Archive for the 'america' Category

Caucus (n) caw-cuss: (1) something that you use to fix the bathtub. (2) proof that our country is not as democratic as we pretend to be.

I realize this is a little late as the primary caucus in Washington state was a couple of weeks ago, but I’ve been thinking a lot of my caucus experience.

Like many of my fellow Americans, I caucused this year. No, that’s not a home remodeling job or even something left better for x-rated blogs. I went to my precinct and stood up with my neighbors and declared my vote, publically, for the person I think would best represent the democratic party this November in the general election. (Go Bo.)

There were a lot of cool things about caucusing. I got to meet people in my neighborhood who are liberals. (Where are you hiding, people?!) And it was certainly inspiring watching our middle school gymnasium fill up way beyond capacity – to three times the people they planned on. I loved standing up and actually giving a little speech about why I think Obama is da man. And I loved hearing speeches from people who also supported him, or supported Clinton. I even spotted a few known republican faces that crossed lines to support their candidate this year.

But that is all beside the point.

Where I live, we have a mail-in ballot system for all voting processes. It is very convenient (though certainly not as patriotic feeling) to be able to make your choices from the living room, or on the toilet.

But recently Washington State’s voting system when it comes to the presidential primary was declared unconstitutional. It is all very complicated and I certainly don’t understand it in the least, but apparently the parties themselves, constitutionally, get to declare their own candidate. So the parties don’t have to listen to what the voters have to say. And if you are a democrat (one time when I think the republicans have it right), your paper ballot vote means absolutely nothing. It is not counted at all towards who will be the presidential nominee. If you didn’t show up for your caucus, you are out of luck.

The unwell – people in hospitals, or who are homebound won’t get their vote heard this year. Also at my convention there was a lot of pats on the back for my husband and I being young people involved and wondering why there weren’t more of us at the caucus. Well let me tell you why. Caucusing is not exactly a friendly place for preschoolers. We only got to go to ours because my mother-in-law agreed not to go to her own (republican) caucus. When families have to pick which member votes, this is not a democracy.

How about all the people who had to work on caucus day? The underprivileged are among people who might feel they cannot chance asking for a day off to get their vote heard.

And what about American foreign nationals? I hear there was even a caucus in Argentina – but how far did they have to travel to get to it? Apparently our citizens living in other countries are not American enough to get to decide who is president without serious inconvenience.

Then, what about those “superdelegates“? Those privileged people who get a seat and a vote at the convention automatically, no matter what candidate they support? Just because they hold an important position in the tapestry of our political world. And with a race this close, they will most likely decide the nomination. Talk about the power of one.

I’m calling the democratic party out on this aristocratic bullshit. Yep, I just used “democratic party” and “aristocratic” in the same sentence, and I meant it.
There was a reason we went with a mail-in ballot system. I’d like to see the Democratic party acknowledging it.

The difference between Obama and McCain

You’ve probably seen Obama’s “Yes We Can” video by now…

…Whit at Honea Express has found something entirely different.

LOL.

Also, I thought I’d share a little crudeness from my husband, who likes to say that John McCain has a “murder boner”.  I’ve been laughing about that one for a couple of weeks now…

In the news: breasts and other boobs

Read the Artful Flower’s inspired essay on breastfeeding and censorship here.

And watch the powerful Frontline on how Dick Cheney purposefully became Vice President just to “restore executive power” – or “create a tyranny” – however you may wish to interpret it.  The details of events are spelled out – I highly recommend a viewing online.

Virginia Tech: the bigger issues

At Virginia Tech, a horrible tragedy has taken place today. And the question is once again being asked all over the net – why is it that there is so much seemingly senseless violence in America?

Before I checked the news, I had a lot of posts swirling about in my head. I was hoping to write about something lighthearted. But this morning while I was enjoying my green tea latte and a few stolen moments with my husband then going to lunch with friends, I was oblivious that so many children – and that’s what they were in so many ways – had taken their last breaths.

The question of “why so much in America” has been asked so many times, causing reactions by Congress, parents, and even Michael Moore. We know it is a problem, yet we cannot agree on an answer. Is it the gun laws? Is it our fear-based society? Our tendency toward solving international problems with war? I don’t think any of these by themselves addresses the bigger social issue. But what that bigger social issue is exactly is hard to pin down. We all keep yelling for a bigger bucket, but no one is bothering to mention the giant hole in the roof.

Sidenote: at the time I’m writing this, not much is known about the gunman who also died in the shootings. We don’t know if he was a student or what his motive might have been. An eyewitness says he was of Asian decent. Was he even an American? An international student?

Here in America we value our individual rights above all else, and certainly it’s one of the reasons I love my country. Our bill of rights is the heart of each and every one of us. It is what makes the ACLU possible, for goodness sake. How could I not love it? But for all that yin love, there is a yang that follows. Individualism has a violent side when the rights of the other individuals are lost in too much hate, anger and misunderstanding.

I feel that the same forces that are allowing our capitalist/individualist selves to get out of control and ignore the warning signs of global warming are the same that drive an individual, in extreme cases, to let themselves slip down that dark tunnel into violence. In America, a big SUV like a Hummer is a status symbol. In England, to waste so much gasoline and emit all that nasty pollution is seen as incredibly selfish.

To achieve balance, the yin and yang should be equal. Why is it we as a collective American society cannot manage to find a dichotomy between individualism and community? Why cannot they both exist together? We are unbalanced. We need a cause to pull us together again and out of our collective selfishness. Can I suggest one?

My thoughts, prayers and heart goes out today to the unfinished lives of our nation’s best and the friends and families who mourn them.

Dreaming of England

I love it here where I feel safe. Safe in the arms of him. These familiar arms have carried me through my life; the whispers in my ear tell of so many stories we share together. I laugh and I cry happily here. I am comfortable. I don’t want to belong anywhere else. I belong to America.

But in my sleep my dreams betray me.

I dream of her. Of fog-shrouded castles and of writing words with extra letter Us thrown into them. Of eating pasties outside of the chippy on the corner and seeing her familiar face in the features of the pub owner down the road. Of uniformed schoolchildren and my own children calling me “mummy”. Of the gentle curve of her thin winding roads and her sultry thick mud on my Wellies. Of time spent together at London shows and ancient cathedrals. Of wandering hand in hand with her through villages of thatched roofs and little brick houses that have leaned on each other for hundreds of years.

As much as my dreams are sincere they equally decieving. Life would be easier and more comfortable if I stayed in the arms of America. Life would be more romantic and exciting if I was able to melt into the dream of England. Yet I refuse to put my own selfish desires in front of my honor. But which road is more selfish? Which is more honorable? Truly I can’t tell what my own desires are any more – when am I dreaming and when am I awake?

So I live at the whim of my emotions. My dreams. There is still a possiblity I may leave, or that possibility might have disappeared a long time ago. Perhaps it never was there. Perhaps it only existed in a nightsong. I believe I shared some secret, unspoken language with her. I felt her dancing eyes and suggestive smiles she shared with me in a castle, a little old man waiving his cane, a rainbow.  Did England feel it too?

So I will wait. Until time whispers when it is the moment that adventure and comfort can exist together. I don’t know if that means my dreams or my reality will change, but I know that it will mean that they will become one someday.

Until then, I will have her in my dreams.

On being foriegn

When we found out there was a strong possibility we would be moving to England, I was nervous, yes, but also elated.  We love to travel and believe in global community.  What a great opportunity for us – and for the kids!

We had backpacked around western Europe a couple of years ago with a four-day stay in London, so English culture was not a complete unknown.  But as tourists, we had been hanging out where people were trained to understand and help us.  Where they had experience in “dealing” with “people like us”.

But when we were in England as quasi-residents, life was different.  Instead of visiting monuments and eating at touristy resturaunts, we were hanging around in grocery stores, gas stations, shops, schools and housing developments.  We were going about our lives just like normal English people, except we weren’t.  Even in a culture with so many similarities as my own, I found myself feeling like a bufoon more times than usual – which already is often enough in my own country.

Example.  When I didn’t quite hear the man helping me at the hotel, I said, “excuse me?” which in my own culture would be a polite way of asking him to repeat what he had said.  The man got offended, saying “See the sign?  It says “concierge”.  I’m supposed to be helping you.”  It turns out he was upset because I should have said “sorry?” instead.  Saying “excuse me” implied that he had done something wrong.  If you ever accidentally bump into someone on the street in England, remember this rule.

I felt like I constantly was having to apologize for my not knowing how to do simple things like lock my hotel room door or fill up my car with petrol.

During a conversation with a headmaster of a school about Church of England versus nondenominational school differences, the headmaster busted out with, “Well of course you’re Baptist…”

Um…..no.

And while listening to a radio call-in talk show, the topic was “is chewing tobacco sexy”.  The dj mentioned, in a serious tone, that “In America, as you know, everyone chews tobacco.”

I almost spit out my big wad of Skoal.

Day 6

I’ve still been preoccupied with school stuff so I’m going to hand the reigns of the website over to the hubby, Rich.  (Let me just tell you how thankful I am that he has the day off tomorrow and will be around to help make the school decision).  Anyroad, here he is:

Cheerio all from Mr. Mum!

I guess am to write my first ever blog entry today, which as you can guess goes against most of my manly beliefs.  Work goes smashing over here in the U.K.  The wide range of people I work with makes the work day a lot of fun.  The Scottish accent is my personal favorite.  They sound so excited and interested in every topic mentioned. 

Now, as for the English cuisine.  It does leave something to be desired……most meals come with two servings of ‘vegetables,’ but this really means two different forms of potatoes.  And for someone who is trying to eat a low carb diet, this can be very difficult.  And as gross as it sounds, the black pudding (blood sausage) is acutally quite good! 

So for the question that everyone is asking, “Are we going to move to England?”  Good question.  Still don’t have a good answer for you all….. sorry. 

Cheers,

Richard


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