Speechless

I thought of so many titles for this post:

This is why the planet is doomed
This is why the rest of the world hates the United States
The End of the World as We Know It

and so on…

I finally just settled on speechless, which the following quote from this morning’s New York Times leaves me. In the article Statistics Aside, Many Feel the Pinch of Daily Costs Wayne Toomey from Parrish, FL says:

“We went from totally believing in Bush to really having our doubts,” said Wayne Toomey, who owns a house with Ms. Tuttle in the nearby suburb of Parrish. “It comes down to his lack of care about gas prices.”

Now wait a minute. You are telling me it has not been the estimated 100,000 deaths in Iraq or the 2,415 American soldiers who have died in Iraq nor the whole going to war under false pretenses situation nor the torture of detainees in our custody BUT the reason that Mr. Toomey is starting to have doubts about George Bush is because of “his lack of care about gas prices”??!!?!

It is good to read things like this to shake me out of my Cambridge, Massachusetts induced stupor. This is what matters. Buying cheap gas so that we can drive farther, drive bigger, less fuel efficient vehicles, and doom the whole future of humanity.

It reminds me of this ad from during the time of Howard Dean that some conservative group ran on TV:

“Howard Dean should take his tax-hiking, government-expanding, latte-drinking, sushi-eating, Volvo-driving, New York Times-reading …” before the farmer’s wife then finishes the sentence: “… Hollywood-loving, left-wing freak show back to Vermont, where it belongs.”

We are the freak show, my dear readers. I know I repeat over and over that I don’t want to just complain but that I want to think of ways to do something differently. But it is 6:53 and I need to finish packing and leave to go to Kentucky, so that whole “thinking of a way to do something differently” will have to wait until another posting. But I will be thinking about it. I hope you will to.

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5 Responses to Speechless

  1. Valerie McKay says:

    Thanks so much for this post, it is so right on! How do we change the way we’re perceived – how do we communicate more effectively to get our message across? I struggle with this at work, and I struggle with this in politics. When Cliff and I have travelled (not that we’re travelled much) I realize that we forget how different people think in other parts of the country. What can we do to change that?

  2. Elizabeth says:

    Valerie, You can’t imagine how much this hits home (how we forget how different people think) since I am in Kentucky with lots of conservative Catholic and conservative Baptist relatives. I love them so much, and we have such a nice time together, but we so cannot connect when it comes to political issues. My sister and I have been talking about the idea of some sort of outreach to conservative folks in the most loving way. Not even so much to “convince” them of a different perspective, but to widen the area of conversation. Just to find a place where we can somehow kindly and compassionately share a different perspective which is so often absent. Now, of course, we just need to find a billionaire to finance such a big outreach. :)

  3. jeff says:

    Elizabeth, I agree, it certainly is discouraging to think what a thin slice of America we (and “we” know who “we” are) represent, and what a seemingly large chunk of the population seems to be totally off the mark in so many ways. But I don’t think our fundamental values are so different from the mainstream, and that could be the way we get out of this mess. I am encouraged by Barack Obama, US Senator from Illinois (Chicago), who seems to be able to articulate those common values and then talk about how we can protect or achieve them in sensible ways. For example, before pointing out what needs to happen regarding our gasoline habits and policies, he began by acknowledging that readily available oil has allowed us to develop a life style that most of us enjoy. BUT … and he goes on to explain where we should go from here, and why we need to. I think we’ll only begin to penetrate the American consciousness when we figure out where we agree with “most other” people and Obama seems to be doing that.

    You often say that everybody is just trying to make sense of what they experience. I think you are right, and that gives us something in common with everybody. I understand this, but still I keep myself carefully under wraps in nearly all my dealings with people — sort of a universal don’t ask-don’t tell attitude with which I face the world, because I don’t expect the people I meet to agree with me or understand me. It’s too bad. I find myself Speechless even when speaking might open doors. In my more lucid moments, I remember something I read on a t-shirt (quote from Ghandi, I think): Be the change you wish to see in the world. And I also believe people attract people into their lives who are like themselves. I’m sorry so many Americans seem to be so confused and misled now, but I’m happy to be finding kindred spirits at FUUSM and on your blog.

  4. Rebecca Gale says:

    Elizabeth, I completely agree. I attended a Media Matter seminar where they discussed this exact concept: its ok to make fun of Northeastern Elitist Liberals but its not the same if you do it to the “average American” in Texas. Can you imagine the furor John Kerry would have unleashed if he had said, “Take your cowboy boot wearing, steak eating, bible loving selves back to Texas?” It would have been an outrage.

    By the way, love the blog!

    Rebecca Gale

  5. Elizabeth says:

    Jeff, Thanks so much for your input on this (and Rebecca too!). I have hopes for Obama. And I think he is hitting the nail right on the head in his approach. I just wish I could find a way to do that better myself and to have everyone else do it better…. It is so difficult when we feel so strongly about things….

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