Thursday, May 22, 2008

Can You Believe I Just Listened?
And didn't say a word?
Me Neither.

Last night at Lotta's dance class two moms were talking politics. I had my nose stuck in "Shock Doctrine" by Naomi Klein. (Did you know that mentioning Klein's 'No Logo' is one way to brand yourself as a white person who likes things?) I had previously pegged one of the moms as a GOP'er, since she thinks No Child Left Behind might not be such a bad idea. (She had experience with graduates in the Chicago area who could not read).

Nope. Dems.

Now in another age and time we'd have shown each other the secret high sign and pondered impeachment and other dreams (to crib a phrase from a great blogger). But these days, no chance.

The one mom - one I don't know all that well - started talking about the election. The other mom (NCLB lady) was more of a listener, a devil's advocate.

It soon became very apparent that first mom was a Hillaryite. And it occured to me that she was very close to becoming unglued. She was speaking in a low voice at high speed. It seemed feverish. She had the tone of a 9/11 Truther when you say you agree with some, but not all, of their claims.

"And now, Obama says 'lay off his wife,'" she snorts. "I mean, hey, it's an election. She's fair game, she's campaigning for him".

My nose slowly rises from the pages of my lefty book. I squint.

"All the wives campaign. Nobody goes after them," I intrude on a conversation that I'm not really in yet.

"Yah but" (is a Wisconsin expression) "Michelle discusses policy. For instance," the Hillaryite continues, "I think its perfectly fair to go after Elizabeth Edwards for her stand on healthcare".

"As I understand it" (I haven't seen the ad)"they are attacking her personally, portraying her as unamerican. That's not policy." I say. And then I make a Cindy McCain joke that does not include the word cunt, which is not easy, and it does not get a laugh.

The other mom is nodding with me.

"Yah but" rejoins the Hillaryite "Michelle Obama has said A LOT of things that make me wonder about her. Yah know, she's pretty down on a country that's given her so much ....." she searches above her glasses for the word, "opportunity."

"Well, okay aside from the 'for the first time in my adult life' comment, what has she said?" asked the other mother.

"Oh you know" said Hillaryite. Conspiratorial whisper: "there's just a lot out there. And besides I don't think that 'first time' comment was a mistake. I mean, she's the Vice President of the University of Chicago hospitals, she's in Public Relations- she knows how to address a large crowd."

The other mother (okay, actually it was me, but that doesn't fit the narrative of me passively sitting by just listening, does it?) deftly steered the conversation around to things we could all agree on. The fact that the media covers the horse race and ignores the issues. Oddly, Hillaryite comments that it's just not fair that every little gaffe the candidates make gets covered ad nauseum. She sees no hint of irony in her stance.

A few moments later we are called into the ballet studio to watch our daughters' routines. NCLB mom whispers "I hate talking about politics right now. I'm just waiting for this to be over."

Me too.

When I get home I consult Google. I can't find much quantity in anti-American comments uttered by Michelle Obama. I do find much on the "first time" comment. The only other thing I find is a report on her senior thesis at Princeton which discusses the racial experience of blacks at Princeton. How they are treated, if there is assimilation after graduation, etc. I find that this was a controversy from February that completely passed me by. It seems some pearl clutchers see a conspiracy because Princeton is not releasing the thesis. It seems that the number of requests for the thesis is overwhelming the archivists at Princeton.

What has me somewhat perplexed, coming late to this controversy, is how anyone can be shocked that Michelle Obama would look around at Princeton and see racism. It is unforgivable for fellow dems to make this complaint.

The reason?

Samuel Alito.

Concerned Alumni of Princeton. The organization opposed to both women and minorities on the campus of Princeton. The organization devoted to the advancement of privileged white sons. The same people who, nostalgia brimming, longed for the days when the Ivy League had no women, had no blacks, had no hispanics. Might have a Jew. Anyone remember them?

Yeah, that crazy Michelle. Imagining racism at Princeton. What will we do about that?

Perhaps she's just uppity.


FranIAm said...

Brava brava brava!!!


This is stunning, but not really surprising.

dguzman said...

I think I probably would've had to deck them both.

I admire your restraint, Jess.

Anonymous said...

After getting my hair yanked at a business dinner after making a political joke, I just feign complete ignorance that there's an election cycle happening.

But dammit, I would have gone home and googled just like you did and seethed in the privacy of my own home.

Maybe that's why I rarely leave the house.

Randal Graves said...

It's a good thing a fucktard like Alito wasn't confirmed. Oops.

"I see black people." Yeah, they're everywhere. Stupid crackers.

I love the "there's a lot out there," which every group seems to toss out now and then. There's a lot of a lot of stuff. Could you be more specific?

Unlike you, I've been lucky in that I haven't had to converse with weirdo parents. I did go on a mini-rant over The Maverick® at the bus stop in response to an innocuous comment, so my fellow riders don't bring any of that crap up.

Dean Wormer said...

What's funny is that I would bet most Democrats would agree with Michelle Obama's "proud" comment.

I love that picture. My favorite recent picture of the Obama family was them hugging on stage right here in Portland.

I'm so happy he brought his kids here. No matter what else happens with this campaign and the election his daughters will be able to have the memory of 75,000 people turning out to support their dad.

CDP said...

Great post. Imagine the temerity of this woman, daring to suggest that there just might have been racism in the Ivy League in the 1980s. (on the other hand, in a similar situation, I overheard an Obama supporter making a snide remark about how Hillary's "pimping out" her daughter. Not sure how allowing an adult family member to campaign for you equates to prostitution, but I wasn't close enough to the conversation to ask that question).

Dr. Zaius said...

Clearly Michelle Obama is not only "uppity", but a sexist as well. I forsee an inflation of conflation on the horizon...

Jess Wundrun said...

franiam if you spend a little time on Hillary supporting sites, the behavior is a little crazy.

dguzman Actually, NCLB lady was very restrained and polite. She's probably the reason I was too. Though I try not to be politically combative in public - that's what the blogs for. And I believe that once the nomination is sealed we'll all have to get along again. I'm pulling my punches until the McCainiacs come out.

dcup you might not be blonde but you've got the tits to pull off naivete!

randal ^^ DCup is my idol in parental negotiations and niceties. She don't take no sassin'.

dean wormer no shit. Like its all a bed of roses right now? For blacks and whites and hispanics alike?

cdp everyone's bad behavior has got me down. I think Chelsea Clinton is the bees knees!! (Did Hillary make Chelsea date Elliot Spitzer?)

Dr. Zaius I think Michelle's problem is that she wasn't given the chairmanship of the Spring CAP cotillion. She's out for revenge!!

Distributorcap said...

another home run jess

i really like michelle obama --- i wish she would be my senator instead of hillary

Anonymous said...

Very good. It's now called, "No Child Left a Dime" !!

no_slappz said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.