Tag Archives | Republicans

The Emperor’s New Clothes

Wisconsin’s Governor Walker claims that “we can no longer live in a society where the public employees are the haves and the taxpayers who foot the bills are the have-nots.”

Congressman Pence from New Jersey thinks that there are two kinds of rape: forcible rape and then just plain ol’rape. [whoops, that’s Congressman Smith from NJ who wanted the “forcible rape” language. Pence is the Congressman who, along with Congressman Boehner, thinks Planned Parenthood is a waste of money. Thanks Mom, for pointing out my mistakes. Lovingly, of course]

Congressman Boehner thinks that the $75 million dollars in the federal budget for Planned Parenthood should be axed in order to help balance the budget.

Teachers are being blamed for living too high on the hog, given that they only work nine months out of the year.

People still think that Obama is a Muslim and Rush Limbaugh thinks that Michelle Obama isn’t in good shape because she doesn’t look like a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model.

What the fuck is going on?  Is black suddenly white? Is the sky green? Am I suddenly a rich and famous novelist but no one told me? Does this mean I can stop preparing for class and just walk into my classroom on Monday morning and spout bullshit for 75 minutes to my captive audience of college sophomores?

Has everyone in the country forgotten the teachers they loved? Doesn’t anyone remember that public employees also pay taxes? Does anyone know a woman who has been raped who would define her experience as anything other than “forced?” Does anyone think that $75 million is going to solve the country’s budget problems? Does anyone know a woman (or hell, a man) who wouldn’t kill to have Michelle Obama’s sinewy arms? No tricep jiggle on that lady, Rush–can we say the same of you?

I swear it’s like we’re living in a national version of “The Emperor Has No Clothes,” with the Republicans playing the roles of the crafty con men who pretend to be tailors in order to bilk the foolish emperor of his fortune.  They tell the Emperor they’ve brought him beautiful, very special cloth, which is invisible to anyone who is incompetent or unfit for his job.  They show him silks and satins, ruffles and sashes, and pretend to create an elaborate new suit for him.  The Emperor doesn’t want to be taken for a fool and no one wants to insult the Emperor by contradicting him, so everyone goes along with the fraud.  When the outfit is “done,” the Emperor and his entire retinue parade through the streets of the city so the Emperor can show off his new finery.

The country is being draped in invisible cloth and we’re being told that it’s beautiful cloth, magical cost-cutting cloth, cloth that’s going to make us all healthy and domestic and virtuous and abortion-free and rid us of those pesky money-sucking employees who are slowly sucking our life’s blood. So I guess this cloth is leech-resistant, too.

And then when the country has been fully draped in this Tea Bagged cloth, we parade around in our new finery and the world will laugh at us:  stripped of our ability to educate our children, stripped of reproductive freedoms, unable to insure ourselves, unable to walk into a public space (or hell, even a classroom) without fear of being surrounded by people carrying concealed weapons.

Is our country really going to keep listening to–and believing–these purveyors of fraud, who would have us believe that it’s teachers, postal workers, and firemen who are the crux of our budget problems, and not bazillionaires like the Koch brothers, whose gold-plated fingers are in way too many pies?

At the end of the tale, a little boy steps out of the crowd and says to the Emperor, “you’re not wearing any clothes!”

But the Emperor is too proud to admit he made a mistake and marches on, his fat ass swinging in the breeze.

So what’s it going to be, folks? The little boy yelling the truth or the bare-assed Emperor?

I think this is one instance where it’s good not to be king.

image from The World’s Fairy Tales, Harrap, London.

Continue Reading · on March 5, 2011 in Education, Feminism, Politics

Even Stanley Was At the Rally

Remember the book Flat Stanley? About the kid who gets flattened when a bulletin board falls on him? He goes on adventures, traveling inside an envelope (which I imagine to be quite a bit like flying coach).

Elementary school teachers have taken Flat Stanley quite to heart and now kids make their own flat avatars and send them off to relatives in far-flung places for adventures (woe to the unsuspecting aunts and uncles who open their mail to discover that they’re now responsible for a four-inch high piece of cardboard).

Sometimes, however, the adventures are more local.  My friends Tom and Suzie (and their kids) showed Stanley life in the activist lane yesterday, at the Walk For Choice in Manhattan:

Stanley thinks that anyone who believes that stripping funding from Planned Parenthood will help the budget deficit must have had something heavy dropped on his head. And he should know.

Continue Reading · on February 27, 2011 in Children, Feminism, Politics


Along time ago, the late 1980s, to be exact, I went with my college friends to Washington DC. We’d graduated a few years earlier, from college in Boston, and weren’t roommates any more, but we gathered at S.’s house for a mini-reunion weekend just around Halloween.

The reason for our pilgrimage?  A pro-choice rally. We were instructed to wear white, as the suffragists did in their marches for equality–our white t-shirts say “Choice!” on them.

We thought this march would be the final march. It was 1989 and we were optimistic twenty-somethings in high tops and a lot of hair.

Now all of us are moms and I’m not sure any of us still have high-tops, but today in New York (and elsewhere in the country) was another march for choice, in support of Planned Parenthood. Seems there are some Republicans in Congress who think that the $75 million dollars allotted to Planned Parenthood in the federal budget will be the salvation of the country’s economic woes. I think that’s what my old therapist used to call “magical thinking.”

I wanted to go to the rally today but I had to stay home and help Liam with a big social studies project that’s due on Tuesday (hasn’t he had all the previous vacation week to work on that, you might ask? Why yes, in fact, he has. But that’s a post for another day).  I sat and listened to him talk about his project, offered some help with scissors and glue, and actually we had sort of a nice time.

It would be funny–if it weren’t so tragic–that those who would strip funding from Planned Parenthood don’t have any alternatives for the babies produced from unwanted pregnancies. Will there be funding to feed, clothe, and educate those children? Will there be a parent or care-giver waiting for those children, someone who will give up a Saturday afternoon to help cut out pictures about the Sahara Desert?  Seems like still more magical (okay, nightmarish) thinking, frankly: we’ll make women bear children they don’t want, can’t care for, or have life-destroying illnesses…and then not fund schools, hospitals, day care centers, or health care.

Parents unable to care for children, children with few or no options, the social safety net in tatters. Is that how we’re defining “family values” now?

(Hey! I’ve got a post up on technorati.com, too.)

Continue Reading · on February 27, 2011 in Feminism, NYC, Politics

Don’t Rock the Vote, Incentivize It!

Today is election day. In my apartment building, there’s a polling place, which in 2008 had lines out the door and around the block.

This morning? I darted in, voted, and was back upstairs drinking coffee, all in about 10 minutes. That’s the upside of low voter turnout, I guess: no lines.

Caleb was upstairs waiting for me, wanting to know who I voted for. Yes, he was home. Because what makes it easier for grownups to vote? Why, having their children home from school. In Manhattan, public schools are used as polling places, so public schools are closed today.

Yeah, so okay, trying to juggle work and kids-at-home schedules with voting is not like facing down tanks in Tianamen Square, queuing for days under broiling sun in the Congo, or any number of other desperate-for-democracy situations.

But why can’t we make it easier to vote? Why not a national holiday, really?  Many offices are closed on Veteran’s Day, too – is Veteran’s Day really more important than Election Day? I mean, didn’t the soldiers die in the name of democracy–which is to say, one person one vote?

And what about instituting a bribe–I mean, an incentive–for voter turnout? What if the state with the highest percentage of voter turnout per capita got, I don’t know, like a bridge or toll plaza or some other boondoggle-ish public works program? A casino or a new highway or a baseball stadium?  Would that spark voter turnout? New York would be all about beating New Jersey; Michigan would want to beat Ohio… it would be like a sports rivalry but with an actual, you know, purpose.

I guess it’s illegal to pay people to vote – the first Mayor Daley in Chicago tried that, and it worked for a while, but then it got ugly. So we need to find a way to make people vote–get them up and out and into the polling places. We don’t have tanks and guns barricading our path to the polling places (although after the Tea Party sweeps this election, we might), so all we have to blame is inertia.

Now, I know about inertia–it’s the reason for my increasingly Buddha-like belly–but it seems to me that if the Repugs are all about “American values” and eagles and flags and shit like that, then maybe they would like to figure out how to make it easier for people to vote.

Oh. Wait. I forgot. The Repugs don’t want to make it easier for us all to vote. Because if we all voted? Then it would like 2008 again and the lines at the polling place would be around the block.

It’s the only time in my life I wouldn’t mind waiting in line.

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Continue Reading · on November 2, 2010 in NYC, Politics

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