Proud to be an American

Well, the day is here. The day is finally here. We’ve been waiting. And waiting. And waiting. And in my opinion, too damn long. Everyone is so charged up. There are cheers and jeers all around. We’ve become a nation divided. And you know what? That makes me sad? Of course we all have different views, needs, desires and interests but that’s what makes us what we are. That’s what makes us American. I have never seen such a bunch of Nervous Nellies out there. Okay, well maybe 4 years ago. And 8 years ago. And so on and so on and so on. And maybe my candidate will win. And maybe yours will. But I know this. I know we are a country that celebrates freedom and hope. And if Obama wins we will not implode. And if McCain wins we will not implode. The President may run our country but He alone can not rule it. Our Constitution and our Government were created for the people by the people. Let’s have some faith in our people that whatever happens He (and They) can do the right thing. I am sick of all this McCain bashing. I am sick of all the Obama bashing. What happens happens and we should not go home feeling sad or sorry for ourselves if our candidate doesn’t win. I do not like all this negativity that is surrounding this election. I do not like the negativity that my children are hearing that is surrounding this election. We need to remember that we should be so very grateful that we indeed can go out and cast a vote and make a change. And we should never ever forget this and we should never ever take this privilege for granted. So, may the Best Man win… and even if he doesn’t, the winner will have my support because I am an American and we all are Americans and we will stand taller and freer and prouder if we all band together.
So go cast your vote then head over to the local Starbucks and get your free coffee!
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Enough Already… One week and Counting!

This election is a lot like pregnancy. It has been painful at times (excruciatingly so) and way, way, way too long. Like obstetricians poking and prodding much too frequently for nine very long months, the media pokes and prods our presidential and vice presidential candidates. Look, it’s no secret where I stand politically these days. (Though truth be told neither candidate is ideal.) But what I heard on the news yesterday morning was appalling, disgraceful.

Somehow I was able to escape the antics of Blue and Joe, Max and Ruby and tune into what I believe was an NBC station. Good Lord help me if my folks over at Morning Joe stooped this low… but someone was actually interviewing the second hand shop where Ms. Palin and her daughters shop. And whoever this interviewer was (I was in the bathroom trying to do my hair) actually had the audacity to ask how much Ms. Palin and her daughters spent on their shopping sprees there. How completely and utterly tacky is that? Gauche, as my grandmother would have said. Delving into her personal-political life is one thing. Delving into her clothes shopping habits when there is nothing wrong with them is something else completely. (In fact, by shopping at a second hand store she is indeed recycling.)

No one made fun of Hilary while her husband ran for office. And they should have. Boy should they have. When her husband was elected Mrs. Clinton had a complete and total transformation. (Thank Goodness.)

I am sure this stupid, complete waste of time interview was all a result due to the latest gossip about the Alaskan Governor trading in her second hand clothes for the haute couture and high price tags of Saks Fifth Avenue and Needless Markup, er, I meant to say Neiman Marcus… If Obama can spend (waste) millions on his campaign then for crying out loud let the woman dress nicely. If someone is willing to shell out some money for some good quality clothing then let them. Mrs. Palin doesn’t do too terribly badly on her own. She just needs a little fine-tuning.

I only wish, perhaps, that someone would afford her a nice stylist because, come on, this beehive doo-op thing has to go. And her Lens Crafters should get tossed into the trash. Unless she will no longer be able to see Russia from her bedroom window. In that case, she should keep them.

While we are on the complete opposite sides of the political spectrum (I being on the North Pole and she being on the South) I have to admit she is a very attractive and bright woman. She’d be stunning if we added some highlights and contacts. Her suits are too stuffy indicating that she is less Maverick than she would like to admit. So whoever the new stylist is, if you are by chance reading this, I think Sarah needs a little color and sparkle under her suits. And really, one can dress quite conservatively without dropping tens of thousands of dollars an outfit. I think Sarah would look quite well in a nicely tailored Calvin Klein pantsuit, or an elegant Ralph Lauren (doesn’t have to be Black Label) suit in black or charcoal grey worn over a pretty hot pink cashmere (or even lavender!) sweater and some pearls. Pearls are stylish and the perfect accessory. I just implore that she stay away from my J. Crew!

She needs to veer a little bit away from her comfort zone. Look we all know she is one sexy broad, so play up those attributes. A little sex appeal never hurt anyone. And obviously, they’ve brought Ms. Palin a long way. There is nothing wrong with a soft, sexy hockey mom.

In a week her 15 minutes of fame will be over. Let her go out in style!

Meggie, Joe and I

Yesterday morning I met my friend Meggie at Starbucks. We got the two big club chairs over by the window and settled down with our coffees. I am sure you all know what kind I ordered. She ordered the same. For two hours we gabbed on and on and on. We barely came up for air. Meggie is the kind of girl who keeps you laughing. Like me she is often an embarrassment to herself. We can relate to one another incredibly well. We share similar embarrassing stories. I may walk out of bathroom stalls with my pants half up in attempt to help my preschooler in the next stall get his down while Meggie’s wrap skirt completely unwraps. In public. I mean, isn’t that just so me? Isn’t it! We paused a few seconds here and there to breathe and to empty our aging bladders. “Isn’t it interesting,” she asked “That now, when you do jumping jacks you have to pee all the time?” Interesting indeed. We were talking about our trips to the gym. Or lack thereof. We talked of our treadmills collecting dust and being used as clothing racks. We talked about our rapidly expanding waistlines as we sipped our 500 calories lattes. We talked about Weight Watchers and Caramel Apple cookies. We talked about careers and the new ones we would start as our kids grew. We talked about Donnie Deutsch who hosts a wonderful business program called Out of the Box. We talked not about new business strategies and getting them off the ground, but instead, we talked about Donnie’s boyish good looks and his handsome physique. Which got us over to another NBC affiliate and the ever so handsome and ever so dreamy Joe Scarborough. Meggie first introduced me to Joe years ago when he hosted his nighttime news program, Scarborough Country. I used to stay up late at night for him. Now that he has his Morning Joe I get up extra early for him. His new program is much better. His cohorts are pretty cool themselves. Willie’s great. Mika rocks. And she’s pretty and smart. But she’s not Joe. Nobody is Joe. Joe’s a Republican. Did you know that? He’s a Republican who likes to bash Republicans. Isn’t that just so sexy? He is way to sexy for his shirt. Anyhow, as a Republican swinging the other way, I can truly appreciate him. And since Meggie and I were talking about Joe and Mika and Willie, of course we started talking about politics. And of course the subject of You Know Who came up. And we decided that we should vote for her.

I loved The West Wing… I love Aaron Sorkin and I love this New York Times Op-ed Piece!

Aaron Sorkin Conjures a Meeting of Obama and Bartlet

By MAUREEN DOWD
Published: September 20, 2008
Now that he’s finally fired up on the soup-line economy, Barack Obama knows he can’t fade out again. He was eager to talk privately to a Democratic ex-president who could offer more fatherly wisdom — not to mention a surreptitious smoke — and less fraternal rivalry. I called the “West Wing” creator Aaron Sorkin (yes, truly) to get a read-out of the meeting. This is what he wrote:

Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times
Maureen Dowd
Jason Polan

BARACK OBAMA knocks on the front door of a 300-year-old New Hampshire farmhouse while his Secret Service detail waits in the driveway. The door opens and OBAMA is standing face to face with former President JED BARTLET.

BARTLET Senator.

OBAMA Mr. President.

BARTLET You seem startled.

OBAMA I didn’t expect you to answer the door yourself.

BARTLET I didn’t expect you to be getting beat by John McCain and a Lancôme rep who thinks “The Flintstones” was based on a true story, so let’s call it even.

OBAMA Yes, sir.

BARTLET Come on in.

BARTLET leads OBAMA into his study.

BARTLET That was a hell of a convention.

OBAMA Thank you, I was proud of it.

BARTLET I meant the Republicans. The Us versus Them-a-thon. As a Democrat I was surprised to learn that I don’t like small towns, God, people with jobs or America. I’ve been a little out of touch but is there a mandate that the vice president be skilled at field dressing a moose —
OBAMA Look —

BARTLET — and selling Air Force Two on eBay?

OBAMA Joke all you want, Mr. President, but it worked.

BARTLET Imagine my surprise. What can I do for you, kid?

OBAMA I’m interested in your advice.

BARTLET I can’t give it to you.

OBAMA Why not?

BARTLET I’m supporting McCain.

OBAMA Why?

BARTLET He’s promised to eradicate evil and that was always on my “to do” list.

OBAMA O.K. —

BARTLET And he’s surrounded himself, I think, with the best possible team to get us out of an economic crisis. Why, Sarah Palin just said Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac had “gotten too big and too expensive to the taxpayers.” Can you spot the error in that statement?

OBAMA Yes, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac aren’t funded by taxpayers.

BARTLET Well, at least they are now. Kind of reminds you of the time Bush said that Social Security wasn’t a government program. He was only off by a little — Social Security is the largest government program.

OBAMA I appreciate your sense of humor, sir, but I really could use your advice.

BARTLET Well, it seems to me your problem is a lot like the problem I had twice.

OBAMA Which was?

BARTLET A huge number of Americans thought I thought I was superior to them.

OBAMA And?

BARTLET I was.

OBAMA I mean, how did you overcome that?

BARTLET I won’t lie to you, being fictional was a big advantage.

OBAMA What do you mean?

BARTLET I’m a fictional president. You’re dreaming right now, Senator.

OBAMA I’m asleep?

BARTLET Yes, and you’re losing a ton of white women.

OBAMA Yes, sir.

BARTLET I mean tons.

OBAMA I understand.

BARTLET I didn’t even think there were that many white women.

OBAMA I see the numbers, sir. What do they want from me?

BARTLET I’ve been married to a white woman for 40 years and I still don’t know what she wants from me.

OBAMA How did you do it?

BARTLET Well, I say I’m sorry a lot.

OBAMA I don’t mean your marriage, sir. I mean how did you get America on your side?

BARTLET There again, I didn’t have to be president of America, I just had to be president of the people who watched “The West Wing.”

OBAMA That would make it easier.

BARTLET You’d do very well on NBC. Thursday nights in the old “ER” time slot with “30 Rock” as your lead-in, you’d get seven, seven-five in the demo with a 20, 22 share — you’d be selling $450,000 minutes.

OBAMA What the hell does that mean?

BARTLET TV talk. I thought you’d be interested.

OBAMA I’m not. They pivoted off the argument that I was inexperienced to the criticism that I’m — wait for it — the Messiah, who, by the way, was a community organizer. When I speak I try to lead with inspiration and aptitude. How is that a liability?

BARTLET Because the idea of American exceptionalism doesn’t extend to Americans being exceptional. If you excelled academically and are able to casually use 690 SAT words then you might as well have the press shoot video of you giving the finger to the Statue of Liberty while the Dixie Chicks sing the University of the Taliban fight song. The people who want English to be the official language of the United States are uncomfortable with their leaders being fluent in it.

OBAMA You’re saying race doesn’t have anything to do with it?

BARTLET I wouldn’t go that far. Brains made me look arrogant but they make you look uppity. Plus, if you had a black daughter —

OBAMA I have two.

BARTLET — who was 17 and pregnant and unmarried and the father was a teenager hoping to launch a rap career with “Thug Life” inked across his chest, you’d come in fifth behind Bob Barr, Ralph Nader and a ficus.

OBAMA You’re not cheering me up.

BARTLET Is that what you came here for?

OBAMA No, but it wouldn’t kill you.

BARTLET Have you tried doing a two-hour special or a really good Christmas show?

OBAMA Sir —

BARTLET Hang on. Home run. Right here. Is there any chance you could get Michelle pregnant before the fall sweeps?

OBAMA The problem is we can’t appear angry. Bush called us the angry left. Did you see anyone in Denver who was angry?

BARTLET Well … let me think. …We went to war against the wrong country, Osama bin Laden just celebrated his seventh anniversary of not being caught either dead or alive, my family’s less safe than it was eight years ago, we’ve lost trillions of dollars, millions of jobs, thousands of lives and we lost an entire city due to bad weather. So, you know … I’m a little angry.

OBAMA What would you do?

BARTLET GET ANGRIER! Call them liars, because that’s what they are. Sarah Palin didn’t say “thanks but no thanks” to the Bridge to Nowhere. She just said “Thanks.” You were raised by a single mother on food stamps — where does a guy with eight houses who was legacied into Annapolis get off calling you an elitist? And by the way, if you do nothing else, take that word back. Elite is a good word, it means well above average. I’d ask them what their problem is with excellence. While you’re at it, I want the word “patriot” back. McCain can say that the transcendent issue of our time is the spread of Islamic fanaticism or he can choose a running mate who doesn’t know the Bush doctrine from the Monroe Doctrine, but he can’t do both at the same time and call it patriotic. They have to lie — the truth isn’t their friend right now. Get angry. Mock them mercilessly; they’ve earned it. McCain decried agents of intolerance, then chose a running mate who had to ask if she was allowed to ban books from a public library. It’s not bad enough she thinks the planet Earth was created in six days 6,000 years ago complete with a man, a woman and a talking snake, she wants schools to teach the rest of our kids to deny geology, anthropology, archaeology and common sense too? It’s not bad enough she’s forcing her own daughter into a loveless marriage to a teenage hood, she wants the rest of us to guide our daughters in that direction too? It’s not enough that a woman shouldn’t have the right to choose, it should be the law of the land that she has to carry and deliver her rapist’s baby too? I don’t know whether or not Governor Palin has the tenacity of a pit bull, but I know for sure she’s got the qualifications of one. And you’re worried about seeming angry? You could eat their lunch, make them cry and tell their mamas about it and God himself would call it restrained. There are times when you are simply required to be impolite. There are times when condescension is called for!

OBAMA Good to get that off your chest?

BARTLET Am I keeping you from something?

OBAMA Well, it’s not as if I didn’t know all of that and it took you like 20 minutes to say.

BARTLET I know, I have a problem, but admitting it is the first step.

OBAMA What’s the second step?

BARTLET I don’t care.

OBAMA So what about hope? Chuck it for outrage and put-downs?

BARTLET No. You’re elite, you can do both. Four weeks ago you had the best week of your campaign, followed — granted, inexplicably — by the worst week of your campaign. And you’re still in a statistical dead heat. You’re a 47-year-old black man with a foreign-sounding name who went to Harvard and thinks devotion to your country and lapel pins aren’t the same thing and you’re in a statistical tie with a war hero and a Cinemax heroine. To these aged eyes, Senator, that’s what progress looks like. You guys got four debates. Get out of my house and go back to work.
OBAMA Wait, what is it you always used to say? When you hit a bump on the show and your people were down and frustrated? You’d give them a pep talk and then you’d always end it with something. What was it …?
BARTLET “Break’s over.”

This brilliant piece can be found at The New York Times Website

a peace of my mind

You don’t need to agree with me. I need to vent.

I’ve been laying low. I did not want to paste yet another picture of a plane flying in to a building. Or a building catching on fire and collapsing. As a child of the city I knew little about the WTC growing up. I did not know much about what went on in and around those buildings. I did know that those two towers were as monumental to my skyline as the Chrysler and Empire State Buildings and the many bridges that connected the island of Manhattan to the surrounding boroughs and New Jersey. Flying in to the city to see that all familiar skyline was reassuring. I was home. Driving over the Tri-Borough bridge at night to see the millions of lights glimmering in the horizon like the stars up in the Heavens (or heck, like diamonds at Tiffany’s) has always produced an immediate calm for me. I am proof that you can take the girl out of the city. But you can never take the city out of the girl.

I grew up an only child to two very goal oriented and successful parents. I was exposed to more arts and culture at a young age than most people have been exposed to in their life time. I was very comfortable in my grown up world and feel very fortunate to have had the childhood I did. I traveled a great deal and learned two languages. French and Spanish. I spoke French fluently from my early years. Later on I spoke Spanish proficiently. The world was my oyster — I had it in the palm of my hand.

Now as I have my own children I want for them much of what I had as a child. I want to educate them to be open minded and tolerant of everyone. I want them to give back to the community and, in essence, to do unto others as they would have done unto them. I want them to respect everyone. All creeds, races and religions. I am pretty certain that they do.

We lost our innocence 7 years ago. Something terrible and tragic happened. We were attacked for being open minded and free. For freedom of thought and speech. We were attacked in a most brutal and terrible way. What’s worse, Innocent people were attacked. People doing nothing but carrying on with their daily lives that beautiful September morning. The skies were blue. Bluer than I had seen in a long time. It was a crisp and quintessential September morn. And then it wasn’t. And in my backyard my skyline came tumbling down. And so had hopes and dreams and lives… enough about that. No need to rehash those terrible moments.

Now we are approaching a great moment in history. A new President will take office. We will travel in a new direction. Change at this point is good. Change is absolutely necessary.

I am not a terribly political person by nature. I do not really talk about politics. I’m not comfortable doing so unless with close friends. It makes me uncomfortable. Uneasy. More Republican than Democrat I do share ideals with both parties. Until a couple of weeks ago I was not entirely sure who I was going to vote for, though was leaning more toward the Republican Party. Then Obama picked his running mate. A wise and respectable choice. I waited to see who McCain would pick. He had a long list of candidates. Then a little known Alaskan Governor was elected. Not a big powerhouse I thought perhaps she would be a fresh air in DC. And then all these stories started to emerge. And then I started to do a little research.

And truth be told I am heart sick. Devastated over his choice of a running mate. It has nothing to do with her being a woman. It has nothing to do with not being able to mother her children. (Besides, what’s the difference, really, between a father as President and a mother? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.)

Why I am so completely sickened and worried for the sake of my country is because this woman is living in another era. Her narrow-minded thoughts are bringing us back in time and destroying all that we have worked for and strived for to make this nation what it is. To me these “litte” issues are just as important as our relations with other countries, just as important as our being a powerhouse in the free world, and just as important as putting an end to the war in Iraq, restoring peace and bringing our troops home.

I am worried about those things that fundamentally make us who we are. I do not want someone who would even so much as query about removing a book from a small town library. If you don’t want your own children to read a book then you take care of it. But don’t prevent me from doing so. I will parent my children as I see fit. I read one of the books Ms. Palin supposedly wanted removed. It was Go Ask Alice. I never turned in to a drug user. That particular book never made me want to go out and “experiment.” Instead it had the opposite effect. I loved that book and it lingered with me for many years in my youth. I am a writer and a reader. Freedom of Speech is our First Amendment. By “removing” books you are single-handedly violating our right to free speech. By violating our right to free speech you are doing what those Plane-Flying-Fucking-Cowards did. You are killing the American people and her spirit.

Homosexuality is not a fucking disease. Tuberculosis is. Leprosy is. Your church can not “cure” a homosexual. I have issues with that. Huge issues. Praying to your God is not going to make a man want to marry a woman if he is not biologically programmed to do so.

Abstinence is not the answer either. Look at your children. Teach them properly. Give them the tools they need so that they don’t get knocked up at 17. Don’t take away their childhood and livelihood. A trip to planned parenthood can save a bright future. Don’t add yet another person to that ever-growing poverty statistic. Put your daughters on birth control and let them get a good college education and become working, contributing members to society.

My biggest issue at hand is that someone who is going to run a country needs some foreign policy experience. How can a woman who obtained her first passport in 2007 possibly have enough experience to deal with complicated and delicate world affairs. My God, she’s never even met a dignitary.

I know Ms. Palin is not running for President. But the possibility of her becoming one is there. I can not have such a closed-minded person with such little experience and no worldliness whatsoever run my country. I can not.

When I vote now I vote not so much for myself but my children and their future. I want my children to grow up and make their own choices. Be they wright or wrong they will always be encouraged to make their own choices. I encourage them (with a little guidance, of course) to do so now. They will make mistakes and learn from their mistakes. Nothing is so important a lesson in one’s life as the mistakes one makes and the lessons learned along the way.

If my daughter wants to read Go Ask Alice when she is in high school then she should. If she wants to write her own controversial book when she gets older, she should. If she accidentally gets pregnant while at Harvard Med School while comingthisclose to finding the Cure for Cancer what she wants to do with her fetus is HER choice. Not mine. Not the government’s.

If he lives that long… I can not imagine the fate of this country in incapable hands. How many more 9-11s will we have if this country is in incapable hands? It really, really terrifies me.

My vote was thisclose to being John McCain’s. But given his track record with melanoma, knowing that nothing is permanent and that he could potentially pass away while in office, I can not give this man my vote.

I am not looking at Parties here. I am thinking as an individual. I am thinking as a mother. As Americans we have to look across the Party lines and see the truth as clear as she is in front of our eyes.