I always feel as if I need to preface my ensuing statement with “this is just my opinion”- reiterating the obvious- that is apparently not always obvious. Well, there’s a good lead in to my blog. Why aren’t things obvious? Having spent forty something years with a variety of family members I have learned that what I think is obvious is not so on the other side of the room. And the older I get, the more clear it becomes to me that this country- our two-hundred plus year old Democracy is like a giant family reunion that never ends. You have the elders telling you how things used to be; the parents in charge trying to exert their authority while at the same time trying to give the children room to grow and express their creativity, the children acting out and fighting their raging hormones and all the aunts and uncles and cousins interjecting their never to be humbled opinions. And rarely, does anyone think outside the box- or if they do they run the risk of being ostracized; but ostracized from what? – the family reunion?
My mom passed a little over fourteen years ago, but her little messages of hope and simple philosophies course continuously through me. “Why can’t we all just get along?” or “Just be happy.” or “Don’t be mean and don’t ever lie”. I also remember one day she took me and my friends to Marriott’s Great America for my sixteenth birthday. She sat down on a bench and told us to go off and have fun and we would meet up in two hours. As I walked away from her, she seemed so sad and alone on that bench. I felt such sorrow for what I perceived to be her lonely state- as she had expressed often to me about seniors she would see eating alone in the restaurants where she worked. My heart ached for her there all alone on the bench. Two hours later when we came back to check in- mom was not alone on that bench; she had two, huge stuffed animals she had won at the arcade. She smiled and waved, clearly proud of what she had done- alone- while we teenagers were off playing together. Mom knew how to instill compassion and yet also to be a shining example of personal responsibility and confidence. That is what I learned from mom- but I’m not sure what my siblings learned. Which leads me to my thoughts on the similarity between family siblings and politicians. Didn’t everyone get the message of hope and togetherness I heard on January 20? Uh, doesn’t appear so.
Every day since President Obama took the oval office I have heard Republicans and so-called conservative pundits- trash his policies, his ideas, his hopes, his methods- and I feel like I am ten years old listening to my family argue about what mom should do about “her” life. For God’s sake, can’t we get along? I don’t think so. Some things just don’t work. A few days ago, Frank Schaeffer- author of-“Crazy for God: How I Grew Up As One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back” wrote in the Huffington Post that Obama needs to quit trying to appease the Republicans because they will never like him. I agree- to a point- again “preface” this is partly my opinion. I try to not lump everyone together- there are a few “sane” Republican governors right now who are in favor of Obama’s stimulus plan- so good for them for expressing their “out of the box” views- (Schwarzenegger and Crist ) But what Schaeffer says is the sad truth that I have learned, well, just being human and “aware”- which is not mutually inclusive. So sad. Sometimes, people just don’t want to open their heads or their hearts. They live through a veil of anger, self-righteousness and ignorance. And the only way to continue in this dark bubble is to scream really loud. Yes, it’s amazing how loud ignorance can be. When folks get older and lose their hearing, I don’t think it’s a byproduct of aging- I think it’s because it’s safe to not listen to the crap anymore. I’m sure I will take that route- I already have a hard time hearing my tv.
Our country is in trouble right now and instead of people putting aside their differences for a “chance” at something good; for a possibility that this stimulus might work- the majority of Republicans cross their arms like spoiled children to say – “No. I don’t like it and I don’t want it.” Even Eisenhower, a Republican military man- had enough courage and integrity to speak against a very popular movement post-McCarthy era- the downfalls of excessive military strength. Just because you’re a Republican does not mean you have to be a pompous.. you know. Hey, if football legend Rosey Grier can do needlepoint ( oh.. dating myself..) – then Republicans can sip tea- stop throwing stones and relax- try to get along so we can get out of this economic mess.