Tuesday, September 4, 2012

don't get glammed: vote the issues

image from google images: rachellegardner.com

I hear a lot of folks say they don’t have time for politics. 

I get that. 

Except I don’t. 

Olivia’s recent celebrity obsession with the boy-band One Direction bothers me in part because I see it as a warm up, a practice infatuation with a glammed up media image. That’s Ok when you’re eleven and hanging posters on your wall, but it’s not OK seven years later when you go to the polls. 

If we ignore the issues because they feel overwhelming or we don’t think we have time, then what information do we use to vote?  A charismatic personality?  An attractive face?  The feeling we get when we watch a candidate tour a disaster zone? 

Many politicians count on that kind of empty boy-band-approach to voting.  Why else would Ann Romney tell us that she had fun with Mitt at their high school dance?  I can’t begin to see how that information bears on the election.  Are we supposed to be relieved that he didn’t pin her down and cut off all that blond hair? 
I’d much rather have heard her thoughts on what she would have done if she’d gotten pregnant at that dance.  That would have been interesting!  Would she have wanted to bring her pregnant unwed belly to congress for a review of her options? I doubt it. 

If you pay attention to issues, speeches like Ann’s fall flat.  You wonder, “why is she telling me this?” 

Similarly, you see through depictions like this one, delivered by Paul Ryan in his convention speech.  He described our current American existence as:

a dull, adventureless journey from one
entitlement to the next, a government-planned life, a country
where everything is free but us.

Who knew that Mr. Ryan was such a drama queen?  As if we're all wearing gray jump suits standing in a bread line for a free but tasteless dinner in communist Russia.  

Not all government “intrusion” is created equal.  As I listened to Ryan speak, I stirred a vat of pureed tomatoes so big it took 12 hours to cook down into a sauce suitable for canning.  Why would I do that?  Because I want to avoid the many nasties that come with industrialized food: anything from sugar to E. coli. 

Even if you don’t follow the issues, I’m sure you eat.  In Ryan's promise to free you from the tedium of  “a government planned life,” does E. coli poisoning qualify as the next big "adventure?"  With his budget set to cut the already underfunded FDA by half, I guess we could expect to see a lot more of that kind of “excitement” in our otherwise boring futures. 

All I can say is thanks but no thanks for the fun Mr. Ryan.  I don’t think of food safety as an “entitlement” any of us can live without.  I guess on this issue, Ryan’s like the honey badger: "he don't care."

Too bad for Ryan that I care.

It took me so long to finish that sauce, I was still ladling it into jars when Romney took the stage.  Not surprisingly, he got through his whole speech without mentioning the word “climate” a single time.  Instead, he made a flippant joke about Obama’s efforts to stem the rising seas.  Really Mitt?  
He wants me to laugh and appreciate how funny and likable he is.  But I’m too busy stirring sauce until 2am so that we can eat local organic tomatoes in winter, tomatoes that don’t use petroleum-based pesticides, petroleum-based fertilizer and petroleum-fueled trucks for transcontinental shipment. 
I’m busting my butt to do what I can to protect our environment even though I know it’s not enough.  Meanwhile, Mitt mocks climate science to get a laugh while protecting his profiteering cronies in the energy industry?  I guess I’ve heard funnier jokes.

I don’t claim to have the skinny on every issue, and I certainly don’t have the solution to every problem we face.  But I do know enough to see through empty campaign speeches.  Ann hoped I would say, “Aw! – what a nice guy!” when I learned that Mitt acted nervously on their date.  Ryan anticipated I would smile hopefully as he promised to spice up my mind-numbing government-run existence.  Mitt expected I would laugh heartily at a joke intended to humanize him for me. 

Instead, I cringed because all I heard was Ann glossing over women’s reproductive rights during an election where they are hotly contested; I scoffed because I heard Ryan insinuate that unfettered corporate power would serve me better than my democratically elected government, and I marveled because Mitt got upstaged in the world of responsible politics by a lady with a blender, a paring knife, and a hot water bath canner. 

You might disagree with my interpretations, but I don’t believe you can disagree with the importance of paying attention. 

Don't get glammed. 

Read, listen, think, vote!


  1. Replies
    1. thank you for the that hilarious little interlude to my day! i was laughing so hard olivia had to come over and see what i was watching.