Tag Archives | GOP

nuns on a bus

The pitch: So there are these nuns, right, maybe a Sandra Bullock type and an Amy Adams type, who decide it’s time to challenge corporate bigwigs and oh yeah, maybe also the Pope, about their misplaced priorities.

Hollywood Muckety-muck: Uh, nuns? The last big box office we had about nuns involved Whoopi Goldberg, gangsters, and a lot of singing. How about aliens? Could you do alien nuns?

The pitch: No, really, these nuns are great. They outfit this big bus and are going from town to town talking about the real mission of the church, you know, all that loving thy neighbor as thyself and stuff.

HM-M: Kinky. Like “Big Love” meets “Sister Wives” or something? Or could we go with maybe there’s a bomb on the bus? Or terrorists?

The pitch: No, just…nuns.But really radical nuns.

HM-M: Radical? But you said there aren’t any bombs or terrorists. Do they do any second-story work, any rappelling down buildings, maybe we could set the story in Dubai or Morocco, maybe a sand-storm?

The pitch: Well, Wisconsin has been kind of a battleground lately…

HM-M: Nah. We’ll pass. Just nuns? On a bus? Bor-ring. Snoozeville, babe. Never gonna sell.

***

As usual, Hollywood gets it wrong. There are nuns on a bus. In Wisconsin. And if I were in Wisconsin I would be following them around, a Nunnish groupie, applauding them at every stop.

Go, nuns, go.

I don’t know from nuns, really. I’m not Catholic, never been Catholic, and although I taught at a Catholic college for fifteen years, there weren’t many nuns on the faculty, probably because they knew to be wary of the Christian Brothers who ran the school (me, a non-Catholic, didn’t realize this fact until it was way too late). Let’s put it this way: a friend of mine (a lapsed Catholic) said the Christian Brothers were comprised mostly of men who couldn’t cut it as priests or Jesuits.  snap!

The Vatican – home of the Popety Pope and his Popers – issued a report that said yeah, nuns are doing good work with the poor but that those good works don’t matter as much as the Nunnly silence on Really Important Issues: abortion and gay marriage. Apparently speaking out against gay marriage is waaaay more important than, you know, helping the needy.  Even worse, nuns have been arguing with their  male superiors (which in Catholic-land I think means pretty much any dude in a black dress with a white collar – so Coco Chanel, don’t you think?) about things like the all-male priesthood and celibacy.

Who knew nuns had such balls?

So these ballsy nuns on the bus? They’re riding through nine states between Wisconsin and Virginia to protest budget cuts in programs that support families and children; they have said that the budget cuts are immoral. And when a nun says you’re being immoral, I dunno but that you should probably pay attention.

Seems to me that these nuns have taken a truly radical position: they want to help the people who no one else wants to help. I’m not a particularly God-oriented person, but in my limited knowledge of the Bible, I thought one of the Big Commandments, right up there in the top five, was “love thy neighbor as thyself.” Last time I checked “love” doesn’t mean fire your neighbor’s ass, cut off his unemployment benefits, deny his health insurance claims, and then scold him for going on welfare.  That’s not “loving,” that’s “screwing,” and not in the fun recreational sense of that word. (Bill McKibben has a great essay about loving thy neighbor, which you can read here.)

My pretend Hollywood muckety-muck gets it wrong. I think Nuns on a Bus will be a blockbuster and I hope they’ll be budget-busters, too, because the Ryan budget is immoral and all the more so because it comes from the political party in the U.S. that likes to tout its religious bona fides.  More money for guns and the military, less for food stamps and health care, more tax cuts for the uber-wealthy? Hmm. The religious text the GOP seems to be following is the one about the Pharisees in the temple – but the GOP sees the Pharisees as the good guys.

Here’s the thing that Ryan and all his friends at the Tea Party might want to think about when they ask “what would Jesus do?”

I don’t have a direct line to the Big Guy, but my hunch is that Jesus? He’d get on the bus with the nuns, and ride, ride, ride.

 

Continue Reading · on June 15, 2012 in Education, Feminism, Politics, religion

Monday’s Listicle: Things That Make You Go “hmm…”

The Sisterhood chose the listicle topic for today: “things that make you go hmmm.”  If you don’t know the Sisterhood, you should; they’re exactly the kind of people you’d like to have on vacation with you, in part because they’re so good at finding the “hmmm” in everything. I keep asking them to adopt me but they mutter something about having too many kids, and I’m too far away, and so the best I can hope for is to join their lists.  Make sure you click over to Stasha’s site and see what else makes people say “hmmm.”

 

1. Sylvester Stallone selling . . . fine pens? You know that Sly, he never gets credit for being intelleckshual.

2. How the windows in my fifty-story apartment building get washed:

Apparently, the little scaffolding platform that they used got stuck too often, including once last month when it crashed through someone’s apartment window.  So now we get these window-washing rappelling guys who are being belayed by these guys down on the street.  Not precisely confidence-inspiring, is it?

3. This house, in a compound way outside of town. All the houses in this brand-new compound are dust-colored: beige, tan, brown. Except this one, which takes up most of the block, and whose owners seem to have purchased every single lawn doodad in the shop: fake urns? check. playground equipment? check. plaster stag-head, “rock” waterfall, plastic swans? check, check, and check.

4. The dosage instructions for Liam’s antibiotics, because scrawled instructions on the side of the box are so professional:

5 & 6 are things that make me say “ewwww” rather than “hmmm:”

7.  This also makes me say “ewww” but with a slightly different emphasis:

It’s what happens to cheese if you leave it in the car for about 15 minutes while you run into another shop.

8. Speaking of cheese, here’s another “hmm:” Wisconsin’s failure to recall Scott Walker. Given that Wisconsin is where the Progressive movement started (Robert LaFollette ran on the Progressive Presidential ticket in 1924; he was also an outspoken critic of corporate involvement in politics) and given the state’s long history of liberalism (yes, I said the L-word), Walker’s policies are all the more shameful, as is his debt to the Koch brothers.  I know many of you cheese-heads worked like dogs to oust this guy but I’m wondering how those of you who voted to keep Walker in power justify that decision? Do you think the Brothers Koch will be sending you million-dollar checks any time soon? Let me know how that goes, m’kay?

9.  This ad, in the Marks & Spencer mall near our house. Does Ryan need the money? I dunno, but he sure is nice to look at while I shop:

10.  These “toys” I saw being sold in a “bookstore” (or at least, a store that sold book-related products).  Really shows girls how to aim high, professionally speaking, don’t you think?

And if your little princess should get tired of top trends, here’s the companion volume:

11. And because I’m not always a crotchety old lady, I throw in a bonus “hmm…”  Not all “hmm” has to be bad, right? This bird lives with his family in the shrubs near where I go to yoga. When I walk by this fine feathered fellow on my way to class, I say to myself, “hmm….life here in the desert ain’t all bad.”

Continue Reading · on June 11, 2012 in Abu Dhabi, expat, Monday Listicle, Politics, pop culture, UAE

maybe THIS murder will change things?

I wasn’t going to write anything about Trayvon Martin. His murder happened a long way away, and the newspapers here in Abu Dhabi are filled with plenty of stories of murder and mayhem (Syria, anyone?). Plus, you know, he’s African American and the murder happened in Florida, and so really, who am I, as a white woman in the Middle East, to weigh in on the terrible thing that happened to him and his family? Isn’t that the way the logic goes? That if it doesn’t directly relate to our lives, we don’t get involved?

Maybe I could say, as Mom-101 did so persuasively, that I’m a mom and so one mother’s pain is also my own.  Or maybe I could say that I’m a mom who wants her sons to grow up without fear of someone thinking they look “suspicious” (my kids have darker-than-white skin and shiny black hair.  They don’t look African American but I suppose you could think they look vaguely Arabic. And you know that all Arabs are terrorists, right?)  Charles M. Blow, in the Times, writes about his fear of his own children ending up like Trayvon…I suppose that all parents worry that something terrible will happen to their children, but for some parents, that worry is more real than others.

Here’s the thing: it seems to me that as long as our country refuses to moderate its insatiable appetite for guns,  all our children are at risk.

Because beyond the simple heart-breaking fact that Trayvon is someone’s son is the fact that his death is–again–about our country’s love affair with guns and vigilante-ism, about our insistence that “they” (whoever they are at the moment) are dangerous and that “we” are always on the verge of being attacked.

Frightened people imagine attackers everywhere, which seems to be how George Zimmerman, Trayvon’s killer, looked at the world.  Zimmerman saw Trayvon as the boy was walking home from the convenience store, where he bought Skittles and iced tea; the gated community neighborhood was unfamiliar to Trayvon because he was visiting, spending some time with his father and his father’s fiancee.  Mr. Zimmerman, a volunteer for the neighborhood-watch patrol, saw Travyon walking home and thought he “looked suspicious.”  Now, in some places, “neighborhood watch” means folks strolling around the block chatting with their friends and picking up errant trash.  In this neighborhood, though, the volunteer had a concealed weapon and was cruising around in his SUV.

What made Trayvon look suspicious? I mean, Skittles are a pretty friendly looking candy, don’t you think? Well, apparently Trayvon was wearing a hooded sweatshirt, with the hood up. Up, of course, is a clear danger signal. I’m sure the color of Trayvon’s skin had nothing to do with Zimmerman’s concern.

Well, folks, we know how it ends. What with one thing and another (and in defiance of the police operator, who told Zimmerman to stay in the car until an officer arrived in the neighborhood), Zimmerman got out of his car, chased Trayvon, and then Trayvon was dead on the ground.  Zimmerman claims he shot the boy in self-defense, which when you kill someone in Florida can be an extenuating factor.

Self-defense? A 28 year old man with a gun against a 17 year old unarmed boy?

Zimmerman has not been arrested and no charges have been filed against him.

The Republican nominees for President have not said a word about Trayvon. I guess they’re too busy discussing the best ways to keep women barefoot and pregnant.

Astonishingly, however, Obama hasn’t contacted Trayvon’s family either, which reveals (again) the minefield created when racial politics intersect the politics of gun control.

Trayvon–and all the other children who have been the victims of gun-related violence–deserve more than silence. What happened to Trayvon deserves to be screamed about, shouted about, twittered, tumblr’d, pinterested, and facebooked. He deserves more than his own hashtag (although he’s got one now); and his family deserves more than the police chief saying “the evidence doesn’t establish so far that Mr. Zimmerman did not act in self-defense.”

If Zimmerman hadn’t been armed, Trayvon would be alive. It’s as simple as that. I realize that I’m shouting into the howling wilderness, but I’ll say it anyway: with stricter gun laws, Columbine would have ended differently; Virginia Tech would have ended differently; and so would have that Florida evening in February.  Remember how after Columbine and Virginia Tech people were sure that this time, gun laws would become stricter?

Should we even bother to hope that Trayvon’s death might finally, finally stir people to speak out against the gun lobby?

I know they say that guns don’t kill people, people kill people. But you know what? It’s really hard to kill someone with a bag of Skittles and a hoodie sweatshirt.

 

Update: on Monday, the US Justice department opened a probe into Trayvon’s death. George Zimmerman still sleeps in his own bed, in the comfort of his own home.  Update unrelated to heart-breaking tragedy: yeah write is open for linkups, so click on through and follow the conversation.  Then come back on Wednesday to vote for your favorite posts.



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Continue Reading · on March 18, 2012 in Abu Dhabi, Kids, Politics, ranting

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