Saturday, November 5, 2011

Reporting In On The Latest News and Views

Growing Older, Growing More Conservative
Uh-unh. Not me, man! I heard on the radio that a new survey from the Pew Research Center shows that there are generational gaps in political views and attitudes toward the government. Supposedly, people grow more conservative as they age. This study says that if the Silent Generation (born between 1928 and 1945) had their way, Mitt Romney would become the next president because this group considers themselves more Conservative. This political orientation supposedly grows weaker as generations become younger, with Millenials (born between 1981-1993) being both the youngest and most Liberal.

Wikipedia map showing percentage of self-identified Conservatives, according
to a Gallup survey, August 2010. The darker the state, the more Conservative.

Now I don't want to say that the world revolves around Massachusetts, but I don't know any people (except the next-door neighbors that we don't talk to) who are self-identified Conservatives. Notice how pale the East and West Coast states are? We are Liberal here! Furthermore, we in Massachusetts have had experience with Mitt Romney. I wouldn't elect him to ANY office, let alone president. Where were we in that survey?

I don't know about you, but the older I get, the more Liberal I get. That doesn't mean that I'm not skeptical and pessimistic, because I am. Still, I don't want to tell anyone how to live, I want us all to have equal rights, I want to have the government regulate corporations (who are not people but business entities organized to make as much profit as possible), I want the police to enforce the law but not make it, I want us all to make nice, but probably not all of us will. I want to be that old lady in tennis shoes who stands on the corner with a peace sign. However, I will probably never do that because I'll be in the studio making art and talking back to NPR when they publicize these assinine surveys telling me how Conservative I am.

Oh, That Nasty Storm
Oh, the misery we suffered during the past week - trees brought down or torn apart by that weird October snowstorm that led to no power - for DAYS -  no lights, no heat, no cell phones, no cable or internet, no refrigeration, no warm showers, no Facebook! We here in Easthampton were without for power for three days and I was about at the end of my tolerance. I would have made a lousy pioneer woman. Some poor souls have still not had their power restored after a week, and I feel empathy and pity for them because it is really miserable to have no light and heat when it gets down below 20 degrees at night. I would not want to go through that again any time soon - or any time at all.

Our house with tree limb on roof and electric wires

In the aftermath, we found we had plenty of damage but no direct hits to our house. We had a broken limb that stretched across the driveway and hit the wires where electric power comes in from the street, but we got it removed pretty quickly and the wires were OK.

Flattened ornamental grasses

Our mulberry tree split right down the middle and is now laying on an apple tree
and a dogwood tree. Still waiting for our tree guy to cut it up.

Our fence at the back of the property was badly damaged by a heavy limb
from a neighbor's tree. This has already been repaired. We need to keep out
the bears and coyotes and keep in the dogs.

There are a lot of other broken branches and limbs but all in all, we consider ourselves lucky to have gotten off as lightly as we did.

I am not someone who goes through life looking for lessons to be learned, but in this case, I did learn how lucky we are to have electricity continuously available except in extreme circumstances. I am still in appreciation mode and relishing the fact that I can flip a switch and have light, TV, internet, heat and all the rest of the modern conveniences.

In God I Don't Trust

The "official" motto of the U.S. on the sides of U.S. $1 coins (that nobody uses)
From the NY Times - Getty Images.

If you follow me on Facebook, you know that I've been ranting away on the recent nonsensical resolution passed 397 to 9 by the House of Representatives reaffirming the Official Motto of the United States as "In God We Trust." Although the "unofficial" motto of the U.S. since its inception was E Pluribus Unum (Out of Many, One), the House felt it necessary to remind President Obama that the "Official" motto, going all the way back to the Red scare days of Senator McCarthy in 1956 was "In God We Trust."

Why does this bother me so much? Aside from the fact that the country is going down the tube while Congress sits around on their asses mouthing off about complete nonsense,  I resent this Religious Right assertion of what the U.S. does or does not trust. Personally, I do not believe in god or gods, and as the Executive Director of the American Humanist Association, Roy Speckhardt, wrote in the Huffington Post:

"[This motto] is in direct opposition to our national tradition of secular governance and is a slap in the face to the many nontheistic Americans who object to government endorsement of religion.

By placing "In God We Trust" in public buildings, public schools and other government institutions, we weaken the wall of separation between church and state. Even though this motto doesn't favor one religion's god over another, it assumes that there is a god, and that there's only one. That excludes polytheistic Americans like Hindus, nontheistic Buddhists and the 16 percent of us with no religious affiliation. This kind of government sponsorship of religion runs afoul of the First Amendment and should be strongly rejected by our legislature and our judicial system. It is the sworn duty of the government to uphold the Constitution, and allowing this resolution to pass would be a direct violation of that obligation."

Kindly do not tell me what I do or do not believe, if you please. I am not conservative and I do not trust in god. Thump that bible and that nonsensical survey all you want, I'm not buying it.


Karen Jacobs said...

Good rant, Nancy... sorry about that cold spell and damage done, supposed to make us stronger... maybe that should be put in some belief motto?

I'm old enough that my long term memory is decidedly sharper than the shorter variety so as to age bringing on conservative thoughts, I recall that just the opposite was supposedly true when I was young and conservative. (Married into it and paid more attention to diapers than politics) Anyway... the thought back then was that you are young and liberal, then become conservative as you care more about your money... then become liberal again as you care more about your neighbors. Since today's middleclass are short on money... well, don't know how that's going to work out... all parameters are changing...

Nancy Natale said...

Thanks, Karen. My history is similar to yours in that my first husband was Libertarian before it was called that. Due to his influence, I even voted for Nixon the first time around, I am embarrassed to admit. Having more long term memory is what makes me think that older people should be more liberal because we know that the Fat Cats are only out to get theirs out of the skin of our backs.

Sarah Grossberg said...

Thank you for that post. I happen to live in a very conservative pocket of Oregon and feel very alone in my political views and my non-beliefs. This post helped me to remember that I'm not alone.

Judy Wise said...

Hear hear. Yours is a brave voice in a wilderness of mendacity. I'm so disgusted by the pandering of this congress to the religionists. Loved reading your percentages. We are not alone.