“In Positive Economic Sign, Republicans Starting to Say Obama Wasn’t Born in US Again”
I had no plans to blog this week, although I have started a couple which I decided to polish up a bit more before hitting the publish button. Since I decided to give up Facebook for a while, I’ve noticed I have more time and energy to read. This has lead me to venture out to my local Barnes and Noble a bit more recently, or “Barney Nobles” as my late dad used to call it, to peruse the inventory.
When dad was still alive, he would spend hours in there, sitting in the extremely comfy chairs and get his free reading in. Every once in a while, I’d find him in there, stacks of books piled up high on the table in front of him. I was mostly amused by his chutzpah because I was an adult now and more shielded from the embarrassments of parental actions. I used to ask him if he thought it was okay to just sit there for hours, monopolizing the sitting chairs, without any intention of purchasing any of the books assembled in front of him. He never flinched, “Of course it’s ok. Why wouldn’t it be?” In my 30’s I could laugh. If I was 13, I would have been mortified.
Did I mention my dad was cheap? He was. Extremely. I remember as a young kid actually throwing a few more dollars on the check in a restaurant because my dad would not have left enough for the waitress. My mom had worked as a waitress, and I not only knew how hard she worked, but she taught me at a young age the proper tip amounts for good service. So I often found myself taking my baby-sitting money with me, discreetly hanging back from my father as he walked out the door, and chucking the crumpled few dollars on the table.
I often think about my dad when I enter Barnes and Noble. They took those comfy chairs out years ago, perhaps people like my dad hastened their demise. I noticed over time, people would have the nerve to stake out a chair and then when they wanted to get a new book to read, they would leave their hat or piles of books on the chair. This would serve as a notice to anyone that this was THEIR CHAIR…KEEP OFF.
Anyway, the reason for this blog today stems from an incident in B&N which happened yesterday. This was the third time in roughly 6 months that something similar has happened to me, and it has me not only pretty steamed, but it has made me think deeply about our country’s polarization with respect to how we view our politics, our country, and our world as an extension.
I am pretty eclectic when it comes to books and I can hit every aisle in the store and find something I want to read. It really makes me sad that I can’t read everything because I feel like I’m missing out. However, this week I was looking for a specific book and I made my way to the “Current Events” aisle. These are the shelves that have become, much to my immense dismay, the Fox News All-Spin and Obama is the devil aisle. These shelves are filled up with roughly 75% right-wing conservative non-sense. You’ve got your Bill O’Reilly No Spin crap. The there’s Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin (cough-cough–she “wrote a book”–bwahaa), Neil Boortz, Glenn Beck (remember that asshat?), Michele Malkin, Ann Coulter (my friend Sandy describes her perfectly as having no soul), and a bunch of conservatives claiming the world as we know it has come to an end with the presidency of Barack Hussein Obama–yawn.
Anyway, I was looking for a book called, The Self-Made Myth, written by Brian Miller and Mike Lapham. It makes the compelling argument that this Ayn Randian notion that only businessmen are responsible for their own success and great wealth, and by extension the rest of the world owes them for their success, is bogus. The book profiles great business leaders who openly recognize that their success was not created in a vacuum. Government supports, research, and investments were huge reasons for their success. Of course, there is no question that one’s own work ethic, brains, and guile are responsible as well, but imagine if Bill Gates grew up in Uganda. Do you think he would be in the same circumstances today? Hardly. As a matter of fact, the forward is penned by Gates’ father, who makes the case that success is often directly related to government intervention and encouragement.
This is an important view because today, Ayn Rand, the Godmother of all recent conservative thought, has made a revival. Her novel, Atlas Shrugged, written in 1957 is now required reading for all good neo-cons. In Rand’s view, the self-made moguls create all the wealth and good for our society. Government is only evil and will destroy what these virtuous men have created. Gag. By the way, it is interesting that the right, who has spent countless years and sweat and toil trying to claim Obama “pals around with terrorists and communists”, never addresses the fact that Ayn Rand idolized a serial killer. Really?
As I said, I was standing in the aisle, trying to find this book. I was literally nauseated by the titles of some of the books displayed with words that make one think the world is ending like:
TYRANNY AND LIBERTY! A CONSERVATIVE MANIFESTO
GUILTY LIBERAL “VICTIMS” AND THEIR ASSAULT ON AMERICA
TO SAVE AMERICA: STOPPING OBAMA’S SECULAR-SOCIALIST MACHINE
CONSERVATIVE VICTORY: DEFEATING OBAMA’S RADICAL AGENDA
and my personal favorite… : HOW OBAMA, CONGRESS, AND THE SPECIAL INTERESTS ARE TRANSFORMING A DOWNTURN INTO A CRASH, A RECESSION INTO A DEPRESSION, AND A DISASTER INTO A CATSTROPHE…AND HOW TO STOP THEM
AHHHHHHHHH…RUN….RUN FOR YOUR LIVES AMERICA!
Really, I have to wonder– that last book written by toe-sucking Dick Morris— how does that not have an exclamation point after it?
So let me finish this story. As I was standing there, in Barnes and Noble, minding my own bed-wetting liberal business, this older, white gentlemen slides next to me. This now causes me great distress quite honestly. This is because on at least two other occasions in this very same B&N, I have been the “victim” of “unwanted” conservative advances. No, nothing sexual. Actually, I would have preferred getting hit on as opposed to what I had to endure both times. Two other times I had some… yes… older, white gentleman try to engage me in his “conserv-a-speak.”
“Conserv-a-speak” is what I have decided to call what I go through now in public. These two–now three–men decided that since I was in the aisle where most of what is offered is conservative gobble-dee-gook, I must be a good little left-wing hater. Ha! Imagine that? They obviously couldn’t be more wrong. Couldn’t he see the Ralph Nader book, Getting Steamed to Overcome Corporatism, clutched in my hand? Do I LOOK like a self-hating conservative woman? C’mon dude.
Before this latest incident, I had the grave misfortune of listening to two other men spout off their Obama-hate to me in this very same aisle. I can’t remember verbatim what they said, but trust me, it was obnoxious and ignorant. What’s more, how presumptuous to think I cared to hear what they had to say. The first time I had this happen I simply walked away, both enraged and shocked that these men think that everyone thinks like they do. It is a lot like when people spew their bigoted, racist bullshit while standing in the supermarket aisle. Hey asshole, shut the hell up and move to Mississippi where you will feel more at home. Yeah, I know, Obama is a Kenyan-Muslim-Socialist who has a radical plan to destroy the USA…and he’s…dark.
Anyway, for the third time in under a year it happens again. I swear that the minute I saw him, I was going to leave the aisle, not wanting to temp fate. I was not feeling great anyway, and I was in no mood to hear any more Obama bashing. However, I remained in my spot a second too long because before you can say “NoBama”, this guy cries out, “Ha! This is out now?”
Hmmm, I wonder. He is reaching for the Mark Levine book called Ameritopia. Levine served in the Reagan administration and was a Chief of Staff for Attorney General Edwin Meece. Levin’s another conservative who writes books and has a talk-show. I don’t know much else about him or the book, but honestly, I really knew all I need to know. Conservative in the year 2012 spells C-R-A-Z-Y.
For a split second I was frozen. The way this guy had spoken, I was almost wondering if he was actually going to mock the book. That would mean he was, yes! one of us! However, my excitement was short-lived when he uttered his next line. “I don’t need to read this,” he snorted. ” I already KNOW this is happening!”
Damn it! My slow reaction to his initial appearance and then my miscalculation of his intentions has now put me in a pickle. I can do only one of three things, none of which will have a good ending in my mind. I can:
1. Come back at him with a witty retort like, ” Oh yeah, it’s Obama and the liberals who ruined the economy with their deregulation and tax cuts for the rich over a decade. Suuuuurrrrrrre. Righttttttttt. What’s wrong with you stupid, nasty, ignorant, fact-less conservative wonders? Go home and watch Fox News lie to you every moment of the day and night you ignoramus!”
2. I could give one of those non-committal, “humph” sounds. You know the ones where you don’t really agree with the person, but you are at least acknowledging their presence.
3. I could ignore him and walk away.
Option number one will probably end badly, I realize, and I am aware that causing a scene in public is not a good thing for anyone. I was also, as I stated earlier, not feeling up to par, so engaging some mouth-breather in a shouting match was the last item on my agenda for the day.
Option number two might work, but I would hate it if this moron mistook my grunt for a “ditto.”
I chose option number three. I chose it because it was the most civil way I could express my disagreement with his view. I could engage him in a back-and-forth but I’m sure my words, as astute and enlightening as they would be, would not cause him to undergo any epiphany and visa-versa. I could hurl invectives at him which might make me feel better for about a minute, but would ultimately make me feel bad. No. Walking away from his unsolicited banter was the only good choice I had and I’m glad I made it.
I later walked past Mr. Conservative in another area of the bookstore and made sure to give him a little smile. I also proudly displayed my soon- to- be- purchased progressive reading material for his consumption. I felt good.
However, the next time I’m in that aisle and I see a guy anywhere near me, I’m going to be prepared.
I will wear my t-shirt that says, “I think, therefore I am not Glenn Beck.”
I will grab President Obama’s book, The Audacity of Hope, and wave it in the air.
I will then run like hell to the exits.
- How Ayn Rand became the new right’s version of Marx | George Monbiot | The Guardian (tribuneofthepeople.com)