Friday, August 31, 2012

Don't Treat Me Like I'm Dumb, and other observations

By most accounts, Mitt Romney's got to be a pretty smart guy. I may not agree with his politics, but I can recognize that he's probably a pretty smart guy.

So I'd like to know how he's going to bring those smarts to bear on:

labor policy, commerce, the environment, fair trade, poverty, reform of the justice system, progressive planning and implementation of modern infrastructure, transportation (domestic, global and space?), housing policy, health care - and repeal is fine if you have something in mind to replace it, immigration (and its role in labor, commerce, the environment, fair trade, poverty, justice, housing and healthcare), foreign relations,  education (and whether the federal government should have a role in setting standards and supporting local initiatives), the FCC and modern media and its role in the health of the democracy, defense and the proper allocation of resources to ensure we never again go to war without the equipment our troops need to be protected and successful, veterans affairs, and human and civil rights, both domestic and foreign.

The fact that he doesn't tell me any of that leads me to believe he thinks: I've too short an attention span to pay attention to the details (SQUIRREL!), he doesn't have plans in these areas so he's nothing to say (but his cash policy advisors do), or the more likely - he thinks I'm too dumb to get it. Well, I'm not too dumb. I'm actually a pretty smart gal myself. So I go looking if you don't offer.

Is anyone else fascinated by the fact that he has a tab on his website labled "Human Capital" which you can get to from the "Issues" page? "Human Capital" says so much to me about how he sees things. Some of the content on that page makes sense - the disconnect between our skills and what the market demands is real, some of the federal programs have no traceable results, ok - I follow. What are you going to do?

It's a two prong-answer. Retrain US Workers (which the gov't is currently doing, supposedly) and Attract the World's Best and Brightest. WHA? Wait for it...

Retraining US workers has four points: 1. consolidate programs and costs, 2. give states money to manage programs 3. facilitate creation of 'personal reemployment accounts' and 4. encourage more private sector participation in training.

Again, I ask, "Do you think I'm dumb?"

'Consolidate programs and costs' is politispeak for 'Cut'. 'Give states money to manage programs' is politispeak for 'Prepare to Cut'. 'Personal Reemployment Accounts' is Republispeak for 'Save some money you lazy good-for-nothings' and 'Encourage private sector participation' means what? You'll stand at a job fair with pom poms and cheer for companies to hire ill-equipped workers?

But this is the part that stops me.  The 2nd prong of the solution according to the Romney plan is to globally recruit. This is the whole paragraph, word-for-word, from his site.

To ensure that America continues to lead the world in innovation and economic dynamism, a Romney administration would press for an immigration policy designed to maximize America’s economic potential. The United States needs to attract and retain job creators from wherever they come. Foreign-born residents with advanced degrees start companies, create jobs, and drive innovation at an especially high rate. While lawful immigrants comprise about 8 percent of the population, immigrants start 16 percent of our top-performing, high-technology companies, hold the position of CEO or lead engineer in 25 percent of high-tech firms, and produce over 25 percent of all patent applications filed from the United States.

Republican say what? Foreign nationals is what we need to rennovate the ingenuity that built America? There's so much hypocrisy in this statement and its relationship to all the rhetoric at the convention I simply cannot list it all here.

Suffice to say I'm not surprised that the nearly-all-white audience in Tampa did not hear this little tidbit about how he thinks we're going to recover jobs in the United States.  Coupled with his experience in shipping U.S. jobs abroad during his time in 'business', one has to wonder if we're not just going to have some kind of trans-Atlantic loop-de-loop built to facilitate the absurdity.

I'm not dumb. So I don't care if you love me, Ann.  I raised kids while my husband was away working. I know it's hard. That neither qualifies you nor him (nor does it me or mine, for that matter) to do anything other than comment on the stresses and joys of parenting.

I don't care if you discovered your latent Republicanism, Ms. Martinez, however your lack of clarity speaks volumes and makes your position as somone whose opinion I should consider both comical and sad. You're 'someone to watch'? I'd rather enjoy the relative greater excitement of watching grass grow.

Ms. Rice, you have a compelling American story. But you failed our nation as National Security Advisor, you continued to insist on legitimizing the foreign policy of that embarrassingly bad president as Secretary of State, and you de-humanized your own self with your treatment of others in the administration who, like the American people, deserved your honesty and your willingness to stand up for what was right instead of what was being ideologically spoon-fed to you by Karl Rove. I have nothing but regret as to your place in history.

Marco, you embarrass me as a Cuban-American because you know full well that creating a divide between the haves and the have-nots is what robbed our parents and grandparents of their country and my children of their rightful cultural inheritance. That son-of-a-bitch has outlasted how many American presidents and foreign leaders? And why? Because the greedy wealthy of our parents' home country put him there and kept him there. The people would rather have him than revolutionize and try anything else again. And now you want to install the same kind of backwards policy in this country where we all came to escape? Shame on you! Debes de tener verguenza.

Mr. Huckabee, your accent is charming and your resemblence to Gomer Pyle almost endearing, but what you have to say makes no sense to me.

Ditto for Mr. Eastwood, sans the accent and the Pyle resemblence. Plus, you were vulgar and demeaning to the office of the President, my President, our President. I could only wince through most of that presentation. What a sad stamp on your public persona.

Messrs. Ryan and Romney - I'd like to have a real choice for these elections but you offer me none. I may not be pleased with all this administration has done, but they've done enough to earn my vote. I'm done thinking that because you're white and wealthy you're smarter than me, or in on some secret I don't know about that makes you more capable than me. I'll take my chances with someone to whom I can relate, who's life experience makes sense to me and whose rhetoric is traceable to some truth, some facts.

And you know what? We just ideologically differ. That's fine. I get it. But I'll thank you not to treat me like I'm dumb.

Friday, August 17, 2012

The Days of Peanut Butter and Jelly Walls are Over

I've spent some time these past weeks painting my kitchen and dining room. The walls and baseboards had suffered indignities I can only begin to imagine and I shudder to recount the suffering of white door frames and window-sills. Among the most egregious repeat offenders? Peanut butter and jelly. In glops. In smears. Joyful and sinister at once. Those smudges, everwhere! even behind the refrigerator? smirked at me as I approached with bleachy washcloth poised.

I was embarrassed to see how much I'd missed. I hadn't spent a lot of time from the 2.5 foot mark and below, wiping walls and corners - something I should have done, I guess.

But then, having a three-year-old and two one-year-olds will occupy a good chunk of your time, which is what I had when I first moved into this home and painted those walls. Those were giddy days - fast and full. There were triumphs and tragedies galore, most involving Polly Pockets or Batman (or some unfortunate interaction between the two) and all could be resolved with lots of hugs and kisses and - in the twins' case - the promise of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

It got to the point where Sam would just stand by the fridge any time anyone was upset and suggest "pum jey?" Sara didn't even like the full PBJ. She just wanted the cute little sandwiches in a baggie. She'd lick the jelly off and smush the remainder into balls and play with them. Sam did, of course, consume all the PBJs you gave him and then searched for Sara's discarded peanut-butter-bread balls and ate those too.

Sometimes I got to them to wipe their hands before they wiped them elsewhere. Sometimes I didn't. The math on that may be further skewed than I thought, now that I've cleaned the kitchen and dining room from floors to ceilings. Someone asked me while I was working on this project, "Why now?" and I answered without thinking, "The days of peanut butter and jelly walls are over."

Sam and Sara are celebrating their twelfth birthday today.

They're 'hanging out' now instead of 'playing' and both are nearly, not quite but nearly, my height. Sam's voice is changing. Sara's figure is forming. Neither plays with dolls or action figures. I suppose that's a good thing, but I'm a little sad at the loss of those baby days.

So I was sitting here and thinking about that, and what's to come, while I was finishing white trim. Sam had friends over and the house sounded like I had a barrel of guys in it. Sara was pretending to not like it, but she was flushed and giggly. Uck. At a point, the two of them came up to get something and walked past me.  I looked at Sam and said, "What the heck do you have all over your shirt?"

They both looked at him, then turned and without flinch said in unison, "Peanut butter and jelly." Thank God.

And Happy Birthday to my lovely Sara and my handsome Sam.