Yes. I do have to go there.

Okay. I’m on that horse again. You know the one, the one that goes straight to wonderland, where everything is rosy and pretty . . . no wait. Not that one. The dead one. That’s the one I’m on, the proverbial one in the front yard that I continue to beat whenever I come across some glaring instance of some person who is pretending to be for the people, while that same said someone is obviously not of the people.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Ann Romney, spouse of the Mitt, and her take on what it means to be without.

And P.S. Dressage (aka dancing horses), even in the Olympics, is not the same thing as hippotherapy.

                    

Reprinted from the Huffington Post

Larry Womack: Ann Romney Addresses the Common People

Last night, Ann Romney took the stage at the Republican National Convention to tell us all that she (and, by extension, Mitt) understands the troubles of the average American. That she knew what it was like to be one of us.

The problem with that, obviously, is that she doesn’t.

I hope I’m not dating myself too terribly by recalling that old Pulp song, “Common People.” If you haven’t heard it, you can listen to it here. Or, if you would prefer a William Shatner cover set to suggestive clips from Star Trek: The Animated Series (and who wouldn’t?), you can check that out here instead. The song is about a sort of poverty tourist — a privileged woman who thinks it’s very novel and amusing to slum it for a bit. The narrator, of course, doesn’t find his own meager means nearly so amusing because, unlike his delighted companion, his poverty is real, not pretend. “If you called your dad,” he points out, “he could stop it all.” Still, she persists.

Last night, Ann Romney was that woman and we were the common people.

Romney opened with a long, agreeable “I feel your pain” routine that, at times, seemed to resonate. She, like most speakers last night, was especially interested in appealing to women. She then applied it to a personal narrative, portraying her upbringing as exceedingly modest. In fact, her father — admittedly a remarkable self-made man — was a manufacturing magnate and mayor of the affluent Bloomfield Hills by the time Ann was growing up. Finally, she went on to describe her early days with young Mitt in rather humble terms:

We were very young, both still in college. There were many reasons to delay marriage. And you know what? We just didn’t care. We got married and moved into a basement apartment. We walked to class together, shared the housekeeping, ate a lot of pasta and tuna fish. Our desk was a door propped up on saw horses, our dining room table was a fold-down ironing board in the kitchen. But those were the best days.

The image is adorable, you must admit. Two struggling students, madly in love, happily eating tuna off of an ironing board. Even doing their own housekeeping! No staff at all. These people actually had to wash their own dishes. Mitt Romney, we are told, started out with nothing.

Happily for them, the Romney idea of “nothing” is probably not yours, mine or even that of a lucid billionaire. Before they got married, Mitt Romney’s regular “allowance” from his parents was large enough to buy him regular flights back and forth from Stanford, where he was attending college, to Ann’s home in Michigan. When they did get married and move into that “basement apartment,” both were spared the inconvenience and indignity of actually having to get a job — Mitt just sold some of his stock to “get by.” And while they may have walked to class together, they probably didn’t need to; even they acknowledge that Mitt’s parents had given them a car. And when they moved to Boston — after Mitt Romney obtained his MBA and JD from Harvard — his parents “helped” the young couple buy a house.

Even slogging through that pile, Romney came across as sweet, good-natured and, to the best of her ability, genuinely empathetic. There were even moments that felt truly candid — a rare thing coming from a convention stage — as Romney spoke about her battle with MS and her no-doubt horrifying brush with breast cancer. After Rick Santorum’s long whisper through a fog of insanity and Nikki Haley’s jarringly oblivious implication that companies like Boeing don’t need the government to succeed, Ann Romney was one big, huggable breath of fresh air. But the financial narrative she presented contrasted so strikingly with reality that I actually found myself wondering if she really is crazy enough to believe that she has at any point in her life been genuinely poor.

The Romneys ate off of an ironing board. They seem to think that’s what poverty feels like. Well, I went camping once. I’m pretty sure that wasn’t what homelessness feels like. Trying to pass this situation off as anything like the fear and heartbreak experienced every single day by millions of Americans living in genuine poverty is insulting, insensitive and, frankly, deranged.

The people living out of cars, in homeless shelters and on the streets didn’t have more stock to sell. They don’t have two rich daddies they could turn to if things got scary. Or two rich mommies. Or every rich person doing business in one entire state and two entire industries, who knew that helping out an influential person’s son or daughter might benefit them later.

Just to be perfectly clear: I do not mean to imply that Mitt Romney has been some sort of slouch. Whatever you or I might think of his methods, the man has obviously worked hard for his fortune. Not “digging ditches” hard or “nursing home orderly” hard, but hard. A lot of trust fund babies waste their lives partying and pretending that they’re important, instead of working hard and actually becoming important. It’s a sad thing to see, but you see it often. Young Mitt Romney took full advantage of every opportunity he was granted and is clearly a genuinely successful businessman. Anyone can—and should—applaud the young Romneys’ frugality, determination and dedication.

But that success must also be credited in large part to his unique level of privilege, which clearly shielded the young couple from the true nature of poverty. And real poverty, I am afraid to inform Mrs. Romney, is not merely a series of choices in décor. It is not some sort of a lark. It is not an act of youthful defiance. It is not living frugally simply because you want to prove a point. It is having nothing to fall back on. It is knowing that if you fail or run into even a tiny bit of bad luck, you and your family will not have food or shelter.

Real poverty is not knowing where your children’s next meal is coming from. It’s not being able to put shoes on their feet or take them to the doctor. It’s living in constant fear of losing your job or getting sick. It’s not having a car to take you to that job. It’s wondering if you’ll still have a home two months from now. It’s hunger. It’s cold. And, above all, it is fear. It’s a thousand other worries that millions upon millions of Americans have endured that Ann Romney never will. It is not a cute anecdote about how cheap your insanely privileged husband is. [emphasis mine]

I don’t say this to pick on the Romneys, or to suggest that anyone resent their circumstances. I say it because, unlike many others who have never really known these fears, either, they sometimes seem incapable of discerning the difference between their reality and everyone else’s. That is an enormous problem.

You see, a man with this mindset might understand what it takes for the very wealthy to succeed, but cannot possibly fathom what it takes to allow the rest of America to do the same. In Mitt Romney’s world, college kids can just borrow tens of thousands of dollars from their parents—if they can’t bring themselves to part with more stock. In the real America, there are over one million students who are currently homeless. Still, in Mitt Romney’s world, there’s nothing wrong with wasting billions in taxpayer money that could be used to pay down the national debt or lift these students out of poverty, so long as the nation can also move more money from those college kids to private lenders. In Mitt Romney’s world, unemployed with $200,000 million in the (known) bank is somehow comparable to unemployed with nothing. In Mitt Romney’s world, people say things like, ” I’m not concerned about the very poor,” and “corporations are people, my friend!”

His wife may have just given the common people another glimpse of it, but Mitt Romney’s world is nothing like the one in which we live and our nation cannot be effectively governed from it. Sounds like a nice place, though.

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” ~ John F. Kennedy

AWARD--Honest_Weblog_Award

Me? Seriously? You Shouldn’t Have But I’m Glad That You Did

“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” ~ Albert Schweitzer

This is a little late in coming, but I would like to thank Zirgar for bestowing upon me the Honest Weblog Award. I have been told by several people that one of the better qualities of my writing is its honesty; I know that I do write from my heart, which is not always a good thing, I realize, but it is my way of being true to myself. So many thanks Z and all of the other wonderful regular readers who stop by here to read and sometimes comment.

Chesapeake Bay
End of the Day, Chesapeake Bay, Virginia

As we all know, no award comes without a few strings, and the Honest Weblog Award is no exception. Here are the rules: 

  1. You must brag about the award.
  2. You must include the name of the blogger who bestowed the award on you and link back to that blogger.
  3. You must choose a minimum of seven blogs that you find brilliant in content or design.
  4. Show their names and links and leave a comment informing them that they were prized with the Honest Weblog Award.
  5. List at least ten honest things about yourself.

Then pass along the award with the above instructions.

Top Seven

So here are the blogs to which I have chosen to pass along the Honest Weblog Award. The blogs are listed in no particular order, and their content is as varied as their owners. I try to visit these blogs daily or as often as possible, and my interest in each of them is evidenced by the fact that you can find them listed under the different categories of blogrolls to the left of my site.

  1. White Orchid: This blog is written by one of my dear online friends, Maureen, who lives in Australia. Maureen’s blog covers a wide range of topics—family, friends, work, Australian politics, and much more. Maureen has a very loyal group of followers, and she is diligent about responding to comments and e-mails.
  2. Supersense: Written by Bruce M. Hood, the Director of the  Bristol Cognitive Development Centre in the Experimental Psychology Department at the University of Bristol in England. Bruce recently published Supersense: Why We Believe in the Unbelievable, an incredible book that I found immensely enjoyable and informative (I promise that I’ll get around to posting my review soon). Part of what makes Bruce’s blog so interesting is the comment section: His regulars are a diverse bunch with very strong opinions.
  3. Floridana Alaskiana v2.5: This blog is written by Janson Jones, who lives in Anchorage, Alaska. If you appreciate fine photography, then you definitely need to visit this blog. Janson, who recently celebrated the birth of his daughter Aurelia, fills his posts with beautiful images of landscapes, wildlife, and people. He also comments occasionally on political issues in which he is interested.
  4. Islamorada Florida by JJ
    Islamorada, Florida by Janson Jones
  5. My Sweetest Downfall: This pseudonymous blog is beautifully written by a woman with incredible wit and enough sarcasm to keep me entertained. She doesn’t post daily, but the content of her posts makes up for the wait between. I think that what I probably enjoy most about JaneyLynn’s blog is that I can totally relate to it, to the craziness of her life, and to her occasional funks.
  6. Zirgar’s Fresh New Brain Squeezins: Zirgar, who presented me with this award, describes his blog as “a place to vent and find catharsis.” Very left of center, Z takes on Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and the whole Fox circus, as well as most far-right politicians and politicos. Be warned, he doesn’t censor himself, so if you are offended easily, then this isn’t the blog for you. That being said, I greatly enjoy his rants and screeds on closed-minded racists and bigots, as well as the regulars who comment on his posts. Very glad I found this particular blog, and many thanks again Zirgar for remembering me.
  7. Leaving Lilac Sky: Another pseudonymous blog written by a very talented poet. I have been following this writer’s blog for almost a year now. As with most poets, she has her dry spells, and then she goes into periods in which she is incredibly prolific, turning out a poem a day. A confessional poet, her poems deal with heart-rending emotions, but at the same time, she celebrates life.
  8. Willpen’s World: This is another blog that I have been following regularly since I began blogging last year. Another kindred political spirit, WP is not afraid to voice her opinions about the state of affairs in this country. Worth noting: Several of the blogs that I now read regularly I found through the comments section of WP’s blog.

A few honorable mentions: November Fifth (intelligent, articulate, and a college-level English prof), Really . . . Really . . . Seriously (music and movies), David Bridger (writer with a lot to say about writing, life, and lots of other things). There are a few other blogs that I read as much as possible, but these are the highlights.

Ten Honest Things About Myself

  1. I am hypersensitive, although I try very hard not to be. Just how sensitive I am depends upon the state of my life, which means that currently, I can tear up upon hearing a song or watcing a commercial.
  2. I believe in reincarnation. I know that this is not logical (Bruce), but it is something that I have felt very strongly about since I was very young. No, I was not Marie Antoinette, but my affinity for and knowledge of things that I don’t have a logical reason for knowing has to come from somewhere.
  3. I was a daddy’s girl. As an only child, I was spoiled, and my dad labeled me as a “Want-Whiney” when I was a little girl. If I am to be completely honest, the label still applies. 

    Sailing on the Chesapeake Bay
    Catamaran on the Chesapeake Bay, Virginia
  4. I love to wear boots, long skirts and sweaters. I should probably live in a cooler climate as this is how I would clad myself everyday if I had somewhere to be.
  5. My biggest personal regret is not going for my doctorate in English.
  6. I am a collector: books, stuffed bears, boots, office supplies, and watches probably being the top five.
  7. I don’t do things half way. It’s either all in or nothing.
  8. I have become too much of a recluse in the past two years, and I really need to get out of the house more.
  9. I love words. I love to find new quotes by writers I have been reading for years. I love to find new writers. I love to put words together and push them around until I have created something of which I can be proud.
  10. I love the man who has been the biggest part of my life for the past 10 years unconditionally and completely, and my children are my joy. Never try to come between me and my family.

Okay, a couple of other tidbits: I am not afraid of spiders, but am terrified of snakes and centipedes. I love the colors red, black and purple. I really enjoy nature: backyard birding, mountains, waterfalls, and sunrises and sunsets. I am very insecure about the way that I look. I do not have tons of friends, rather, a select few. I love them and miss them every single day, and there is nothing that I wouldn’t do for one of my friends.

“Gratitude is when memory is stored in the heart and not in the mind.” ~ Lionel Hampton

So, gentle reader, this ends my conferring of the Honest Weblog Award upon some of my favorite online sites. I hope that you take the time to visit a few of these worthwhile and diverse sites.

More later. Peace.