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Saturday, July 28, 2012

Grasping for Something

It’s amazing how one tiny slip-up can be blown out of proportion. Obama’s “You didn’t build that” is a made-up controversy, one the Romney camp pounced on because they were hard pressed to come up with something real.

By now everyone should know that Obama’s comment was about building roads and other services made possible by the government. No matter how industrious you are, you still receive help. Everyone needs help.

But not everyone wants to admit it. We’re a county founded on the principal of self-enterprise, and to imply otherwise ruffles a lot of feathers. My friend Sharon is a republican, and her biggest beef with the democrats is all the handouts we (supposedly) want to give. I understand her thinking but I don’t agree. You can’t run a race if you’re malnourished, and everyone needs to start with something. I believe it’s up to the government to supply that something, and it’s up to us as individuals to become productive members of society. Of course, not everyone does so, but the world is an imperfect place. I wish I knew how to fix that, but I don’t.

How we campaign is certainly imperfect. I shouldn’t be surprised that the Romney camp is making such a fuss about one comment taken out of context, but I still feel stung every time I read about it.

Speaking of feeling stung, on Friday I went to pick Monty up at the airport as a surprise. My afternoon was less busy than I originally thought it would be, so I decided to meet him in baggage and save him the trouble and expense of taking a taxi.

Imagine my surprise when I see him accompanied by a very tall, very beautiful co-worker who I hadn’t realized was also on his business trip to D.C. Her name is Brooklyn, but people just call her Brook. How precious is that?

“Why didn’t you tell me she was on the trip with you?” I later asked him, after dropping her off at her apartment and then driving us home.

“I thought I had,” he said.

“I think I would have remembered that, Monty.”

“What’s the big deal?” he demanded. “You’re acting like you don’t trust me.”

So I explained that I do trust him, but the fact that he didn’t even mention she was on the trip makes me think there’s something else he’s not telling me. I don’t think he’d cheat on me; it’s not that. But he’s a straight guy with a pulse, so I can’t imagine he hasn’t noticed how attractive she is. Is there some part of his life, or his fantasies, that he wants to keep to himself?

Maybe I’m just blowing things out of proportion, or taking them out of context. Maybe he did tell me, and between our two jobs and our two small children I wasn’t listening. But I will listen now, especially since she’ll be on his trip to Africa that’s coming up soon. He’ll be gone for several months, and they’ll be travelling together.

So I’ll work on not turning this into some made-up controversy. I have enough going on in my real life without having to fabricate problems.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Michele Bachmann is Crazy

The summer always brings out the crazy in people. I’m not referring to the Colorado shooting. Obviously that is beyond crazy, and I can’t presume to know anything about the shooter’s motives or what the victims’ families are going through.

Instead I’ll write about a topic I can presume to know something about – Michele Bachmann. I lived in Minnesota for many years, though never in her district. Bachmann is from Woodbury, which is a very white, very wealthy suburb. The last time I was out there was to go horseback riding. They have a lot of stables in Woodbury.

So, in case you missed this piece of news, Michele Bachmann went on Glenn Beck’s show last Thursday and accused Keith Ellison of being connected to the Muslim Brotherhood. Keith Ellison is the first Muslim to be elected to the U.S. Congress, and his district is in the northern part of Minneapolis – one of the poorer and more diverse areas of the Twin Cities Metro.

Bachmann did not go into detail about what the Muslim Brotherhood stands for, and I’m guessing that most Americans don’t know. It’s enough that it sounds bad. They actually aren’t on the State’s Department list of foreign terrorist organizations, but there are a lot of allegations that they have connections to Hamas. Keith Ellison himself is fuzzy on the details about their organization, but he does know that Mohammed Morsi, the newly elected president of Egypt, is a member. We’re just going to have to wait and see what that means for Egypt, us, and the rest of the world. Oh, and by the way, Ellison is not a member of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Ellison says she just wanted attention, and that’s why she made these allegations. Well, if she wanted attention, she got it. Bullies are good at getting attention. They go around, slinging mud, and people notice because they don’t want to get hit with the mud themselves. It’s dangerous when we make accusations without even explaining the significance of the accusation itself. And it’s sad that the word “Muslim” can carry so much weight.

Meanwhile, my house is in its own form of craziness. Monty is preparing to leave for D.C. tomorrow (work trip), Abby is throwing tantrums whenever we insist she take off her new black tutu, and Noah is teething. But this of course is normal craziness. I know that’s an oxymoron, but it’s also the very best kind of craziness there is. And especially after the events of the week, I’m grateful.