March 5th, 2004

Bound

It hasn't been the best week in the land of the Nicolini-Bertsch household. I returned from a restorative experience at the 20th Century Literature conference to find my fully charged batteries drained within a few hours of arriving at my place of employement. Kim has been alone with Skylar for many nights recently and needs some time away from the Demanding One. And Skylar, well, she probably needs a break from the mother-daughter bond herself.

For a little while today, however, all the stress melted away. cpratt and danlmarmot got married! It's stunning how a simple act can be so moving. I'm so happy for them -- and so many others like them -- that my heart hurts.

Maybe love will conquer all. It's not likely, I realize. But the window of hope just got a good Windex-ing.
  • Current Music
    Bobbin - J. Mascis And The Fog - Free So Free
  • Tags
    ,

In HIS Name

First, let me present the e-mail I received this morning from our neighbor across the street, a man who always seems to have the time to help members of his community with landscaping tasks:
Hi Everyone, Just doing my utmost for HIS Highest, in forwarding what I believe to be, "Not the next President of these United States of America."
It just keeps coming and yet, his party, seems to think that, he is the man. Fortunately, it is not up to any party, as to who will be the next president, now, is it??????

Thanks for listening..

In HIS name

[name deleted]

PS We should by this time, realize, who is in "Complete Control."


* * * * * * *

John Kerry says he is strong on defense.

Oh, really?

Don't forget:

He voted to kill the Bradley Fighting Vehicle
He voted to kill the M-1 Abrams Tank
He voted to kill every Aircraft carrier laid down from 1988
He voted to kill the Aegis anti aircraft system
He voted to kill the F-15 strike eagle
He voted to kill the Block 60 F-16
He voted to kill the P-3 Orion upgrade
He voted to kill the B-1
He voted to kill the B-2
He voted to kill the Patriot anti Missile system
He voted to kill the FA-18
He voted to kill the F117

In short, he voted to kill every military appropriation for
the development and deployment of every weapons systems
since 1988 to include the battle armor for our troops.

With Kerry as president our Army will be made up of naked
men running around with sticks and clubs.

He also voted to kill all anti terrorism activities of every
agency of the U.S. Government and to cut the funding of the
FBI by 60%, to cut the funding for the CIA by 80%, and cut
the funding for the NSA by 80%.

But then he voted to increase OUR funding for U.N operations
by 800%!!!

Is THIS a President YOU want?

Voting history can be accessed through Senate records
What is the proper response to a message of this sort?

Kim and I have been having a heated debate about our neighborhood for a while. When we moved to Tucson, we had to buy a house right away so that we wouldn't throw our potential down-payment away on rent. The idea of buying a house was scary and surreal, especially for a couple who had been living in the insanity of the San Francisco Bay Area "bubble." But when you have a child, practicality becomes more practical.

Because we were new to the area and bought a house in a small "in-fill" subdivision that had yet to be built, we had no sense of what our community would be like.

The answer, it turns out, was a haven for blue-collar, Fundamentalist, right-wingers.

Ever since we realized this disturbing fact, we have wrestled with the problem of how to present ourselves to our neighbors. Should we care that they seem disturbed by our tie-dye curtains? Should we answer their anti-abortion, pro-gun bumper stickers with some of our own? Does it make sense to get into political discussions with them?

For me, answering these questions satisfactorily has been complicated by the fact that I serve on the Board of Directors for our homeowner's association.

Why?

Let's just say that I'd rather have some input in the decision-making than sit back and see what my reactionary neighbors come up with.

If I am to be effective in the context of a Board meeting, I have to establish some common interest with my fellow homeowners. Or so I tell myself.

So I have largely suppressed my feelings on political matters in order to work with others who seem really other to me.

Kim, by contrast, has consistently advocated for more direct engagement with our neighbors.

I recently overcame my paranoia -- these people scare me -- and acquiesced to her plan to install a Democratic sign in our front window.

When I get e-mails like the one above, though, I generally respond with a sly but soft, "Thanks for thinking of me."

This time, however, I opted to pass the message on to Kim.

She called me this afternoon to let me know that she had replied to it and copied me. As I read her personally respectful but politically savage rejoinder to our neighbor, I felt compromised. She had blown my cover. I wouldn't be able to get anything done on the Board. I would feel uncomfortable just watching my neighbor walk by.

Several hours of discussion and/or argument later, I realize the silliness in my initial caution. Yet I'm still not sure what the best response would be.

In particular, I worry about resorting to the "Fundamentalists are morons" argument.

Yes, I do feel that they tend to be remarkably clueless about the reality of politics, not to mention that many are linguistically challenged. But there is a pretty direct correlation between their class background and level of education and the stupidity of their ideas. I don't want to look down on people just because I think their beliefs are dangerous.

Take the e-mail above, for example. Its author sends me several messages a month, all of which betray a difficulty writing standard English. Because I know him, though, and can testify to the clarity of his oral expression, I'm not comfortable simply declaring him to be an idiot.

He has idiotic beliefs. He believes in a politician who is an idiot. But he isn't really an idiot himself.

It will be interesting to see how he responds to Kim's polemical message, assuming he responds at all.

P.S. The message he was forwarding begins, "John Kerry says he is strong on defense." Everything before that statement comes from my neighbor himself.

P.P.S. Every time I read the line about "complete control," I think of the Clash.

P.P.P.S. Mission of Burma is what I need to be hearing right now.