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I wasn’t born here but I have always favored the Democrat US Presidents over the Republican ones while growing up in Brazil. I moved to the US during Clinton’s second presidential term – and the beginning of a retrograde in American life the way the world perceives it.

I could not understand why such a private matter with the President was considered as a reason to impeach him. I could not understand it at all. Not that I endorse cheating, but I thought it was not a matter of State or political agenda – it was a matter between a husband and a wife. After Bush “won” the election, I understood it was the beginning of a false moralization movement to gain Republican vote. I also understood that there was a great number of Americans who wish they still lived in the 50’s – and when I moved to Texas, I confirmed not only that, but also the use of religion in politics, most specifically, Christianity as a way to compel and convince people that they (the Republicans) were the good guys because they were against abortion, pro gun, pro death sentencing, against gay (and many other minorities), and pro rich.

But I digress: my intention here is to explain why I can’t be Republican. My husband’s family was Republican until Obama (not sure if they are Democrats, but I believe they voted democrat in the last Presidential election), except for my husband, who has been a democrat since College. We first lived in Arizona, a Republican state and then moved to Texas – a supersized Republican state – so, I’ve been surrounded by Republicans most of my American life (16 years so far). We are a middle class (struggling) family with no pretension of looking and acting as if we were rich – we live from pay check to pay check (I lost my job in February – so our pay check to pay check has been tightened…), hardly go on vacation, focus on our kids – and pay our taxes, no matter what – we have no investments – just our house. I had to cash most of my 401K to make ends meet. I don’t mind paying taxes, because I do enjoy the benefits of paying taxes: roads, schools, health care, culture, libraries, arts… I don’t enjoy paying the same (or more) than a person who makes 20 times more than my husband and I make together. It is just not right, period. The very small percentage (getting smaller and smaller) of millionaires also use the roads, the schools, culture, arts – in fact, I think they are the ones that take most advantage of it – even with health care, because of all Federal Grants that can be awarded to medical research and help with treatment that most likely will be available to the ones who can afford it first!

What I notice is that, most of the Republicans that I meet, fell for the Republican message that they need to protect the rich because they will be rich one day!!!! And the poor are just lazy, incompetent, and made a bad choice in life (I actually heard these exact words from some people). Some bought into the whole “moral” discourse (which is just a discourse, but not lived by the majority of them) – Christians should behave and follow Christ’s example of love…

The majority of Republicans just love a “bully” – a “leader” who won’t take no for an answer, etc. Yet, if Obama shows any sign of being fed up with the Republican boycott to our economy, he is not fair, he is a “communist” (that’s quite funny in my opinion)… oh, the double standards. I think that’s one of the things I dislike the most – together with the racism I perceive, the intolerance, the selfishness, the ego trip. If Republicans were to follow the rule they proclaim as theirs: small government, no government messing with our business – then the corporations would be even more ruling than they are now (yes, because if a corporation is viewed as a people and have the same rights as I have in Campaign contribution, then they should pay taxes as I do – in Texas they pay much less than small business owners). Corporations control how our political, economical, legislative state go – they don’t even need lobbyists anymore – they just “buy” their politicians with campaign contribution and control the course of our lives. I think that, in a near future, if we don’t scale down campaign rules, we won’t have politicians any longer – it will be only Corporate CEO’s determining how much more they can profit by making the middle class and the poor pay for it.

But, again, I digress – I can’t be a Republican simply because I grew up with the understanding that even if you are more privileged, you share, you care, you do your part so the world is a better place – in all aspects. I don’t see that sentiment in the Republican politicians – it’s all about greed, money, and telling lies – all about this supreme power that is beyond their control and their reach, but that they feel compelled to protect, because, this way, they will have their interests protected (money, money, money with a taste of power). I can’t be a Republican because I don’t believe in their discourse, because I’ve only witnessed serious character scandals on them that jeopardize the country, the unethical “playground” rules that they enforce, and their hijacking of the Christian beliefs. I’m neither pro-life, nor pro-choice – I am pro-education – and during the Republican years I’ve experienced so far, children and young adults were robbed of their rights of being educated – the campaign in schools for abstinence were ridiculous and unrealistic… (Let’s be frank: how many more teenage pregnancies resulting in dropping out of school occurred during Bush’s administration? And how about venereal diseases? I don’t think educating kids about the risk of contracting a disease or becoming pregnant means that I am encouraging them to have sex. But telling a horny teenager that wearing condoms will not prevent them from getting someone pregnant and abstinence is the only way, will not stop them – in fact, I think it will give them carte blanche to not wear a condom…) The pretend game Republican leaders play scares and worries me… I can’t be a Republican because I don’t want to live in the 50’s when it was OK to be a racist, to be ignorant, to be selfish, and not to care about our responsibility in preserving the world’s resources. I can’t be a Republican! Period.

But I have to say: I am not that happy with the Democrats either…

***Note: I started writing this on October 1st, 2011. Since then, lots more have happened that just corroborate my feelings: Occupy Wall Street and We Are 99% movements, the Republican presidential candidates circus – Cain, Perry, Bachmann, and, the worst: Gingrich (a serious threat to this country’s freedom and constitution and a step back of another 50 years… come on, child labor is OK? among many other scary things he says), GOP skipping town to make the poor pay more taxes… Oh, my, what are my choices? Isn’t it obvious? But I do need to learn more about Ron Paul.


Atardecer

Image by ogme via Flickr

 

 

Prove me wrong, please

I’m tired of being right

Or thinking I’m right.

 

Prove all my thoughts,

Beliefs, theories,

Prove them wrong

Let me have hope

And believe something new.

 

All my behaviors – so cemented in me

Will fall apart

Will have no base

On this old shield

That is around me – supposed to protect

But all it did was destroy me

 

Prove me wrong

So I can start tasting life


Oh, no! I’m afraid some people will start throwing stones at me… Don’t get me wrong, the purses are pretty – but way over priced.

Let me explain what I don’t like about Vera Bradley, American Girl dolls, etc: they make children want to be what they are not! The whole branding fascination does that and the children that cannot afford them, feel worthless. And make parents try to live beyond their means… They are elitist and exclusive!

There is a tendency in the American society to compensate every need with material things – let’s go shopping for when things go bad… And it is hitting kids at younger ages every year. And the trends, that are so instant and replaceable in the era of flash love, hit schools like a hurricane. There is the case of wall paper, carpet, and chandeliers for lockers – FOR LOCKERS!!!!! What is the real use of it but create more garbage????? And all the girls feel they must have them to decorate their school lockers… and the girls that don’t do it are out (popularity, anyone?). And the “need” to have a Vera Bradley purse or backpack – to go to school, really? And the brand jeans, shirts, shoes. I have to confess that I ended up buying Tom’s shoes for my kids – they are overpriced, but I think I felt compelled by the Company’s campaign to shoe kids in developing countries for every pair of Tom’s you buy. The capitalist charitable way…

I can see my girls fascinated by all this – wanting and wanting – and feeling less valued and important because they don’t have them (am I being a bad mother?) But I am trying to teach them that these “things”, because they are just things, are not what define them, or make them happy. It’s just an outside validation that will go away, replaced by the next… and it will be impossible to keep up with it to “feel” happy.

We did have our brands and trends when I was growing up, but I did not feel less valued because I didn’t have them – if I liked something and it resonated with my style (because style and liking to dress are part of growing up) I’d try to find a good deal – and so did most of my friends. The ones who didn’t, were not show offs, just a bit lazy… but no one was an outcast because of what they wore or had…

But this is a different culture and society and I am a bit lost (and old… very different generation…) – and honestly reaching out to all mothers – am I messing up with my kids’ life by not fulfilling what I consider an empty desire? By not surrendering to the “popular” concept that I don’t understand? Do we, as parents, need to subscribe to these material wants so our kids feel accepted? How, when I start seeing kids so young going to school with their iPhones and iPads, and their expensive shoes, and purses, and jewelry, just so they are above (or better, the same) others?

Being a teenager is already such a delicate and sensitive phase  – and with this material interference, it makes it harder and harder. We preach against peer pressure, but subscribing to this whole issue is accepting the pressure… why do we conform to the wrong causes and issues?…

Would love to know what you think – I’m at loss…