SEPTEMBER 9, 2009 2:13AM

Out of the Closet: I'm Bi-Political

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Today I got a phone call from an acquaintance who would like my endorsement of his candidacy for state office. 

I inquired why he is running against the current representative, and he tells me that, as a former representative, a certain “watchdog group” gave him exceedingly high ratings - in the 70s! – whereas the current representative only earned a 14.   

So I looked up this watchdog group online.  They’re called the Eagle Forum and they were founded by Phyllis Schlafly.  Highlights include opposition to environmental legislation, noting, “Republicans in the House are not allowed to use the phrase ‘cap and trade.’  They have to say ‘cap and tax.’  If they slip up, they are fined.”  Senator Inhofe of Oklahoma reassured a conference crowd that new environmental legislation “would never pass the Senate,” saying, “only 34% of Americans in a recent poll blame humans for global warming.” 

Another big favorite feature of the site – a Twitter feed stating:  “I pledge to serve my Lord God – NOT the president!”  Very sweet; very charming. 

Now obviously this potential candidate does not know me at all.  But I’m starting to wonder if this might be because I don’t know me, either – at least not politically.  I think I might be bi-political.  I swing both ways. 

For instance, I am distressed about the music on the radio stations that cater to every teen I know.  Let’s look at today’s playlist: 

“Disco Stick” – Lady Gaga  “Let’s have some fun… this beat is sick… I want to take a ride on your disco stick…I’m on a mission… and it involved some heavy touching, yeah… you’ve indicated your interest, I’m educated in sex, yes, and now I want it bad, want it bad…”

(“Well,” I say to my daughter, “I guess she’s not talking about Pogo.”) 

“Room Service” – Pitbull

“I’m the plumber tonight, let me check your pipes, oh you’re the healthy type.  Well, here goes some egg whites.  Now gimme that sweet, that nasty gooshy stuff.  Let me tell you what we gon’ do.  2 + 2, I’m gonna undress you.  Then we’re gonna go 3 on 3, you gon’ undress me.  Then we’re gon’ go 4 and 4, we gon’ freak some more!”

(“Maybe they’re talking about Twister,” I say cheerfully amidst the eyeball rolls as I change the station.  I just love my steering wheel radio controls.) 

This stuff is everywhere, mixed in with Taylor Swift, Miley Cyrus, and the Jonas Brothers, and call me a crazy conservative whack-a-loon, but I think raising teenagers to make responsible long-term choices is kinda tough when TV, movies, Internet, and radio are issuing frequent, catchy invitations to the drug/alcohol/sex orgy.  I don't want to go as far as censorship, but I’d love it if artists and media companies blue-penciled themselves, just a bit.  But there’s money to be made.  Seems to me that entertainment media really likes the unfettered free market theory.

Then I open the paper and swing liberal.  Turns out my state is the proud #1 in repeat teen pregnancies.  We’re not even biggest, but we’re beating California, baby!  And why?  Well, call me an immoral devil spawn, but I think it might have something to do with our abstinence-based education laws.  We’re not allowed to teach birth control in the schools.  We’re allowed to teach abstinence, and the SHORTCOMINGS of birth control.  In other words, condoms fail, kids, so don’t have sex!  Ever!  (And of course they listen!  Don’t all teenagers listen?)  Our state-funded clinics are required to get parental permission to give out birth control to minors – even if the teen has already given birth!  My favorite quote about the sense of this policy, from Democrat Leticia Van de Putte, “I’ve been a pharmacist for over 30 years… and I can tell you, once they start having sex, they ain’t going to stop.”  (“Fascinating,” says Mr. Spock.) 

I swing both ways on healthcare as well. I’ve been in polite but persistent war with our lovely Aetna non-medically licensed bureaucrats who have questioned just about every test and procedure as my husband has been struggling through the Multiple Sclerosis summer from hell.  I went to the dermatologist myself the other day, and my doctor burned off what she called a squamous cell carcinoma.  Aetna refused payment, calling the procedure “cosmetic.”  (And let me tell you, I do look sexy with my cute little scar and bandaid.) 

So I want reform, but so far, I don’t have a great understanding of the plan, and the Democrats are frankly not doing a fantastic job of explaining themselves.  Just today, I tuned in – with extreme trepidation – to Lou Dobbs.  Senator Judd Gregg, R, faced off with Senator Bernie Sanders, D.  Same talking points as usual, right up to the end, when Lou (“Tough, Relentless, Independent” – cough cough) asked, “Would our Senators and our Congressmen be willing to put aside the healthcare insurance they have now and take on the one that they would create?” 

Mr. Gregg, the Republican, says he actually created a bipartisan bill that does just that.  It has ten sponsors from both parties. 

Mr. Sanders, the Democrat, gives us this zinger:  “If the public option were there, and it were better for me than the Blue Cross, Blue Shield I have right now, I certainly would take it." 

Dobbs:  "Well, what if it wasn’t?" 

Sanders:  "Well, like every other American, I surely would not take it.  It’s a choice.  Nobody HAS to take it; people should have that choice."

Now I get what Mr. Sanders is saying… that’s why they call it the public OPTION… but really, buddy, Americans just aren’t good at nuance.  They want to know you’re standing behind what you’re selling.  It’s kind of like when Michael Moore was following around Republican members of Congress asking if their children were willing to serve in the war they were promoting.   I for one would like to know that my representatives are enrolled in the plan they create because in my mind, this gives them quick incentive to fix anything that might be wrong.   

So call me conservative; call me liberal; call me bi-political.  I voted for you Mr. Obama.  I really need some clarity I can believe in.  And my prayers go with you as you walk in to address that joint session of Congress and America tomorrow night, because unlike that Eagle Forum twit, I proudly serve both God AND my President.

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I have a Master's in English, so I serve neither God nor the President, but Quarter Pounders with Cheese.

Also, I'm fiscally and socially liberal, but grammatically conservative, indeed, reactionary. Anyone who uses "hopefully" to mean "I hope" around me had best expect the imminent opening of many cans of Whoop-ass.

Present company excepted, of course.
I love the well placed ad at the end of your rant. It reads "Living with Bipolar?". Do they have medication for what ails you?
you're like the agnostic deist who believes in god but sees all doubts and questions and admitting they sometimes just don't know as healthy and helpful to their spirituality. there is no reason it can't be the same with politics. great post.

i nearly passed out laughing on the Pogo comment though. ;)
Love this. Agreed and agreed.
See, this is why I refuse to listen to what passes for popular music.

Shall we play Twister? ;)
It's called thinking and that's always a good thing.
This is awesome, Annette. You have given us other bipoliticals courage to come out of the closet. I think we should have our own political party. And then our own real party. Without Lady GaGa.
If 50% of the population didn't know themselves as well as you---it would be a much better world. This is a great piece. Thinking human beings are SO much more complicated than the labels.

And like you said, "Americans are not good at nuance."
With all the discourse and rhetoric I'm bi-confused.
I'm for whatever Inhofe is against.
Great post, Annette! I LOVE the term "bi-political," and as a mom of a teenage girl, I really "get" what you're talking about. But beyond that, you demonstrate well that most Americans aren't "conservatives" or "liberals," or even strictly "Democrats" or "Republicans." We're people looking for some common sense to soothe what ails us as individuals and the country as a whole, and no one side has all the answers (or all the problems).
I would bet that most parents of teens have these bi-political moments. Good post - like the idea of asking our politicians to take the healthcare they create. Oh - and what Steve B. said.
rated for using the term bi-political. I like that. occasionally I feel slightly schizo-political...which involves a similar feeling of disorientation with our political options as they stand....
I intensely dislike the music you mention in your post. Bruce Springsteen said on NPR (when I don't know, but he did say) that most music was about let's do this, this and this, and then will you take your pants off and we'll have sex. I get that and I'm okay with it if it's couched in good music or poetic lyrics. I am hopelessly out of touch when it comes to music.

Anyway, good post, and there is always room for dissenting opinions on health care and other issues. What I have no tolerance for is this crazy stonewalling by the Republicans. I read (and listened to on NPR) an interview yesterday with Max Blumenthal who wrote Republican Gomorrah, about the religious right. It explained to me why they are so against people or government solving real problems like teen pregnancy or health care. They like to see people in desperate straits as it tends to push them in the direction of the extreme right wing. It has not worked in my case, but it was a good read and one reason I can never be bipolitical.
Jeez, is THAT what they're saying? (I can't make out the lyrics on those occasions when I hear those 'artists'.)
Me, too. I'm on medication because the continual game of Red Rover going on in my head is painful. I'm totally cool with healthcare reform because I'm looking forward to the narcotics.
Thank you all for the comments here. Myriad - I'm with you - usually happy I CAN'T figure out what they're saying. c&v, that's a selling point they aren't talking about enough! Steve, I would think that would be a very safe stance. Going to cut this short and instead try to read posts from all of you who commented - I appreciate hearing from you.
I agree with a lot of what you say
Proud Independent
I just realized I hadn't noticed a post from you in awhile so I checked in to see that I had missed this one. I think we should all look at politics with as open a mind as you did in this post. Deciding you are always going to disagree with someone because they belong to a certain party will get us nowhere. Unfortunate it seems that this is what most of our government representatives seem to do these days. Maybe you could teach them a thing or two!
What a great post! Like mamoore, I came a lookin' for word from you and ran into this gem. I'm just like you. I call myself an independent who by happenstance never ends up voting Republican.