This post might seem misogynistic at first glance, but that is not my intention at all. I am going to complain about two women, but that should not make you think that I have a problem with women politicians because that is not true. I campaigned for Hillary Clinton and hers was the only candidacy I donated to during the last election. True, it was only five dollars, but I was still in high school, jobless, and broke. I’m sure it was appreciated somehow.
My family always goes to the Iowa State Fair on the first Friday and I couldn’t have been luckier in the scenes I was able to experience. I saw Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin and tea-party people galore. It was thrilling to see people with opinions so different from my own. Even though I can’t understand why they think the way they do, I respect their right to think those ridiculous things. I’ve always been very liberally-minded–I think politics are something you’re born with. I read an article one time that says it’s genetic, I bet that’s true.
Anyway, the night before the Fair, I read that Michele Bachmann would be at the Des Moines Register Soapbox. Imagine my delight! I have a personal vendetta against this idiot. She offends me on so many levels. Telling somebody they have a mental disorder because of who they are is absolutely disgusting. Telling people that they are part of Satan is dangerous. This lunatic was interviewed the day after I saw her. I am sure that after watching this video, I will not need to explain my position towards her, it should be evident. I cannot stand hatred, but I think I might hate her. I’m pretty sure I do. No, I do. I hate her.
That video is vile. Good for the interviewer, too, you rarely have somebody refuse to let the topic go like he does. It was a necessary barrage of questions and if she dances around one of the pillars of her candidacy, there is no reason she should be supported. Defend your position no matter what it is!
So, I researched her other beliefs and positions beforehand, just in case I were to speak with her (God forbid!) or if I were to debate with somebody in the crowd. I was shocked at how little she offers as to what President Bachmann (chilling to see, isn’t it?) would do in office. I don’t understand why most Republicans are asking to see President Obama’s agenda when their own is the exact opposite of what he does no matter what he does. I’m going off on a rant–I do that. So I researched what I could about her–lightbulbs, “unleash[ing] the power of modern medicine,” repealing Obamacare (a phrase I cannot stand), and that was about it. She really offers nothing.
So, I eagerly showed up at the soapbox at four o’clock and pushed myself as far forward as I could–wearing this shirt:
It was pretty obvious that I was not one of her fans. [Thanks for the shirt, Alison–one of the best gifts ever!] I really enjoyed the disgusted looks I got. People need to lighten up!
There was about a half an hour before she was scheduled to arrive, so I amused myself listening to the crowds. I heard people claiming, “SHE IS AMERICA!” Really? “SHE INSPIRES ME!” To do what? Hate people, force expensive insurance on poor people, and buy lightbulbs that kill the Earth? “SHE UPHOLDS THE BIBLE!” Don’t even get me started. Thomas Jefferson, a very clever and religious man, as we all know, himself wrote about the separation of church and state we hear so much about. By basing her governing on Biblical laws she is tampering with the First Amendment of the Constitution she holds so dear. We aren’t a nation of Christians. We are a nation of people! There are churches, cathedrals, synagogues, mosques, there is a Buddhist temple down the goddamn road! We aren’t a people that need to be dictated to out of a hateful book–we just need to treat each other with kindness and respect.
As I stood there, I heard a woman’s voice speaking in English affected with a German accent. Slowly I turned. (Holla at the I Love Lucy reference!) Surely Europeans would be on my side. So I watched on unabashedly as the woman questioned two men behind me with a bewildered look on her face. I understood how she felt.
Dorothea, as I later learned she was called, was being interrogated by the man in stripes about German tax rates while claiming that every American paid over fifty percent of their income in taxes. Dorothea was incredulous, and I was too, but I didn’t know enough about this topic to enter the debate. That didn’t stop a lot of people, though, from voicing opinions that sounded like they had been made up on the spot.
When they finally got to health care reform, I couldn’t take it anymore. I’m incredibly proud of last year’s health reform and while it isn’t perfect, it is a step in the right direction. I told them about my experiences with health care in France–thankfully I never had to use it, but I know people that have, and have heard the amazement in their voice when they tell me how cheap it is. I have seen British people look at me in alarm when I disclose the prices of American insurance, I have a friend in Canada who tells me about his country’s system. I’ve read books on this. I’m not ignorant on this topic. I knew that I was talking to a deaf crowd, but I was speaking knowledgeably and from the heart. If it hadn’t been for “Obamacare” (an absolutely ridiculous name) I wouldn’t be insured as I write this post.
Dorothea then caught a glance at my shirt and we began discussing the gay marriage/rights issue. I said that it was not an issue. Ever since the happy day that homosexual marriage was allowed in Iowa, I have heard nothing about it. Nobody’s been hurt, and I defy anybody to show me an example of gay marriage being a detriment to society. It is just something that people are. If you aren’t gay, you don’t have to be gay! It’s as simple as that.
This of course sparked Bible frenzy and I was taken aback by the veracity of their words. Dorothea couldn’t help but laugh and said, “I find it hard to believe that we are in 2011.” It was one of the saddest things I had ever seen. We are in 2011 and people are still cherry-picking Bible verses and degrading people in the name of God like we’re in a crusade, or Galileo was acting up again. It’s sickening.
She proceeded to ask me a few questions in French, which offended the others. I understand that, it really wasn’t fair, but we were just having a pleasant chat about Paris, not discussing politics! The man in yellow kept going on saying that God didn’t make Adam and Steve and he hadn’t made Evelyn and Amy (one I’ve never heard before) and the usual nonsense.
The man in stripes, who had just called himself, and I quote, “A real Joe the Plumber!” had had enough now and turned to leave, but Dorothea wanted to quote him so she asked for his name. He refused to give it and looked nervous. I could not believe it. How dare anybody not claim their beliefs? You have to own up to what you say or what you say isn’t worth a thing. I held my tongue as he scurried away, she shook her head in disbelief. The man in yellow carried on for a bit, but he told me how much he respected me for voicing my opinions in such dangerous waters. The old guy was sweet and kind in the end.
It was then announced that Bachmann hadn’t even landed yet, so I left. Dorothea left, too. It would be interesting to see Bachmann, but she wasn’t worth the time–Dorothea had butter cows to see. As we walked away from the crowd, she marveled over finding me there and wondered how I could stand to be surrounded by such people. I tried to tell her that these people were extremists and they aren’t the majority of the American public, but it was still trying to see such nonsensical anger. We then discussed secular Europe and how leaving religion out of government helped create laws that were good for people and not for an invisible entity.
We were having a nice chat, but then we heard cheers: Bachmann was here. We both ran back and somehow I was thrown into the press area. I couldn’t have been happier. I felt like this:
Suddenly, there she was. She’s short, perfectly put together, not a hair out of place, her mouth is set in a manufactured grin that seems permanently affixed to her face. She walks briskly forward, not blinking, not looking left nor right, just marching forward with fierce determination. It’s unnerving. For all the warmth she tries to radiate, she’s cold.
She gets on the stage and her husband follows. (People say certain things about him, and after seeing him from a foot away, I agree.) She proceeds to deliver an absolutely meaningless speech–it says nothing. I was flabbergasted during the whole three minutes she decided to speak. So, I watched from behind as she pointed and shouted and grabbed her spine. It was surreal. Here’s footage of the speech. You can see me quite well right behind the stage on the left. I’m the handsome man wearing sunglasses.
Right after this, it got better than I could have possibly imagined. A young man in the crowd stood up and told her that she was treating him like a “second-class citizen!” IT WAS AWESOME! Throughout his tirade, she ignored him and kept muttering, “God bless!” I can’t believe it’s possible, but this offended me even more! She did not even try to explain her position to him, any explanation is unfathomable to me, but her complete refusal to defend herself was despicable.
She was then rushed off the stage as if she were in danger. The only danger she was in was of questions. So weak. She was escorted backstage where she elbowed me. Bitch didn’t even apologize. Her husband puffed past and she was flown off somewhere to spread some more hate. The whole thing was ridiculous. Politicians need to know that they belong to us. We have the right to ask them absolutely anything and hear from them. They are not celebrities, they are working for us.
After this, we had a lovely time looking at the animals and the displays and buying new cell phones. I knew Sarah Palin was around, but she was being so secretive that I doubted I would see her. But then we turned the corner and there she was.
Breelyn did an excellent job wriggling to the front and blazing a trail for me to follow. I couldn’t hear anything she said, but you could just tell it was the same old thing. “She makes funny faces,” Breelyn told me. It was precious. The crowd was again rabid. They were all saying how pretty she looked–yes, she’s pretty, vote for her! Good choice.
A brave, wise woman in the middle of the crowd shouted in a booming voice. “GO HOME, SARAH!” Another marvelous moment. Sarah just continued smiling and looking out in the crowd. An admittedly clever man replied, “YEAH! GO HOME, SARAH! GO HOME TO WASHINGTON!” The crowd was in an ecstasy, but I had had enough. We had more important things to do than watch sleazy politicians–we had pie to eat.
As the election draws nearer, it’s only going to get more insane. I just hope that people educate themselves before they let themselves near a voting booth. People may say one thing but mean another–this is true for Democrats and Republicans. The presidency is not a popularity contest and just because a person sits in the Oval Office does not mean they will follow through with what they say. They oftentimes can’t. Be conscious this next year. Please?