Because they were boring, I remember very little of high school English classes, and even less of The Great Gatsby. Most of what I remember of that book boils down to two things: The first is that Nick has a giant, poorly-repressed homosexual boner for Jay Gatsby. The second is more enduring – it’s when Daisy says about her newborn daughter; “I hope she’ll be a fool – that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool.”
How true, I remember thinking to myself, and how sad that it almost a century later and that was still the best thing a girl could be. I wished, with a not-so-small but shameful part of myself, that I was also beautiful and foolish.
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Hello friends, great first day at the Democratic National Convention, right? There sure was a lot of talk about revolutions there, which is why I think it’s a good time to sit down and have an honest chat about the historical record on revolutions, and how they actually work.
Voting in 2008 and in 2012
When I woke up yesterday morning, it was seven AM. My mother, who was the Democratic Ward Captain, was on her cell phone and, I think, the house phone with the local congressional office. There was some sort of confusion about where people from each ward lined up, which ward they were in, and if ward maps existed that could be passed around the line. I had woken up to all this noise with radiating jaw pain from clenching my teeth in my sleep and a horrible stress headache, which was how I had woken up for the last three or four days in a row. I took double the amount of Xanax I usually take every morning. I was terrified that I would go to sleep that night in a country where Barack Obama would no longer be my president.
If you listen closely to the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, you can hear the strains of a familiar refrain beginning, the same one that starts when anything happens in the self-proclaimed center of the universe: the cheers that New York City is the greatest city in the world and that the aftermath of Sandy only proves it. (Never mind that Jamaica, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic were hit equally hard and don’t have the same financial or governmental mechanisms to help them recover. America!) Inherent in this message is that there’s that there’s something that makes the people there better, that the heroic feats carried out by people in the wake of Sandy would not – nay, could not – be carried out by anyone anywhere else, ever. So before we all give in to that temptation, let’s call out what this sort of thing is – it’s bullshit.
So it was a normal Sunday night, I was browsing on twitter, and I saw the hashtag #chrishayesbravery was trending, which I totally didn’t understand. I mean, I don’t understand most trending topics on twitter because I’m not fourteen, but this one was weird in that I both knew the person it was referring to and didn’t understand what it was about. But after some googling and poking around, I figured out that it was an angry backlash to a segment on his morning show in which he expresses discomfort with blanket referring to all military casualties as heroes. And instead of being angry, even watching the tiniest, most unfavorably-edited clip? I agreed with him.
When the results of the South Carolina primary came out and Newt Gingrich was the clear winner, many of my friends were, to put it lightly, dismayed. South Carolina, after all, has successfully predicted the Republican presidential nominee for the past thirty-odd years, and we were getting Newt? Unconscionable! A sign of our deteriorating political system! We as Americans deserved better than this!
I found the whole thing hilarious.
The difference, I have found, between people like me who are plain old amused and people who are outraged, is that the outraged people seem to have some sort of faith in the Republican electorate to make sensible decisions. And I… well. I think saying “I don’t” is sort of an understatement. If reaching to political consciousness in the directly post-9/11 era while being raised by two ardent democrats/socialists hadn’t already killed that, I think any and all Republican shenanigans post-Obama would have taken care of my remaining goodwill quite effectively. As far as I’m concerned, the Republican party has crossed the line of common sense/decency and is so far into Batshit country that they’re just never coming back. So to me, the more opportunities there are for things like Newt Gingrich congratulating the “diversity” of the presidential candidates when they are all rich, white, heterosexual, Christian guys, the better. Vive la crazy! Let your racist, classist, sexist, homophobic freak flag fly, Republicans!
This notion has not comforted anyone I know who was upset about the Gingrich win, and they still are sniffy and muttering unhappily about our country deserving more and the state of political discourse today, blah blah blah, American ideals, blah blah blah. And as someone who both loved Jon Huntsman and sometimes just re-reads Dwight Eisenhower’s wikipeida page to weep over what Republican politics should be, I get that. But I think the reason I don’t think that this situation is the time or place to nurse that can best be explained, I’ve found, if you think of the Republican primary as a season of The Bachelor.
Posted in Personal Writing, Politics
Tagged gop, gop 2012, herman cain, jon huntsman, michele bachman, mitt romney, newt gingrich, republican presidential nomination 2012, republican primary, rick santorum, ron paul, the bachelor
When I heard that there was going to be a press announcement Sunday night I was totally freaked out. When I hear “surprise press conference regarding national security” that’s going to happen that late on a Sunday night, to me that translates to you’re all going to die, fuckers, put your head between your knees and kiss your ass goodbye.
So it wasn’t that. It was good news. It was Osama bin Laden. And I should have felt relieved, or proud of my country, or something. And I did feel relieved that it wasn’t some sort of imminent bombing, but mostly I felt… nothing. I felt absolutely nothing.