Wednesday, October 31, 2012

What if I Were a Republican?

I don’t have any Republican friends (well, not any that will cop to that), but I do have Republican acquaintances.  And that’s fine.  Nobody’s perfect.  We are all entitled to one mega mistake per lifetime. 

Usually when I find out that acquaintances are Republicans, without fail, I always take a pregnant pause.  My first impression usually is, “He seems so normal.”  “She is so rational.”  “How is that possible?”  Then for I a split second or more like several minutes, I picture them listening to and believing the rhetoric of people like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.  I picture them being unfair, illogical, hateful, racist, bigoted.

But because these people appear amicable, I wonder if peoples’ personalities or traits cause them to be Republican or being Republican causes them to have certain characteristics or attributes.  I mean during small talk, these people and I relate to so many things like family, careers and vacations; they seem so sane.  So it really troubles me to perceive them as having weird political beliefs.  I kid.  I kid.

But seriously, if I were a Republican, would I have a different mindset?  Would I see the world totally differently?  I always think of it as a ‘which comes first, the chicken or the egg’ scenario.  If I were a Republican, would I believe that every child should be entitled to a great public school or believing that every child is entitled to a great public school makes me a Liberal?

If I were a Republican, would I believe that every frigging nut job is entitled to own a boatload of automatic weapons or knowing that the right to bear arms is highly overrated makes me a Liberal?

If I were a Republican, would I believe that the “job creators” are the only ones who can crank up the economy or because I believe that building and maintaining infrastructure will create stateside jobs makes me a Liberal?
If I were a Republican, would I believe that health insurance companies should not prosper from consumers’ ill health and death or would I believe that health insurance companies like any other company is in business solely to profit?  Would it make a difference if a baby needs a life saving innovative procedure but the parents have reached the lifetime limit?

Would I refrain from assisting the poor and elderly with such vehemence but have no trouble giving billions of dollars in tax credits to multi-billion dollar corporations?

Look I’m as liberal as they come. Okay, maybe more.  I believe that as much as I would not have an abortion, I would not inject my personal beliefs and morals on someone who chooses to have one.  Although the idea of using abortion as birth control seems ridiculous to me, I cannot in good conscience tell someone else that under the law, they cannot do that.  Who am I to say that if a woman or girl is raped, whether forcibly or not, that she will be in the right mind to have that child, to raise that child, to have that child be a reminder of what she endured?  Likewise that girl whose baby was conceived in an incestuous rape or that woman whose life is at risk due to a pregnancy and wants to bring that baby to term and vows to love that baby, again, who am I to condemn her?  I refuse to pretend to know someone else’s psyche.

As heterosexual as I am, I have no problem with same sex marriage.  Who am I to tell someone else that the person he is in love with is wrong in my eyes?  That her life is a sin?  Plus, why should heterosexuals alone suffer?  Marriage should be an equal rights suffering opportunity.

After 9/11, I vehemently disagreed with the government for profiling Muslims and others from the Middle East, especially since not everyone from Asia or the Middle East is a Muslim.  Wire tapping ordinary citizens and strip searching airline passengers all in the name of the nation’s security should feel like an infringement to Republicans.  Yet, after 9/11, all of that was quite fine.

To demonstrate how outlandish Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is, check this out.  After the Shoe Bomber’s inept attempt to bring a plane down two months after 9/11, no one was permitted to board a plane without removing his shoes.  After several failed liquid explosives attempt, passengers were again banned from travelling with liquids on their person.  So even if you were seen drinking a can of Coke, you would have to finish it or dispose of it before going on the plane.  And you mothers don’t even think you can bring your babies’ bottles on board.  You better fill their small bellies before you get on that plane.  Force it down their throats if you have to or discard it.  Those are your choices.  I always wondered why no one at the executive level ever recommended that the agents used a little bit of common sense and enforced the rules on a case by case basis.

But another thing I always wondered about is this:  After the Underwear Bomber failed to detonate his bomb, why weren’t we banned from wearing or removing our underwear before boarding flights?

My Republican acquaintances might not have seen me in a different light, had I reveal that I’m a Liberal, but they probably would be taken aback knowing that I actually possess some not so liberal ideas.  Like I truly believe that although it is the government’s job to ensure that its citizens are taken care of in terms of education and wellbeing, everyone should take personal responsibility for himself.  If you are of a certain age, seek employment.  If you keep having babies for different fathers who are unwilling to support you, stop.  If you have children in school, read to them and don’t depend on teachers to do it all.

However, as liberal as I lean in terms of my political and social views, I have always been an independent minded individual, and I tolerate everyone's point of view, even Republicans, no matter how wrong they are - perspectively speaking.

Monday, October 29, 2012

I Vote

I vote because I love the democratic process.
I vote because it is empowering.
I vote because it gives me a sense of belonging.
I vote because I love to win. 
I just love it!

Ever since I can remember, I always found politics engaging.  I must have been about four years old when I first got the political bug.  Back then my parents were supporters of the party in power, Progressive Labour Movement (PLM) – the blue party.  Another reason why to this day I love blue and HATE red.  I know.  I know.  Don’t judge me!  I attended political meetings with my parents at a very early age.  Every year we marched on Labour Day in solidarity with our party.  We were just blue to the bones.

When I was finally eligible to vote (the one and only time I ever voted in Antigua), I was one of the first persons in line.  To this day, voting is something I accomplish first thing in the morning.  Nothing comes between me and my ballot.

The idea of proving to my opponents that my side is more right than their side is wrong is invigorating.  Obviously, winning doesn’t necessarily prove that, but it sure gives that ‘stick it to you’ feeling.  And the only reason why I know that winning doesn’t necessarily prove it, is because every time my side loses, I find numerous reasons as to why my side is still right. 

Not only do I love to vote, but I’m truly obsessed with politics.  I love learning about the history behind the politicians, the history behind their policies and the mindset behind their actions.  My TV is never set too far from MSNBC.  I am enthralled by the daily political shenanigans.  I am enthused and appalled by the nonsense some of the extremists exhibit.

Watching TV, arguing with the TV, talking with my kids, debating with my friends - all of this is not enough.  I want to be more involved.  I have convinced a cynical neighbor to register and vote.  I have encouraged and reminded others to vote.  I use political analogies in everything!

So when Obama for America called me a couple of months ago to volunteer, boy was I eager.  Unfortunately the timing was wrong.  Working on a campaign in the evening and leaving my children unattended would be a bit much.  I received another call just a few days ago, but of course my kids are still in the midst of soccer season, and there is no way I’m missing their games.  We settled for me to campaign the day before Election Day.  My job will be to get Democrats out to vote. 

For some reason I noticed I didn’t seem as enthusiastic as I should have.  After all I am given the opportunity to help the President of the United States get elected to a second term.  And not just any president – my favorite president.  One of my biggest inspirations, and God knows I just don’t give any and anyone that title.

Why wasn’t I feeling like I just won the lottery?

Then it hit me.  I used to be in sales.  I used to door knock.  I used to get doors closed in my face, if I was lucky enough to get someone to come to the door.  I used to trek in cold weather to find clients.  And all of that was for my livelihood.

For all the reasons why I love to vote, I cannot comprehend why others do NOT exercise their civic duties.  (Do I have to add that I also LOVE jury duty?)

And I said to myself, as much as I love the Obamas, as much as I love the process, as much as I get nervous on election night, as much as I’m stressed that Mitt Romney might be the 45th President, there is no way I’m about to convince anyone who registered as a Democrat, that taking a few minutes out of their busy schedule to cast a vote is of the utmost importance.

There is too much at stake.  These are the same people who will benefit if Roe v. Wade is not overturned.  These are the same people who will benefit if Obamacare (as we now affectionately call it) is not repealed.  These are the same people who will benefit if the very wealthy get to pay a little bit more in taxes than they do now.  These are the same people who will benefit if this country gets rebuilt, if more good teachers are hired, if the war in Afghanistan ends, if no new war starts in the Middle East, if climate change is not seen as a joke.

And these same people who will spend hours a week watching Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Basketball Wives, Real Housewives of (fill in your favorite city), who will find the time to vote for their favorites on Dancing with the Stars, American Idol and the likes, cannot vote in a national election, something that will benefit them directly.

I’m sorry.  And yeah call me selfish, but perspectively speaking, if I have to force you to take the medicine to save your own life, then maybe you don’t deserve that medicine. 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Congrats To Me!

Today marks my 12 year anniversary in the coveted club of motherhood.  Yep, it’s the twins’ birthday.  I can just hear some of you, “Twelve years is not a big deal.  I have grandkids older than twelve, and I’m younger than she is.”  I kid. I kid.  But seriously folks, a big shout out to all the young grandmothers.

The reason why it’s a big deal for me is because there were times when I wasn’t sure I would make it this far with my sanity intact.  I don’t have to reiterate how difficult parenting is…..I have done that in previous blogs. 

For years my sisters would suggest that I just relax and stop fretting over the kids, but my answer was always the same.  “It’s a whole lot easier dealing with one easy child than three rambunctious children.”  But today it hit me!  If I have been on this job for twelve years and am still on the same level, then maybe it’s not the work that is difficult, maybe it’s me that needs to tackle the work from another angle. 

So although there will still be days where I won’t feel like working, days where I might call in sick or even days where I might strike, I will relish even more the days where I look forward to the job, the days where I can say I had a great day at work, the days where I cannot wait to get to work.

Plus, twelve years ago they weighed 8lbs and 2 oz combined.  Today, they are almost 200 pounds together.  I’m 5 feet, 3 ½ inches tall; okay the ½ I borrowed a few years ago, and I’ll be damned if I ever give it back.  But in a few years I won’t be able to talk to these kids any way I want without getting a smack down.  I kid again.  They can’t be that crazy, right?  But seriously, who wants to be 16 and have their crazy mother scolding them like they are still six years old?

So as I pivot to preparing to have teenagers around, I will try to focus more on our mutual interests and stimulating conversations and not on what they haven’t done or were supposed to do. 

As a political buff, it’s a joy having people in the house who are willing to oblige me, since somebody who shall remain nameless has no interest and just wants to know where and when to show up on November 6. 

And with whom else can I delight in a conversation like this?

Me:  Look whatever Bill Clinton did in the White House was between him and Hillary.  I’m not his wife.
12 yr old son:  Yeah that’s what my teacher said about Tiger Woods.  He likes him as an athlete, but he’s not getting into his personal business.
Daughter:  He had four girlfriends, right?
Me:  More, he had about 15.
10 year old son:  Woo, that’s a lot!
12 yr old son:  At least that is not illegal.
10 year old son:  What’s illegal?  16?


Although he is not always up to speed with the twins because he is two years younger, other times he is way beyond his years.  Like the other day this transpired.

Him:  Tyler is not playing basketball this year.
Me:   Is his father still going to coach you guys?
Him:  I’m not sure.  I just hear that he doesn’t want to play this year.
Me:  Gee, I wonder if his father will still coach the rest of you.
Him:  All I know is word on the street says that he’s not playing this year.

The other day he and I were watching TV, MSNBC of course, and we had previously heard Mitt Romney bitching about President Obama wanting to redistribute money from Romney’s rich friends to Obama’s lazy, welfare cousins. (Recognize that I’m paraphrasing.)  So when Romney stated another day that he is for school vouchers, and he will take money from the federal government and give it directly to parents so they can send their children to the schools they want, my baby, my 10 year old son said, “Isn’t that redistribution too?”

Yeah like any relationship, we will have days where we get on each other’s nerves.  We will annoy each other.  And everyday won’t be Christmas, but I know that once we keep the lines of communication open, once I continue to put myself in their shoes, once I try my best to respect  them like I expect them to respect me, then I believe they will have a better transition to young adulthood and then full independence.

Not to mention that they are also developing on an intellectual level that I have to take into consideration.  A few weeks ago I purchased some sports clothing for the kids.  My youngest came and asked if he could wear a shirt.  Normally, I would say to wait. Instead I replied, "Go ahead.  Life is short."  Later, he wanted to use the brand new basketball socks although it was soccer season.  Again I said, "You know what, why not.  Life is short."  He quipped, "I'm not dying, am I?"

So yes I will have a glass of wine to celebrate my milestone because perspectively speaking, do you know what is better, and by better I mean infinity times better than bitching and yelling and stressing myself out constantly; it is having my 10 year old son asking me to peel a tangerine for him because and I quote, “The last time I peeled one, it was an epic failure.”