sense and sensabilities?

So I wrote a post yesterday on how I feel about some of the politics in this country. Wow, the brew ha ha which has ensued one would have thought I was chicken little and the sky was falling in.

It actually made me ask a question:

So if you don’t like tea partiers and question them and other political extremists, does that make you a bad Republican? Or a bad Democrat for that matter? If we can’t question politics are we truly free?

Well?

Why can’t I question what makes me uncomfortable along with what I do not understand?  Why does that suddenly make me a political undesirable? As a woman am I supposed to walk ten steps behing, be barefoot, pregnant, in the kitchen and MUTE?

Let’s review something – I blog for me first and foremost.  I share my opinions because it is what I feel like writing about in that moment.  It is not always going to be  placid and necessarily comfortable for all.  It’s not always going to be a pretty photo, or a fantastic recipe to share. Sometimes it will be topics like politics, from a local stage to a national level. It depends where the inspiration comes from at that moment.

I feel that the basic framework on which this country was founded is exactly why we should question things now.  I feel that in an odd way certain groups in this country are trying to suppress some of the very freedoms and philosophies on which this nation was founded and grew.

That, dear readers, doesn’t make me a bad female Republican. It means I think about things.

I was a volunteer, a media relations volunteer at RNC2000.  Twelve years ago I felt strongly enough about being a part of that to seek out friends in Washington who could help me get a better volunteer position.  Truthfully, I was one of the few volunteering in my capacity that did not come out of politically connected PR and advertising shops.

I approached it all with an open mind and as a result, met some truly remarkable people.  And I lent a Congressman at the time  named Chip Pickering cab fare when he got off a train without his wallet and no one else believed he was who he was.  (And yes he paid me back and my reward were invitations to some pretty awesome A list parties.)  But what I noticed was at that time the Republican party worked really hard to extremists on the fringe so everyone felt honestly welcome within the party.  Not so any longer.  The extremists are being embraced at the expense of ordinary Americans in the middle. That is an act of desperation that I feel quite strongly will bite them in the rear.

Both political parties are guilty of the dumbing down of America and that bothers me. Washington is full of politicians spending our tax dollars to prove each side right and wrong.  These politicians aren’t worried so much about the constituencies they represent, but seem to be constantly running for re-election.  I think that is crap.

Truthfully, I have been reading up on things in Washington, and I think Democrats and their assorted pals are nervous about the upcoming election.  I believe people should start paying attention to who is leaving what and taking what new job.  Because face it, with a new administration a lot of people could find themselves on the outside looking in.

One example I see recently and locally to an extent is the latest headmaster appointed at The Haverford School.  John A. Nagl.  His experience and current responsibilities are truly remarkable.  But a change of course to headmaster of the Haverford School?  To me that might be commentary on the current political climate and fear of things to come. (of course what a lot of people are also asking is why Haverford is choosing yet another ex military to run a non-military school?)

Ok, so back to the topic at hand: questioning politics.

If we can’t question and discuss politics, let alone express our feelings as to what is bothering us, we are no longer truly free.

You can’t just drink the kool-aid in either political party and it would behoove more people to look at who they are voting for a little more closely. It would also behoove more to be of an independent mind.

And if you want to discuss with me what I am thinking about, that is fine, but don’t just tell me I am across the board wrong.  I know I am not.  Maybe I make some of you uncomfortable with my pondering, and I am sorry.  But you have to think.  You can’t just act like a Stepford wife or Moonie and pull the lever for any candidate.  You need to ponder. You have to ponder. You have as a resident of the United States of America an obligation to carefully ponder as far as I am concerned.

Here are a couple of notes I received from people I know with regard to my blog post yesterday:

 I LONG for moderate Republicans to take back their party from the crazies. Leave women’s bodies alone and focus on the types of spending reform for which the party is supposed to stand.

What makes me crazy is how many have signed a PLEDGE that makes them beholden to a LOBBYIST. They sold out their ability to compromise and act in the best interest of our country because Grover Norquist made them do it. To me, that is treason. When a leader like Mitch McConnell says that Congress’ goal for two years should be to unseat the President in the next election, ergo not pass any legislation that would seem like a “win” for the D side, regardless of how much it would benefit people and businesses that are hurting, where are we?

Stop worrying about who people are schtupping. Stop worrying about women who take a pill so that they have two children instead of 20, and pass the existing legislation that lowers corporate tax rates, invests in retraining for people in hard-hit areas that have been laid off. Stop blindly protecting the defense budget and question why we’re spending hundreds of millions of dollars building up bases in the Caribbean to combat drugs.

Someone…please…take back the reins. When Reagan’s key tax policy advisor has said that the GOP has gone off the rails and is hurting the country, there’s a problem. I think we need a more-than-two-party system. But, at the very least, we need TWO functional parties that welcome debate and dissent, can compromise, and don’t accuse anyone who disagrees with them as being “un-American.”

Another one (ironically from a friend in DC who reads Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Karen Heller):

And please be sure to read the sentence where Smith says to put yourself in the father’s position. Yeah, the father’s position is MUCH more difficult to be in than the poor girl who got raped and pregnant.

Karen Heller: Another GOP moment: Smith comparing daughter’s unintended pregnancy to rape  August 29, 2012|By Karen Heller, Inquirer Columnist

“Maybe Tom Smith just wanted us to remember his name.  Or realize he’s the Pennsylvania Republican running for the U.S. Senate.

Or perhaps he’s jealous of headline-hogging Todd Akin, that Missouri master of creative obstetrics, and wanted his own moment in the sun and on this paper’s front page.

In any event, Smith finally made news Monday by comparing unintended pregnancy to rape.

Specifically, his daughter’s unintended pregnancy to rape, after a Harrisburg press luncheon in front of a group of reporters….

Smith answered, “I lived something similar to that with my own family. She chose life, and I commend her for that. She knew my views. But fortunately for me, I didn’t have to. . . . She chose the way I thought. Don’t get me wrong; it wasn’t rape.”

Scolforo: “Similar how?”

Smith: “Having a baby out of wedlock.

Scolforo: “That is similar to rape?”

Smith: “No, no, no. Well, put yourself in a father’s position. Yes, I mean it is similar.” “

The last comment is from someone who was a life long Republican until not so long ago:

I have been enjoying newsroom all along – despite the nasty reviews from the “pros.”
I also found Sunday night’s show to be spot on.
So who owns the term rino these days? I sure as heck can’t say. That we are even asking that question is just plain sad.
For me, long ago my personal experiences informed my decision to leave a party that so deliberately and decidedly was extremely comfortable with treating women as second class citizens. But the fact that the Republican party is now, in 2012, hell-bent on controlling women’s bodies in ways I really never dreamed could happen in my lifetime makes it impossible for me to contemplate ever returning. And please, how is it that creationism is even a topic we have to contemplate – let alone discuss in the public discourse?
But these are only the most obvious of issues. what is deeply, deeply disturbing to me is the lack of caring and compassion for those in need. Not every person is a lazy worthless free loader living off/on the public dole, and the insanity – to say nothing of the fundamental selfishness – which seems to be at the center of policies that so callously and inappropriately ignore those less fortunate, I just can not understand or grasp such perspectives.
So there – I joined you on the soap box…..thanks for listening.
Remember what Thomas Jefferson said – “All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.”

six minutes of television worth watching before the election

Last night I did not watch the Republican National Convention, or listen to Ann Romney’s speech. (See and interview with her here.) To get personal, I am sorry she had breast cancer, but you know what? I am a survivor too.  She also spoke about having multiple sclerosis, and again, I am sorry, but I know a very brave woman who struggles with this every day who I think is amazing.  And she doesn’t tell people about her disease, nor do I tell people what I had so other women will identify with me.  It is simply now part of who I am, and to an extent how I view the world.

What did I watch? The season finale of HBO’s The Newsroom which I had missed on Sunday night.

But what I do not get about my own political party, the Republican party, is they put the candidate’s wife, Ann Romney, out there to speak to the women of this country, yet behind the scenes there is embracing of political zealots who I feel have very little respect for women, their bodies, their opinions, their wants, their needs.

Look at Rep. Todd Akin and his “legitimate rape” comments. According to him,and his vast medical knowledge,women’s bodies shut down upon violation making pregnanacy, etc impossible. And look in our own political trashcan in Pennsylvania to Tom Smith, who is running for senate.  He drew a parallel in an interview with the AP between babies born out-of-wedlock and rape. HUH????

Neither of these men should be running for those reasons alone, yet they are.  And they aren’t alone.  How am I as a Republican woman supposed to vote a Republican ticket when just underneath the surface exists a current that is terrifying to me?   Don’t misunderstand me, I am not feeling it for Obama for a second term, but I am having a personal political crisis wondering how the hell I am going to vote?

I have said before that I feel the politics of extremism is ruining this country. It is the undeniable truth.  Which is why when I heard what a fictional newsman (who sadly does better reporting the news that major networks in this country do in reality) talk about Republicans and the Tea Party as a fictional Republican, it was very interesting.

Writers do not just draw from imagination, they draw from real life,  out there are a lot of  people who are torn and apathetic at the same time just like me.  I don’t think this all came out of Aaron Sorkin’s vivid imagination alone.  (Read an interesting article on the series in the Atlantic HERE)

I volunteered for the RNC2000 when it was in Philadelphia.  I have to tell you, I believed a lot more than I do now.  But at that convention, the Republican Party on a national level had some balls and the political  zealots and extremists stayed firmly where they belong on the fringe.

I almost wonder what kind of target I will become now as a blogger for saying I am a Republican but political extremism isn’t the way to go?

Anyway, watch the clip I posted.  I don’t care who did it, or what their political persuasion may or may not be, as Americans it is a perspective we should at least hear out.

Here is what Buffalonews.com had to say:

Brilliant ‘Newsroom’ finale has impeccable timing By Jeff Simon

Enough of all the supremely supercilious Sorkin-bashing. No more. Sunday’s season finale of Aaron Sorkin’s “The Newsroom” managed to be the most timely – and one of the best – season finales of a television show I’ve ever seen (and, in my case, that “ever” covers a lot of chronological distance).

On this very evening, the Republicans are gathered in Tampa to see how much commandeering of the American journalistic agenda a storm called Isaac will allow. Two days earlier, “The Newsroom’s” finale led off with fictional journalistic crusader Will McEvoy leading off his news broadcast with a very real issue hotly debated (“defended” is the most apt word) just a few weeks ago: efforts to deny voting rights to those who have no photographic identification…..Put it together with “The Newsroom’s” usual blowtorching of the Tea Party on the (also) plausible grounds that it represents extremism, not Republicanism, and you’ve got the most extraordinary timeliness ever recorded for a TV show in a presidential election year. And all this, mind you, from an HBO fantasy that, thus far, has had to restrict itself to actual events from 2010, when some of the writing was being done….

In the terrific season finale of “The Newsroom” – complete with historically appropriate sideswipes at “Sex and the City” – Sorkin revealed what his theme music all along should have been: bad, scratchy old recordings of Broadway cast albums from “Camelot” and “Man of La Mancha.”

Now THAT would have been the proper introductory tone – smartass, ironic, dweeby, willing to get bruised while pushing boundaries rather than defending a bunch of Holy Prophets who were never anything of a sort.

 

Like it or not, Aaron Sorkin and HBO via fictional characters have given a voice to people questioning the tides of American politics.  Even registered Republicans.

We, as Americans, have been suffering through an economy not seen since the Great Depression if we are all honest with ourselves.  We don’t (thankfully) have a World War looming on the horizon to snap us out of it, but you know what?  We all need something to believe in.

We need as Americans, to have not only something and someones we can believe in, but practical solutions and not pie in the sky ideals.

We do not need to set women back a century or better, and we need to stop a lot of rhetoric which if continued will merely induce more hatred between races.  We need people who actually want to get together from both parties and govern for the good of the people and this country.

Right now it is bull twaddle as usual in Washington, DC.  And in the actual district you see people running around hedging their bets in case the seat of power changes, which in effect means nothing is getting done and we are still paying for it as taxpayers.

You know, I had a ticket for Paul Ryan’s visit to West Chester but I did not go.  I did not go because I did not feel like dealing with the extremeists from either side who were there, including that old fool Frank Lautenberg.  I enjoy politics, I enjoy hearing what candidates have to say, and sometimes even their wives, which is how I got to meet Michele Obama last election in a small setting. I like to hear what candidates have to say, but I can’t hear any of them this election season because they are getting drowned out by the politics of extremism on both sides.

I am getting off the soap box now.