car.  They are still, to this day and after everything the American auto industry has been through, unreliable, lack creativity and ingenuity, are made of plastic, and still have the same look inside as they did in the 1970’s.  You just can NOT compare any American car to its foreign competition; not in quality, not in price, not in reliability.

General Motors, and Ford, and Chrysler for that matter, are all failing.  And rightly so.  It’s part of the cycle of consumerism.  It’s basic supply and demand and we as Americans don’t demand American cars.  We bailed out car makers before, in the 1970’s and 1980’s.  These companies had some sort of a rebound only to be overtaken each and every year by Toyota and Honda.  Other than the Ford Taurus, which I still can’t explain, the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry have been the top selling cars in the United States for decades.

So why, with the incredible financial crisis goiing on in this country, would the government bail out American car companies.  Nobody wants to buy a GM, Chrysler, or Ford.  It is no longer a matter of patriotism.  Most foreign based car companies who sell cars in the U.S. build them here, or buld part of them here.  In many cases there are more foreign parts in an “American” car than there are in an “import”.

So General Motors wants the U.S. government to bail them out to keep them solvent.  Why would we do that.  Even if these U.S. automakers were financially viable right now, there is no credit available to customers to help them buy these cars.  This is not a “one-issue” problem.  And if I could get a car loan, I wouldn’t buy an American car.  For those who can afford to buy a car in cash, they are not going to buy a Chevy Impala, they are going to buy a Lexus.  Just as in the housing crisis where the government should be bailing out the consumer rather than Wall Street, the government should be giving grants or loans to buy vehicles rather than just writing blank checks to U.S. auto makers.

We have given American car companies 30 years, an entire generation and then some, to catch up with what Americans want in a car.  They couldn’t do it.  They won’t do it.  Even with government subsidies, they lack the vision.  And any company that is no longer relavent in the world tends to go out of business.  So be it.  With the advent of digital cable and on-demand television, we don’t need Blockbuster anymore.  Would we bail them out.  No. We’d let them go by the wayside because they are no longer relevant.

So what do we do about the 3 million employees of American car companies?  I don’t know.  Maybe we should convert American car factories to Toyota, Honda, and Nissan factories, and throw in Hyundai for good measure, and let these car factory workers go back to work.  We can export the ones we don’t buy here to places all around the globe instead.  Export, baby, Export.

Any time you see a documentary or news report from some unknown corner of the world about violence, political unrest, war, etc., what do you see in the background?  Not a Chevy pickup; you see a Toyota.  Even in the poorest more dangerous places on earth, where the poorest of the poor are fighting for their basic human rights, they drive Toyotas.


Obama Wins and it’s a new game in town

I know I should be a gracious winner.  As gracious and incsive as Barack Obama was in his victory speech and as gracious as John McCain tried to be in is concession speech.  I say “tried” because he still refused to stop the booing when he mentioned Obama’s win.   McCain couldn’t muster up the decency to tell the crowd that booing is not acceptable.

But there is a part of me that needs to vent.  I just need to say:

So long Hannity and O’Reilly and the rest of the knuckleheads at Fox.  You make me sick and your team LOST.  You are irrelevant.

So long to Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Sarah Palin.  Your talking points memos have no place in this world except maybe to line bird cages.  You are both irrelevant.

And to the blow hard, politically abusive Rush Limbaugh, your tactics didn’t work, your lies didn’t work, you are irrelevant.

To people like Mary Matalin, Mitt Romney, Rudy “9/11” Giuliani, and Tucker Bounds, it’s time for you to just SHUT UP and I would prefer also that you GO AWAY.  You are irrelevant.

And especially to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney whom I believe should rot in hell for the crimes they have committed against the American people and against the U.S. Constitution; you and your cronies are irrelevant.

All of the people mentioned above will pay the price.  Looking back, these people could not think of one nice thing to say about Barack Obama, who is, by any measure, an intelligent, thoughtful, inclusive man deserving of at minimum an inferred compliment.  But no, they just couldn’t bring yourselves to do it.  And so they will pay the price by being considered “out of the loop”, and “on the wrong track” and nobody will want to hear your opinion anymore.  Not even the new Republican Party that will emerge from the muck as something new and different; or perhaps old and familiar, back to their roots, so to speak.

The Presidential Election of 2008 was not just an election and was not just about politics.  The Obama campaign was a movement.  As defined by Random House a “movement” in this context means: “a diffusely organized or heterogeneous group of people or organizations tending toward or favoring a generalized common goal”.  That is exactly what President Elect Obama tied to do through his entire campaign.  And he stayed on topic for almost 2 years.  None of the people mentioned above in this post, and many, many people not mentioned in this post, ever recognized the difference between an election campaign and a movement.  They missed the boat and missed the historical significance of what happened on November 4th2008.  Americans stoop up to be counted and stood up to say “We’re not going to take it anymore”.  The Republican tactics of fear don’t work and were not appreciated by the electorate based on exit polls.  Every negative ad, every mangling of the truth, or outright lie convinced a few more Independents and Republicans to vote Democrat

I’m sure you saw the people around this country who gathered in predetermined locations to await and then celebrate the victory of Barack Obama.  But did you see the hoards of Americans who gathered spontaneously in town squares to do the same thing.  You probably caught this phenomenon on television but did you also notice people from countries all over the WORLD who gather to celebrate America’s huge step forward.  The American Dream is an experiment that has so far lasted 232 years.  And when times are tough, like they are now, Americans can unite for the greater good.  And Americans can think for themselves independently, they can analyze the conditions set before them, and they have the ability to think and look forward instead of backwards to what used to be.  I don’t care how it sounds but for the first time in my life I am truly proud to be American.  That doesn’t mean I wasn’t proud before; it means I am MORE proud.

So when have Americans ever poured into the streets to celebrate and support the newly elected President of the United States.  For that matter when have Americans ever done this to celebrate anything, political or otherwise.  One on-air personality from a cable TV show said that it was possible that the first moon landing/walk may be the only other event in history that created this level of pride and exuberance.  I don’t know because I was too young to remember, but that sounds accurate to me.  And we’re talking about GOOD NEWS celebrations not bad news vigils.

The political torch is being passed to a new generation and a new philosophy.  I am at the cusp (the older side, unfortunately) of a generation who doesn’t see color, religion, sexual orientation, and more as divisive issues.  We doesn’t see differences, but rather similarities.

The right-wing cancer on the American phsyche is finally in remission.  Those of us with clearer, more mature heads have been waiting for this day since it all went wrong when Ronald Reagan took office in January of 1981.  Since that time we have been on a course, either stemming from the President himself or the Republican-controlled Congress, that grew progressively more extreme in its Evangelical values.  For whatever reason, a large group still believes in this philosophy; they believe in subscribing to culture wars.  They believe in “us versus them”.  They believe in exclusion over inclusion.  If you ever watched the critically acclaimed televisionshow called “Jericho” which was about the aftermath of a large scale terrorist attach on the United States, you would have seen the not-so-subtle overtones of what it is like under the Bush Administration or under Republican rule in general.  Americans pitted against Americans instead of Americans helping other Americans.  We are nothing if not generous with our time, money, and support of those in trouble or less fortunate than ourselves.  But the fundamental idea of America’s generosity was swept out when Reagan was swept into power in 1981.  I am overjoyed that America’s self-esteem and its zest for inclusion has returned with gusto.

As for Barack Obama I hear people, including myself, refer to him (before today) as “Senator Obama”, “Barack Obama”, or “Mr. Obama”, or just plain “Obama”.  He has earned the right to be called “President Elect” and/or “President”.  But for some reason, my admiration for him and the fact that he makes me feel included, makes we want to call him “Barack”.  Just plain Barack.  He is the only political figure in my life that I have ever wanted to meet and the only one with whom I ever wanted to sit down and have a chat.

In closing I want to say that I have only recently involved myself in politics.  Barack’s speech at the DNC in 2004 started it all for me and then I began my own personal grass roots movement through communicating with friends and family, acquaintances, and visitors to my Blog.  Prior to this election I voted in every election for President, Governor, and/or Senator.  However, this is the first time I truly “fell” for a candidate.  If it is possible to love somebody that you have never met, then that’s what happened to me.  Love comes in many forms.  In my case my love for Barack comes in the form of respect and admiration.  He makes me want to be a better person; a better American.

I look forward to the future of America and the World.  Maybe someday I’ll forgive myself for not being as gracious as I could have been.

Racism in the 2008 Election

The latest statistics I’ve heard indicate that 15% of voters admit that race will still play a role in their decision for President.  The statistics don’t say whether or not it will be a positive role or a negative role, just that 15% will take race into consideration.  I was not raised to consider race in anything, so it is something I don’t understand.  I didn’t know what racism was until at least high school and even then I didn’t hang around with a crowd that was racist so it wasn’t something I thought about.

In the early 1970’s I was in grammar school at Verplank Elementary School in Manchester, Connecticut. I learned how to jump rope, Double Dutch style, from my friends Janet Cooper and Audrey Gaines.  I got so good at Double Dutch that I was better than they were.  But they weren’t mad.  The were proud of me.  We were friends.  I knew that they came to school every day on a bus.  I knew that they lived in Hartford and that is where the buses took them home to every night.  But I didn’t know why, or think about why.  I didn’t care why, I didn’t even question why.   I think I just assumed that there weren’t enough schools in Hartford.  It certainly wasn’t something that I thought was out of the ordinary.  In fact, I was jealous that they got to ride the bus (until I got older and actually rode a bus to school every day).  My parents never mentioned anything about busing and it wasn’t talked about in school.  It wasn’t until many, many years later when busing kids from the inner city out to the suburbs became an issue again sometime in the 1990’s that I even realized that my grammar school was part of desegregation.

My 3 older brothers went to a vocational technical school in Manchester as well.   My oldest brother had a best friend named Eric Coke.   They were much older than I was back then.  My oldest brother and I are only 6 years apart but back then it seemed like generations.  Eric lived in Hartford.  Eric would often stay at our house on weeknights when they boys had a night game or something and it was just easier for Eric to stay with us rather than have his parents or mine drive back and forth to Hartford.  He would come to our house for things like Halloween and dress up with all of us.  We used to laugh because back then with the Polaroid instant cameras, the quality was so bad, and Eric had such a dark, very dark, complexion, he would disappear in the picture unless he smiled.  It wasn’t something racist to us, it was just a funny matter of fact.  We laughed, he laughed, we went trick-or-treating, and that was just another normal day at our house.  I was the youngest of 6 and we’re all about a year apart.  So having one more, or two more people around wasn’t unusual.

Many years after my father died in 1984, my mother and I met for lunch somewhere.  We got to talking about the old days.  I was still in my “I’m going to write a novel” phase.  So I started asking a lot of questions about my father, his past, his upbringing, etc.  My mother told me a story about how my Dad helped the one and only black family in our neighborhood get a mortgage.  He spent weeks going from bank to bank with this man until somebody would give him a mortage.   I didn’t know any of this.  And I certainly didn’t know that banks could be so blatantly racist as to not give a black man a mortgage for a house in a white suburb.  Of course it happened right before I was born.  But it wasn’t something my father bragged about and it wasn’t part of our family story.  It was just something my father did because that’s the kind of man my father was.  He didn’t brag about it because he didn’t want to teach his children that people were different and those differences led to people being treated differently.  I think he wanted to shield us from the evils of life as long as he could.

I am somewhat of a loner.  I don’t like people all that much.  I have always hand-picked the people who are an integral part of my life.  There are a lot of reasons to hate people.  They are crazy.  They are selfish. They are self-centered.  They are dumb, racist, bigoted, loud, misinformed, uncaring, childish.  The list goes on an on.  I can’t image that of all the reasons there are to hate people, someone is going to go with color????  I was raised better than that.

I did not have the best of childhoods and I never really identified with my parents.  They never truly understood me and I did not understand them.  I don’t recall them being very affectionate and loving and I don’t recall really loving them all that much.  Of course that has changed and I have re-evaluated many things over the years.  I learned to understand my mother better and I learned that I am so much like my father that it’s scary.  The big difference between me and him is I don’t have a problem telling people how I really feel.  But when I look back and think about all the things my parents did, and didn’t do, I thank them because I was not raised to hate anybody.  I was not raised to hate those who were different; different from me, or different from the norm, or different from what society said they should be.

I know I am probably living in a fantasy world about the subject of racism.  When I first heard Barack Obama give a speech at the 2004 DNC, I was in awe of him.  I thought, “what a great President he would be”.  And I never even gave race a minute of thought.  I just thought to myself, “Finally, someone who is smart and can inspire me and others to be proud Americans”.

So to me, even if one person refused to vote for a man or woman for President simply because of skin color, that’s one too many.

The McCain Legacy – What happens after the election?

Right now, McCain’s legacy is that of a relatively strong Senator who was a P.O.W.  But John McCain has a HUGE ego.  He lives in the shadow of his father and grandfather who were respected, four-star Admirals in the navy.  Imagine living in that shadow and then, in his father’s eyes, be so stupid as to get shot down in Vietnam.   I’m sure his father felt some guilt over the incident since there is no way that John McCain would have ever been allowed to be a navy pilot if it weren’t for the fact that his father was an Admiral.  He sucked at his job, had the lowest grades, and lost 5 aircraft (4 in “accidents” and 1 in combat).  Not exactly “Top Gun” material.

So John McCain returns from Vietnam a changed man.  A hero to some but a failure to himself.  For a man with an ego as big as John McCain’s, it had to be devastating.

The only way he could prove himself in his father’s and grandfather’s eyes, whether or not they were still living, was to become President of the United States.  That will show them.  And so the second half of his life story began. 

In this later part of John McCain’s life, he has but one goal.  President.  I do not believe for one minute that he cares what happens if he is elected.  He doesn’t care about the war, health care, taxes, the economy, the people of the United States or anything else.  Haven’t you wondered why there have been murmurs about John McCain being a one term President?  Haven’t you wondered why he himself has said he may only serve one term if he were elected?  Look at the facts.  One thing I have learned as I get older is that people are not all that different, deep down inside.  The same things make us tick, make us happy, and make us angry.  Everything else is just a representation of us trying to get the approval of somebody out there whom we feel did not give it to us before.  For John McCain, it is the approval of his father and grandfather.

Who is the person in your life whose approval you never received?  Who is the person in your life whose love you never obtained?  Think about it.  It is not such a stretch is it.  We all have someone, to varying degrees, who has that kind of influence on our lives.  John McCain is no different.

John McCain will do nothing to change this country.  He will do nothing to guide this country in a direction that is beneficial to all Americans.  He will do nothing to improve our standing as a country in the eyes of the world.  All John McCain cares about his having the word “President” after his name.  He wants to be on that list in the history books so he can say to himself “see Dad, see Grandpa, I told you I could be somebody”.  But, if you believe in heaven then dear old dad and grandpa will be watching.  And John McCain forgot about one minor detail.  Just being President isn’t enough.  There is a big difference, as we have found out in the last eight years, between being President and being a good President.  Simply adding it to your resume isn’t enough.

If elected, John McCain, statistically speaking, won’t be around for very much longer after his term.  So the aftermath of his Presidency is not something he will have to live with for long.  Barack Obama has more to consider.  Barack Obama has much more at stake if he were to be elected.  Whatever his Presidency brings about would be something he must live with for years and years.  And so his primary goal is to not just be a President, but be a good President.  He does care about the people in this country.  How could he face himself every day after his 4 years or 8 years if he never accomplished anything to make America better.  He could not live with himself if he let down the American people.  He has such an incentive to do the right things.  And even long after Barack Obama’s Presidency, he will be around, maybe in Washington D.C., maybe not, but one thing I am sure of is he will not stop giving service to this country.

You can look at the Presidency from many different angles and you can decide for whom to vote based on any number of factors.  One factor I choose to consider is what happens after the election and after the Presidency.  I also choose to look at human nature and what drives us as human beings.  What makes us tick?  What makes us get up everyday and face the world?   John McCain is in the twilight of his life and once he gets that badge of honor called the Presidency, he can sit back, take a deep breath, and let the time pass by as he sits in his rocking chair on the back porch of the White House.

Republican Strategy 2008 – Maybe they won’t notice we’re Republicans

Well this year, it’s not “strategery”, it’s a real strategy.

Did you watch any of the Republican Convention?  Did you really pay attention?  Did you notice anything about Republican political ads on TV or in print?  

Those are really trick questions because the real question is:  Did you notice something missing?

The Republican Strategy for 2008 is: “Maybe they won’t notice that we are Republicans”

At the St. Paul Convention, did you see the word “Republican” anywhere?  It was there.  On the very tippy top of each State sign was the very small seal of the RNC on which the word “Republican” was included; in a very tiny typeface not even visible on television.

At the convention, the GOP distanced themselves from our current President, George W. Bush, by never mentioning his name other than the day they allowed him to give a remote speech that lasted about 7 and a half minutes.  Our Vice President?  He was sent overseas.  In Governor Palin’s speech, in John McCain’s speech, and all of the other blue blooded Republicans, never mention George Bush by name.  If forced to they would simply refer to him as “the President”; but never “George W. Bush” or the word “Republican”.  I know this will sound cynical but the Republicans lucked out with hurricane Gustav because it forced the President to stay away from their convention.

Now, next time you see a political advertisement on TV or in print, play “Where’s Waldo” and see if you can find the word “Republican”.  It’s just not there.  Listen for the word “Republican” and see if you can hear it.  Don’t strain yourself because you probably will never hear it anyway.

A large portion of the American electorate doesn’t really know who is a Republican and who is a Democrat.  It’s true.  Of course there are a large group of us that follow politics, but there are even more people out there who just don’t.  Believe it or not, many voters still enter that voting booth and perform the task of picking the next leaders of our country based on pure gut reaction.  The “heard” something, or they “saw something”, or they just like the sound of someone’s name, knowing very little, and sometimes nothing, about these people or the platforms on which they are running for office.

Don’t write to me and call me an elitist, and don’t write to me and say that I have no respect for Americans because I am insinuating that they are dumb.  I know what I am talking about because I talk to people all the time.  I am trying to get the word out; no, I am trying to get the truth out, to my family and friends and anybody who will listen.  I keep running into the same things.  People don’t really know anything about the candidates, don’t know their positions on issues, and some can’t remember who is in which party.

So it doesn’t surprise me that the Republican party has tried to distance themselves from George Bush and the word “Republican” because both have such a bad wrap.  And rightly so after the disastrous policies of Bush, the illegal activities of his administration, and all of the ethics issues that have arisen over the past eight years.  Do you remember that the Iraq War is illegal and based on fabricated (not misinterpreted) intelligence?  Do you remember that the Bush Administration has made it legal for them to do surveillance on Americans; out phones, our email, what we buy on our credit cards?  Don’t you remember Larry Craig, the anti-gay Senator caught soliciting sex at the airport?  Scooter Libby and the treasonous outing of a CIA agent at the direction of Dick Cheney?  Mark Foley and his sexually charged email exchanges with under age male pages?  Tom Delay resigning after being charged with financial ethics violations?  Do I need to go on?  I can’t even if I wanted to, it’s too sickening.

In John McCain’s speech at the Republican Convention, not one word was mentioned about the economy, jobs, oil, food prices, the middle class, taxes, the Iraq War; nothing of any substance whatsoever until, at the end, he started to use the word “Change”.  The one word that people associate with Barack Obama and his whole campaign started on the notion that real, substantial change must occur on a grass roots level from every struggling American right up to the highest office in the country.  And now the Republicans are trying to hijack that word to confuse people who are not following politics as closely as some others.

So for those of you who don’t follow politics, please do your homework.  For those of you that do and are for Obama, make sure you set the record straight and get the word out.  For those of you who follow politics and are Republican, I dare you to advertise that you are a Republican and then try to explain the illegal and immoral scandals of the last 4 years and why anyone should give Republicans another 4 years to create havoc.

Abortion, Abortion, Abortion

I am speaking now to the pro-lifers, right wing conservatives in general,  and the media.

I am so tired of this being an issue in this election.  Actually I am so tired of the media and right wing conservatives pretending that abortion is an issue in this election.

First, abortion is legal and has been for 35 years.  So the only reason that a candidates position on abortion is an issues is what?  Because somebody out there plans on overturning Roe V. Wade.  Really!  Really?!.  Of all the things that are going on in the world and in this country, your biggest concern is who is Pro Life and who is Pro Choice.  Does any of it have any real affect on how the next President of the United States of America is going to govern our nation?   Does it have any real affect on your or my daily life?

So you’re all worried that some supreme court justices might retire and that the President will nominate somebody who doesn’t want to mess with a statute that has been on the books for 35 years.  As we all know, the President’s opinion on Roe V. Wade has no bearing on Roe V. Wade; otherwise George Bush would have “had it overturned” years ago. 

Who the fuck cares what Barack Obama or John McCain feel about abortion?  They can’t change the laws of this land.  They can’t wave some magic wand and change abortion laws.

Since Roe V. Wade there have been about 1100 abortions in the country per year.  How many of those were the result of rape, how many were incest, how many were just plain molestation, how many were the rape of very young girls or the mentally handicapped, how many were prostitutes, how many had to do with the health of the mother? 

Pro-lifers make it sound like women walk sit back on their big comfy sofas with cups of General Mills International Coffee and say “ah, what the hell, I’ll just have an abortion, screw it, let’s toast, can I get anyone anything?”.   Nobody LIKES abortion, no, not even pro-choice people LIKE abortion.  Pro Life supporters just want the opportunity to be legal, and with as little shame as possible, in the rare case that an abortion is the final decision.

It’s starting to sound the the Bush Administration and their buzz words to scare you.  You know them, there’s only three of them.  Terror, Gay Marriage, and Abortion.

Anytime something isn’t going their way, the Republicans will work Terror, Gay Marriage, or Abortion into the conversation.  I am way too busy looking for a job after I lost mine, and too busy trying to figure out how I am going to pay for gas and food, and way too worried about my nephew in Afghanistan to have another conversation with you about Terror, Gay Marriage or Abortion.