I'm trying so hard not to blog about politics like a younger version of Andy Rooney (the old curmudgeon on 60 Minutes). And each of these things that are ticking me off right now really deserve their own, longer, well-thought-out post. I'm not sure which one was the straw that broke the camel's back, but critical mass has definitely been achieved. Also, I'm trying hard not to be just a stereotypical right-winger tossing out criticism of liberals, Democrats, Obama, or whoever willy-nilly. But these three all just rubbed me the wrong way.
First, the media (and some of my colleagues) treatment of the "tea parties." Personally, Idon't get the whole "tea party" thing. Not my cup of tea (GROAN!). But to watch CNN or hear some folks talk, it's like these folks who think government spending is way out of hand are somehow out of line for even holding a rally, and that to walk around in one of these rallies is to risk being infected by toothless redneck stupidity on steroids. A fellow teacher (young, pretty, naive, and oh-so-sure she knows it all just out of grad school... a lot like me 15-20 years ago, except I was never pretty) told me she had been near the one in Charleston, and it was "scary." Look, why is it "scary" for these guys to gather, but ACORN, ANSWER, Code Pink, or pretty much every union demonstration is perfectly fine? I've written elsewhere about the demonization of conservatives (see Palin, Sarah... also "scary") and the double-standards of so-called "objective" journalism. But for whatever reason, this one just ticked me off.
On a different front, I was riled up at word that President Obama had ordered $100 million in budget cuts, and the White House was spinning it as keeping his campaign promise to cut the budget. This one was so ludicrous that even the Washington Post and New York Times had to laugh. Compared to the overall size of the budget, the stimulus package, the deficit, or the debt proposed by the same folks, $100 million dollars is statistically zero. Compared to my very middle-class household income, it is comparable to cutting our family budget by having ONE less Starbucks coffee (tall black, not a grande cappucino) for the whole year. Or maybe by not super-sizing fries one time at the McDonalds drive through. Come on! Don't insult our intelligence!
Finally, and back to elite opinion issues, I'm perturbed at the whole "Gay Marriage" flap in the Miss USA pageant the other night. I intend to blog sometime later about the whole issue (and you may even be surprised at some of what I will say then). But this time, I'm just mad about dishonesty again. Miss California was one of the finalists. They asked her what she thought about gay marriage. She was careful to provide appropriate disclaimers about how great it is that people in this country can choose, but then said that for her family, marriage was between a man and a woman. She winds up taking 2nd place overall, and the next morning the word on all the news was that she lost due to her insensitivity, and the whole "Miss USA Family" was saddened by her answer. OK--leaving aside any discussion at all about the issue itself--they ASKED HER THE DARNED QUESTION! If there was only one "right" answer, they could have given her an arithmetic problem! Something like 60% of people claim to not support gay marriage. In the state she represents, a majority of voters just voted against it. So what's so wrong with her holding that opinion? Why does a vocal minority get to decide you can't even ask certain questions? And while we're at it, isn't that the exact same answer Obama and Biden gave as candidates (because they knew it was the position held by a majority of voters)? Where was the outrage at THEIR "insensitivity"? (I know--the real answer as to why nobody cared when Obama said it is that they all know he was lying. But that's a different issue.)
I think all of these three issues bug me for a similar reason. All of them deal in some way with short-circuiting the ability for people like me to make a reasonable case for our beliefs. If numbers don't really mean anything, if anyone who deviates from "elite" opinion is scary and dangerous, and if it is taboo to even mention certain ideas, even when they are held by a majority of Americans, what is the point? As a teacher, I bend over backwards trying to give every side of every issue. I've even had parents complain that my lessons were too liberal, because I was trying so hard not to push my own opinions too much. I guess I'm turning into a dinosaur.