Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Because She Says So

So after thinking a little more about this cray cray election and recent polls suggesting that this race is tightening, I had a revelation of sorts into why I think people hate Hillary. And fair warning to my sisters who might take offense, but someone has got to say it.

Hillary Clinton is that sitcom caricature of the know-it-all mother in law that everybody hates. She is the smart girl who sits in the front of the class with her hand perpetually in the air because she knows all the answers. She sits at first chair in the woodwind section of the high school orchestra even though she plays the oboe. She is the vice president of the student body who does all of the work for the pretty boy president because she has a crush on him. She and her weird sister own that feminist bookstore that you only go to for special events because you want to avoid getting stuck in a conversation with them.

If this was the election for the high school student body president, her opponent would have mocked and baited her (as he does now)...and sadly, she would have responded to all of his disses and insults (as she does now). And she would come this close to blowing it even though EVERYONE knew her opponent was just a rich aardvark.

I am not saying that Hill will lose, or that she will win because I have no clue. I guess I am tripping because this could be a disaster. Hill is perfect for this job, everybody knows it, but she is her own worst nightmare. It is because she's known how perfect she is for the job for decades, and has been acting like she cannot believe anyone would think otherwise. Like who deigns to question the inevitability of her ascendancy...


She imploded eight years ago because she just assumed that everybody in the Democratic Party with a brain knew better than to challenge her...and she got her feelings hurt when she lost in Iowa. And so she let us know it by shedding some tears (still not convinced they were real) and she made a comeback in New Hampshire, only to screw it up again in South Carolina, and then it was game on. History might have repeated itself in this election cycle, but she got lucky.

Hillary is too perfect for her own good. Perfect people are often the beneficiaries of good luck, but they refuse to believe that. Instead, they are adamant that their positioning in life is preordained because of their intelligence, good habits and virtuousness. Their faultlessness is what separates them from the rest of us heathens, which is why we should submit to their superior judgment and moral leadership. Because they say so.

Mitt Romney had the same superiority complex. As did his running mate, Paul Ryan, which is why they are probably still smarting from the 2012 election. Jeb Bush most certainly believed in his inevitability, which is why the challenge from his protege Marco Rubio shocked him beyond the point of rebounding in the primaries. Hillary is the most prominent woman to reach this point in American politics, but she is hardly the first high profile woman to stumble over her own hubris--Martha Stewart, Margaret Thatcher, and even our patron saint of Busy Black Womanhood, the Oprah have all had to eat some pretty large pieces of humble pie.

Hill's lucky streak most certainly began when she married Bill, something that she will never admit but we all know to be true (because if she had not married him, she'd be that bookstore owner). He is not at all perfect and is so up front and in your face with his flaws; thus, we naturally love him in spite of himself. He claims it was his good fortune to meet and marry her...and it was, because he has no shame in saying that she could have done better. I have yet to see where she has even come close to suggesting that there was some clever strategic thinking on her part to hitch her star to his. I am no marriage expert, so that is all I have to say about that.

Let's be clear that Bill is neither her biggest liability nor her greatest asset. She is both. She can win this election on her own once she stops acting like it is hers to win or lose. This election is not about her--this is about the future of this country. She will be a historic figure regardless, so its time to get past the glass ceiling symbolism of it all and get down to what really matters, which is whether she cares more about serving her country or convincing us that she is the only person who can save it.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Oh the Hillarity

I've been waiting for just the right moment to dump on Hillary Clinton, and this week probably is as good as any since we now have little less than two months before this election is finally over!

(Wait, why dis Hills, you ask? Isn't the Busy Black Woman all in, with her, etc? Well, yes but no one is above ridicule...)

On the BBW Facebook page I bemoaned the media obsession with Hillary secretly having walking pneumonia for two days. Clearly this was one of those non-stories that is only good for fueling a scandal-less 24-hour news cycle. Because on any given day of the week, half the women you know are dealing with some form of chronic illness or pain. A story would have been Hillary actually fainting and having to be rushed to the hospital and needing a blood transfusion and the only compatible match being Melania T. That is newsworthy.

Also newsworthy is how sexist Maxy has been in his attacks on Hills by alluding to her supposed poor health and mental instability. It is also newsworthy that he released his medical records on the talk show of a guy named Oz (anybody, anybody) and that the quack who performed his physical examination looks like a roadie for the Grateful Dead. It is also newsworthy that Maxy held a news conference to announce that he finally believes that President Obama is an American and then promptly blamed Hillary for giving him the idea to become a birther in the first place.

Now, none of that is really about Hills, but it totally is because according to some of the polls she and Maxy are in a tight race! How is it even possible that she could LOSE to THIS dude?

I was enthusiastic about Hillary 20 years ago when I was a college student (actually, I was a law student then), back when I was a young idealist who wanted to change the world. Hillary was one of several icons of feminist achievement who were taking center stage at that time: Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Carol Mosely Braun, Donna Brazille, Janet Reno, Marian Wright Edelman, Madeline Albright, Murphy Brown, Barbara Streisand...too many to remember.

And we loved Bill because he seemed to get it so we all cast our first votes for them. And all was okay until Bill's messiness was uncovered and became a distraction and then an impediment to getting anything meaningful accomplished. She defended him by claiming that there was a vast right wing conspiracy organized against them. Which was probably true, but he was screwing an intern. Instead of doing the self-respecting feminist thing and kicking his impeached a$$ to the curb, she chose to run for Senate.

So we shrugged and agreed that whatever arrangement they had was their business. We had our suspicions about Bill's decision to set up his foundation in Harlem--like really needing to be within walking distance to Sylvia's, that new Starbucks, or just wanting to be surrounded by brown and black people who loved him unconditionally...while she lived in Chappaqua.

And though we understood that Hill's new gig in the Senate was merely a set up for loftier goals, we figured that after 9/11 when she really had to care about New Yorkers, she might check her ambition and really care about New Yorkers. And then in 2004 when John Kerry got upstaged by that unknown dude with the African name, we assumed that she would change course and spend her twilight years as the liberal lioness of the Senate. She would succeed an aging Ted Kennedy and mentor promising up-and-coming political minds and send them off into the world as policy wonks, political operatives, and elected officials.

So eight years ago, as she hinted at the possibility of a candidacy that she had been planning since 1972, I was not with her. Historical prospects aside, I understood her pain, but had no desire to ping pong back and forth between Presidents named Bush or Clinton. Surely there was someone else waiting in the wings...besides John Edwards (and seriously who other than his mistress and his wife got excited over John Edwards)? Enter Barack Obama.

I will need to devote another post to my position eight years ago, so I will skip ahead to where we are today and the fact that I am with Hill...as of four months ago. Not that there were better options, but DC had the last primary election so I decided to feel the Bern.

And I will conclude by stating my belief that Hill might be the unluckiest person to run for President since Thomas Dewey. She might win, but she might also lose. And seriously, if she loses to THIS guy then God help America.

It's Handled, for Now

This is one of those pieces that I started but did not finish (because I wrote a few others in the interim); however, thanks to a new perspective, I am so glad that I waited to revisit this topic. I read this interview with actor Nate Parker a few weeks ago, and then this opinion piece the week before last written by his co-star Gabrielle Union.

For those who needed to hear from her regarding a position on his actions (not the film), you have it. Sorta. She offered him no absolution and stopped short of damning him, which means that she can condemn his behavior and still promote the film this fall. A brilliant King Solomon contrived by a savvy Olivia Pope-ish publicist no doubt.

What Union did say in her statement was something more profound about how we as a society treat victims of sexual violence across the board. We want to compartmentalize and rank experiences so that rape, sexual assault, pedophilia, and child molestation all operate as separate sins in different rings of hell. They do not. Crimes of sexual violence may take on various forms, but the damage done to the victims is the same. Irreparable.

When I read the Parker interview, it took about five minutes for the clouds of cynicism to form and ruin my inclination to give him benefit of the doubt. He used all of the right buzz words: calling himself a man of faith, invoking his roles as a husband and father, addressing male privilege, and even imagining a father-to-son talk with his 19-year old self about the concept of consent. But my hope faded with his admission that he never once in the last 17 years thought about the impact his actions had on that young woman until he learned that she had committed suicide back in 2012.

Let me make sure you fully get that: Nate Parker did not give a second thought to what might have happened to this woman after that fateful night 17 years ago. Let that marinate for just a minute.

Windows on the World

This might be the first time I posted the same piece on both blogs...the reason being that I had two and a half (three) glasses of wine and a whole Xanax last night when I started writing...

I had plans to leave the house today for a reason other than to try to get this child to sleep. She did sleep, but only during the Window.

Parents know what I mean. There are these rare opportunities of time called Windows, that must be used wisely, or else you end up un-showered, unshaven and dressed in pajamas or sweats all day. These Windows are like anomalies in the space-time continuum when you can get a very specific task completed while the Babe is asleep--until it closes and then you are back on her time. In my world, the Window only lasts for about 90 minutes.

Last week in Chicago, I was blessed with a Window. The Babe was restless and needed her nap, I had an errand to run, so I strapped her in the stroller and rolled out. First errand completed, but of course, this chick did NOT go to sleep, so I had to think of a Plan B--an impromptu trip to the mall. She found her second wind, so I let her run free around the Nordstrom until she began circling the stroller. I let her climb aboard while I took a spin through the food court. She was still sitting upright as I searched around for an elevator, but just as I found it and leaned over to press the button, the Window opened! I made a mad dash back to the hotel.

My official apologies to the Planned Parenthood activist in the wheelchair, because yes, I really do support your cause, we do give money, but no I had NO time to talk because you were cutting into my Window. By this time, the Babe had been asleep for maybe about 20 minutes. I needed a shower, to get the room in semi-decent shape since the cleaning service had not come while we were gone, and time was a-ticking.

Yesterday as usual, the Babe was refusing to nap and was literally spinning herself in circles fighting valiantly to stay awake. So I loaded her into the car and with no particular destination in mind, got ready to leave the house. The mailman saw me and trotted up to me with a package. Bless his heart (and I do not mean it in the snarcastic way), he hands it over and says I see you are about to roll out with the kid, good luck Mom. I'm guessing he recognized the exasperated I-need-tranquilizer-darts-NOW, or maybe he knows all about creating the Window.

This might be the only parenting advice I ever offer because I am THAT hot mess mom: the one who barely makes it to story time even though it is a 15 minute drive away; the one who takes her kid to the matinee where they show rated R indie films and is not the least bit ashamed; the one who believes cheerios eaten from the floor must have special powers. The Window is real.

And a word to anybody who writes one of those mommy-war envy pieces about wishing she could stay at home and get stuff done while her kids napped...again, one word: Window. Lady, I don't get anything done unless I get that Window. (Except right now since I have turned the Babe over to her father for the day). Your lovely fantasies about immaculate homes, well-balanced dinners already prepared from the slow cooker, Martha Stewart decorating projects, and Hallmark card moments of hugs and kisses...yeah, right.

Let me go take a shower.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

America's Pastime

This Busy Black Woman does NOT do football.

I have been known to watch a game if I'm in a place where there are no other options. When I was a kid, I watched because I lived in a house full of men and there was only one color TV. Also, and more importantly, that was the only way to get some of my mother's onion dip. And of course, I had the fever the years the home team* went to the Superbowl, especially in 1988. In college, I was a dancer** in the band, so I had to attend the games and actually enjoyed going in the years after. Until recently, I was known to enjoy Superbowl parties and certain halftime show performers.

(** I carried the banner onto the field because I was too tall to be a dancer)

But in hindsight, my interest in football was only because of the onion dip, home town pride, band camaraderie, social engagement with others, and the Superbowl halftime show. I never really cared about the games or the outcomes (except when it involved the home team).

Which leads to my first reason: the name of my home town team has been the subject of controversy for the last 20 years or so. And as a self-proclaimed professional protestor of injustice, I join with those who find the name offensive and simply refuse to care until they change it. That puts me in the minority in a city where folks bleed burgundy and gold, but I would rather be unoffensive, unpopular and uncool.

My second reason: I am a Busy Black Woman! My attention span is about 8 minutes and while football is by no means as painful to watch on TV as baseball or golf, I just don't care enough (even if my Mom could whip up a batch of her onion dip).

My third reason: football is violent, both on the field and in real life. I've followed the news reports of athletes involved in all manner of domestic violence. And I saw that film Concussion with Will Smith. So...

ALL of that preamble is to get to this point: I would not have given two craps about Colin Kaepernick until last week precisely because I DO NOT do football. But this headline compelled me to write. Because you've got to be kidding me!