Random Thoughts of a Disordered Mind


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My Head is Too Full of Words

Were you shocked by the Tucson shootings last Saturday?  I wasn’t.  I’ve been expecting some kind of violent eruption since the last election and to be honest, I thought it would be Obama who was shot first.  He’s gotten more than the usual share of death threats because he is Black, because the economy tanked and jobs lost – and because so many people are angry at the world and he is the president and epitomizes The Powers That Be.

The Tucson shootings captured and emotionally entangled me. I was obsessive in looking at more information, more analysis, more ideas to explain what I saw and heard.  It actually reminded me of my reactions to 9/11, and not in a healthy way.

All of the articles, stories, reports, videos, analysis, and prostrations didn’t help.  One article quotes another until they go in a single giant chain of links connecting one to the other.  And they didn’t change the innocent people who were dead, and the assassination attempt on Gabrielle Giffords.   The left blamed the right, the right blamed the left, and talk show hosts decried any responsibility for anything.  Sarah Palin – well, don’t get me started there.

The problem is way bigger than why that particular mentally disturbed armed man managed to kill so many people at the grocery store – and there is plenty going on with THAT that will be dissected as we move on from here, hopefully not just with one party blaming the other.

Politicians and journalists analyzed and told us every single word, phrase, action, reaction, turn of the head, tone of voice, things done and things left undone until my head was full of words swimming in a big stew.  Our country is deeply angry at just about everything and looking for people to punish, and I’m afraid there will be a lot more violence and destruction before we get to a different place.

I don’t know how to change it and find that I isolate and just take care of myself (food, exercise, sleep).  More seems too much to deal with.  It’s not depression; I know what that feels like.  It’s more like chaos that’s too big to break down into pieces small enough to grab.  Though if my congresswoman has a meet and greet event in my area, I’ll definitely be there.

And in the meantime, I shovel.  We got over 2 feet of snow today.

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Obama spoke at the memorial service in Tucson not long after I wrote this, and I listened with tears in my eyes and a sense of peace and calm.  His words were Big and not Inflammatory or Partisan.  That’s what needed to be said, and what I needed to hear.  Thank you, Mr. President.

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In Which Anne Expounds on National Politics

Abstract:  If you live in Massachusetts tomorrow, vote tomorrow and be sure it’s for Martha Coakley.  Anne expounds on national political parties.

In case you hadn’t heard, tomorrow is election day in Massachusetts to fill the Senate seat vacated by the late Teddy Kennedy.  The seat has been Democrat for as long as I’ve been alive, almost all of that time held by Teddy.  My Republican family hated him but I didn’t, and was proud and pleased to have voted for him during my years in Boston.  He was a good man and worked hard for the country and for the people of his state.  His loss is huge, especially in this year of health care reform.

I know not everyone likes the plan coming out of the Senate (my family certainly doesn’t).  It’s not perfect by a long shot but with so many people without any health care at all, it’s important.  The Kennedy vote matters if this is going to pass, even if Kennedy isn’t the one to cast it this time.

So the election tomorrow is crucial.  I completely support Martha Coakley for the position and wish I still lived in Massachusetts so I could vote for her.  Her opponent doesn’t pay health care costs for his current employees and has vowed to be the 41st vote against the health care bill if elected and sworn in by the time it comes to a vote.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not an “everything must be the Democrat way or the world will come to an end.”  Yes, I am a political liberal.  But I’m also a realist and watching the Congress just tires me out and makes me want to clean house of both parties.  All they do is wrangle for votes and do their best to make the other party fail or at least be ineffective.  Votes are stalled.  Nominees are held up for months or longer, leaving key positions vacant rather than let the government and judiciary run efficiently.  Both parties are wrong for doing this; they don’t help anything except making themselves look strong and purposeful even when they really look stupid.

I want health care to pass and move to the implementation stage so the Congress can actually pay attention to some of the other huge issues facing our country, including how to create jobs, fight two wars, provide long-term aid to quake devastated Haiti, and a thousand and one other things.  I don’t expect it will happen.  The Republicans want Obama to fail and the Democrats to be swept out in the mid-term elections.  The  Democrats want to save themselves their seats and to try and do as much as they can before the Republicans take over again.

Just think of what we could accomplish if the parties actually worked together instead.


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Oh Happy Day

Obama in WashingtonPresident Barack Obama.  It has a nice ring to it — and I’m so glad we have at least 4 years to say it.

In my part of the world, at least, no one got any work done.  I have some friends who made the trip to DC to be part of the (freezing cold) crowd but I was content to stay warm and watch on screen.  People watched in movie theaters, in auditoriums, on giant TVs in public places and streaming live on the web from our desktops.

I watched and listened on CNN and Facebook, which let me share comments with my friends while we shared the experience of the music, the words, the faces, the hope, the promise of change.  I admit having the Chief Justice, and then Obama, mangle the oath of office was distracting but never mind that.  It was just one part of a bigger whole.

And I was intrigued by small things:  the way 95 movers worked for 5 hours to whisk out the Bush’s belongings, and moving in and unpacking the Obama’s, all while they were at the swearing in and assorted Inaugural events.  Painting and transforming the Oval Office.  The White House website changing as soon as the oath was taken.  Sasha and Malia skipping up close to see their dad become president.

My family in Texas said it was just another day; no one was particularly interested in the inauguration, which makes sense since they didn’t vote for the new president.  We, however, did – and the enthusiasm that flowered during the campaign just settled into a big happy glow today.

The right man, the right time, the right office.  Oh Happy Day 🙂


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Wow, Just Wow

FlagOne of my friends said she kept waking up early yesterday (2:30, 3:15, 4:25) asking herself, “Is it time to go vote yet?”  Just like Christmas.

The energy yesterday was palpable everywhere I went, from my polling place to the office to standing in line for my bagel at Au Bon Pain to chatting with people last night online.  I’ve never seen so many people so excited, so energized about an election before, no matter which candidate they supported.  They stood in lines for hours just to cast their vote because they believed it mattered, some for the first time ever.

I’m thrilled that Obama won.  I believe in him and where he can take the country.  But millions of people who voted for McCain are full of other emotions today, and we need to honor that and work together to move on.  It was eye-opening to follow the New York Times Word Train last night as the day went on, to see the words that people of both sides used to describe their emotions.

My last two candidates lost the presidency, one after going to the Supreme Court, and the country survived.  This is what we do here in the United States.  We have peaceful transition of power and work together to face the challenges that we all face together.

And if you start to miss Joe the Plumber on the news every other minute, there are bobbleheads available on eBay.  Act fast to get a piece of electoral memorabilia.  Or not. Me, I’m sick of him and glad it’s time to move on.


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Overwhelmed, Depressed, Sad and Angry

The second presidential debate is on tonight but I don’t know yet if I will watch it.  I just don’t know how much more of this garbage I can take – the economy is tanking, my retirement money is flushing down the tubes, prices are up, homes are being foreclosed, jobs are unstable, stress levels are through the roof – and the presidential campaign is getting nasty, with 4 weeks to go.

I WANT THEM TO TALK ABOUT THE THINGS THAT REALLY MATTER.

Not about people they each knew 20 years ago.  Not about being a POW.  Not name-calling and mud-slinging, defaming and undercutting each other. They all care about this country or they wouldn’t have put themselves through the wringer of public scrutiny.

Obama and McCain have plans to take us forward out of this mess, directions and goals for the next four years.  They are radically different in some ways, similar in others.  They have different styles, different priorities, different styles.  But the more time they spend throwing mud at each other, the more they cover themselves with it.

We need better than that.  We need integrity and to be treated with respect. People are hurting, people are scared.  Desperate people who deserve to be told what each candidate would really do, how they are different from the other one and from the idiot government we have now.  If you’re so good that we should vote for you, then you should be able to sell yourself without trashing the other person.

After all, when this is all over, I expect to see the government people work together to actually FIX things.  It will take lots of people in all areas and levels of government to pull us out of this morass.  The more you are angry and defaming the other side, the harder it will be to do that.

AND THIS IS DRIVING ME CRAZY.

It hurts my head and my heart to watch the news now.  And that reminds me of just after 9/11, when we all were both obsessed and traumatized by getting too much information.  We needed more more more even though what we heard was repetition of the same analysis and commentary.  But I had a very hard time pulling away from it then, and from the Katrina coverage, and now from this.  I want to know but I don’t want to be continually bombarded by failed banks, stock market failures, angry politicians, and Sarah Palin.  I want her off my radar except when portrayed by Tina Fey on SNL.

Make it stop.  My head hurts.  It’s going to be a long few years; don’t make it worse now.