Sep 18, 2008

I Hate Politics


I've heard some people say they don't hate God, they just hate religion. To which I say, well you may hate politics, but you still need some system of government: someone to pick up your trash.

And then I hear trash like this on the radio: Sara Palin twisted Joe Biden's words around ... "Joe Biden thinks raising taxes is patriotic? Well I don't know about you, but I think raising taxes hurts America! It kills small businesses!" Then they played what Biden actually said. "It's time for the RICH to do the patriotic thing and PAY TAXES." Because they don't. They have loopholes.

If Palin really were a Christian she would obey the ninth commandment, thou shall not bear false witness. You know, LIE. But she LIED LIED LIED. She also tried to get her ex brother in law fired ... Please. Don't call yourself a Christian and then spit at the very God you claim allegiance to.

Look I know there's lying and manipulation going on in both parties. There's also good on both sides. But as Rick Warren said, service can quickly turn into serve us.

My husband found this on Salon.com today. I just have to include the whole text.

A Call to Arms, By Anne Lamott

I had to leave church Sunday morning when it turned out that the sermon was not about bearing up under desperate circumstances, when you feel like you're going crazy because something is being perpetrated upon you and your country that is so obscene that it simply cannot be happening. I sat outside a 7-Eleven and had a sacramental Dove chocolate bar. Jeez: Here we are again. A man and a woman whose values we loathe and despise -- lying, rageful and incompetent, so dangerous to children and old people, to innocent people in every part of the world -- are being worshiped, exalted by the media, in a position to take a swing at all that is loveliest about this earth and what's left of our precious freedoms.

When I got home from church, I drank a bunch of water to metabolize the Dove bar and called my Jesuit friend, who I know hates these people, too. I asked, "Don't you think God finds these smug egomaniacs morally repellent? Recoils from their smugness as from hot flame?"

And he said, "Absolutely. They are everything He or She hates in a Christian."

I have been in a better mood ever since, and have decided not to even say this woman's name anymore, because she fills me with such existential doubt, such a sense of impending doom and disbelief, that only the Germans could possibly have words for it. Nor am I going to say the word "lipstick" again until after the election, as it would only be used against me. Or "polar bear," because that one image makes me sadder than even horrible old I can stand.

I hate to criticize. And I love to kill wolves as much as the next person does. But this woman takes such pride in her ignorance, doesn't have a doubt in the world about her messianic calling, that it makes anyone of decency feel nauseated -- spiritually, emotionally and physically ill. I say that with love. As we say in Texas. (Also, we say, "Bless her heart.")

We felt this grief and nausea during the run-up to the war in Iraq. We felt it after the 2004 election. And now we feel it again. But since there are still six weeks until the election, and since the stakes are as high as the sky, which should definitely not be forced to endure four more years of the same, we have got to get a grip. There are millions of people to register to vote, millions of dollars to be raised. We really cannot go around feeling flat and defeated, with the need to metabolize the rotten meat that this one particular candidate and the media have forced upon us.

One of the tiny metabolic suggestions I have to offer -- if, like me, you choose not to have her name on your lips, like an oozy cold sore (I say that with love) -- is to check out a Web site called the Sarah Palin Baby Name Generator. There you can find out what she and her husband would have named you if you had been their baby. My name, Anne, for instance, would be Krinkle Bearcat. John, her running mate, would be named Stick Freedom. George would be Crunk Petrol. And so on.

First of all, go find out what your own name would be. Then for one day refuse to use the name of these people who are so damaging to earth and to our very souls -- so, "I don't have to understand anything, it's all fuzzy math. Trust me. I'm the decider." From now on, when working for Obama, talk about Obama, talk about his policies, the issues, the economy, the war in Iraq, poverty, the last eight years, Joe Biden. You don't have to mention Crunk Petrol, or his sidekick, Shaver Razorback.

And you sure as hell don't have to mention Claw Washout -- she is absolutely, hands-down the most ludicrous person ever to be nominated. She's a "South Park" character. There was a mix-up. Mistakes were made.

Everything you need to know about how to bear up during these two months is already inside you. Go within: Work on your own emotional acre. Stand still, and hurt, and feel crazy. Then drink a lot of water, pray, meditate, rest. Rest is a spiritual act. Now, I am a reform Christian, so it is permissible for me to secretly believe that God hates this woman, too. I heard God slam down a couple of shooters while she was talking the other night.

Figure out one thing you can do every single day to be a part of the solution, concentrating on swing states. Money, walking precincts, registering voters, whatever. This is the only way miracles ever happen -- left foot, right foot, left foot, breathe. Right foot, left foot, right foot, breathe. The great novelist E.L. Doctorow once said that writing a novel is like driving at night with the headlights on: You can only see a little ways in front of you, but you can make the whole journey this way. It is the truest of all things; the only way to write a book, raise a child, save the world.

As my anonymous pal Krinkle Bearcat once wrote: Laughter is carbonated holiness. It is chemo. So do whatever it takes to keep your sense of humor. Rent Christopher Guest movies, read books by Roz Chast and Maira Kalman. Picture Stick Freedom in his Batman underpants, having one of his episodes of rage alone in one of his seven bedrooms. Or having one of his bathroomy little conversations with Froth Moonshine. (Bless their hearts.) Try to remember that even Karl Rove has accused him of being a lying suck.

Reread everything Molly Ivins and Jim Hightower ever wrote. Write down that great line of Molly's, that "freedom fighters don't always win, but they're always right." Tape it next to your phone. Call the loneliest person you know. Go flirt with the oldest person at the bookstore. Fill up a box with really cool clothes that you haven't worn in a year, and take it to a thrift shop. Take gray water outside and water whatever is growing on your deck. This is not a bad metaphor to live by. I think it is why we are here. Drink more fluids. And take very gentle care of yourself and the people you most love: We need you now more than ever.

11 comments:

Madley said...

Thanks for posting that... I love Anne -- I mean, Krinkle Bearcat.

Best,
Rot Pipeline Palin

Bryan Allain said...

I too, hate politics. Can't wait until we have a president and we can move on.

I love Anne Lamott. I plan on reading Bird by Bird every 18 months of my life.

But honestly, I don't understand the hating on Sarah Palin. Yes, I do understand how one can disagree with her politics...and I understand how one can not like her speaking style...and I even realize that because she is a politician, truth is playdoough...something to be molded into whatever one likes.

But the vitriol that I am reading for her all over the internet makes me nauseous. Actually, it doesnt make me sick, it just makes me sad. And it makes me hate politics more, because politics makes us think it's okay to slam other people and call them names and treat them like crap. (I'm not accusing you of this Susan, just making more of a general statement here).

The next person who can tell me why they are voting for a candidate without slamming the opposition will be the first. I'm so tired of it.

Susan Isaacs said...

Bryan I totally agree with you, I DESPISE the vitriol with which people attack the other side. I heard people tearing apart Palin just two days after she was chosen. COME ONNNNNNNN. Janeane Garafolo destroyed her. Okay, you can hate her politics but don't rip her apart personally. And then say that "democrats are the only decent people out there."

Maybe you'd expect that from a standup comic. But there's a Christian radio station out here, KKLA, The afternoon host, Frank Pastore, is a huge purveyor of hateful, ridiculing, snide, self-righteous HATE speech. On a Christian. Radio. Station.

THAT is disgusting.

Anonymous said...

I'll be avoiding your blog until the I Hate Sarah rants are over. I'm sure Anne Lamott is just great with Jesus, but the baby name generator is simply mean spirited. Condescending. I'm all for normal names, but who are you to judge? Really? And speaking of fascinating reading, how about that Sarah Bernhardt promising Palin's gang-rape if she went to New York? I heart New York! I know, I know, McCain said as much when he said he'd can the SEC director.

By the way, while you're reading overweening authors using old quotes as its big, hilarious devices, maybe you should also spiff up on what exactly Obama has done. As in nothing that hasn't been sealed from the public's eye. Well, the outdoor teleprompters can't be hidden, so not everything. Think Freddy and/or Fannie payouts of 126K, kickbacks for Michelle when her husband gets elected as state senator, and the sealed tight as a drum 150 million Annenberg Challenge. I'm SURE it helped lots of Chicago children.

Susan Isaacs said...

Hey there, Anonymous. I'm sorry you aren't brave enough to tell me who you are. There, in Pennsylvania. I didn't say I hated Sarah Palin. Did you read that into what I wrote? I said I hate politics. And I hate how she's already played into the politics of manipulation. Tonight my husband just forwarded me some video editing McCain's contradictory statements. I think it's bulls#@*t. You can edit sound bytes to make someone say whatever you want them to say. If the Obamas have gotten kick backs, bring on the truth.

Sarah Bernhard's comments were reprehensible. I heard a pile of hate speech from Bill Maher and Janeane Garafolo as well. But I expect it from angry hollywood grunts. But on Christian radio? It's disgusting.

I'm sorry you are angry, you're probably really frustrated because you feel that only one side of the story is being told. But please, don't put words in my mouth and say I hate Sarah Palin. I don't know her to hate her. You don't know me.

I think we get meaner when we have one-sided conversations or when we can hide behind anonymity. I appreciate you leaving your honest comment, but please introduce yourself. I'm sure you'll find out I'm balanced and amenable to hear what you have to say. Which is why I published your comment. But it's the last ANONYMOUS comment I'll publish. Okay?

Lisa Milton said...

Funny, I didn't read a bunch of hate in this post at all.

Politics right now? Ugly. Getting uglier.

I'm tired of being told how a 'real Christian' would vote. I'm tired of the twisting of truth. I know real people suffering real problems right now and I'd love to figure out what on earth I can do to make a difference this November.

That's what I got from this post, and from Lamott's article. I'm vowing to make a difference in my world, to be kind and serve my community regardless of what happens during the election.

Steve said...

Susan,

I agree with you that in this modern world "service can quickly turn into serve us." I enjoy your writing and your insights into people and their actions. I like your humor and satire that sheds light on human folly. I just don't see how the Anne Lamont article "serves us" in a positive way. Not "Us" the collective of mankind.

In a world of Frank Pastores, Sarah Bernhards, Right-Wing talk radio, Liberal Media and anonymous comments; how does the article differ? In intensity? Searching the German lexicon for words to describe "doom and disbelief?" Equating a person's name to "an oozy cold sore?" And then mocking Christians? "(I say that with love)"

Somehow we need to come together and have a civil discussion of our problems. Christians are reminding me more of Shites and Sunnis than followers of the Son of Man. We just use words instead of AK-47s.

In this society of moral degradation and complacency, maybe a political system of two bankrupt parties is what we deserve. I am truly seeking to find the path, and the place that a merciful God desires for me and my kind.

Susan Isaacs said...

Maureen and Steve made excellent points. You're right, I love anne lamott but her piece does get a bit mean ... Only a fraction to what I've heard on conservative Christian radio. But still. And you are right, Maureen. Lamott does presume to know how God might feel about a person or a situation.

I guess I have heard so much from the Christian Republican camp already, that when I hear something decent from a Christian Democrat I am thrilled. Thrilled that a secularist liberal site like salon even publishes her. But no she doesn't have all the answers.

I voted Republican for every presidential campaign since I was 18. I did so because the Republicans told me they represented my Christian beliefs. But in the past couple of years I have discovered lying (over Iraq), cronyism (Haliburton, Big Oil), misuse of power (presidential signing statements that avoid congressional oversight). Greed (dissolving antitrust laws so we're bulled by big corporations, deregulating stocks in the name of profit; bankrupting our treasury over oil and war and wall street. The only thing Republicans still claim to share with me is that they're pro-life. What have they done to that end? And what kind of life are we living?

Of course the fruit we are reaping now is not just form the past 8 years. Our culture has become mean and greedy over time. It's not just the fault of one administration or one political party. As the late, great Alexsandr Solzenistyn said,

If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being.

You know Mike I think you're right, maybe what we deserve is two parties who will bring us to ruin, financially politically and spiritually. Maybe that's really what we need. It sure happened a LOT in the Old Testament.

Steve said...

Susan,

Thank you. Thank you for thoughtfully considering what Maureen and I have said. And for responding to most posters. That is a refreshing difference to the usual. I don't listen to Christian radio much because I find too much negative.

Thank you for reminding us of what has happened in the past. I pray to a loving God that the Old Testament isn't repeated.

Though we both know that is not how it will happen this time.

Vaya con Dios,

Steve in Central CA

Maureen said...

I just want to say a big 'Ditto' to Bryans comments; he said everything I was thinking, better than I ever could have. I would like to add one thought tho. It seems to me that this Christian writer is doing the very thing she accuses Sarah Palin of doing....presuming to know God in such a way that she can interpret how He would react to a given situation or person. It's wrong on either side.

Susan Isaacs said...

Maureen and Steve, thank you for your comments. Points taken. The culture of meanness seems to gain ground every political cycle. That meanness saddens and frightens me, more than any political error. I fear the worst: that we will be brought to the gutter before we bother to look upward and humbly ask for help. May God have mercy. But not so much mercy that we don't learn from our folly.

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