Monday, February 4, 2008

Meandering Monday and My Political Identity Crisis

If you're in the mood, take a walk through my meandering thoughts this frozen Monday morning...

First of all, what a Super Bowl last night!! That was amazing – the first time I can remember (excluding the Packers Super Bowls, of course) when the game overshadowed the commercials. That amazing play by Eli Manning where he houdinied his way out of the grip of five or six defensive players to lob the ball up and have it caught one handed against his helmet by David Tyree. Wow. Good football. And who doesn't love to cheer for the underdog?? The commercials were flat this year, I thought. If I had to choose, I’d say I liked either the Doritos giant mouse commercial or the Pepsi “What is Love” commercial.

This was a busy weekend for us. Friday was a crazy, meeting filled work day. I ducked out early to take my car in for an estimate on the deer damage. $1500 – so of course I had to deal with the insurance folks as well. Fun. By the time Friday night rolled around, I was exhausted, so I parked my badonkadonk on the couch in front of the fireplace and pretended to read a book while I snoozed. It was great.

Saturday, after hearing that the dumb old groundhog saw his shadow (the bastard!), we went to The Boy’s Pinewood Derby for Cub Scouts. The Pinewood Derby is where cub scouts make a car out of a block of pine and they spend what seems like forever racing everyone in the Pack. Each year, the Boy and The Husband have such a good time together making the car. It’s fun to watch them work on it, and I know The Boy will have great memories of this time spent with his dad. Last year, The Boy got fourth in the Pack. So his goal was to do even better this year. There were a lot more kids to compete against on Saturday because the pack exploded with little kids this year. He ended getting fourth overall again, and was kind of bummed about it. But later on, he must have had an epiphany, because he excitedly said to me, “Mom! I actually did better than last year because I got fourth out of a lot more people!” That kid has such a great attitude.

Sunday after church we went to my brother’s house. Hollywood is trying to earn money. She’s got no spending cash and still owes me for the giant cell phone bill last month. So my brother called her and offered her $40 to do ‘some chores’ around his house. I drove the kids over there and The Boy played Guitar Hero while Hollywood earned that $40 the hard way. She cleaned up dog poop out of my brother’s yard. Almost a year’s worth of big german shepherd dog poo. It was frozen, and she had to dig some of it out of the frozen ground. I think that's better than it being all warm and steamy, but still... She had to give $20 of her hard earned money to me (to help pay for the texting charges) and she got to keep the other $20 for herself. Yowza. I wonder if she’ll think about the dog poop the next time she gets the urge to text “OMG. RU 4 Real?" to her friend who is sitting across the bus from her.

Tomorrow is Super Tuesday – the primaries for a huge slew of states. I am so excited for tomorrow, it’s weird. I’m all geeked out, waiting for the political commentary and the real time play by play. I’ll likely have it bouncing between CNN and Fox News, because I like seeing the differences in how they report the political news. I wonder how many other people are like me. Four years ago, I listened with half an ear about the process, but wasn’t glued to the tv and the news articles about it like I am now. This year, though, there’s so much at stake, so many issues that need immediate attention. There was an interesting article on msnbc this morning about how families are split – particularly between Clinton and Obama. You can check out the article here if you’re inclined to do so. The article states the following: “In any election, members of the same families choose competing candidates. But while some primaries hinge on policy differences, this one also turns on the deep, perennial disagreements between parents and children, husbands and wives. Older family members argue with younger ones about experience versus freshness. Men and women question whether they operate on a level playing field. And when husbands and wives discuss the Clinton marriage, they often touch on raw issues within their own.”

It’s true that these kinds of debates can create issues among families. My own family is a good example. My mother-in-law is a very active and involved liberal. Two of her sons (The Husband being one of them) are about as far right as you can get on the political spectrum. Neither side has been shy about voicing their own opinions. We’ve had many heated discussions about politics around our dinner tables. Of course nobody is successful at changing the other’s opinion, but it’s fun to watch the debates. I’ve usually taken a listener role in these discussions, but recently I’ve found myself right in the heat of them. I think my brother-in-law and I went round and round about our difference in foreign policy opinion for at least forty minutes on New Year’s Eve.

My mom and I recently had a discussion on our political identities. Here’s some of what I said to her:

I'm having a bit of an identity crisis these days. I totally oppose some of the positions on both sides, and have certain degrees of agreement on other issues. If it came down to the number of things I opposed, I still fall into the Republican camp. But you have to weight the importance of each issue, so strictly taking the number of issues doesn’t work out very well.

I think things are different in this election because for me, the primary issues to focus on at the moment are the war (or, more generally - our overarching national defense strategy) and the economy, with the war being the most important. I don't think the Republicans have the right idea on either of these two issues, and for now they seem the most pressing. And I think the person who wins the presidency needs to be someone who can perform the best on the job. For me, the question is who can get both sides to work together to make things happen? We need someone with enthusiasm and vigor without the sleazy politician connections. In this case I think Obama's relative lack of political experience is a refreshing advantage. It seems to me that the only candidate out there who has a chance to really bring people together to affect change - based on what I've seen anyway - is Obama. (Sheesh - do I sound like a commercial or what?)

Having said that, the president will also be appointing any open Supreme Court justices, and there is a tremendous amount of power there. You have to assume that they choose people who fall into their party's way of thinking. So it isn't just as easy as focusing on the hot issues of the moment since a president's power reaches out as long as those justices live (or at least until they retire...).

I'm talking myself in circles here...I find it astonishing that some people fall completely to one side or the other - seems like most people would be like us - in the middle. How can you just naturally believe along the party line? And there are some points that I simply can't wrap my brain around - like how can you have respect for the 'sanctity of human life' but be pro death penalty?

I guess I'm what they call a waffler - but I'm ok with that. Waffles are tasty. :)

So what about you all – anyone else having a similar identity crisis?


Debbielou said...

The Political debate has been on the TV over here in the UK also - it is interesting to watch how the different channels report on it as well as the national newspapers.It is amazing that celebrities are getting involved with the process - as that doesn't often happen here.
On a completely different note I have "tagged" you re the meaning of your name ( Have a look on my Blog for the rules )xx

Jane said...

I am not in crisis, but I don't have a candidate. Every election, I have one candidate that has no chance and one candidate that is somewhat electable, and both of my horses are out of the race already. So I'm kind of feeling "meh" this time around. Between the remaining candidates, neither are liberal enough for me. I rarely find a candidate that is socially liberal enough for me, though, so it's not really a surprise.