Archive for the 'Ain't That America' Category


Keep it Complicated, Keep it Real

The most interesting thing about this election cycle — apart from historical significance of the Democratic party putting its hopes and dreams into a race between an African-American man and a former First Lady — is that for the first time in my lifetime the Primaries matter.

Whether you want Obama or Clinton, it’s good to have the debate. I’m sick of people who are saying one or the other should just give up. I think my Clinton-supporting friend’s exact words the other night were “The Democrats need to wake the fuck up.”

But this is naïve and oversimple and short-sighted.

I may have voted for Clinton, but I’m glad Obama is in this. It’s good to have a real race. This is how it’s supposed to work. It’s those years where it’s all sewn up months before the conventions that are the anomalies. Nothing can be taken for granted.


“Let me see, kid… Republican, Democrat or gay?”

Just before my husband voted yesterday, one of the ancient poll workers was chatting him up.

“McMillan!” he said, looking at his last name. “Ah… like McMillan and Wife.”

“I can’t believe he turned out to be a homosexual,” said a woman.

Another woman spoke up. “It seems like everyone is. There’s 10 million of ’em.”

“It’s terrible,” said another. And everyone at the table murmured and shook their heads.

Truly, you never know where one will end up. Maybe even right in front of you. Trying to vote. Doing his civic duty. Well, way to go, old folks! You’ve just committed voter intimidation.

But what’s Jeff going to do — yell at an old man? His calling the election board to report the situation was probably more effective. And by that, unfortunately, I mean “probably not effective at all.”

Is the board really going to screen for anti-gay bias? They should. Would it be acceptable for one of them to spout off their views on a racial or ethnic minority? About women’s rights? Never. Especially on a Primary day, when every citizen can cast an equal vote.


God Shed His Grace on Thee

I love the way Miss Teen South Carolina cleverly satirizes the dire state of American education by acting like an airhead on TV. She demonstrates her answer to the question in the very way she is answering it. Brilliant.

Please watch:

I saw comments on YouTube that defended her, saying she must be under a lot of pressure, and that it is a contest of beauty and not brains. Sorry, kids, but it doesn’t take a whole lot of brains to answer a simple question in Standard English — unless you are part of the problem the question is referring to. I think she should have stopped at “some people don’t have maps.” At least that made sense and was true.


Your SUV sux.

On principle I hate SUVs.

Every time I see a Hummer in New York, even in Queens, I want to find the owner and hit him or her over the head with an iron skillet. With parking at such a premium, what business does anyone have parking a vehicle the size of a Manhattan apartment on a side street? Parking tickets should go up in value the more space the car takes up.

Today I saw a commercial for a Subaru monstrosity called the Tribeca. Tribeca, as in Lower Manhattan. As in short, tight, narrow streets. I hope I’m not the only one who sees the irony in owning a vehicle named after a neighborhood in Manhattan where you’d scarcely be able to park it!

For $30,000, you get a 256 horsepower, six-cylinder engine, symmetrical all-wheel drive, and 247 pounds per foot of torque at 4,400 RPM. I’m sure all of this comes in really handy when you’re stuck in bumper-to-bumper city traffic — on totally flat land.

The one in the commercial featured a DVD player, perfect for encouraging your children to shorten their attention spans, keep them from reading books, and help them realize that you’d really not rather talk to them on those tedious drives to school or grandma’s — just keep your eyes on the Disney and leave Mommy alone, kiddies! Media over-stimulation while driving is always a good idea. Be sure you bring your cell phones, too.

If you live in the mountains, get a car for the mountains. If you live in the city, get a car for the city. And if you want to have room for your kids, get a bigger car, of course. But for the love of Mike, don’t put a living room on the road.


Red, White and Blur

It’s a good day for Democrats.

Still, I can’t help but wonder if it’s more due to the success of Democratic campaigns or the failures of the Republicans. I’m not sure that it matters, frankly. The next two years are going to be tough with a blue Congress and a red Administration.

I certainly hope the Democrats win the senate by gaining seats in Virginia and Montana. However, no matter what happens, I’d rather see them stay red than be mired in recounts. Despite whatever sweeping changes we think we may be seeing in this mid-term election year, VA and MT are like splashes of cold water reminding us that this country is still rather sharply and evenly divided.

Mid-term elections are more fascinating to me than presidential election years.


Citizen Sane

I always leave the voting booth with a deep sense of satisfaction. I nearly whistled as I walked home. Voting is the most basic of our panoply of rights, and I’m always proud of, and grateful for, my excursions to my polling place. Even for a primary. It’s so easy to do, yet turnout — especially on primary days — is notoriously low among our complacent populace. People are dumb. What can I say?

Today felt especially good in contrast with yesterday’s day-long mourning. (September 11, 2001, was a voting day, remember?)

America has alternated between sticking its head in the sand and up its ass since then. Sand. Ass. Sand. Ass.

Let’s hope the votes count.

the untallied hours