Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I'm sorry, I just had to get political...

Be forewarned: this is the election edition of my blog, which I’m writing in a state of abject horror. If you are looking for fluffy statements about my drunken encounter with a monk, you'll just have to wait. Oh, Pennsylvania, what are you doing? Republicans, Republicans, everywhere, and not a drop of sanity. However, the real purpose of this post isn’t (only) to go on and on about my disappointment in the American public, the lack of a truly progressive party, and the problems inherent with a binary political system. No, I could talk about all those things, but I mostly want to talk about my dad.

He called me today as I was earnestly wrestling a spaghetti squash. Our conversation proceeded as follows:

 [Pleasantries are exchanged; topics include a subscription to Cooks Illustrated and the problems inherent in dressing the deceased in three piece suits] 
My Dad: “So, did you vote yesterday?”
Me: “Yes, and I’m disgusted.”
My Dad: “Why?”
Me: “Toomey and Corbett both got elected. Pennsylvania is now a red state. The Tea Party is becoming a legitimate movement. This blows.”
My Dad: “Amanda, don’t let the politicians pull the wool over your eyes. They’re all the same, and all we can do is vote out the incumbents.”
Me: “Well…”
My Dad: “Amanda, politicians have no idea what the average American’s life is like. They have no idea what the average American owns, or where he works. They probably assume the average salary is $170,000 a year. You know how I know this?”
Me: “How?”
My Dad: “I’ll tell you. Last weekend I was in D.C., and I paid $14 for French toast. That’s one slice of French toast. Not multiple slices.”
Me: “I don’t think that Congress sets the premium on the sale of French toast in the District of Columbia, Dad.”
My Dad: “I’m serious! That is a ridiculous price for eggs and bread on a griddle!”

Obviously I understand his point—the prices are inflated in DC such that the people who live there have no idea what people living in say, Montana, can afford to pay for French toast—but I just paid $25 for a dozen cupcakes, so I am really not the person to ask regarding a reasonable price for your carbohydrate needs. French toast aside, here’s the thing: I don’t LIKE the Democrats. If the conservative agenda is black and the progressive agenda is white, the Dems are smoky gray, and smoky gray pansies at that. Since no independents will ever have a shot in hell at gaining any ground here—as the majority of America votes based on Fox News clips and whatever add they see while they are chewing their high fructose corn syrup laden toast in the morning, if they vote at all—the Democrats are merely the lesser of two evils, and they still are a bunch of hacks who politick based on their constituents while running a jobs program for Halliburton. However—they are the closest thing we have to a progressive party who openly supports issues like gay marriage, is pro-choice, wants to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, supports teaching evolution in schools, acknowledges that global warming exists, supports stem cell research, and generally recognizes the importance of you know, science.  No member of the Democratic party wants to write Thomas Jefferson out of the history textbooks, or refers to the Civil War as “the great war of Yankee Aggression”—thank you, Georgia. I realize these issues might seem like semantics compared with the economy, the holy grail of the political agenda, but they matter to me. (PS—who the hell put Texas in charge of producing textbooks for the country? If it was up to me, California would be heading this one, with a headquarters in San Fran)

All of this aside, here is the next thing: My dad has had 30 more years than me to mull this over, and he’s right about everything, pretty much all of the time. Even when I bring up a topic I think he might not be as familiar with—such as inclusion, kim chee, the Bahai Faith, the fatwa issued against Salman Rushdie in the 90s—he always has insightful comments that come from an angle I wasn’t even anticipating. What am I getting at, exactly?

I can only assume this doe eyed idealism won't last forever. But there is one thing I know for sure: one day in the not too distant future, I will find the current price index for French toast in trendy bistros in Adams Morgan to be an affront on par with Kent State.

Finally, I urge anyone who made it this far in this post to read George Orwell’s 1984. Anti-critical thinking? Anti-reading? A desire to dumb down the populace? George was right; 1984 and 2010 don’t look so different, after all…