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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.


Yesterday my 12-year-old told me she was giving up! Seriously, this early in life? Then she gave me her reasons. She has tried being elected for the Student Council Body in her school for the last 4 years with no success – she came close a couple of times, though. Today she realized she can’t win because she is not “popular”. I hate this concept of popular and losers that reigns in schools and, sadly, office spaces… I did not grow up in the US and had a really hard time understanding the whole idea of being popular and being a loser and I quickly noticed how those ideas are linked to bullying. So, why do schools continue to support such mentality? In the end, what popularity means is that you are mediocre – you look and act as everyone else. When you think, dress, and act differently, then you are considered “weird”, or a “loser”. Well, I rather be a loser than being “cattle” – I love everything creative, and different, and unexpected. But everyone wants acceptance and likes recognition – and popularity is the peak of being accepted – by being common and mid stream…

Gabi, my 12-year-old, is a very good kid – gets good grades, complies with the rules, is kind-hearted, stands for what is right. Yet, she goes unnoticed by the school at large. She does not have a bubbly-in-your-face-it’s-all-about-me personality – and I don’t think she likes competition. Quite honestly, there is too much competition in school today – and it is never for merit, but for popularity (again). Too much focus on the individual instead of the group – even in team sports… And now, that she is in 7th grade, she is definitely not “popular” and is losing friends, as most kids do not subscribe to what she believes as important: kindness, originality, friendship, family, help others. She told me that the kids that will win Student Council elections are the ones that are rich, wear the trendy and expensive clothes and accessories (Vera Bradley, Abercrombie, Aeropostale…  I shall create a brand to spoof the over priced purses: Vera Affordably!) – and are “popular”! (and isn’t this happening right now in our political scene? People want the bullies, the “popular” and not so much the honest leader…). It’s not about content, or what you want to carry out as a Student Council. It is about getting votes as a proof that all kids know you and, in a way, worship you… and you are accepted… Don’t get me wrong – Gabi’s teachers like her and always have kind words for and about her. Yet, they don’t encourage or promote the kids who have the right attitude and she hardly gets the awards she so much deserves and for which she longs – like the positive attitude award, kindness award, go above and beyond types of awards. She is no “loser” also – she is just slowly becoming one of those invisible kids that populate the hallways in our school system. What is wrong with that picture? A lot – no student should feel like they were numbers – everyone has potential to contribute to society – and we would like for that contribution to be a positive one, but if we neglect the good traits and character in the median student and only emphasize on popularity, how do we expect the kids who will lead our future to be confident, independent, free thinking, authentic, problem solvers, and – most importantly – to have good values?

Because we do not subscribe to the “loser-popular” idea in our house, my kids make friends and choices based on character, moral values, empathy … and they suffer when their friends have a dominant and overbearing personality tending to the  “popular” attitude.

After we talked about it, Gabi decided she was going to join forces with her friend as a team to run for the two Librarian spots available. I am very proud of her – not only for not giving up, but also for not selling herself out by the pressure of popularity.
Our schools need major reform – and I believe the reform will need to start with the social aspect of it – how to engage all the kids, how to eliminate the alienating notion of popularity and with it end bullying. But this will be subject for an entire new entry!

I had a garden

Now I am the censor of my flowers

I went around with scissors cutting all the dried leaves

Flowers that did not bloom

Or the ones who insisted on drooping

And took with them the colors that should have stayed

In this mismatched garden

Hay color

That crackles in my steps

The sound of dry

I go on with sharp scissors

For there is no place for quitting flowers

It’s important to free their souls from their

Dead roots…

It’s hot

And I can’t think straight

I can’t think at all – I think

I don’t want to be hot tempered

In this afternoon of drought

I know I have to worry

When I see crickets dead at my front door

As if they were going to ring the door bell and ask for water

Or sneak in

It’s hot – period

It shouldn’t be such a hot period

And that makes me worry

Like when I saw the disoriented snake

Who did not know if they were coming or going

And the birds looking for rain

I heard there is a High Pressure Dome

Like something I could touch and break

I could free the air

And let the rain in

To get everything wet

And make smoke on the ground – vapour from the heat

That is driving everyone insane

Turning life incendiary

It is hot

And I can’t think right – or left

The angels don’t want to burn their wings

That’s why we can’t lift this veil of heat…

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