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Friday, January 11, 2008

The Primaries Are Enough to Make Anyone Cry

I find it disturbing that the campaign season is now almost as long as a Presidential term. It's the old magicians' trick: keep your eye on the presidential hopefuls while the real government takes away your civil rights and your children's futures.

But what's really about to make me cry is how the vicious insipidity of the media is almost making me support Hillary Clinton.


So she cried. Whatever. Bob Dole cried, and no one asked whether it was authentic and no one suggested that it betrayed psycholgical instability (because frankly, Bob Dole would have kicked your ass for suggesting it. Bum arm and all). Hillary cries, and we are treated to endless punditry about whether they were "real" tears or whether the "ice princess" was just acting.


But what really gets my goat is that her New Hampshire win gets attributed to her tears, because the tears mobilized "the women's vote." How much do I hate this phrase, "the ____ vote"? It's never, "the straight vote" or "the white vote" or "the men's vote." It is almost always used to (however subtly) discredit or denigrate whatever gains the candidate has made: "Hillary's win in NH is attributable to the women's vote." What's lurking in statements like these is that the win doesn't mean quite as much, because she didn't get the "real" voters. She just got the women's vote.

Because women like tears, I guess. Whatever.

Phrases like "the ____ vote" also have the effect of making the _____ into an unthinking monolith. It denies plurality of opinion, circumstance, and principle to the ______ group. It denies that there is any difference of opinion among gays or women or hispanics or blacks or whatever. And that these groups vote only on issues that relate directly to the feature that has them slotted into "minority" status. "Women's issues." Blech. Only straight white guys, apparently, have thoughtful, wide-ranging, and nuanced political minds.

It almost makes me want to support Clinton, just out of annoyed outrage. Well, until I remember that she voted for the war and the Patriot act. And that she and her husband play into some very icky pseudo-liberal racial stereotypes when they call Obama a "dreamer."

In related news, I wish Huckabee's politics were different. I kinda like him.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Happy New Year

So, I made a resolution this New Year. I don't usually make resolutions. One reason is that I figure that if something is worthwhile, I might as well just start (or stop) doing it immediately and not wait until Jan. 1. The main reason, though, is that I don't like taking stock of my life. Because, you know, yikes!

But this year, I made a resolution, and I am giving myself the whole year to keep it. It's to finish things. I resolve to finish everything that is worth finishing and get rid of everything that isn't. I resolve to finish all the half-read books, all the half-written articles, all the projects around the house that have been started over the years. I am going to finish unpacking boxes, some of which haven't even been opened in five moves, seven years, and 3000 miles.

And here's the hard part: I am not going to start anything new (within reason, of course) until I have finished everything that is worth finishing.

It's going to be a long year.