Fair warning: no synchro here. It’s just politics. I’ve used our daughter’s dolphin painting as the image because it symbolizes how we are often imprisoned by our perceptions.
And first, happy birthday, Megan, 23!!
Okay, in terms of politics, the idea is that you watch what the opposition is saying to see how they think. So this evening Rob and I watched some of the Republican convention – in particular Romney’s acceptance speech. I had to breathe through this, that’s how revolting the whole thing was, riddled with lies, lies, and more lies. I thought eight years of Bush was bad; a single day under Romney/Ryan would be intolerable, grounds for fleeing the country. And here’s why:
Today, while at the hair salon where I have been going for more than 20 years, the woman who cuts my hair leans forward and says, “Wow, did you see the anti-Obama film?”
Uh-uh, I thought. This isn’t good. I have a theory, see, that politics of all sorts begins in hair salons. I believe it’s where the buzz about 50 Shades of Grey began. I think it’s where some types of grass roots movements start.
“Uh, no, I haven’t seen it. What’s it about?”
“Obama is a socialist who is going to destroy America by 2016.”
She went on from there and before she’d finished, I held up my hands. “Lynn, if Obama is a socialist, then I’m Russian. Can you actually tell me it’s a good thing that the most vulnerable people in our society – the poor, sick, elderly – are marginalized?”
She thought about that for a moment. “Well, no. Of course not.”
“Can you tell me we need more wars?”
“No, definitely not.”
“And do you think the uber rich need a tax break that puts the onus on the shrinking middle class?”
“The middle class is screwed.”
“And you think it’s a great idea that women’s rights would be hurled back to the dark ages?”
“Well, no, of course not.”
“So tell me why you’re going to vote for Romney/Ryan?”
And that’s the thing here. You look around the convention and wow, there’s Clint Eastwood, an 82-year-old celebrity who spoke before Rubio introduced Romney. You know, the make my day guy, the star of countless classic movies, and sorry, he sounded like a demented idiot. He interviewed an empty chair in which an invisible Obama sat, telling him to go fuck himself.
Then Rubio followed Eastwood. Rubio is a powerful speaker, with a powerful biography. But he’s also a liar who was on the short list for the VP selection and was dismissed supposedly because he lied about his biography. His parents didn’t flee from Castro, as he often said. They left Cuba before Castro’s rise to power. And there’s some scuttlebutt about how he used campaign funds. In other words, Rubio was a dubious VP candidate, but is a rising star among Repubs.
Romney had this strange little smile after many of his statements, a condescending smile, the same sort of smile Anne Romney had when she said, “The people have seen all they are going to see of our tax returns.” A smile for us peons: You guys just don’t get it. Your rules don’t apply to us.
‘Romney sounded like a war monger – Syria, Iran, Russia, yes, he went after Putin – – we’re going to take on all of them, and never mind about how we’ll pay for it. We won’t raise taxes on the uber wealthy. We’ll just cut the safety net programs, you know, Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid, National Public Radio, Planned Parenthood, and oh yes, we’ll overturn Obama Care, which was fashioned on Romney Care when he was governor of Massachusetts. But Romney didn’t talk about that.
Romney tried to sell us on his business background through his involvement with Bane Capitol, a venture capitalist company that swept into companies, fired middle managers, accrued debt, and then paid off the top guys – like Romney – to the tunes of millions as the company went belly up. That’s business in America, right? Romney also took federal bail out money to save Bain from bankruptcy, according to a new article in Rolling Stone. In other words, he built that company, yes, on the backs of the taxpayers.
Romney promised 12 million new jobs- but avoided specifics.
He promised that the middle class would be bolstered – but avoided specifics.
Romney promised we would remain strong with security – but avoided specifics, other than new wars.
Then there was the most arrogant statement of Romney’s speech – something to the effect that only Americans can solve problems. Really? Was that a little birther dig?
Here’s the thing with Republicans: they talk like Democrats – we’re going to save Medicare and Social Security, we’re going to bolster the middle class, we’re for smaller government, we love women, we put them in important positions, and blah, blah. But their official platform is the exact opposite.
As I looked out over the convention floor, I saw almost no people of color, hardly any ethnic diversity. As Rob remarked at one point, “Anyone who isn’t white, is a speaker.” Like Condi Rice, former Bush secretary of state, who came of as the most sane, moderate in the crowd. Except for Jane Edmonds, former secretary of workforce development in Massachusetts, who described herself as a progressive Democrat. So why the hell is she speaking at this convention? Why is she supporting Romney?
What I feel right now is disgust. The other night, Rob suggested I should sign up for Obama’s camp and go door to door. My response? “You do it.” I tried that in 2008 and after a couple of doors were slammed in my face, I realized my strength didn’t lie in canvassing. My strength is language.
Here’s my scenario under Romney/Ryan. It’s close to The Hunger Games, without kids killing kids. You’re a pregnant single woman who can’t afford a child. You have been raped by your father or brother or some other male relative and the government demands that you must have this child because life begins at conception and a fertilized egg has personhood. You seek out someone who can abort this abomination.
In this world, in this scenario, there’s an entire dark underbelly that provides such services but it’s prohibitively expensive. Because you are unemployed or underemployed, you sell your soul to the devil or its modern equivalent, get your abortion and nearly die. And then you must deal with the devil and the government. If it’s a Hollywood ending, you find true love in a Clint Eastwood character who says, Make my day, I’ll love you forever, maybe.
And you’re thinking, Huh? What day is that?
Looking out at the faces in this convention, I was struck by the number of white women waving signs and banners and cheering at every speech. I am in total disconnect with these women. They aren’t connecting the dots. They fail to realize the end result is appallingly simple.
Women couldn’t vote until the 19th amendment passed in 1920. If you, as a woman in 2012, are considering a vote for the Repubs in 2012, then you should first read Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. And then think long and hard about your vote. If you, as a woman, aren’t going to vote at all because Obama has disappointed you, then you better have an exit plan for life in another country.
Life under Obama versus life under Romney/Ryan spells the difference between freedom and indentured servitude. Life under Obama versus life under Romney/Ryan spells the difference between you as chattel and you as a sovereign human being. While it’s true that Obama has disappointed progressives on many of his change promises, he inherited a damaged country, and it may take decades to recover from Bush and the damage he did to this country.
If Romney wins – due to redestricting, voter purging, a Mercury retro on election day – I have an exit strategy. House on market, animals with documented innoculations, and a fervent argument that our daughter should join us in Costa Rica, a country still open to Americans. I refuse to live under a regime where a political party claims rights to my body, my being.