Category Archives: Politics

“My Life Would be Worthless Without Music”

When the boy presented his cello and explained that it was made from an oil drum, I was intrigued.  When he started to play the Bach Cello Suite on it, I gasped and tears flooded my eyes.

This is what it’s all about, people.

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Breaking News: It’s a Bad Time to be Rich

Watch out guys!  This is a Rant with a capital R.  I’m angry and I’m using curse words.  So, If you prefer for me to talk about opera and singing and nice things, then maybe you should skip this post, mmmkay?

So the only thing anyone in the media is talking about lately is the “Fiscal Cliff,” and how to avoid it. On NPR, they were talking this morning about one of the president’s strategies, which is to increase tax rates on the wealthiest 2%, specifically they discussed raising the capital gains tax, and the dividend tax.

Then, this commentator  Bill Smith of CBIZ MHM, comes on and says something unbelievably obnoxious.

“It’s a bad time to be rich.”

Is it?  I’m sorry, I didn’t realize.  How bad is it?  Like, are you worried about how you’re going to afford Christmas presents for your children if this tax hike goes through?  Maybe you’ll have to take on a second job to make ends meet?  Maybe you’ll be forced to sell one of your cars, and you and your spouse will have to share a single vehicle?

Yeah, I didn’t think so.  You and your accounting firm’s clients will pay a little more on your capital gains, and your standard of living won’t change at all.  Why don’t you go cry about it in your fucking mansion over some caviar and Dom Perignon?

Honestly, has there ever been a time in the entire history of civilization that you could call “a bad time to be rich”?  Actually, I can think of one:  The fucking French Revolution.  And do you know why the French Revolution was a bad time to be rich?  Because all the poor people, who were basically starving to death while the noblemen partied at Versailles, got so pissed off about being poor that they decided that the only solution was to guillotine some motherfuckers.  That was a bad time to be rich.

Fortunately, nowadays most of us understand that the guillotine is not an appropriate solution to most problems, so instead we go camp out in urban parks.

No, it is not a “bad time to be rich,” you entitled prick!  It’s a bad time to be struggling to afford your heating oil, because it’s fucking cold out.  It’s a bad time to have to choose between purchasing one or the other of your medically necessary but exorbitantly priced prescription medications.  It’s a bad time to find out you’re pregnant and faced with the medical costs of pregnancy and childbirth, not to mention 18 years of feeding, clothing, entertaining, and educating a child; but there’s nothing you can do about it because you live in Mississippi.

Instead of wasting your breath on the radio complaining about what a bad time it is to be rich, why don’t you go volunteer at the local food bank and get some fucking perspective, you slimy, Republican asshat.

Obama Owes his Election to the Sesame Street Generation

Two days later, I’m still giddy with excitement about the results of Tuesday’s election.  To me it meant that Barack Obama’s victory in 2008 wasn’t just an anomaly.  More revealing than the victories for the Democratic party were the demographic results coming out of exit polls: 88% of Romney voters were white, while minorities made up 44% of the Obama vote.

Liberals have been saying for a while that the GOP has become the party of white men.  A few months ago my mom volunteered at an Obama rally here in Virginia.  I had asked her if the crowd was diverse, knowing that a strong voter turnout among minorities on election day would be crucial.

“Yes!  There were all kinds of people there,” she said, “Black, white, Latino, all kinds!”  But then she went on to add something else.  There was a counter-rally at a private residence across the street from the school where Obama was holding his event.  Its Republican attendees were out on the lawn, holding signs, and they were all white.  

On Tuesday, Bill O’Reilly was lamenting Romney’s coming loss on Fox News, and complaining that, “The white establishment is now the minority. And the voters, many of them, feel that this economic system is stacked against them and . . .”

Now, I want to point out that over 50% of Obama’s voters were white, and he won a majority of the under 30 vote; which brings me to a little hypothesis I’ve been cooking up.   I call it “The Sesame Street Vote.”  It’s basically this:  young Americans are more comfortable with racial and cultural diversity than our parents and grandparents, because we watched Sesame Street when we were babies.

Sesame street premiered in 1969, and within ten years it was an institution. By that time, according to Wikipedia, 9 million children under the age of six watched Sesame Street daily.  And what did we see?  Well, we saw a lot of lessons on counting and ABC’s, taught by a cast that looked like this:

This is one of the most diverse casts in television history.  Some of them spoke Spanish, or used sign language, but they were a community who worked together and cared for each other.

Sesame Street also gave us messages like this:

A song where children from many different backgrounds sing, “We all sing with the same voice, and we sing in harmony,” is just one of dozens of Sesame Street pieces meant to teach us about diversity or just the normalness of other cultures or lifestyles.  (As an aside, my mom used to sing a song to me with this same tune that went “My name is Molly P.  I sit on Grandma’s knee!”)

I think an argument can be made that my generation was the first to be widely taught from the start that all humans, from all cultures, with any skin color, are fundamentally the same, and should be treated equally. That didn’t simply make us willing to elect a Black president where the racists wouldn’t, it made us eager to elect a president who would represent all Americans.  We were taught in school that America is the great melting pot, a place where people have always come to make a better life for themselves.  We were taught that racism is wrong, that the injustices of segregation and Jim Crow were triumphantly defeated by Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights movement.

But when we grew up, and saw how much injustice still exists, we felt cheated.  We found out that racism had not, in fact, been eradicated.  We realized that many people still thought women couldn’t do certain things as well as men.  And we discovered new injustices (well, the injustice wasn’t new, just our awareness of it was), like the fact that a person who falls in love with someone of the same sex can’t marry that person. So we got angry.

We were not going to put up with those old white guys who were nostalgic for the Leave it to Beaver days.  So we voted for the party that gave us the Dream Act, and the Lily Ledbetter Act, and the Affordable Care Act.  We voted for America’s first African American president, way overdue.  On Tuesday, we voted for him again while the peanut gallery on Fox News watched, terrified of the “voter intimidation” tactics of the opposition.

You’re right, O’Reilly, this isn’t “Traditional America” anymore.  And good riddance!

A Bleeding-Heart Liberal’s Election Day Playlist

On Tuesday, millions of progressives across the 50 United States and the District of Columbia will head to the polls to cast their votes for the most liberal candidate Barack Obama.  We are voting this way because we know that the economic policies of Mitt Romney and the Republican Party won’t do anything for anyone except wealthy few who look down on the rest of us from their Hamptons mansions.  We also know that the party’s social stances are bad for women, bad for minorities, bad for the LGBT community, and basically, bad for anyone except white Christian men.

If all that isn’t enough to get you sufficiently fired up to cast your ballot (assuming you havn’t already) and proudly don your “I Voted!” sticker, then load this playlist into your mp3 player of choice and let Neil Young and Ani DiFranco move you to stand up for the 47%. Continue reading

A Study in Ultra Small-Scale Voter Demographics

This is my home town, Lincoln, Virginia:

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Well, “town” is a bit of an overstatement.  The great fount of knowledge that is Wikipedia describes it this way:

Lincoln is an historic unincorporated village in the Loudoun Valley of Loudoun County, Virginia, located approximately 1.5 miles (2.4 km) south of Purcellville. It was established as the community of Goose Creek during the 1750s by Quaker settlers and renamed Lincoln after the president shortly after his election.

It was a great place to grow up.  Rolling farmland, roamed by grazing horses, cattle, and, on one farm, sheep, surrounds the denser village which is home to the historic Quaker meeting house, Lincoln Elementary School, and the Abernathy & Spencer garden nursery.

I was there last weekend visiting with my mom, and she and I took a walk on a route we’ve always walked and simply call “The Loop.”  We walk down Foundry Road until it intersects with Taylor Road, and follow it back to Sands Road.  On this particular walk on this particular day, I noticed something.

You see, it’s an election year, and as people do in election year, the residents of Lincoln have proudly declared their allegiance to one party or the other.  No, not with coffee cups, but with lawn signs.

Now, it’s a pretty well-established fact that, as a general rule, populations of rural areas tend to tilt conservative, supporting the Republican party, while urban populations favor the more liberal Democrats.  Lincoln, Virginia is most decidedly rural, but on our walk last weekend I noticed a pattern in the political lawn signs displayed by the residents of Lincoln village, and its surrounding environs.

You see, when we were on the farthest outskirts, I saw a lot of these:

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But when we got to the central village, it looked more like this:

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With surprising consistency, the houses inside the dense, yet tiny, Lincoln Village had Obama signs, while the houses on larger parcels of land in the surrounding area displayed signs for Marie Antoinette Mitt Romney.

Lincoln, Virginia: a tiny little microcosm of voter demographics.

Choose a Side!

In case you hadn’t noticed, it’s an election year.  So, in recognition of the great tradition of American Democracy, the good people at 7-11 are doing their civic duty by reminding their shoppers to “VOTE!”

. . . by choosing Red for Romney or Blue for Obama coffee cups.

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But alas, having grown rather disenchanted with our two-party system, I had to go with the Green Party.

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