A Note from the Past: My 2010 Election Post

This is a revised post from 2010.  So much of it is still relevant, but a lot has changed since then.  And not for the better.  I’ll repost it more or less as is and use it as a starting point for my current political thoughts as we get closer to the election….

 

I’ve thought a lot about this over the last few days as we head to the 2010 election. For Progressive’s like me, it’s forecast to be a rough one who’s results may lead us backward as opposed to foreward.

And, once again, the South will lead us there. We’ve always been good at looking fondly backward in the South–whether the facts support it or not.  That makes for fertile ground for the Republicans.  I’ve always said:  “Republicans look backwards with Fear while Democrats look forward with Hope.

That got me thinking. Why is it the South is such a stronghold for the Republicans? Here are my thoughts:

  1. The South is heavy with fundamentalists and evangelical religions. These people have been played by the Republican Party like a cheap violin. Here is what I would say to them: Open your eyes. Under Bush, the Republicans controlled the government and did not ban abortion or execute any of the other points of your agenda. If they didn’t do it then, they won’t do it now. They are using you. Wise up.  
  2. There is a history of Patriarchy in the South that is not dead. Many people, especially in smaller towns and rural areas, still follow the leadership of local political leaders with little thought. They are used to being led without questions or taking time to check the facts because they think they “know” the person and he/she is “one of us.”  
  3. Education is not really valued by a large portion of Southerners. They are suspicious of the overly educated and think they don’t understand them. The Republicans are very good at playing dumb and coming off as one of the “good ole boys” while they use the votes of the poor whites in the South to channel money and benefits to their rich friends on Wall Street.
  4. Southerners resists looking at anything too deeply. Introspection is not valued in the South. Action is….The Republican’s play on this very well.
  5. Facts don’t mean much in the South. Truth has always been conceptual rather than a reality. Any region that can convince itself for over 150 years that the Civil War was about “states rights” rather than slavery is capable of any kind of self-delusion.
  6. The South tends to hate the idea of Big Government, even if they enjoy the benefits. They can over look little things like Social Security, Medicare, new bridges and highways, and insurance that covers pre-existing conditions and college kids. They somehow don’t make the connection that the federal government provides these things…
  7. Southerners value personal freedom above all else, as long as you are a straight white man.
  8. The President is Black and he’s a Democrat. To a large group of folks in the South, this alone is enough reason to vote Republican. Although you may never get them to admit it…

What can Democrats do to change all this and win the South?

  1. Learn to fight. The South and most of the Country values people who stand up for their principles. The GOP has Balls and the Democrats have Brains. You have to have both to win in the South.
  2. Push for independent, bipartisan redistricting commissions.
  3. Get out your message. We’ve got to publicize the benefits of the legislation we do pass and how it helps the poor and middle class as opposed to the Rich. The Democrats and The President have failed miserably at this for the few years. We have real achievements, but no one knows it.
  4. Take on the bullies at Fox News. We have got to make people realize this is not a news organization, but a propaganda machine that provides entertainment to the ignorant. We should be pushing companies not to advertise on Fox News. We should be telling the Management to turn it off in Public places like restaraunts and gyms.
  5. Call a liar a liar. This relates to number 1, but I can’t stress this enough. The Republicans look right in the camera and lie. And no one calls them on it. We have to start making people aware that there are things called “Facts” and stand up for them.
  6. Make this about Class Warfare. A class war is going on for years and most of the country just started to realize this. And the Republicans started it. Call’em on it. 
  7. Make it clear: Unless you have an individual income of greater than $200,000 or a combined Family income of over $300,000, there is absolutely no financial reason to vote for the Republicans. If you want to vote for what is best for your pocketbook, vote for the Democrats. The Republicans really only answer to the Corporations and the wealthy.
  8. Make Obama white. That’s about the only way you can get about 35% of white Southerners to support the Democrats. We have to focus on the remaining 65% of the South with open minds.
  9. Wait it out….The older, closed minded, prejudiced Southerners are dying off. The younger ones are more open minded,  better educated and have seen more of the world. These are the Southern Democrats of tomorrow.
  10. Make your Democratic friends vote. Even if you have to go to their house or job and throw them in the car and take them to the polls. There are more Democrats than Republicans in many parts of the South. The problem is Republicans always vote and Democrats don’t. If more Democrats would actually just show up at the polls, we would win a lot more races.

Those are my thoughts for now.

All I have left to say is:

If you are a Democrat, get off your butt and vote. There are no excuses.

If you are a Republican-why don’t you just book a spa day for Tuesday and let the election go? That would really be best for all of us….

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Remembering 9/11 After 15 Years

For some reason, this anniversary of September the 11th is hitting me harder than usual this year.  Maybe it’s because it’s a numerically significant anniversary.  Or maybe, for me, it’s because enough time and distance has passed between who I was then and who I am now for me to look back with some perspective.

September 11th, 2001 is one of those dates that is a historical divide.  The world was different before September 11, 2001 and never the same afterwards.  You can’t help but think where you were when “it” happened.  It’s like the Kennedy assassination and Pearl Harbor were for previous generations.  It was a moment the world changed and you could not help but think of your own point of reference.  And you could not help but think you would never quite be able to understand the generations who were not there or old enough to experience it.

I’ve never really talked about my September 11, 2001.  I did not feel like I had the right to do so.  Too many other people were more directly impacted.  I was on the periphery.  But it was a defining moment for me.

I’ll never forget that Tuesday morning. Tuesdays are such an innocuous day.  Nothing important happens on Tuesdays.  In retail, it’s the slowest day of the week.  In travel, it’s an “off” day and a day to get good rates.  In September, the 11th is a day between summer and autumn when the world is in flux.  You can’t wear white, but it’s not time for sweaters or autumn leaves.  It’s a bland time of year when you have the sense you are waiting for the seasons to change and not much will happen until October.  Until September 11th, 2001.

I worked for American Express on Tuesday, September 11th, 2001.  I was in charge of customer identification/authentication and  operational customer service policies and procedures for U.S. and International Markets for Fraud Risk Management at Amex.  I don’t normally name the company I used to work for, but it’s hard to avoid it here.

I had no idea what was happening that day until my Mother called me.  I reported to a boss in Phoenix and most of my employees were in Phoenix, so my day usually began around 10:00 a.m. eastern time due to the time difference.  I also traveled about half the time and was frequently somewhere other than my home base in Greensboro.  I was not good about sharing my travel schedule.  I was getting ready to walk out the door when the phone range.

I answered the phone.  It was  my Mother  who said, “Thank god. I was afraid you were traveling or in  New York.”  I was never much for morning TV shows, so I had no idea what was going on.  She said “Turn on the TV.”  I did so while I was talking to her just in time to see the second plane hit the World Trade Center.  I said “I’ll call you back later.”

I sat there on my sofa in my den for a few minutes.  Totally stunned and inactive, then I knew I had to get to the office.  In those days, American Express had an incredible customer service department and I knew, with airplanes grounded and people stranded, with caos in New York, my colleagues would be trying to help them.  Cardmembers knew when they were in trouble to call American Express and someone would try to help them. I knew I had the rare opportunity to try to be part of helping people. And I knew I had responsibilities to both the customers and the company.

A little known fact is the American Express headquarters was right across the street from the World Trade Center and was damaged and out of action for a long time after 9/11.  The other people in my department in New York were at an off site meeting in Brooklyn that day .  It was 6:00 a.m. in Phoenix, our satellite office.  By default, I ended up being the senior person available in my department as we put together our Customer Service SWAT team to deal with 9/11.

I spent the entire day on the phone trying to balance customer servicing needs with protecting our customer’s interest.  It was intense, but I was lucky enough to be one of the people that day who could at least feel like they were doing something.    My boss, in Phoenix, when I talked to him, said “you know operations and customer service best, do what you think best.”  I didn’t feel quite so powerless as I would feel later.

I will never forget my colleagues at the Operations Center in Greensboro.  They were working to locate all the American Express employees in New York and trying to help our customers stranded across the world.  They were incredible.  I’ll never forget later talking to my travel colleagues who had booked people on those flights-especially the Platinum Travel people who knew some of those travelers well.

Even when I was being hard nosed and somewhat difficult that day in trying to achieve the balance between customer service and customer protection from Fraud, I never doubted I was working with some of the best people I would ever work with in circumstances we would never see again.  Or I hoped we would never see again.

Whatever may have happened in the intervening  years, I am so glad I was part of American Express that day.  Those people in Customer Service were among the unsung heroes of 9/11.  On one of the worst days in American history, you could call American Express and someone would be there and try to help you.

The corporate world may have changed a lot since then, but for one brief, shining moment, it was a good time to be part of American Express.  We felt like we were making a difference.  And those folks in Customer Service really did….

People will remember….

Even when the company has forgotten.

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Madonna is 58 Years Old…

How did this happen?

I’m not a big Madonna fan, but this makes me feel old.  She was  part of my youth.  For better or worse, she was really, really big and part of the era.  Maybe not supremely talented, but a cultural icon.  Especially  to my generation.

She is a little older than I am, but it still makes it harder for me to think of myself as young when she is….58.  Damn.

But she WAS the 1980’s and 1990’s and she was proof that ambition pays off..

And she has had her moments….and we were there…

 

One really fun movie,with a great dance soundtrack,  when Aiden Quinn was still hot, Rosanna Arquette still had a career and no one knew who Laurie Metcalfe was…..

 

One Diva Film.  With one.  Only one. Really,really good film performance in a major film…

 

Now she needs to just “shut the door”, as great stars past their prime once did, and enjoy her private life.

Or reinvent herself…She could do it if she wasn’t lost in bubble….

What I’ve seen of her lately is just sad….

She needs to realize she is 58 now, not 28…..

 

 

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I’m Back….at Least for a While….

I have let this blog go dormant for a while….

I’ve missed it.

For a while, I concentrated on my other blog http://www.mysoutherngothiclife.com, but now I’m at a  point I’ve taken that as far as I can for a while…

So, I’m back.  I don’t promise to stay or post with a degree of regularity, but for now, I’m back.  I’ll try to do better.

The world is just too crazy to keep silent and I’ve always been fond of a self-indulgent outlet.

So what has happened since I left blogging?

Trump.  You can’t ignore the Trumpster.  Bless his heart…..Who ever thought?

All I can say is, I’m amazed at the few friends I have who support him. I don’t want to “shut the door” or cut off dialogue as I’m amazed at why some intelligent, well-educated people support him.  I want to understand this….I was a History Major.  But I don’t get it….

What else has changed since I gave up this blog?  A few thoughts…..

A couple of examples:

  1. Flip Flops:  Everyone knows I hate those things.  I’ve been pleasantly surprised to see the proliferation is decreasing. Maybe it is Global Warming melting the damn things on the sidewalk, but I am seeing more and more men in more appropriate, adult shoes like boat shoes and athletic shoes.  Or maybe Trump is making middle class white men insecure and fearful, so  they are afraid their exposed toes will be mutilated by Lesbian Muslim Mexican Isis Terrorists, so they are enclosing them.
  2. Great questions remain:  “Why do designers make $150 shirts without exact sleeve links and in “slim cuts” when most Americans are fatter than ever?  One would think even the 1% would object to the tailoring fees to buy an extra-large shirt and shorten the sleeves to make a trim cut fit the actual real American body.  Not that I know anything about this….
  3. Benghazi.  This bores the hell out of me.  I’m sorry that 4 Americans lost their lives there, but many more lost their lives under the numerous embassy attacks under George W. Bush and  even Reagan.  There weren’t a bunch of “investigations” and false outrage then.  To my friends who continue to carry  on about this, all I can say is, again, bless your heart.  Read your damn history and turn off Fox “News”.  Learn to accept facts or admit you are as delusional as Amanda Wingfield and her expectation of Gentleman Callers.  You are smarter and better than this.
  4. Hillary.  Is there really a choice?  Hillary may be a little too corporate for me, but she is the best alternative.  She is smart and has paid her dues.  No one is more capable than she is to be President.  Can anyone seriously want Trump to have the nuclear codes?  Get a grip.  My politics may be “somewhere to the left of Mao’s Widow’s” as one of my professor’s at W&L once said, but I’m a pragmatist.  I would love for Bernie to have won and a social revolution to be underway, but it didn’t happen.  Get over it. Incremental change is better than no change.
  5. To my friends supporting “third-party candidates” like the Libertarians.  If you want to break up the two-party system, elect Libertarians, Green Party and other third-party candidates, to the School Board and City Council first.  You build alternative parties from the bottom up, not the top down. Otherwise, you are wasting your vote and helping Trump.  And any gay person who supports a Libertarian is crazy.  Sorry.  Fact.  Remember, we only had George W. Bush as a president thanks not only to the Supreme Court, but thanks to Ralph Nader.
  6. State Senator Trudy Wade:  Our local State Senator and a prime example of all that is wrong with Politics in NC.  I hate to say this, but she is evil.  She hides behind her office and her Republican masters and co-conspirators, refuses to talk to the press or debate and sends misleading, factually incorrect mailers to her “constituents.”  Frankly, I can’t stand the woman. Every time she is thwarted, she strikes back seeking revenge.  She only ran for State Senate after she lost re-election to her last  position.  She appears to be a deeply unhappy , revenge-seeing woman.  I can’t believe anyone trusts their pets to her veterinary care.  She is a scary woman.  She need to be retired.
  7. State Rep Jon Hardister: He, at first glance, seemed to be a moderate Republican. But he proved the theory true:  There are no Moderate Republicans.  When push came to shove about the Greensboro City Council redistricting, he voted with his masters in the Republican leadership in Raleigh.  Then he voted against it.  Then for it.  Then against it.  He single-handedly disproved the theory about “voting for the person, not the Party.”  He is a Republican First and a representative of his constituents  second.    I hope his career ends soon.  He obviously has no backbone.
  8. Pat McCrory. God…..Not only is he a bad Governor, he is a pitiful politician.  He proves my theory that people in Corporate “leadership” positions today get there not on talent, but on the ability to kiss ass.  The man cannot think for himself.  He is the poster child for entitled, unchallenged white male power.  If this were a true meritocracy, he never would have had his executive position with Duke Power, much less as Governor of NC.  Pitiful.

There is so much more I can and probably will say….but this is it for now.

I’m back and will try to use this blog to express my thoughts again on Life in the 21st Century.  Or at least as I see it.

And I plan to have a little fun along the way….

I’ll post my entertainment stuff as well.

I’ll behave on Facebook like a good boy and use this forum to show my true self….

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Chapter 93: Goldie – Part 2 | My Southern Gothic Life

New post on my other blog:

 

So Goldie moved to Charlotte in 1965…. This was a Big Deal back then when single women simply did not relocate for jobs. But my Mother, as usual, took center stage. “Goldie is moving to Charlotte.  I don’t understand this at all,but I hear they have good shopping in Charlotte.  We can go see Goldie and shop and buy things people in Danville don’t have and tell them we got it in Charlotte.  They have malls!  That will be so much fun!  Of course we will stay with her and visit, but the shopping will be great” Mind you, the only gene my family has in common is the “shopping gene.”  We have can go generations without any commonality, we can have serious discrepancies in educational levels and political beliefs,  but you say the word “shopping” and everyone falls in line.

Source: Chapter 93: Goldie – Part 2 | My Southern Gothic Life

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Chapter 92: Scarlett Grows Up 

New post on my other blog:

 

Some women, in every man’s life are unforgettable. Lavinia Randolph will always be that girl for me…. She was a force of nature.

From band days in High School through most of the next 25 years of my life, she was also the tie that  bound me through most of my years in my home town.  She was my guide and my companion on the journey to survive the modern day South.

I think every man, gay or straight,-has one or two amazing women in their life, and Lavinia-Lena- was one of mine… In my little town, she was the romanticized notion of what we all thought a Southern Belle should be.  She bewitched a generation of local Southern men-from garage mechanics to football hero to college professors to men about town.

She was Scarlett O’Hara, Maggie the Cat and  Blanche DuBois all wrapped up in one 5′ 2″ package.  She was Liz Taylor on location.  Only later would we realize how hard it might have been for her to play all those roles….

More: Chapter 92: Scarlett Grows Up | My Southern Gothic Life

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Uptown Girl

I know I am verging on “get off of my lawn” territory…

But….

At least in the 1980’s we had style….

Nothing, to me, illustrates this more than the two video’s below.

One is the original official 1983 video for Billy Joel’s “Uptown Girl” with Christy Brinkley….

That was an uptown girl who knew how to dress!

The other video is from a recent concert.  We won’t talk about how badly Billy has aged…

Instead, let’s look at the difference in how “Uptown Girls” are viewed….

Christy was definitely Uptown.

I love Jennifer Lawrence and friends but…..

There ain’t nothing uptown about these 2015 girls…..

Uptown Girls seem to have had an erosion of both class and style….

I may be elitist. but I still think there is a time and place for style…..

Classic style…

Like Uptown Girls used to represent…

Even when they played with Downtown Boys….

And I might add, there ain’t nothing wrong with Downtown Boys….

But that is another story…..

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