Vegetativenessarianism

Hello. My name is MomBrain. I am a blogaholic. It has been 21 days since my last post. (applause)

I am suffering a bad case of blog block. Not because I can’t think of anything to write about. No; in fact, there is too much to write about, and it’s causing a traffic jam in my brain.

This blog is almost exactly two years old. In that time, I’ve written almost exclusively from the “Mom” part of MomBrain. But more and more I’m having to stifle the “Brain” part. At best it feels silly, and at worst irrelevant, to write about the absurdities of my tiny little universe when the larger world is DRIVING ME CRAZY.

I have a Living Will that says I would not want to be kept alive in a persistent vegetative state. But in the sad case of Terri Schiavo, it has become clear that Congress will make the decision for me, regardless of my explicit wishes. So I have instructed my lawyer to remove the Big Guy as the executor of my Living Will,. and replace him with Tom DeLay. If Congress is going to get involved anyway, then let’s just cut to the chase and make it easy.

It is my sincere hope that 200 million Americans will join me and ask Tom DeLay to hold their lives in his hands. Do you trust him? Well, do you?

Closure

Ah, the sweet smell of democracy. In just one day I have been called disgusting, a f***ing moron, banal, irrational, a typical leftist liberal, and condescending. All because I said a magnet was stupid.

I have deleted the anonymous comments to my earlier post, because this is my blog and I get to set the rules. And one of the rules here is that hit-and-run commenting is not allowed. But I have kept the comments from those who dared to stand by them, stomach punching as they may feel, because hey – I support freedom of speech.

We now return to our original programming.

Supporting Our Troops

Oh dear. It seems MomBrain has stepped in a bit of dog poop. Pardon me while I scrape.

In a previous post I called those yellow “Support Our Troops” magnets stupid, because they don’t support our troops as much as they support the businesses (and third-world sweatshop labor) that make them. But Nancy comments that, according to her local news, half of the revenues (not just the profit) does go to groups providing supplies for the armed forces. The balance goes to the cost of manufacturing, with just a little profit left over.

Oh – wait. That’s not dog poop. That’s bullshit.

While I would like to cover Nancy with smooches and hugs (she is after all the “N” of Sister N fame), I fear she has been duped.

The people who first dreamed up these magnets have donated $45,000 to troop support, according to their Web site. Let’s just assume that’s a big part of their revenues and leave them alone. The problem is that a jillion other people are also making and selling these things. Finding a manufacturer is as easy as a Google search, and I can sell them out of the trunk of my car if I want. Whether any of the proceeds get to the troops at all depends on the honor of manufacturer and the retailer. And I am afraid corporate America is not that honorable.

Here are some ways you can genuinely support our troops for less than the cost of a magnet:

Freedom isn’t free. But it costs a whole lot more than $2.99.

Forgiveness

I am trying very hard to forgive George Bush. I do not enjoy being consumed by rage or contempt. And so I am trying to find a kinder, gentler way to regard the man who “leads” our country.

But it’s hard.

Forgiveness begins with understanding. But I do not understand the No Child Left Behind Act (nothing less than a hijacking of the American school system), the vigorous campaign to privatize Social Security, or cutting taxes with one hand while going to war with the other (which only leaves our troops unprotected and vulnerable – “Support Our Troops” indeed).

What’s more, I don’t think President Bush understands these things. I think he does what he is told. I think he lacks the intellectual energy to ask hard questions and consider complex problems. I think he likes his Daddy’s approval, and living in a nifty house, and calling world leaders by their first names.

This is my understanding. But it’s not making forgiveness any easier.

Confidential to George W. Bush

Dear President Bush:

Please, please, for the sake of international relations, stop calling Russian Prime Minister Putin “Vladimir.” The disrespect is astonishing. Not to mention the idiocy of the following statement: “Vladimir and I agree there shouldn’t be any nucular weapons in Iran.”

Well, hell, if you and Vlad agree, then let’s take a pull on a long cold one and go shoot us some prairie dogs, y’all.

Actions vs. Words

Here’s a shout-out to Doc in the Box, a Corpsman in Iraq who’s also a blogger. Thanks for the comments, Sean!

Doc’s fly-by through MomBrain has me noticing those magnetic “Support Our Troops” bumper stickers you see everywhere. Can I go out on a limb and say these bumper stickers are stupid? The $3 you spend for a magnet doesn’t support troops – it supports the business that sells it. Then you put the magnet on an oil-guzzling SUV that supports America’s dependence on countries like Iraq.

We mean well. But I think these bumper stickers are mostly a guilty knee-jerk reaction to what happened to the men and women (including my Dad) who fought in Vietnam. Those who opposed that war also opposed the people who fought in it. That’s a nice way of saying we screwed the troops. We also spit on them, threw things at them, and said horrible, nasty things about them. This time around, we want everyone to know we’re not confused. War bad, people good.

“Support” is a funny word – a noun and a verb. But in the context of supporting our troops, it’s a straightforward verb – an action word. Action = doing something. If you do indeed support our troops, what are you doing besides putting a cheap magnet on your car?

If any of you troop types read MomBrain, please leave a comment and let us know what we can do to support you, regardless of our feelings about the war. Everyone else, don’t stop with a Hallmark bumper sticker. Leave a nice comment on a soldier blog. Donate phone cards. Send a care package. Write an email. Donate frequent flier miles. Visit Defend America to find out how. But do something.

Random Thorn

Is any one else angry that John Kerry’s campaign has $15 million left from the Democratic primaries? Why didn’t they spend it? They should have been $10 overdrawn the morning after the election.

The Wizard of Oz, American Style

When I was young, back when the primordial ooze was still warm, someone told me that a good Democrat has a heart but no brain, and a good Republican has a brain but no heart. And I’ve been thinking lately that somewhere along the line the roles have changed. These days Democrats vote with their brains and Republicans vote with their hearts.

This is like a very bad sequel to The Wizard of Oz. Imagine the Scarecrow with his freshly minted diploma and brand new brain, synapses bursting like fireworks as he spouts Einstein’s theory of relativity. Meanwhile the Tin Man weeps real and copious tears as he holds his red ticking heart against his cold, metal chest. Actually, you don’t have to imagine – just remember, because this is where Wiz I ended.

On to Wiz the Sequel. The Scarecrow, having filled his empty head and learned a thing or two, suddenly realizes he is heartless. He thinks hard about it, analyzes the situation and realizes he doesn’t care. This is not the time for irrational decisions. So he votes for John Kerry. Meanwhile, the Tin Man, heartbeat echoing in his metal chest, suddenly realizes he is brainless. But he doesn’t care. Who needs a brain when life is so beautiful (ahuh ahuh ahuh)? So he votes for Bush.

This of course begs the question: Who the heck is the cowardly lion? I have to say Ralph Nader. He’s heartless and brainless, but the man has spine, you’ve gotta give him that.

It’s a Small World

Last night, the Big Guy hosted a party for his academic colleagues. Among the guests were people from India, Japan, Finland, Israel, Spain, Germany, and Guatemala. We didn’t plan to host an international party. In fact, I wasn’t even aware of it until I took the fifth vegetarian pizza out of the oven for a line of waiting Hindis while directing the Finns to the European chocolate.

It was a friendly, educated, opinionated, talkative crowd, which made for an easy party. But the unfortunate refrain of the evening was “How can Americans be so stupid?” Now before you get your knickers in a knot, remember that these people are friends. Some of them have lived in the US for decades, and have given birth to children who are American citizens. They pay taxes. They weren’t being contemptuous or rhetorical with their question. In fact, they ranged from sad to heartbroken. And so was I.

For the first time I felt defensive about our country as a whole. Democrats are not stupid – they are disorganized. Republicans are not stupid – the party organizers are geniuses, and their followers voted with their hearts. The only people I might apply the “S” word to are the people who didn’t care enough to vote, who take paved roads and mandatory education and a working judicial system for granted.

The Little Guy cleaned up. “Stupid” is the only word he knows right now that’s banned in our family, and it costs us 25 cents every time he hears it. His piggy bank stayed in the middle of the living room, and the international conversation was punctuated by the sound of coins dropping into a growing pile.

Politics in Action

In the hangover following Tuesday’s election, the Big Guy and I have committed to becoming politically active for the first time in our lives. He has put his first stake in the ground by writing a fabulous Op Ed piece that needs to get published somewhere. (Any powerful editors out there may email me RIGHT NOW.) And I myself have participated in a time-consuming written survey about local traffic and transportation issues.

If you get a knot in your stomach when you hear the phrase “political activist” (as I always did until now), please remember that it means more than marching in rallies and waving signs on highway overpasses. Volunteer in your kid’s school. Write a check. Attend a town hall meeting. Write a letter to the editor, your Senator, your mayor. Recycle. Drive a smaller car. Think about the things you care about. Then think about your talents, skills, time and money. How can you connect the two? You do have a voice, and we still need to hear it.

Examples and Kudos:

Sister K for using her blog to inform and persuade.

Sister N, for bringing her 14-yr-old daughter to the voting booth with her.

My Ohio writer buddy who just published a post-election essay in Salon.

My mom friend who’s volunteering in the neighborhood family co-op.

My lawyer neighbor for organizing opposition to a local transportation issue.

The many, many parents I know who actively raise and donate money for their kids’ schools.

It’s not enough to talk the talk – we need to walk the walk. What can you do today to make our world safer, healthier, happier?