Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Silly Season

We head into this election with the race being pretty tight. I have been a life-long Democrat, and I can't imagine voting Republican solely for the reason that I view our social obligations as a fairly big tent. I think that our Puritan heritage whereby wealth is seen as a benediction from God is a pretty corrupt and dangerous POV, and yet it has been the economic engine for our country for the last two hundred years. Nothing like a distrust of government and a veneration of money as a way to run roughshod over minorities, the law, the land, and other governments who might stand in the way of making money as a blueprint for success. And yes, Halliburton, I'm looking at you.

Okay, so we know that I'm not on board with the Republican ethos. And yet, I'm part of the 1%--okay, maybe the top 10%. My husband and I live in California, so although we might make an obscene amount of money, we live in a small, 1500-square-foot house that is worth over $700,000. We drive cars that are ten years old, and our vacation every year is camping. Such is California Dreamin'. However, we don't carry any credit card debt, and I have the freedom to go to the grocery store and buy a nice bottle of wine when I feel like it. I consider us very lucky. I am more than willing to pay more taxes, and I fully support Jerry Brown's tax increase (which will affect us). And it's not because my kids are in school. They are graduated. It's because an educated populace is important to maintaining a healthy society, and California's schools rank forty-eighth in the nation in what we pay per child. Right in front of Alabama and Mississippi. I wish I were joking, but I'm not. When my children were in school, we wrote lots and lots of checks to supplement our kids' education. We were in the position to write those checks. Every time I signed my name, I wondered about all those people who couldn't afford to write checks. Whose kids got one hour of sciene a month as opposed to mine who had two hours of science a week, solely because my community could afford to write checks. This is NOT a level playing field. So yes, I support Brown's tax increase. Bring it on.

So, the Republican convention. This is a shout out to Congressman Ryan. Did you go to confession after you made that speech? As a practicing Catholic, you should have had your confessor on speed dial. If you can't make a case for your party other than to lie about your opponent, you have a problem. Surely you don't need to lie. There are a number of things that I would call Obama to task on (Gitmo and his cosy relationship with Wall Street to name two), but these probably are not the things that you find objectionable. But, come on! I guess you can't mention the stock market, because last time I looked it was up over 13,000. Wasn't it down at 8000 when Bush left office? And all economic indicators are pointing up. Not way up, but up enough, so perhaps that doesn't give you enough ammunition. And you can't really fault him for not being religious because he invokes God in his speeches as much as you do (something I find extremely problematic, but then I actually believe in the separation of church and state). But still. There must be a few things you can nail him on.

The problem is that the Republican party has lost its center. You guys don't have a platform anymore. You can't have a ethos that is based on American ingenuity and smarts when you've excluded a huge majority of Americans. Like all those black and brown people. The ones who weren't at your convention. Every time the camera panned the audience, it was a sea of white faces. That's not America anymore. I know you wish it was, but it isn't. And the more you push an agenda that excludes minorities and women, the more marginal you will become.

Stop lying. Remember who you are. Why I am, a Democrat, telling you how to run your business?

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