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Posts Tagged ‘Politics’

Every day I park myself at Starbucks to get some job-seeking work done. I find I’m most productive if I leave the house. Yesterday I made the beds, cleaned the kitchen, worked out and showered before I headed out.

Today I threw on a fleece, brushed my teeth (I think?) and left the house — a mess. That’s okay, because today I planned on getting a lot done by getting there early.

So I wander in feeling blurry-eyed and dirty, and take a table in the back by an outlet.

But next to me sit two men having coffee. A discreet-ish glance puts their ages at mid-50. They are having a LOUD, but friendly chat about politics. When I sat down it was about healthcare and though making great effort to ignore them, I caught pieces on homeland security. When the conversation moved to the divide between liberalism and conservatism, and how that divide is remarkably thinner here versus in other places, I couldn’t help myself.

I’ve decided to give up on working. There’s just too much to their conversation that I don’t want to miss. So I’m pretending to do something by typing this post, but really, I’m eavesdropping.

The guy with his back to me sounds exactly like Dustin Hoffman. He’s speaking with authority using phrases like, “Tell me this, Mister” and “that’s the kind of paralysis that…”

Meanwhile his friend is stretching out his words for emphasis, “Myyy price is entirely different,” and “their price is the saaaaame.”

What’s particularly distracting is how chewy and sparky their chat is — chockfull of names, dates, examples, and other places. Each one takes his turn with a thoughtfully articulate presentation of opinion. I’m struck by how substantive their time together is. I want to join them. I want to stretch my debate skills, form sentences with thought, reference things that I’ve read in the news (and/or pretend I even read the news).

I wish my friends and I chatted more often about things of cultural significance. I wish I got outside myself more often, and without such conscious effort. I wish, I wish, I wish…me…me…me.

I really do love that women are emotional creatures of detail and observation, and that we take such deep interest in the people around us that it’s often exhausting. But it’s refreshing to hear two goods friends talk about the world with passion and intellect.

I mean, is it just me in Jcrewville, or do other women have lengthy debates about legislative impact and cultural influences? Tell me, what do other women talk about?  

Damn, they’re leaving.

Me, too.

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I need to put my small-town business aside for a moment to talk about the passing of Tim Russert.  I’m so sad about it. I seem to be taking it personally — and it’s not just because he’s been so integral to my Sunday morning ritual. It’s more than that.

I come from this crazy, politically charged family. Both ends of the spectrum are fervently represented, from my right-wing activist parents to my left-wing idealist uncles. No one takes it all lightly either, and what results is a big, bad blurring of politics and personal.

My dad likes to throw out red meat emails to provoke my uncles, ostensibly to debate, but really – I think – because he misses them. They, of course, respond in kind — blasting back passionate arguments from their side, leaving my dad unconvinced but later, (surprisingly) puzzled why they’re not closer.  When it comes to these family political “debates,” scores are never settled, no one ever agrees and damage gets done.

I can’t claim to be above the fray either. My mom and I had a recent scuffle over a political email she sent me.  It was an attack on a candidate’s character, and I responded furiously by attacking hers.

Once at a dinner party, my husband called the hostess a communist.  We were three minutes into our conversation and grilled salmon when he burped up that assault. He was horrified.  I was practically under the table.

Must politics always be so mean?  It doesn’t take long before our discussions veer into anger. It’s like road-rage on our personal values.  

I read Maureen Dowd and I can’t get past how bitter she seems. I watch Sean Hannity and I think – that guy is an asshole. Bill O’Reilly may claim a “no-spin zone” , but the guy is always cantankerous and growling, ready to pounce. 

And then there was Tim Russert –razor sharp, but jowly and twinkling. He wasn’t angry about politics, he was downright gleeful. Perhaps that’s what made him so effective. When you watched his show, you knew he wanted to get all of the answers – so we could judge for ourselves

That is what I’ll miss the most. I learned a lot by watching his show. Tim Russert’s classroom was safe from playground bullies. Politics were to be appreciated and respected. He seemed to enjoy the process as much as the ideals, and his enjoyment was infectious.

Sunday mornings will never be the same.

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