Monday, September 22, 2008

at which point I discuss politics

Last month, the day before my mother and Jim arrived, Charlie began a daily subscription to the newspaper because Jim does the crossword every day and loves to read the sports section.

I think I've mentioned before that since we've had children, we are a bit out of tune with the world. Or at least, I am out of tune with the world. I never watch the news, don't read the paper, and hardly ever listen to the radio. Charlie on the other hand, listens to NPR whenever he commutes to work, so he is the one that clued me in recently that we are scheduled to elect a new President this year.

There was once a time in my life I had a subscription to the Christian Science Monitor and would voraciously read it from cover-to-cover. I could discuss intelligibly, anything from human rights violations in Syria to the status of health care initiatives in Congress. These days, I voraciously read Dr. Seuss and can discuss intelligibly the ins-and-outs of potty training and nursing a toddler.

My focus has changed a bit.

But now that we are receiving the newspaper everyday, once every fourth day or so, I actually peruse the headlines. And it feels like I am waking up from a long slumber to see that our country is in really bad shape. As if the foreclosure signs popping up all over our neighborhood, dropping stock market, and soaring gas prices didn't give me a good indication.

Two weeks ago, following our flat tire incident, I had to immediately drive over to a tire store and have our tire replaced. Or, all four tires as the case turned out to be. It was just me and the four children and we had a three hour wait. Thankfully, the Gods of Good Grace smiled upon me and within walking distance of the tire repair store was a Chuck E Cheese's.

As we took a five minute walk over to this children's play paradise, we passed no less than 10 homeless people. I don't know what their circumstances were, but in my own life, I know a few people that have been homeless, and a few more that are currently one pay check away from losing their home.

When I tried to explain to our children that the people we saw have no homes and no place to sleep at night, they were perplexed. They couldn't understand why they didn't have homes. Where do they sleep at night? Don't they get cold? Don't they need a bed? What if they are sick? What if they are hungry?

Can they come and live with us?

Three hours later, as we were walking back to pick up our van with $800.00 worth of new tires, we stopped by In-N-Out Burger and purchased a few meals for the homeless people that we would pass on the way back to the tire store. Two weeks later, our children are still thinking and talking about how we fed the "hungwy people" that didn't have beds. And I am thinking about the doctor invoice I recently received for $400.00 while we were in Boston to take our children to see a Pediatrician that wasn't covered by our insurance.

What if I didn't have the means to pay this invoice - especially after buying four new tires?

What if our children had re-occuring medical issues that we were financially responsible for?

How thick is the buffer separating us from the street?

These are just some of the thoughts that now keep me awake at night.

Along with thoughts surrounding global conflicts that are brewing in North Korea and Russia and Georgia. An ongoing war in the Middle East and over 4,100 American casualties. The nose-diving value of the dollar. The nose-diving stock market. Drastic budget cuts at public schools. Global warming. Our country's huge dependence on oil and WHY IS IT that we have the technology to clone an animal but we are not capable of driving cars that run on salt water?

What kind of world are our children going to inherit?

Now, there is a new political race on and a new President to elect. A new President that will hopefully turn the state of our nation around and facilitate our country making a positive impact on the world.

When I received this link from my friend Tracy a few weeks ago, I laughed so hard I darn near cried. Since then, I've watched the video at least 20 times and I've shown it to everyone who has come to our house. Try as I might, I cannot get the image of Obama on the unicorn soaring over the rainbow out of my mind. It gets funnier every time I see it.

I'm thinking that our country really needs some good magic.

But I'm also thinking that Switzerland looks like a very nice place to live.


  1. Your idea of Switzerland isn't far off for some! My son, who will graduate from college next year, is trying to decide if he wishes to start his professional life in Germany or stay here. He speaks German so that isn't a problem. In Germany he would have health insurance, an increasingly iffy thing here even for college graduates. He could definitely travel more with five weeks of vacation a year.

    Yep, change needs to happen. Hey, you didn't tell us who you're tending to support for President?! We're Obama supporters in this house.

    KarenM in NC

  2. Lucky you so far. I wish I could STOP paying attention to the campaigns! It's like an addiction that infuriates me.

    Having a kid this time around certainly gives me a more passionate care about the future, that's for sure, and I share many of the concerns you mentioned.

    Given the financial stuff that's going down (which I only really understand a fraction of), it's unlikely that the next president will be able to do many of the things he talks about. Whoever it is will be walking in on the HUGEST mess ever in so many areas, and it's going to take a long time to clean up the Bush administration disasters.

    As I see it, the only responsible vote for our children's world is to vote Obama. We desperately need someone who's very intelligent, deliberate, thoughtful, and inspiring to tackle these problems and represent us to the world.

    Having an 'incredible gut instinct', a 'maverick spirit', or the ability to field dress a moose is just not going to cut it in these times!

    Swing state readers, PLEASE, make sure you're registered and vote for Obama!

  3. I've always thought that Switzerland looked good myself. Hopefully it won't come to that.

  4. Yes, know I'm wondering who you are supporting!

    Also, love jibjab videos- they do them every election and the always crack me up!

  5. oops- NOW I'm wondering, not KNOW... sorry!

  6. jakartarocks9/23/08, 12:32 AM

    I have been thinking long and hard about your post the other day (going under) and then this one. You are a capable and intelligent woman, you have shown that in your blog. I am not trying to be harsh.

    What I don't get is this - why are you doing things the hard way? I am Australian and have no concept of how Americans bring up children (we are going to Canada for xmas and will pop over the border, but I shall still remain ignorant).

    What am I talking about you may ask?

    Potty training and nursing a 14 month old.

    The other day you sounded exhausted. Could part of that be because you are still nursing a 14 month old and emptying pottys for young children. Is that normal in the US, it sounds like hardwork for no reason?

    In Aus, 12 months is the cut off for breastfeeding (seen as when babies can get sustenance from their food). I did this 3 times. Besides making you tired from actually feeding your child, you are also more than likely have less sex (or less good sex (due to breasts not being used sexually))and due to that, your body is not producing hormones that help you sleep better at night (think of sex as a sleeping tablet - you should be asleep 5 minutes after going to bed, and that's with 8 hours a night of sleep).
    That is one reason you are tired - but yes, it is up to you.

    Second, what is potty training? It sounds like you follow your kids around with a pot for them to go to the toilet in, then you flush the wee/poo down the toilet and wash out the pot - and you take one in the car? Is that right?

    We have these, but they are used for about 2 months between when a 18-32 month old is starting to use a toilet. It is quickly dispensed with (it is unnecessary work)and replaced with a toilet. They want to be big like Mum and Dad. My youngest who is 5 has been travelling all over the world since she was 2 1/2. The first thing she does in any toilet (unless we happen to have access to only a squat toilet) is wipe the seat. She has been doing this since starting to use a toilet (pre 2).

    Charlie and you need to get tough on the potty issue. The potty is Henry's - that is it, and it doesn't go anywhere near a car. They may still have issues with getting to the toilet in time, all kids take different times to be toilet trained, but why make hard work when you don't need to?

    Again, not trying to be harsh, I just don't have time to do things the hard way and don't understand when people chose to.

  7. Sorry, I really wasn't trying to be harsh or sound like a know it all. I learnt the hard way.

  8. Just watched that video!! The boys watched it too - they came in the room when I clicked on it! WE ALL LAUGHED TILL WE CRIED!!!!! ;-) Great laugh! Thanks.