Friday, September 30, 2005

::The falling leaves Drift by the window The autumn leaves Of red and gold::

Today was our first fall day! And by fall I mean, under 80 degrees with a slight breeze. I don't miss much about Michigan but I do miss the fall. My mom sent me something out of our local paper that had the fall color report. I had a slight touch of nostalgia. In honor of fall, I made some carmel apples on Monday for our weekly Arrested Development gathering. I know I won't be complaining come December--or even March but right now it doesn't feel like the day before October. It really doesn't feel like football season. I guess I will just drown my sorrows by the pool....

Thursday, September 29, 2005
::The beginning of thought is in disagreement -- not only with others but also with ourselves::

There are times when the educational needs of the world seem so great, I yawn just thinking about them. I understand how people can be Republican--I really do. I may not hold those same political or social values but I understand them. I don't, however, understand how people can be so blindly ignorant. However, my response to that frusteration is not always productive. All my life I have struggled with two things (a) my (sometimes out of control) competitive nature and (b) dealing with people who I perceive to be "dumb" or "uneducated." Not so proudly, I refer to myself as an itellectual elitist. Often, this translates to a harsh political dogma. Instead of trying to educate people on my views--and listening to others'--I rant about obvious things people should be paying attention to. "It's not enough to know that he doesn't favor a women's right to chose?" "What do you mean fiscal conservatism?" As always, I watched Meet-the-Press this weekend. It was a great show and one of the guests (David Brooks--New York Times) said something that really hit home:

"But most Democrats seem to be acting as if the main problem with the country is that the country doesn't hate George Bush enough. And if we only shout louder, they'll hate him more like tourists in Paris who think they'll understand us if we scream a little louder. And to me, it's led to the brain death of the Democratic Party. I don't know where the party stands on Iraq. I don't know where it stands on entitlement spending. On issue after issue, I really don't know where that party stands. So we're having a joint race to the bottom here between the two parties, and I think the result is what you're seeing is a dealignment. Voters flaking off the Republicans but not going over to the Democrats. They're just sort of stuck and floating in the middle. Stan Greenberg, Bill Clinton's old pollster, called them dislodged voters. And to me, that means the '08 election is gonna look very different than the '04 or '00."

I hope, personally, that the '08 election is different--in terms of outcome! But I also hope, civically, that it is different--in terms of discourse. It is not enough for Democrats to talk about how dumb W is (doesn't everyone know that?!). However, we aren't going to gain votes by encouraging hate. We are going to gain votes by articulating our position on Iraq, forming a platform around energy (and generating jobs and income from new technolgy), and raising awareness about our impending fiscal crisis (regarding our deficit and borrowing money from abroad). It is the Democrat's challenge to tap into the narrative that the right controls. As a party, we represent strength, morality and equality--hopefully, we will be able prove that to the American people. If we can't win in '08 maybe we don't deserve to be in control!

Performative Contradiction

::They took all the trees, and put em in a tree museum And they charged the people a dollar and a half to see them No, no, no Don't it always seem to go That you don't know what you got 'til it's gone They paved paradise, and put up a parking lot::
I was at a stoplight today and sitting behind a large SUV with the "Give Wildlife a Chance" license plate. It also had a W sticker....Maybe he should have saved the 20 bucks.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005
Just a small town girl
:Grew up in a small town And when the rain would fall down I just stared out my window Dreaming of a could-be And if I'd end up happy:
Last Friday night a classmate and I got into a discussion. He is from Michigan as well and is familiar with where I grew up. He made a comment about my shoes and how they "didn't look like Northern Michigan shoes" (and there aren't--very cute heels!). I replied that there is a lot about me that isn't "Nothern Michigan." Kidding ensued but soon the conversation took a serious turn. He (somewhat jokingly) accused me of "trying to deny where I was from." I was, of course, offended! I have Michigan pride! He teased me about being more of a private school girl. He gave me a quiz regarding some of the snobby defnitions of our discipline. I passed and he commented that I am a rarity for my geographic location. I agreed and we moved on.
The conversation stayed with me, however. Throughout the conversation it seemed I had to do two things simultaneously (a) prove that I had Northern Michigan pride and (b) that I was somehow above it as well. It is a struggle thatI have had througout my country-living life. While I appreciated where I grew up, I was constantly trying to set myself apart. I defined myself by what I wasn't. I wasn't the type of girl that was going to get married right out of high school, have a lot of kids, and not go to college. I valued education. I questioned religion. I voted democrat. By McBain's standards I was a regular ole' freak. I rarely go back home. I have very few friends from high school. So, was my classmate right? Do I try to forget where I am from? I think this used to be the case. But now--I think back on my childhood with really positive feelings. I learned a lot in McBain. I did learn a lot about what I didn't want for life--but I also learned a lot about hard work, dedication, loyalty. This is a town that farms for a living, where people are members of a church their whole lives and most marry their high school sweethearts. Sure--they didn't teach me about ontology or rhetorical criticism but they did make me into this person. Despite my weirdness, not a week goes by that people at church don't ask my mom about how I'm doing down in the south. Or make a comment about how great it is that a McBain girl is getting her schooling (they don't really know the PhD thing) at such a well-known school (sure they only know it b/c of football).
Of course, not a day goes by that I don't thank god for my parents. They instilled a sense of independence, strength and openmindedness in me. I could have grown up in the big city and not had parents like mine--I would have been just as freakish...only in a really bad way. Yeah, I may have never been or ever will be a "small town" girl but I'm glad I grew up in one.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005
Free At Last

So, I finally did it...Transferred to my new blog. A new state, new school, new residence...time for a new outlet. I can finally put my whirrling toughts to rest. To my old readers a warning: I'm growing weary of all the wit and humor. This site may be more of a downer. Let's face it--I'm in doc school. I read about 400 pages a week, write a few less than that, sit in class for close to 12 hours and teach my own classes for about half that time. I'm just plain tired. To the new readers: don't be offended. This is my outlet after all....

A view from Athens....