10 September 2011

Wife / Mother / Educator also finds herself, regrettably, a citizen.

I've found myself, over the last few years of potty training and learning to read and cooking a lot and doing a lot of dishes and praising Paul for folding a lot of clothes, not so much politically engaged.  Also, I don't have television and don't make time to read things online.  So, I've been a bit out of the loop.

But until a couple of years ago, I was very engaged, and my leanings have swung all over the map as I've grown up and taken ownership of my own opinions.

My grandfather, in his retirement, was a local republican politician in Tupelo, Mississippi.  Both of my parents have been republicans (though for different reasons, generally) all of their lives, and while I'd put neither of them in the activist camp, I'd put them both in the outspoken camp.

 When I was in third grade, I lived next door to a delightful, equally opinionated, little eight year old Jewish democrat named Hannah.  Hannah and I played all the time, and we were both precocious and believed ourselves to know all things.

She and I campaigned (pretty much to one another), Hannah vigorously for Clinton, I for George (H. W.) Bush.  We fought, tooth and nail, and truthfully, her vigor came from a much more educated position - mine was more of a football team allegiance type.  I was for George Bush like I yelled Hotty Toddy, because Mama and Daddy told me so to do.  

I've also disengaged, because, in my adult life, there has not been a candidate or position that I could possibly be excited about.  My principles are all over the current political map, and fit neatly nowhere.  I'm anti unnecessary foreign military presence, and I've a strict definition of necessary;  I'm very pro life;  I'm pretty much anti war on drugs;  I remain anti death penalty in any way that it is currently applied in America; I am pro protection of wilderness areas and endangered species;  I'm pro separation of church and state;  I'm against most government programs and regulation; and finally, I'm very distrustful of corporate America and "The Man" in general.

(And yes, I recognize that if I'm consistent, my precious national parks system probably goes out the door.)

I'm neither donkey nor elephant.  I feel like:

But, a few months ago, a few friends and I had a debate about whether we ought to vote.  The weighty, moral ought, not the probably a good idea ought.  And I came down on 'pretty much, yes, as a citizen, you really should cast a vote in elections', which, dern it, means that I probably need to know more about what's going on.

So, I've been a bit more in tune.  For my sake, and for the sake of educating the little people, I ought to be able to have informed opinions and then also to articulate them well. 

I've always put myself firmly in the "Sarah Palin needs to take care of her own family and quit leading a public life and especially quit saying inflammatory and inane things" camp.  And so I there remain.  However, my sweet, former-republican-now-just-libertarian-and-frustrated father, sent me an article from the New York Times this week.

I encourage you to read it here.  

And, who'd have thunk it.  Sarah Palin made some good points.  Or, at least Giridharadas distilled some great ones.

Big government and big corporations are both bad guys.

Giridharadas (I get extra points for spelling that the same way both times) says:

Ms. Palin may be hinting at a new political alignment that would pit a 
vigorous localism against a kind of national-global institutionalism. 

On one side would be those Americans who believe in the power of vast, well-developed institutions like Goldman Sachs, the Teamsters Union, General Electric, Google and the U.S. Department of Education to make the world better. On the other side would be people who believe that power, whether public or private, becomes corrupt and unresponsive the more remote and more anonymous it becomes; they would press to live in self-contained, self-governing enclaves that bear the burden of their own prosperity.

I thought this was an interesting distinction, one I haven't heard ever in my admittedly short 27 years in America.  The idea that the people running it or the public/privateness of an institution is not what makes it bad or good, but it's actually the size and removedness that determines its worth to the country has not been a credible or even audible opinion in my lifetime.  Perhaps Ron Paul can make it audible.    

Kids, when you're reading this in 30 years, perhaps you'll see this time in history as a moment in which we turned toward this distinction being more relevant, or maybe, you'll just laugh at Mama's naiveté.

Or, even, perhaps the world will be so different this entire discussion will be like the one we had about life before Compact Discs the other day.

More on that later. 

your mother, who has begrudgingly taken her head out of the sand

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