Via Shakesville, Reason # 3582668 for Why I Won’t Vote For John McCain.
From a man who cheated on and later divorced the wife who waited through the many years he was a prisoner of war. The mother of the two sons he adopted and the daughter they had together:
Mr. McCain, who with his wife, Cindy, has an adopted daughter, said flatly that he opposed allowing gay couples to adopt. “I think that we’ve proven that both parents are important in the success of a family so, no, I don’t believe in gay adoption,” he said. [New York Times]
Proven? Who’s “proven” this? As a single, straight mom, I call bullshit.
Are gay parents somehow less equipped to give a child a loving home? Are straight parents somehow more equipped?
Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal.
~From a headstone in Ireland, via quotegarden
Two years ago, I wrote a post for Memorial Day that I’ve never been able to top. The words came straight from my soul via my heart, and nothing I’ve written since about our veterans — living and dead — and their sacrifices has matched it. In fact, everything I’ve tried to write about Memorial Day since then has been pretty much the same thing, just dressed a little differently.
This is the 5th Memorial Day we have celebrated since El Pollo Loco and his band of minions started an unjustified war. 4082 Americans have died to accomplish a “mission” brought to them by a lying government, a cheerleading press, and a profiteering corporate structure.
I could write something about the troops who have valiantly served our nation – even when our government has chosen to turn its collective back to those who protect and defend her – but it would simply be a derivative of These Honored Dead:
[…] Servicemen and women do not choose their battles, they do not choose their enemies. They are told where to go and what to do by leaders that may or may not have their best interests at heart, by leaders who may or may not have seen combat themselves. And they do the very best they can, under circumstances the rest of us will never be able to comprehend.
My problem is not, and never has been, with the men and women in uniform. It is with those who send those men and women into harm’s way without valid reason, without proper equipment and supplies. It is with those who scream themselves hoarse about supporting the troops, but cut veterans benefits in wartime and order them – in America’s name – to violate international law and their own moral code.
It is those who mistreat the American soldier while calling the rest of us unpatriotic.
What I’d like to address today is not the many sacrifices made by our military and their families. There are many fine places on the web which have excellent tributes today to the men and women who serve.
Instead, I’d like to talk about something else that’s related to Memorial Day. The lack of respect and understanding for our nation’s symbols.
This is a small town, one of those places where you’d almost automatically think, “Mom and apple pie.” Many of our area residents have served or are serving in the military. We have a strong tradition of being there when our country calls. We still have parades on Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day. Our local supermarket’s window boasts pictures of currently-serving service personnel. Once a week, the papers prints all the addresses of those locals who are serving, so people can write and remind them of home, keep them up-to-date on local affars, keep their spirits up. A local group bakes cookies and another collects personal hygiene items for our troops.
So you would assume this is a place where the flag and symbols of our nation and of our veterans’ service are universally respected and treated with dignity.
You’d be wrong. I myself have been stunned again and again by the absolute lack of caring when it comes to these things. It’s not just that people don’t know, it’s that they don’t care to learn.
There was an incident locally that brought this to mind yet again. A cemetery’s caretakers — for whatever reasons, and there are plenty of pointing fingers and loads of excuses — after setting a policy that no “ornaments or decorations” would be allowed at gravesites, removed all the veterans’ markers from the cemetery. These are the markers on which American flags are placed prior to certain holidays – Memorial Day, Flag Day, July 4th, and Veterans’ Day.
Worse yet, these markers were thrown – along with the various “ornaments and decorations” that were stripped from each and every final resting place – into a trash pile in a field across the road.
I am horrified by all of it. To have taken these small mementos at someone’s grave and simply dumped them?
But I am especially angry about the veterans’ markers. My father, his brothers, and my paternal grandfather are buried there, and all were veterans. I’m glad I was not one of those who discovered this horror. I cannot imagine my reaction to seeing the symbols of my family’s service ripped out and tossed in the garbage.
Would someone please explain to me how on earth it is possible for someone to not understand the deep meaning and symbolic value of those markers, to not understand that they are not merely “ornaments and decorations?”
Thankfully, due to enormous efforts by the VFW and the Legion to remap the cemetery and place new markers – each and every veteran’s grave has once again been properly marked.
Sadly, however, this is not an isolated incident. Far, far too many people have no understanding of true patriotism, and they certainly have no understanding of flag etiquette and respect.
Do we blame the schools for failing to teach students the value and meaning behind our flag? The government for failing to live up to the standards of conduct written in the Constitution and for forcing schools to cut geography and history and civics classes in order to teach to meet the standards of the NLCB tests? The media for promoting false patriotism over true debate? All of the above?
How many times have you attended an event and seen almost no one under 40 remove their hats and/or stand for the Anthem? How many times have you seen a ripped and tattered flag on a flag pole? Or seen a flag flying at night with no uplighting? Or a cotton flag flying in the rain?
Last year, I had to call harass the local Walmart for three weeks straight because they were flying the flag in darkness. The reason? The lights had malfunctioned/burned out/didn’t work, and — with the exception of a few people (including my sister) – no one cared. The first three days, the lady who answered the phone was all pleasant and reassuring, “Oh my! We’ll certainly take care of that! Thank you so much for alerting us to this!” Too bad that was her whole reaction. It wasn’t until I spoke to my sister later that I discovered my concerns hadn’t been passed on at all. So I started annoying them. Every. single. night.
Another night, my sister went into work and watched three employees drop two American flags on the floor after they’d been used for Independence Day decorations. Dropped them on the floor. (If you don’t understand why anything in the last three paragraphs is a problem, google “American flag etiquette” or “US Flag Code.”)
This Memorial Day, take time to honor our nation’s veterans of all wars, but also take some time out from the grill and the gardening and the various summer projects you might have to educate someone on the Flag and its handling. Speak up on the proper ways to honor our nation’s heroes, past and present. Talk to your children about why our national symbol and those who died for it must be held in the highest regard and treated with the highest respect.
“Do you know how difficult it is for women to stand up and say we are the best at anything? The Democratic Party has to know that women are the core, women have to be at the table and women are going to be heard as we continue in these contests until they finally end.”
— Hillary Rodham Clinton
I’m in a rather interesting mood. Pissed as hell and depressed.
I’m starting to allow my heart to realize that Hillary may not win the nomination. She’s not giving up, though, so I’m not either. Hope springs eternal, and I’m going to keep fighting for her as long as she’s willing to keep fighting.
However, I’d be stupid not to look to the future and ask myself just what I’m going to do come November. The question on everyone’s minds is: “Will the Hillary supporters become Obama supporters once the nomination is decided?”
In my mind, there are two questions: Can I support the Democratic nominee if it’s not Hillary, and can I continue to align myself the Democratic party at all after witnessing, reading, or listening to hundreds (or thousands) of misogynistic attacks on Hillary and her supporters by other members of the party ?
I can’t answer for anyone else, and I will make no attempt to dissuade anyone from their own decisions about this, but — at this point, unless something completely changes my mind between now and November — I’ll vote for Barack Obama if he’s the nominee. Any Democratic candidate is – theoretically – better than any Republican. [Theoretically meaning: what’s happened since January 2007 that is different from what happened between 2001 and 2007? Besides more hearings.]
I will no longer be a registered Democrat. I am leaving the party and those members of it who have used hateful language against a Democratic candidate and against fellow Democratic voters who had the temerity not to jump on their bandwagon.
June 2008 will mark the 20th anniversary of my becoming a registered voter. I have not missed an election since I became eligible to vote, and I have always been a Democrat. Until now.
But apparently, that’s just fine with certain parts of the party who tell me they don’t need my vote. Just ask Donna Brazile.
I’m just one of those typical, white, blue-collar, traditional Democratic, over-30 but not quite 40, women to whom $30 in gas savings means a lot (like, a month’s worth of one of my prescriptions, or one month’s phone bill payment, or 15 days’ worth of school lunches for one of my younger kids), who wants clear and direct answers about how a candidate intends to bring our troops home (and when!), solve the economic crisis, restore America’s reputation abroad, close Guantanamo and end America’s human rights abuses, help families who are losing their homes, end our oil dependence, secure women’s full reproductive rights, create equality in the workplace (and every place) for women, minorities, GLBTQs, create jobs, end our financial dependence on China – among many, many other vital issues. In other words: no one important or anything.
Yes, yes, I hear the cries of: “She’s pandering!”
Fuck yes, pander to me! Over the past 7 years, we’ve watched politicians pander to one – and only one – constituency: the rich and powerful. Now — Goddess forbid! — someone wants to pander to the poor, the middle-class, the families, the small businesses, the women? Well, hell yeah!
But Hope and Change© apparently means not pandering to the people in this country who are struggling and need relief from the high cost of food, gasoline, utilities, and every other goddamned thing out there. Hope and Change© aren’t about helping those who — forget making ends meet — can’t even get the ends within sight of one another.
So, when it comes time to cast my ballot, if the nominee is Barack Obama, I’ll suck it up, hold my nose, and press the switch – as an Independent. And I’ll probably, in my bitterness, proclaim as I do so, “May the Goddess have mercy on my soul.” (Yes. I am bitter. I’m bitter because I actually thought Democrats were the party of women, of labor unions, of blue-collar laborers, of the underdogs of society, and boy, I’ve been proven wrong this year.)
But between now and the nomination, I’m going to light my candle, and I’m going to use my teaspoon, and no matter how this turns out, I’m going to know I did my damnedest to elect the first female President of the United States of America.
This is part two of my series on how the wasteful, destructive agriculture polices of the last 8-12 years — also known as “Make Money By Not Feeding America” — has affected the cost of the food we purchase. Part One is here.
In Part One, I spoke of wheat and how in the rush to grow corn for ethanol, it’s being pushed aside – which drives up prices at the mills, which then drives up the price at the retail level.
In the rush to find cleaner alternatives to fossil fuels for our vehicles, ethanol was latched onto by the Bush administration. As a result nearly a quarter of all corn grown is being diverted from human and animal food stocks and heading for ethanol plants.
As we see with wheat, prices are going up. In this case, the price rise is first seen as the price-per-bushel – the amount the corn farmer is paid. That drives up costs at the farm and farm-factory level – where it’s used as feedstock cattle and poultry. Then prices rise again at the retail level. We’ve seen a huge rise in the cost of eggs, meat, and milk and other dairy products as a result.
Meanwhile…back at the farm, it’s difficult to turn away from devoting your corn to ethanol production with prices per bushel on the rise.
From the Washington Post, via MSNBC: [my emphasis throughout]
Across the country, ethanol plants are swallowing more and more of the nation’s corn crop. This year, about a quarter of U.S. corn will go to feeding ethanol plants instead of poultry or livestock. That has helped farmers like Johnson, but it has boosted demand — and prices — for corn at the same time global grain demand is growing.
And it has linked food and fuel prices just as oil is rising to new records, pulling up the price of anything that can be poured into a gasoline tank. “The price of grain is now directly tied to the price of oil,” says Lester Brown, president of Earth Policy Institute, a Washington research group. “We used to have a grain economy and a fuel economy. But now they’re beginning to fuse.”
Oh, and thank your Democratic Congress too.
Rising food prices have given Congress and the White House a sudden case of legislative indigestion. In 2005, the Republican-led Congress and President Bush backed a bill that required widespread ethanol use in motor fuels. Just four months ago, the Democratic-led Congress passed and Bush signed energy legislation that boosted the mandate for minimum corn-based ethanol use to 15 billion gallons, about 10 percent of motor fuel, by 2015. It was one of the most popular parts of the bill, appealing to farm-state lawmakers and to those worried about energy security and eager to substitute a home-grown energy source for a portion of U.S. petroleum imports. To help things along, motor-fuel blenders receive a 51 cent subsidy for every gallon of corn-based ethanol used through the end of 2010; this year, production could reach 8 billion gallons.
There’s just one problem…well, several problems:
Although ethanol was once promoted as a way to slow climate change, a study published in Science magazine Feb. 29 concluded that greenhouse-gas emissions from corn and even cellulosic ethanol “exceed or match those from fossil fuels and therefore produce no greenhouse benefits.” By encouraging an expansion of acreage, the study added, the use of U.S. cropland for ethanol could make climate conditions dramatically worse. And the runoff from increased use of fertilizers on expanded acreage would compound damage to waterways all the way to the Gulf of Mexico.
Development specialists have also joined the fray. “While many are worrying about filling their gas tanks, many others around the world are struggling to fill their stomachs, and it is getting more and more difficult every day,” World Bank President Robert B. Zoellick said in a recent speech.
And, the future for food prices isn’t looking too good:
Two leading oil pipeline companies are exploring the feasibility of building a $3 billion ethanol pipeline, the first of its kind, to link Iowa and other parts of the Midwest with motor-fuel markets in the East. It would carry 3.65 billion gallons a year and give another industry a vested interest in maintaining high ethanol output. Because of this domestic demand, Iowa’s exports of corn are expected to shrink to less than half of current levels in the next couple of years. Nationwide, corn stockpiles are dwindling.
… Iowa produces more eggs, 13.5 billion, than any other state. And chickens, like capons, mostly eat corn feed. The Charles City ethanol plant alone consumes three-quarters as much corn as the entire Iowa egg industry.
“We don’t have to make fuel out of corn and soybeans, but we do have to feed animals,” says Kevin Vinchattle, executive director of the Iowa Egg Council. “We’re going to be right there bidding for feedstocks and making sure that we have the highest-quality feed available. We just don’t have an alternative.”
What we really need in this country is a responsible, sustainable, non-destructive, non-wasteful agriculture policy. We absolutely do need to support our family farmers. But, we should only support those family farmers who are contributing to the feeding of America.
It is time to end the subsidies to corporate entities that run factory farms, the owners of said corporate entities, and those whose product is going for any use other than feed or food.
What we also need is a responsible energy plan, because — thanks to the ethanol boom – the two are intertwined.
I currently reside in Hell. This used to be small-town Pennsylvania, but the demons of election season have taken over, and we’re all suffering and tormented.
Radio stations are putting song-breaks between the campaign commercials. It’s gotten so bad, I’m thinking I should get cable, where a show’s advertisers get a little cranky if said show doesn’t appear.
I can’t go out in public without hearing about the election, the candidates, the false email rumors (Barack Obama EATS old people; pass it on! Hillary Clinton is behind a rash of DOGNAPPINGS! Pass it on! John McCain is THE GREAT AND GLORIOUS OZ! Pass it on!)
We here in Pennsylvania, especially in Bradford County are thrilled that our votes will count in selecting the Democratic nominee. I can’t say for sure, but I think the last time Pennsylvania had an active role in a Presidential election might have been around 1800. Add on top of that the hot contest for State Senate – with the almost-universally well-liked commissioner, Doug McLinko, on the Republican ticket, and two mostly unknowns (one of whom doesn’t even live in our district) – and all I can say is, thank heavens they don’t serve alcohol at the polling places!
Here’s a few comments I’ve overheard over the last few weeks. (Eavesdropping isn’t nice, unless you’re doing it to gather political information, right?)
These aren’t quite verbatim quotes, except in the case of the fourth one (believe me, that one’s with me till I die) and I’m totally guessing on the ages, but I believe caught the essence of their statements:
That stupid bitch is ruining this race. — From a 30-ish woman wearing an Obama ’08 pin
That black guy hasn’t ever done anything while he’s been in the Senate or before that in Illinois when he was…whatever the hell he was there. What makes anyone think he will do anything as President? — from an older man wearing a McCain pin
You keep saying he’s going to change things. I just want to know how. — from a 40-ish woman to an Obama supporter
“I don’t want no n*****r or no woman running this country.” — 75-ish male
I’m just sick of men telling us how much they’re going to change. You got an old man running and a young man running, and there isn’t two hairs of difference between them. Men have run this country since it’s founding, and just look at the messes they’ve made. — 70-ish female
Everyone talks about Hillary’s plans, but no one mentions that she wants to let Mexicans take over the country, or make abortions and birth control as easy to get as a soda. I got an email about it last week, and I tell you, it scared the daylights out of me! — 60-ish female
What the hell kind of message is “hope”? I got hope that my kid will get into a good college, and I got hope that I’ll be able to help him pay for it. I hope my job won’t get packed off to India or China. I hope that I won’t be eating cat food or living on the streets when I’m too old to work. I hope my kids don’t get sick because we can’t afford the copays or the medicine. Hope, I got. What I don’t have is a government that’s going to help anyone except the rich, and I don’t see that changing if he’s president. — 40-ish male
I think it would be better for the whole party if Hillary dropped out. She’s a cold, calculating, bitch and the longer she stays in, the more likely McCain is to win. — 20-ish male
George Bush has fucked us over for almost 8 years. McCain is apparently running on a platform that consists of being ‘crazier than Bush.’ I can’t imagine why anyone is voting for him. Of course, no one knows what Obama’s platform is. — high school student
Anyone who says they aren’t voting for Obama is a racist. Period. — 30-ish male
I don’t like Hillary. I definitely don’t like Obama. I loathe John McCain. — 40-ish female
I’m trying to talk my mom into voting for Hillary. We finally get a woman with strength and smarts who’s a real candidate for President, and she wants to throw her vote away on some guy who’s already dropped out? I don’t get it. — my daughter, on the phone to a friend
One thing I find rather depressing is just how prejudiced some of the McCain supporters in Pennsylvania are. These seem like nice old guys and gals, right up until they open their mouths. One can only assume they mainline Fox News and complain about the rotten kids walking across their lawn and worry that the next terrorist attack will wipe out Bradford County.
The Hillary supporters tend to mention her plans and policy positions. Her healthcare plan gets a lot of mentions. Around here, about 20% of the people are uninsured, and most of them are working Americans.
A common complaint from undecided Democrats is that Obama supporters tend to talk about the need for hope and change, but never really say how he intends to change anything.
And, as always, the DC pundits and Beltway types are pissing us all off with their complete lack of understanding about the actual issues that are in play here.
Personally, we’d love to have some of these media people show up in our rural county. It’d be an education and a half for most of them. But then again, what am I thinking? We can’t ask these oh-so-special people to care what blue-collar workers and farmers think. That might make them think they were wrong, and we know Bush’s cheerleaders are never wrong….
La Lubu at Feministe details the hell she went through after her daughter was born at 25 weeks gestation, weighing just one pound, ten ounces. From the neonatalogist’s practiced speech and her daughter’s health crises to being pink-slipped by her employer and fighting to retain her insurance coverage while fighting for her daughter’s life.
[…] A couple of weeks later, the honeymoon period ended. Her bowel was perforated, she went into sepsis, acquired the aforementioned NEC and a particularly gruesome complication—Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation, or DIC for short. Known as “Death Is Coming” to experienced medical personnel. I did not know how bad DIC was at the time; when I tell her NICU story to medical people, and tell them she had it, their jaws tend to drop and their eyes bug out. Surviving DIC isn’t the norm. I held her little hand and quietly sang songs to her, mostly Etta James and Koko Taylor, but some vintage Elton John, Rolling Stones, even some Mary J. Blige. Just, whatever I could think of at the time. I told her what sunsets looked like, ‘cuz her pod was facing west, but the windows were too high for her to see. I told her, just in case she was wondering why the light changed during the day as it moved into night. I tried to describe the taste of salsiccia and stuffed shells to her, piping hot rigatoni with rich, spicy sugu and fresh grated parmesan on top. What the wind felt like on the face and in the hair. All the places we would go and see when she got healthy and got outta there. I wanted to give her something to fight for. And just like on that first day, her respiratory and heart rate, and her oxygen saturation rate would improve as I spoke. It was a battle, and at one point a nurse told me point blank that if I was thinking about getting her baptized, perhaps I’d like to call a priest. Continue reading
TRex had a great Late Night post at FDL last night, which I missed until tonight, and since it’s a tad late to be commenting there, I figured I’d post my thoughts here. (That is why I have a blog, right?)
I can’t imagine what it must be like to raise a daughter in this media climate. I just can’t.
I don’t think I need to run this down for you guys. You know the deal. The world of fashion and fashion publishing (and the movie industry, and TV, and music videos, and on and on) present an ideal of “beauty” that is an image of sickness, of starvation.
He also quotes author J.K. Rowling writing at her website last year.
From the Telegraph:
Waif-like models were condemned by JK Rowling yesterday as “empty-headed, self-obsessed, emaciated clones”.
The author of the Harry Potter novels said she did not want her daughters, Mackenzie, one, and Jessica, 12, to emulate women whose only function was to support the trade in “over-priced handbags and rat-sized dogs”.
“I’ve got two daughters who will have to make their way in this skinny-obsessed world, and it worries me, because I don’t want them to be empty-headed, self-obsessed, emaciated clones; I’d rather they were independent, interesting, idealistic, kind, opinionated, original, funny a thousand things, before ‘thin’.”
Amen and hallelujah.
I have a beautiful fifteen-year-old daughter. She’s everything I – and J.K. Rowling – could want in a daughter.
This is one of my favorite photos of her, from this past spring. I just love that expression. You can tell she doesn’t suffer fools lightly. (She was trying to take a nap while Mom kept snapping pictures and annoying her with the flash.)
Gorgeous, talented, intelligent, kind, thoughtful… she’s all of that and more.
But, she thinks she’s fat.
Why? Because she’s 5’7″ (and still growing!) and 130 pounds. She is no Mary-Kate-and-Ashley-sized pixie, folks. She’s strong and active and, yes, she can take on both of her older brothers, including the football player. I call her my Amazon princess. But, fat? Hardly.
Unfortunately, despite what I say, despite what her dad says, despite what her grandparents and brothers and aunts and uncles and cousins say, despite what her doctor says, despite what the boys who want to date her (ugh!) say, she believes she’s fat because she’s not an anorexic twig.
Gee, thanks, ultra-thin-obsessed media. Bad enough that our “news” media spends more time talking about Paris and Nicole and Britney and Lindsey – rather than actual … y’know … news.
But this kind of nonsense doesn’t help:
This is the cover of the newest issue of a women’s magazine (name and other items blacked to prevent the possibility of lawsuits) .
What’s the first thing you notice? That big-ass cake, right? And what’s right above it? Yeah, that headline.
Anyone else ever notice this? Magazines marketed to moms or the over-30 woman do this every month. Big dessert taking up half the front cover, while “LOSE WEIGHT” headlines dominate.
Can you say, ‘mixed message’? I thought you could.
Then of course, there’s the checkout-line tabloids, with covers pointing out every little flaw in various swimsuit-clad celebrities. (This, after other magazines have air-brushed and Photo-shopped them within an inch of their lives to eliminate those very same flaws.)
I think the best things we can do for our children, but especially our daughters are:
1) Eliminate or severely restrict television viewing. I can tell you, the Disney show Lizzie McGuire did nothing but teach my daughter to be an air-head more concerned with popularity than getting good grades and being a kind person. Getting rid of the TV was the single most-effective way of eliminating that “role model.’
If you do allow TV, talk to your kids about what they’re seeing. Counteract the negative messages that anorexic models are sending out while pimping make-up and clothing.
2) Stop buying women’s magazines! You think your daughter doesn’t get the messages that you’re also being sent? “Eat cake, but…” “Only thin girls get the boy.” “Be sexy at an early age – preferably before you even hit puberty!”
3) Teach your children to be loving and kind and empathetic – and praise them for showing those traits! “What a kind boy you are for sharing your crayons with _____!” “What a great grade! I’m so proud of what a smart girl you are!” “What a good helper you are!”
4) Teach your daughters that being a “good girl” has nothing to do with being submissive, or silent, or accepting of bad things or bad behaviors. That it doesn’t mean acting like a brainless twit or never sweating (popular when I was young – a caution against being ‘too physical’) or being emaciated.
5) Teach your daughters to be proud of their accomplishments in academic and physical activities.
6) Teach them to stand up for themselves – even when it causes you headaches. (Yes, nothing is worse as a parent than when your daughter stands up for herself against you, but dear goddess, it’s a blessing when they stand up against injustice and against the abuse of themselves and others.)
7) Teach your daughters that it’s what’s inside that is beautiful. And that beautiful insides create beautiful outsides.
Shorter me: Teach your daughters to be more like Hannah Lundquist and her classmates.