Monday, October 27, 2008

My Election 2008 Thoughts

And here is what Jayme has to say about the election. Except I didn't write it. But if I had...this is what I would have said. I found this over at Our Little Apartment. It is exactly what I have been trying to teach my daughter about the ugliness surrounding this election. And why we have been trying to act different.

"In true dialogue, both sides are willing to change."

- Thich Nhat Hanh

I've had a lot on my mind lately, as I'm sure you do.

I've lost sleep, worried myself sick, and anxiously bit my nails to nubbins.

We're all (around here, anyway) engaged in the election and have been watching the same debates, the same news coverage, and the same TV ads. And, yet, we're more divided than ever.

I have friends and family planted firmly on both sides of the political divide, so I hear both complain about and mock the other "side" - and as many others have lamented, the fact that there are "sides" and we (to have any real chance of our candidate being elected) have to choose between two extremes is insane, anyway.

Whoever gets elected, I don't think our country will go to hell - despite emails, blog posts, videos, and websites I've read that insist otherwise. My dad claims that Barack is a terrorist who will make our country socialist and all freedom will be lost; while my co-worker maintains that McCain doesn't care about the poor or the rest of the world.

*** And I'm not Catholic...but I think it the idea applies to many other church groups as well. jw ********

Being Catholic only further exacerbates the divide - some Catholics ascribe to the One Catholic Way to Vote philosophy, and contend that a vote for Barack is a vote for violence against innocent babies. Other Catholics assert that a vote for McCain is a vote against Catholic Social Teaching.

These positions worry me - not because people disagree, but because of the way they disagree and the way that leads them to treat others.

And it saddens me so. Because I truly want to have a dialogue where we all respectfully discuss what is important to us, what excites us, why we're voting for X, what we hope for the future, and so on - without automatically assuming that someone who is voting for the other guy is an idiot who doesn't care about ______ (fill in: America, terrorists, babies, freedom, homosexuals, etc.).

When I've tried to have an honest and open dialogue with the "other side" this year, I've ended up being shouted at and cried into my ice cream sundae at Friendly's. No joke. That's hard to recover from.

I think the root of much of my frustration is that I feel as though people cling to political parties more than they consider candidates and issues. My 17-year-old cousin proclaimed on Facebook that she's "a [major political party]. Deal with it." People cheered her on: "Yeah! Proclaim it, girl!"

Wha-ha? How can someone, at such a young age - make that kind of weighted decision? To limit your views to a political party when you are 17 years old? That worries me. We're getting to be more polarized earlier and earlier - we're teaching our kids to see the world through our eyes instead of encouraging them to develop their own opinion at all.

Or as one of my friends would say, "Who wants to raise sheep!?"

Sure, it's much easier to just vote how your parents voted. To not examine the issues and to take other people's word for it. Examining and wrestling with issues is hard work. (It's easy to get sidetracked by the crazy 24 hour media circuits - but we've seemed to have forgotten about issues and pretend the candidates are celebrities worthy of gossip and stalking.) As will show - both candidates are misleading like crazy and NEITHER is perfect.
That's hard to swallow - for both sides.

This isn't meant to be a political rant or a "VOTE FOR OBAMA/MCCAIN!" post - merely a "How the heck did we get so darn polarized? And how do we make it stop?"

I, for one, pledge to never, ever vote based on party line. I'll examine each and every candidate I vote for.

Please, lovely, wonderful commenters - play nice if you want to say something, okay? Mwah.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

somebody save me!

Addy: Ellie! Something terrible has happened! The world is in DANGER! We have to save it!!!
Ellie: Ok (running down the hall)...your job is to save it...My job is to go potty.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Oh yeah....

I am learning that as my kids get older...I can no longer just expect them to spend their free and empty time just "playing." I mean sure...they will go hang in their room together and play for awhile...but thats no good for all day...or for even the whole time after school. They need something to DO.

I'm scrambbling a little bit to kick my mommyhood up a notch. I am trying to build up an arsenal of activities to direct them to, but I am also facing the challenge of being smack in the middle of a saggy baggy economy AND financial peace. Hmmm. So...I need free activities...with stuff already at home.

I found a really cool website that I have linked on my blog, called "Mom, I'm Bored." It has some great ideas.

It also finally dawned on me that my book loving family should head out to the library. However...even Addy would be the FIRST to tell you that I am terrible at returning books. Once I have a 10 cent fine...I get all nervous and crazy about going back into the library. And then I end up with an 80 dollar fine...and well. Neal doesn't even like me to go IN. I convinced him to let me have another chance...and we headed there last night.

And it was so fun. I knew they had a super fun children's library...but I didn't realize the girls would would run right for books and snuggle down in the overstuffed animals and read for awhile. Or that they had Addy's fave American Girl magazine. Or that they had oodles of puzzles and games. Or that they would have hard to find videos to take home...and books on tape for KIDS...and CD's of fun kids music.

We were hard pressed to keep our take home pile to under 20. And they begged for "reading time" before soccer when we got home. Which was very cool. Oh YEAH!

We came home with a really cool Lynn Cheney book on America...a very funny book about warthogs, a Toot and Puddle book (which of course makes them laugh), a giant book about all the really cool things you can build with legos, a Kit Kittridge book (which we have seen the movie but not the it seems really exciting to read the book now), a book about a little girl who worried about school, a design book for Mommy, a DVD for the grown ups, a DVD for kids (which has several short little stories on it including Chicka Chick Boom Boom), a book on tape for Papa, a book on tape for Mommy from her 888 list, AND a new beloved bookmark for Addy.

Ellie's favorite part is that the children's library is painted to be like a castle...and how cool is that. The elevator door is a castle door and slides open all fun and exciting. We rode it twice.

Oh the treasures. if I can just keep from getting a fine. :)