Saturday, December 11, 2010

About John & Elizabeth and John & Elizabeth and Being a Hero

Such an unlikely collision of similarity and diversity – all at once.
I’m tired of hearing the standard caveat when John McCain is introduced … that he’s some indisputable hero. He’s not. He may have behaved heroically once, while being psychotically tortured as a prisoner of war, but that’s all. Has he conducted himself in a manner since then that even approaches a description of “hero”? No. His modern political life and description of his personal conduct reverts back to another word – bully. Watch video of him as he’s confronted with the irrefutable fact that the military’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT) policy has caused hundreds of fine officers to be tossed out of the military on account of their status (not for conduct, for status) and you’ll see a belligerent, repetitive, stubborn son-of-a-bitch insisting that “it's not the policy,it's not the policy,it's not the policy,.” No matter. The policy doesthat and he knows it.

Contrast this with Elizabeth Smart, who (like McCain) was a kidnapping victim. She, too, was psychotically tortured; abuse of her body and her mind is now public record. There may be, in fact, much more similarity in her time of captivity and that of Sen. McCain than has ever been publically acknowledged. But Elizabeth has shown nothing but courage since her rescue, bravely facing her abuser in court and addressing the public after the trial to tell other victims that they are not alone. You can go on, she said. You can live your life – it belongs to you, not your attacker. She has demonstrated the mature presence of mind that is credited for her survival and eventual escape from captivity and torture.
As a Senator, McCain has failed to stand up for veterans (yes, those closeted gay solders), insulted the intelligence of every military leader on the topic of DADT, looking much like he is on the brink of a tantrum or threatening to hold his breath until he gets his way … his homophobic way. What a shame and what an incredibly lucky thing that we kept this guy away from the Situation Room.

Then we have John & Elizabeth Edwards – a collision of human weakness and exceptional strength. Let’s be gentle … John simply lost his way. He may have behaved heroically once or twice – fighting like a pit bull for his clients and winning them millions – but when temptation came knocking, he rolled over, then lied and lied about it. He’s human. People lie to cover their mistakes in judgment. It’s not fair to call it natural, but it’s fair to call in understandable. Unfortunately, he forged ahead in denying his paternity of an out-of-wedlock child, likely because he wanted to preserve the possibility of being a candidate for the Obama administration’s VP or attorney general slot. What a shame. That was an opportunity to step forward and own his mistake. Instead, he looked around himself and said “Who, me? Naw, that’s tabloid trash …”

For Elizabeth Edwards, there were some bad decisions, too. Let’s be real (she’d insist). She, too, concealed her husband’s failings in nudging him to continue his campaign after learning her cancer had returned. She knew he’d been unfaithful and thought they could control (keep quiet) that information. But the campaign decisions aside, her story is all about what she did when confronted with irrefutable facts – another woman’s baby, paternity results, a continuing deception and oh, yes, the cancer. She took charge, made real-world assessments and bold choices. She spoke of the other woman’s child and said that her children needed to have a relationship with her … they were family, she said, they have the same father. The child, after all, was innocent in all this. They’d work it all out, she told a stunned Oprah.

And that’s the other part – telling Oprah. She not only had to face all this, she did it under an amount of public scrutiny that’s pretty rare for a private citizen. She understood the meaning of this outreach and not being overtaken by the grief of losing something dear – your son, you husband, your health, your privacy. She, like Elizabeth Smart, owned her survival and would tell her own story. She lived inside its organic value – to her. She knew that this pain and the scar tissue that would form from these injuries are what made her Elizabeth and that choosing to give up any part of it would make her less than what she was – a fully realized human being – the genuine article.

That is heroic.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Customer Go Home

It’s become a Saturday night ritual. I send a text message to my son and daughter-in-law: “10:00 @ AMF?”
He replies: “Yep” and most Sundays for the last six or so months, we have met at that time and place (on Durham-Chapel Hill Blvd.) to bowl two or three games, then go out for lunch.
We’ve done this because we’ve come to enjoy bowling and we’ve done this because games during that time are $1.29 each – far less than the usual freight.
When we started going every week, we practically had the place to ourselves. We told everyone we know about this recession-busting special, especially friends with kids or those facing employment challenges. This was one of the few options available for family fun that was affordable. Now, the place is jumping with activity. Lots of families ... especially with young kids.
But this weekend we learned that AMF has apparently added a Highway Robbery Division to its organization chart. In two weeks, they will discontinue the $1.29 Sunday rate and open bowling will be $6.00 per game.
When I inquired about the change, the person at the “service” desk confirmed that starting in two weeks, yes, $6.00 per game. No explanation, no apology, no other special offer (frequent bowler miles) to mitigate the pain.
This is no simple rate change for understandable reasons. This is pure hostility. Message received: Dear Regular Customer – please go home and don’t come back.
We will.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

The close of our most cynical year

What? Chest pains for Limbaugh?

I mean, can you STAND the thrilling irony of him being in a hospital in Hawaii (yep, the same one where Obama wasn't born) and is admitted for chest pains that my have indicated a heart attack.

Hey, I've been around for this stuff. It's scary. We've lost dear friends who didn't act quickly enough. If your chest hurts, take an aspirin and get thee to a hospital.

So, now Limbaugh emerges, all okay, holds a press conference to announce that because they found nothing wrong, America's healthcare system needs no fixing. I don't rall when, in the debate of '09, anyone suggested that medical care needed reform -- you know -- that nurses and doctors were bumbling fools who couldn't tell a rash from a tumor. I thought it was the funding -- the insurance aspect that needed reform, so that a millionaire got the same basic treatment as the groundskeeper at his hotel. I must have missed something while watching balloon boy coverage or the Tiger-tree-tramp channel.

Doesn't he care that this same hospital was part of this long conspiracy to give us a Kenyan as our president?

How does he conclude that there's no need for reform? Because they ran tests on him, found nothing and he didn't die?

He forgets, I guess, about the many examples (Chicago mayor Harold Washington comes to mind) who walked out of their doctor's offices with a clean bill of health and then dropped dead of a heart attack.

This was a stunt, kids. Complete fakery. Rush has no proof and, since he ripped my president even after he provided proof FROM THE SAME HOSPITAL, I will reject any/all proof that may subsequently flow.

He will blow hard on this for months if not the whole year. I'll never believe he was in distress. Never believe this was ANYTHING but a publicity stunt from a guy with absolutely no ethical standard. None.

Happy New Year Rush!