Don't read any further if you don't want to read about politics.
It's about a million degrees in Los Angeles today, and I've felt kind of queasy for about two weeks for no apparent reason. Evidently there were some more earthquake clusters out in the desert, but I didn't feel anything -- or maybe I did on some deep tissue level. I woke up at three in the morning, worried, for no apparent reason, so I went into the den and found The Husband watching television where he'd been sitting since returning from The Mistress. I chastised him for not taking care of himself and watched him stumble off to Sophie's room, where he lay down beside her and promptly fell asleep. I then went into the kitchen and mopped the floor, ate a Liberte coconut yogurt and climbed back into bed to read a bit of Joanna Brooks' memoir Mormon Girl. I went back to sleep and woke up a couple of hours later to get Sophie ready for school and then drove her to school. I then drove back to my house, did some work for my job at a non-profit, cleaned some more and washed mountains of clothes and then finished another job and took care of my boys and then, and here's the dumb part, wasted entirely too much time in a back and forth conversation on Facebook about Ann and Mitt Romney with a guy I went to high school with and a motley assortment of his friends who I don't know and who don't know me.
Why would I do this other than to satisfy my primitive urge to rant?
I can't tell you, although there's a small part of me that sort of enjoys the back and forth, particularly when it's not personal (my high school friend is always gracious, even if I disagree with everything he says). That part gives me hope.
What irritated the hell out of me, though, were some of the friends' comments which sounded, for the most part, like they were plucked out of the bosom of the Republican birthing machine, maybe even Ann Romney's outstretched arms in her oh-so-red suit (why? why are Republican women always in red?).
What started the exchange was a fairly innocuous comment by my friend on his FB page about how much he admired Ann Romney for loving America as opposed to hating it like Michelle Obama. I think he might have called her a "class act."
Here was my response:
Ah, yes. Ann Romney: proud working mom who is worth 1/4 of a billion dollars and employs five nannies/maids. Her America is definitely something to be proud of as opposed to the America where my friend Mirtha, a legal citizen, works three jobs to support her family and recently needed my help to file for food stamps and is called lazy by the RNC.
And here was his:
Well that is unfortunate about your friend Elizabeth. Hopefully she can work her way out of her situation. No doubt millions of Americans are hurting. Obviously she has not improved over the last 4 years either. Politics aside, the country has not improved over the past 4 years and we need a dramatic change.
And here is mine:
it's silly to think that the last four years is why this country is in a recession or that during the last four years we should have somehow snapped our Democratic fingers and fixed all the problems of the world. The Congress has been
in a deadlock with extreme obstruction for the last four years, with the far right wing of the majority party hell bent on dictating who should marry whom and parsing out the distinctions between rape and forcible rape, while their moderate counterparts flail ineffectually. The Obama administration has disappointed many of us who had hoped for universal healthcare and a serious end to the obscene, lost wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but it has passed the Affordable Care Act that ensures tens of millions of people and, in my case, guarantees that my daughter can have healthcare despite her pre-existing condition. He also ended state-sanctioned torture, one of the greatest evils ever perpetrated by the United States and something that I am unembarrassed to be ashamed of my country for justifying. When Michelle Obama said that she was ashamed of America, she spoke of its history of slavery and torture and the FACT that nearly a quarter of our children live in poverty. It's disingenuous to smear her as a person who hates America. I know nothing of Ann Romney but have listened to her speak and shrink at her condescension. As for her husband, tell me one thing he says that isn't pat jingoism.
Which I did. I posted that video of the twin girls dancing while their father played the guitar.
Then I got the notice that a friend of my friend had posted a comment to me:
The difference in the two parties, is a Republican who starts from nothing makes his way on his own, investing his own time, energy, and money: and a Democrat feels he needs help from a program in order to do the same thing.
I KNOW! I should have let that sad little ball just drop right there. Let those be the last words.
But, no. Think of me, your friend Elizabeth as a sort of fly, lazy in the southern California heat, in the backyard, where the dog has just -- well -- here's what I said:
Your theory doesn't hold up well given that Romney is decidedly not a self-made man, but Obama most certainly is. Way too simplistic --
And then my friend responded, still gracious:
Wait a second Elizabeth... what do you mean Romney's not a self made man?? Its a given he grew up in wealthy household, but have you ever read or heard of the extrordinary success he had at Bain? He started at Bain and Company at age 30,
later started Bain Capital, then later returned and ran Bain and Company, growing both firms phenomenally. He may have inherited a few million fro papa, but the over $200 million he has is money he made. Yes, he did build it!!I don't have this kind of cash just yet, but certainly I'm not bitter that he has it. I congratulate and embrace successful stories like this. This is the kind of mindset we need to grow our ecomony back to prosperity. By doing so, we all, incluidng health insurance for your daughter and job opportunities for your friend, benefit.
And dumb old, fly-like me:
I'd hardly call "inheriting a few million from papa" "starting from nothing." Maybe it is nothing to you, though, and I'd argue that NO ONE makes that much money completely on their own. Read Elizabeth Warren's statements on wealth. Read about the myth of the self-made man.
Are you still with me? Because this is when the attack started by my friend's friend, and not only did it get personal, but it wasn't particularly intelligent.
Obviously, you have never started a small business. I think he started his own successful business before his father died and left him anything. You have a chip on your shoulder about anyone who has been more successful than you. So sorry
for you. Obama is self made using everyone else's money except his own, hardly self made. That is how he has become president, other people's money, Romney at least has put some of his own money into his campaigns.
Well, bless her heart.
I asked the friend of my friend to not personally attack me when she knew nothing about me. I told her that The Husband and I are actually owners of a small business and that she didn't know what she was talking about when it comes to me. I think I then gave some links to an interesting article I read about the myth of the self-made man and then I stopped. My original friend had some things to say, but I didn't respond and I guess I won't anymore.
Instead, I lay on the bed with Sophie who had just come home from school and I thought about the Alps in Switzerland. I thought about The Husband and me and Sophie and Henry and Oliver with hands entwined and arms outstretched weaving in and out of grass and flowers, the peaks behind us, The Mistress (that business I know nothing about) out of our minds, all of us, weaving in and out and on our way to freedom from flies and bullshit. I know that's just a dream, and I'll be buzzing around again, but doesn't it sound nice?
Now I need a title for this post. I'd love to work the phrase sister wives into it.
How about "If you can't stand the heat...."ReplyDelete
Ad Hominem attacks, subtract civilized discussion
and why or why are they always in red? It's a uniform.
Elizabeth, keep debating because people can and do change. I used to be what Americans call a Republican (a Conservative) here in Canada and now I am what Americans call a Democrat (N.D.P). It is because of people like you spoke out.ReplyDelete
You are an intelligent woman with gift if debate so keep talking. xo
They have seduced people, the Romneys. I don't get it. I really don't. They seem so obviously ruthless and screw-the-little-people to me. I could only handle 2 minutes of Ann Romney's I-love-you-ladies speech and I can't believe ANYONE took her seriously. I would have been drawn in by that FB conversation too, and I'm glad you participated. Birdie is right, more people like you need to speak up.ReplyDelete
I find all of this interesting and at the same time exhausting -- what was eating at me today was the whole "we built it" thing. As if no business owner (small medium or large) has not at some time benefitted from a government program, be it the SBA, a tax incentive to locate their business where they do, jobs training programs that are government-funded, etc etc etc. It is pointless to argue that the country was built WITHOUT the government, and would be far more productive for them to talk about WHAT THEY ARE GOING TO DO. Other than repeal the Affordable Care Act, I seriously have not heard one thing that even smacks of a plan. Did you hear the attorneys general from Ga (a man) and another state (a woman, I didn't get who she was) talk today about the Affordable Care Act? They got into a rant about how we didn't want the government telling us what to do when it comes to healthcare! As if dominion over women's uteruses was not the central plank in their platform!! OK I need a drink.ReplyDelete
My husband, too, has created small businesses. Does he complain about the taxes? Fuck no. He just goes ahead and does what needs to be done and he's supported us and his parents didn't have a pot to pee in (okay, they did because they didn't have indoor plumbing) and I am just so ready to scream my lungs out.ReplyDelete
I love you.
As I said in my post tonight, people don't want the truth. Forgive me for this but THEY CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH.
All I know is that I enjoyed your post a heck of a lot more than I did Ann's speech. And I'm sorry, I can't think of a witty title. Sister wives just makes me think of Big Love which makes me think of woman who spend more time in beautiful lingerie than I could ever imagine. (And they appeared to spend next to no time with their children. Did you notice that?)ReplyDelete
See, nothing in that screams title.
F'reals. I have engaged in these debates on my FB too, with the (few) Repub friends I have. All women. And I can't fathom: what the hell is their problem? Haven't they read The Handmaid's Tale? Can't they see how their obedience is never going to do them any good at all?ReplyDelete
Title suggestion: "Sisters? Wives? No, just a beautiful Democratic female, and an ugly, blubbery Republican."ReplyDelete
Go with SD title for sure, but I need to tell you, I so am in on the sister wives thing. You know that don't you?ReplyDelete
Can myself and a few of mine join you, intertwined? It would make the whole Sound of Music vision I was having all the more real. And seeing Taylor lived in Switzerland for a year,I think she should definitely tag along.
Oh my friend. Such bullshit indeed. A did audibly laugh at the Romney being a self made man. We should all be so lucky.
Keep doing what you do here. You do it well.
Oh and can I say, this freaking heat is killing me. Crankier than usual. Which is not a good thing. Mostly for those around me.ReplyDelete
Remember the "handmaidens" in Atwood's Handmaid's Tale were always dressed in red....ReplyDelete
I don't have a title but I support your pov and I too feel so off in this heat - it is different - still and humid and reminiscent of earthquake weather of the past. I am glad you write Elizabeth. S. JoReplyDelete
Oh Elizabeth, when I got to your comment, "Well, bless her heart", I guffawed loudly.ReplyDelete
Honestly, I don't know how you carry on in these conversations to the length that you do, but I am SO GLAD that you do.
I gave it up a long time ago.
I know that I can come here for some political relief.
So thank-you, friend, a million times over, for the laugh and the plain-sense talk.
There should be an entire universe filled with the likes of you.
Oh, god. You are brave and energetic to engage in such debate. The hate and intolerance cuts out my tongue. I am mute. Go, you. Speak. Debate.ReplyDelete
Bravo, Elizabeth. I wish I had your stamina for engaging in debate. I comment on political stuff on Facebook every once in a while, but only with friends who agree with me! LOLReplyDelete
The idea of Mitt Romney as a self-made man is so absurd. Even without the "few million" he inherited from his powerful father (chairman and president of American Motors and Governor of Michigan), he benefitted from all the advantages of a wealthy upbringing. Self-made! Please!
And this idea that Michelle Obama hates America is also laughably absurd. What happened to constructive criticism? Argh!
I'm not a debater, I wish I could handle it, but it always ends in tears for me. I believe so strongly in my views that I have such a hard time not understanding why others don't see it my way. So, I tend to just bow out and not speak up. Kudos to you for speaking up.ReplyDelete
I've stopped discussing politics with people. Even my closest friends most of the time. Even during something as harmless as beating up Zombies on the Internet, it can just get more stupid than beating up Zombies on the Internet. Same with Religion.ReplyDelete
We are moving away from tolerance in Speech it seems. Sad, but true. We don't listen as much as we wait to talk.
But I'm also becoming angry, bitter and jaded and I DO have a chip on my shoulder. So I question my ability to hold fast to this opinion.
as my mother-in-law always says, "don't get into a pissing contest with a skunk." i usually try to follow this advice, but sometimes, in the matter of SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT for people of privilege who really don't get what it's like for the rest of the world (and for those conservatives who don't want big government, don't want welfare while at the same time justify taking farm subsidies, for instance, and who forget what a mess George W. Bush got us in in the first place, and for those who have no patience to turn this huge ship of a country around) we have to dirty our hands with a little bit of skunk shit because it's worth it. keep talking.ReplyDelete
you make me want to cheer. good god, i am glad there is you.ReplyDelete
I heard a woman on NPR arguing that the ACA is unConstitutional, that healthcare is a privilege, not a right. And like any other comodity in America, if a person can't afford it, they should go without it.ReplyDelete
And these are the people, with their sick ideologies, who want to run this country? No thanks, I'll wait for the next taxi.
So freaking tired of the inflexible positions of other people. I spent five days with my in-laws and had to endure so much of this bullshit rhetoric. They actually ARE self-made, my in-laws, but don't seem to understand that, as farmers, their farm subsidies qualify as a "social program" just as much as welfare and Medicare. They didn't have any problem accepting those in their quest to become the 1%. Ugh!ReplyDelete
You are an excellent debater. I just get my heart rate up, my hands sweating, and then I know it's time to step away. I hate the republican argument. It's just so grasping and mean spirited and just makes me tired.ReplyDelete
You didn't mention your cake business ... a fledgling, but yours all the same.
ditto all the above. your stamina, clarity and energy for this is admirable. The fairy tales that kept being coughed up about "my grandfather (or great grdpa) was a coal-minor" seemed bogus after the 12th GOP speaker.ReplyDelete
Title suggestion: Self-Made Like Coach K