Thursday, August 13, 2009

You So Sensitive!

Yesterday afternoon I was on my way back to my temporary-temporary Paris apartment from my temporary apartment (too hard to explain) and there on the sidewalk was a woman with a 4-5' tall by about 3' wide hand-made sign with "Obamanator" written on the top, above an image of Obama with the right half of his face replaced with steel robotics and his right eye painted red like a laser. Under the image, in French, the sign read, "He is terrorizing the elderly and the children." There was more shit on the sign, but after hesitating, I just kept going. The sign woman was deep in conversation with two guys, and I figured I'd let it go. As Dorothy (sans braids and ruby slippers), I was so glad to be out of fucking Kansas, but I soon realized that Kansas followed me over to Paris somehow or another.


I've mostly been reeling in silent horror about the bullshit I saw and heard while in America. I know people felt constrained around me, because they couldn't say all the nasty things that they think and feel about Obama and the current administration. But at the same time, some of them kind of enjoyed taunting me with their opinions, just to see if I'd react. It reminded me of the manicurist I used to go to across the street from my condo in Arizona. She'd cut my hands while filing my nails, and blood would be balling up in my cuticles. But if I said, "Ow!" or pulled my hand back from the pain, she'd look at me with feigned surprise and say, "Oh lookee you! You so sensitive!"

Well...when somebody calls Obama a nigger, or says "I hate gay people. They should all be killed." I can definitely, definitely, definitely agree with my former manicurist: Lookee me! I so sensitive!

One morning at breakfast at an American golf course, after somebody said they loved Rush Limbaugh and somebody else said, "You love Rush? That's great! I think Rush Limbaugh is a True Patriot!", some sane person at the table said, "We shouldn't talk politics at breakfast." I said, "Yes, that would be really, really nice if we didn't talk politics." Someone who I love very much, leaned in to me and quietly said very, very sweetly because I know he loves me too, "If you want to talk politics, you have to hear the other side." And he's so right. But my response was, "I'll talk policy all night long, but I won't talk personal attacks."

I don't consider any conversation about Rush Limbaugh worth having. He's a radio personality who (like his TV cohort Glenn Beck) makes money in direct proportion to how much shit he can stir up. The more nutty and over-the-top his rhetoric, the more attention he gets from the press, and the more false power (through superiority and aggression) his fans proudly claim by association. If somebody wants to repeat something specific and real that Rush said about policy, then it would be a great conversation to discuss that policy aspect, or the pros and cons of that policy. But if somebody wants to talk about Limbaugh's patriotism (or mine, for that matter), which is a completely vague concept to begin with, and something that is supercharged with irrational, nationalistic, propped-up bullshit emotion, I won't do it. Fuck patriotism and nationalism and everything that comes with it. Let's talk about what works, and doesn't work or what might work better, in existing and proposed policy.

There are many things that me and conservatives agree with politically right now. Neither of us likes the fact that Geithner gave all that money to his banking and insurance buddies so that they could reap huge profits while individual Americans and small businesses are suffering with no solution in sight. If the government had given relief to the toxic mortgage holders themselves - temporarily lowering payments or allowing an interest moratorium, etc. - then maybe the whole mortgage and real estate industry wouldn't have collapsed. People could have stayed in their homes and after the economy recovered, they could take back the slack and repay the moratoriums.

I also had a conversation with a conservative who agreed with me that the problem with health care in America is the insurance companies acting as middle men and the pharmaceutical companies robbing us blind. We both agreed that the chances of getting rid of the REAL health care problem - the corporate insurance middle men - would never happen while millions of dollars in insurance industry lobby money is flowing into Capital Hill pockets on both sides of the aisle.

My Republican politician friend made the mistake of saying in the car when we were driving from Vegas to San Diego, "Obama said he'd stop the war, but all he's done is expand it." I had seen and heard this Republican talking point before she said it, so I knew she was just thoughtlessly mouthing off the party line. I lost my voice yelling at her. I'm one of those people that want us OUT of Iraq and Afghanistan NOW. But I knew Obama wouldn't do that. I knew that before he was elected. I also know that the supposed withdrawal from Iraq that supposedly happened is bullshit. I also know Obama is going to add more troops in Afghanistan. So, her talking point is right. What fucking pissed me off until my head started spinning and green slime started spewing out of my mouth, was my Republican friend's nonchalant, wide-eyed-innocent complaint about Obama expanding the war. That took balls. After she and her Republican cohorts voted to START that motherfucking war to begin with, based on a LIE, to illegally invade a country that had NOTHING to do with 9/11. And then continue the war. And then torture people. And then disappear people. And then use illegal rendition and kidnap people. And then deny human beings habeas corpus and keep people in prison without a trial. And then set up kangaroo courts with no intention of letting anybody end up being innocent. Now, after tossing this huge Republican-created pile o' shit into the lap of the incoming president and administration, she plays innocent. What? Why are you so upset?

You hands bleed? Aw. You house blown up? Aw. You whole family die in war? Aw. You teenage brother in prison in Guantanamo? Aw. You country destroyed? Aw. Wall Street take you money? Aw. You lose you house, you job? Aw. Lookee here! You crying? Awww. You so sensitive!

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