The Perilous Life of the Young and Politically Moderate

I’m part of a rare breed in this country– a subset of people so difficult to smoke out that most just assume we don’t exist.

The under 30 politically moderate.

Unaffiliated with any party, never having voted straight-ticket in our lives, not in the least bit apathetic, and willing to see that the right and the left make valid arguments and all should be heard.

This also comes with the burden of never having a candidate that entirely serves our needs since we like to extend a hand to both sides of the aisle (womp womp).

I think this  particular crop of young people are vastly more politically polarized than some of our elder counterparts. We’ve been fed the mantra that “the squeaky wheel gets the grease” and “go big or go home” so it makes sense that most gravitate toward one extreme or the other. Each envisions a Utopia that is an exact match with their party’s tenants and leave little room for middle ground.

I’ve noticed with posting several of my opinions here and on other social media outlets, that my views leave me susceptible to backlash from…well…everyone.

Sometimes I’ll post a topic that will rile up my Dem friends and other times my Repub pals will feel slighted by my opinion. Never experienced this awkward phenomenon? Here’s a minuscule sampling of how my beliefs are ofttimes dissected:

Dem Pals: How are you ok with people owning any guns?! Guns kill people, you know. 

Repub Buds: Why are you so afraid of handling a gun? What do you mean we need to consider reforming gun ownership laws? People kill people, you know. 

 

D: How can you like Miley Cyrus/Beyonce/etc? Their particular displays of nudity and performances are so incredibly anti-feminist as compared to other displays of female-positive nudity (which are totally legit). They aren’t good role models for girls!

R: How can you like Miley Cyrus/Beyonce/etc? Their particular displays of nudity and performances are vulgar and their lyrics are obscene. Someone should tell them to cover up! They aren’t good role models for girls!

 

D: Seriously?! You’re ok with religious organizations not being forced to uphold marriage equality by refusing to marry gays in their church? And denying employment in their schools to gays? How can you be ok with that [and don’t cite the fact that the KKK can refuse non-whites admission in their organization, that doesn’t count] FREEDOM FROM RELIGION. 

R: Why are you supporting the government in allowing gay marriage? The Bible says that it’s a sin and it’s not ok! This country was founded by Christian men [and don’t give me any lip about most of them being Unitarian/Secular Humanists–that doesn’t count!] FREEDOM OF RELIGION. 

 

D: You know the death penalty is killing an actual person even if they are guilty, right?

R: You know abortion is killing an actual innocent person, right?

 

D: How can you even hold an intelligent conversation with a Republican, let alone be their friend?

R: Why bother with the liberals? They’re just as intolerant as they accuse us of being. 

 

D: You’re just wishy washy–read more articles written by other liberals and you’ll agree with me. You can’t straddle the line forever. 

R: You’ll come around to my way of thinking, eventually.  You can’t straddle the line forever.

 

D: I feel like I don’t even know you. 

R: I feel like I don’t even know you.

 

Sometimes I think I stand in the middle of the divide simply because of the fact that I absolutely hate people telling me how I should feel/live/be if I want to be a “good American” [and we get that daily from both CNN and Fox News].

Stubbornness as motivation to be a political centrist–that has to be new.

It’s a precarious position to be in, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. At times walking the tightrope between right and left is frustrating, sometimes it’s the “brink” of a friendship that leads to a “de-friending” (usually on their part), but it’s always exciting.

 

 

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An Ode to the SAHM

One of my friends and readers pointed out that one of my previous posts seems to shine a negative opinion on mothers that opt-out of the workforce. The Stay at Home Mom (SAHM).

So totally not my intention, you guys! I’m deeply sorry if it came off that way.

In my post, I was reflecting on a topic that seems to constantly flow through my brain like ticker-tape. That is, to find a guy (any guy), get married, and devote my life to my kids because I’m too scared to reach for a goal where the odds aren’t at all in my favor (yep, I’m re-reading “The Hunger Games” Trilogy).

It was in no way meant to make the SAHM out to be some crappy alternative for when your plans don’t work out. I know a plethora of women that choose to stay home and raise and educate their children. Many of these women in my acquaintance are complete badasses and could run rings around most other people with the amount of energy and dedication they place into their family.

For me, though, I know I would suck at it. Even as a rich SAHM, I would drop the ball.

And here are just some of the reasons why:

  • I am not a selfless being--right now, I’m all the family that I have to take care of. There is no way I could put the best interests of my children (and significant other) in front of my own.
  • I have not the patience— yes, I am a full-time nanny to two children under four. This does require an inordinate amount of patience. HOWEVER, at the end of the day, after the 1000th tantrum, I hand those kiddos over to their mother and father and say sayonara!
  • I’m not that skilled–Cooking is something entirely new to me and I’m just passing the “boil water” phase. Cleaning is something I do naught at all (Hoarders: Buried Alive has been asking me to sign a contract for decades). The general fix-it-ness of most SAHMs that I know didn’t quite make it into my DNA. Budgeting for an entire family on one income isn’t something I would be able to master. And speaking of money matters:
  • I’m too much of an impulsive buyer–I realize that when working off of one income for an entire family, budgeting becomes a factor. Although my bills are paid regularly, I will admit that I do have several items in my possession that nobody needs (I’m looking at you, LEGO Diagon Alley). One day, I’d be sitting at home in front of Amazon Prime and BOOM, there goes Ullyses’s tuition for the month on a pair of Moon Shoes and a diamond encrusted cocktail shaker.
  • PROCRASTINATION–Little Chauncey doesn’t need a bath today, he had one two days ago. I’ll just keep reading this Harlequin romance novel while Little Ferguson gnaws away at that extension cord (it is pretty thick). What’s that? The dishes are piled so high in the sink that it looks like some strange homage to the Leaning Tower of Pisa? Well, one more plate won’t hurt.

There are many more aspects and facets to the SAHM, you guys, but the above are just a few of the reasons why that path just wouldn’t work out for me. I’d drive myself just as crazy as my children would.

But there is a very rare subset of woman out there that completely ROCKS the SAHM path and I just wanted to give the ones I know a shout-out. Y’all are awesome.

Stay-at-home-mom

This is true for me, though.

Free Speech and a Duck Call

The internet is in a right kerfluffle with news of a character from a popular A&E show getting the boot from…well, his own show.

Phil Robertson of “Duck Dynasty” decided to let the world know that homosexuals are all sinners and are going directly to H-E-Double Hockey Sticks. That’s me paraphrasing, by the way–but it is, in essence, the crux of his statement.

I, for one, am floored that an overtly religious (Baptist Christian), deep southern, white male could have any sort of sentiments that could be interpreted as anti-gay.

Just kidding, you guys. OBVI.

There are many people (of course) coming to his defense, pointing out that the man has a right to freedom of speech because this is AMMURRICA, dammit!

And I agree–it is true that Phil has a right to “Freedom of Speech”–which only extends so far as not being prosecuted by the government.

As far as I can tell, he isn’t holed up in a federal or state prison (watching his show on the cable TV provided by my tax dollars when even I can’t afford cable) for his comments–he’s probably straight chillin’ at the family homestead surrounded by boxes of duck calls and his numerous animals.

A&E, on the other hand, has every right to put him on “hiatus”. This is a cable channel that openly supports LGBT causes–it’s one that’s attempted to make this down home, back woods family palatable to the entire country. It’s a cash cow, more or less, and the minute you do something to offend what could be a large population of viewers, that’s when they crack down.

Take, for instance, the ever multiplying Duggar brood–19 kids and an affinity for conservative politics and Baptist Christian teachings. It’s inferred by the gentle viewer that these people are very much anti-gay.

But do you see TLC broadcasting that fact?

NO! Because pushing that sort of agenda on a widely viewed television audience narrows the numbers and the ratings plummet. In recent years, they’ve become outspoken about their anti-abortion stance and it has certainly chinked away at the armor of what once was TLC’s most popular show.

So when A&E asks the Robertsons to keep those opinions out of the public limelight, when they ask them to finish their nightly prayer with “God” as opposed to “Jesus”–it’s because they’re trying to make the audience of the show bigger.

That’s A&E’s job, you guys. The network is nothing without an audience.

This man has a right to his opinion, but he doesn’t have the right to jeopardize the network’s ratings.

So I would posit that the next step for the Robertson clan is to decide whether evangelizing takes precedence over the money they’re dragging in in barrels from their SCRIPTED television show (yes, ladies and gents, if you couldn’t tell from the bad acting, the situations in that show are all fake).

Something tells me that the show will go on because piles of money are obviously very important to this bunch (why else would one have an intrusive television show follow around your family if you’re already “self-made billionaires”?).

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Let’s Talk About Paula Deen, Y’all

HOO-WEE!

Talk about your classic “take foot –> insert into mouth” scenario.

The Queen of Butter has officially given her brand a nose dive thanks to a lawsuit that asserts her recent usage of racial slurs and sexual harassment (c/o her brother) in the workplace. People are shocked and shaken that Walmart, Target, Smithfield Ham, etc have booted her from their endorsement deals.

Maybe I can help shed some light on this particular racially charged kerfluffle:

Paula has admitted to, and apologized (however insincerely some people may consider it) for her use of such language past and present.

Allegedly, while talking to a former restaurant manager, Paul described her perfect idea of a plantation themed wedding party for her brother–one equipped with “n*ggers” (Paula’s word choice) dressed in pre-Civil War era costumes as waiters.

Basically, slaves.

Slaves as waiters at a wedding.

This isn’t like Colonial Williamsburg where having paid actors perform as slaves helps educate the masses. This is a hypothetical event that wants to bring back the south’s “Glory Days” where blacks were oppressed into serving meals on silver platters to people that truly believed that they owned them. She’s romanticizing slavery.

Newsflash: RACISM IN AMERICA IS ALIVE AND WELL. 

She said it, admitted to it, and people are coming to her defense.

COMING TO HER DEFENSE:

“I get it, believe me,” Ms. Green [a patron of Deen’s GA restaurant] said. “But what’s hard for people to understand is that she didn’t mean it as racist. It sounds bad, but that’s not what’s in her heart. She’s just from another time.”

Y’all, she is an old Southern White Woman. What do you expect? <– is basically what that defender is saying. 

And I agree. I believe that for the older generation, and some of the younger, racism is ingrained.

But that doesn’t mean that all of the companies that hired her brand have to associate with that. I’d drop her like a hot tamale.

“Oh, but rappers say it all the time and black people say it to each other, too.”

1) I am insulted by your generalization–not all black people choose to use that pejorative term, and

2) Many people held Paula in a much higher regard than your 10 top rappers combined. Does that mean she should stoop to using racial slurs? No, because it changes people’s image of her and, in essence, changes our image of her brand, and

3) It’s all about context. Rappers claim to use that word in order to dull it’s meaning–to claim it as their own to lessen the sting when it’s used by racists. Youngin’s these days don’t remember a time when that word was hurled from whites to blacks more powerfully than a 90 mph curve ball to the gut. Paula meant it in it’s original form, and the fact of the matter is: it is NEVER ok for anyone to call someone a racial slur. So Paula does not get a “pass”.

I really do like this lady’s cooking shows and I don’t doubt that Paula Deen is a nice woman. However, being from the south, let me just clarify that it’s completely possible to be a nice person and a racist. Just like it’s possible to be a homophobe and a nice person.

Considering the Supreme Court’s recent decisions re: the gay community, what do you think the backlash would have been if Paul substituted the “N” word for “fa*got”? I am one to think it would have had the same results–as it should.

I happen to agree with the message all of her endorsement partners are sending: bigotry doesn’t sell.

Photo Credit | The Cagle Post

Photo Credit | The Cagle Post

Baby-Making Class for Babies: Chicago’s Sex-Ed for Kindergarten

Photo Credit | ABCNews.com

Photo Credit | ABCNews.com

If you were looking for your daily dose of Knee-Jerk-Reaction, you’ve come to the right blog.

Just a few moments ago, I read an article on ABC News that details the Chicago Public School System’s newest bright idea: introducing sexual education to Kindergarteners. This program is apparently based upon one used in Scandinavia; however, I’d posit that comparing the US to relatively peaceful and homogenous Scandinavian countries is akin to comparing apples to oranges. Or æble to appelsin.

Part of the program, I agree with entirely: the part that deals with children fifth grade and older. However, this program would introduce children at the ripe old age of 5 to topics such as basic anatomy, inappropriate touching, and reproduction. As in sexual reproduction. As in sex.

My first reaction: “No…No, no, no, no, no.”

My second reaction, after having considered the circumstances a little further: “NO.”

First and foremost, I think it’s important for children to know the distinction between private parts and neutral areas. It’s crucial that they know that there are certain “no-no” places on their bodies that people other than their parents, caregivers, and themselves are not allowed to touch. It’s also important that kids learn to respect the bodies of their peers and others.

I personally feel it’s the duty of every parent to train their child in these matters, but realize that sometimes teachers do step in when an occurrence may happen at school. Being a nanny and a former teacher, I admit I’ve been groped by tiny little hands before and I’ve always handled it with a “No, thank you, that’s my private part and I don’t like to be touched there.”

Apparently, boobs are magnets for kid-sized hands.

That’s not the part with which I take issue.

Should little girls and little boys be introduced to the penis and the vagina at such a young age? Why not? Most have siblings that they bathe with or have parents of the opposite gender that they may have seen naked. An easy distinction is: vaginas are what girls pee with and penises are what boys use.

Fine, I personally don’t mind. But there is a plethora of conservative religious people utilizing the public school system that I’m sure won’t want their small children introduced to this topic at such a young age. That’s their right and I think the public school system has to respect that.

Lastly, and this really raises my hackles: sexual reproduction class for Kindergarteners.

It should be the parents’ right, and privilege, to introduce their children to the birds and the bees when they feel their child is able to comprehend such subject matter.

Traditionally, schools wait until the 5th grade (when children are roughly 10 years old) to have “the talk”. By that time, if you haven’t instructed your child on the ways of men and women, I think it’s fine for the school to take matters into their own hands. By then, the students are generally mature enough to handle the subject matter and are nearing puberty (some are early bloomers, I realize, but chances are, if you start your period before then, you’re parents are going to help you out).

But 5 years old is a whole different ball game. If I was one of those parents, I wouldn’t want the threat of my child’s school outracing me to teach them about sex. In order to ensure that they are the ones having this extremely personal conversation with their child, every Chicago Public School Parent will need to preemptively teach their 4 year old about baby-making. I guess they’ll have to sneak that dialogue in between nap time and Yo Gabba Gabba.

I realize a lot of these measures are being put into place because some parents don’t ever take the time or effort to talk to their children about such topics. Yet, I don’t think responsible, communicative parents should be robbed of this special moment with their children because of the negligence of others.

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