Blah Blah

Because of the sequester or the deficit or WHATEVER, the feds are cutting funding to the “Head Start” program. Ostensibly Head Start is preschool for poor kids.

Except in reality, it’s just plain old daycare.

The words matter here, people. This INCENSES me. Calling it preschool for one thing allows people to feel better about outsourcing the business of raising their kids, and for another thing makes it so that the left can say with veracity that Republicans don’t care about kids.

Calling it preschool masks what it really is, which is a place where a kid is kept fed and dry and safe, but not necessarily loved or engaged with.

Now what REALLY incenses me is that poor kids – those who the program is designed for – stand to lose the most from spending their days cooped in glorified baby-jail. And even if Head Start were educationally instructive, seeing as its overseen by the government it wouldn’t be worth a damn. Which makes it not unlike the other government-run daycare we call the school system.

 

About Those “Family Values”…

At first I thought it was a scam.

The caller on the other end of the line spoke perfect English, albeit mottled with a Bahamian accent. “My name is Cardinal Moncur. Cardinal…like the bird.”

Right off the bat, he identified himself as a black conservative.

At that point I no longer thought it was a scam, I thought it was a political poll. I almost hung up right then, because seriously… “ain’t nobody got time for that.”

Then the caller – Cardinal, “like the bird” – began listing a veritable who’s who of the South Carolina political roster, including Senators Tim Scott and Lindsey Graham and Congressman Tom Rice.

Still doubting the legitimacy of the call, I balanced the phone between my ear and my neck, and typed his name into Google. When I saw the search results, I knew I needed to pay attention to what this man had to say.

The details of Mr. Moncur’s circumstances are wrought with the red tape of international bureaucratic finger-pointing. That’s why he – frustrated, penniless, and desperate – turned to me to call attention to his fruitless experience with the South Carolina political and judicial systems.

At once complicated and straightforward, the specifics of his story aren’t as important as the big picture.

Mr. Moncur, a schoolteacher, has his hands full of daughters, trying to support them on his own and in the alleged absence of his their mother. As he tells it, he’s run into nothing but walls in his attempt to bridge the gap between dueling jurisdictions.

In seeking out the assistance of Republican legislators, Mr. Moncur says that he got nothing but cold shoulders. The same thing happened, he says, when he contacted the South Carolina Democratic Party.

That right there is the big-picture part of this story that ought both to worry and infuriate any rational person.

The Republican Party professes to care deeply about “family values.” Yet when prominent party members have the chance to do more than merely profess, Mr. Moncur alleges that they run and hide. That’s why the conservative family-values chant is no longer taken seriously: It’s all talk, especially in the run-up to each election, and not a lot of action.

The Democratic Party, for its part, is no better. Here the Democrats have got themselves a dream anecdote: A devoted single father who happens to be both black and foreign-born, who says the whole system has overlooked his daughters… who for their part seem doomed to destitution unless the moving parts of the government decide ever to work together.

The worst part is that Mr. Moncur’s story is hardly uncommon. All over the place, both here in South Carolina and in the rest of this crumbling country, families teeter on the precipice of poverty while the government gives them yet another form to fill out.

10 Phrases That Need to Die

1. “The challenges that teachers confront in the classroom…”

Bitch, please.

2. “America has seen her best days.”

America is a her?

3. “America has her best days in front of her.”

America is a her?

4. “Reagan would know how to make America perfect again.”

??????????

5. “The lottery is a tax on poor people.”

If you care so much about poor people, why do I always see you rush right past them when they ask you for a dollar?

Speaking of poor people…

6. “They’re just going to waste it on liquor anyway.”

So are you, so get off your high horse. Also, sometimes people just need to be reminded that somebody still cares.

7. “Oh, if we only knew what those poor soldiers see over there…”

I do know. Which is why I’m not in a hurry for even more wars.

8. “Calories in versus calories out is all it takes to lose weight.”

You really don’t know much about science, do you?

9. “Women and minorities…”

Women comprise 51% of the world population, which I do believe is a majority. How in the hell do they get to be considered a minority?

10. “Just be grateful.”

You be grateful, I’ll be realistic.

 

 

 

Why Aren’t Women Jealous of Me, Dammit?

Mean girls.

I’ve never met any.

Certainly I’ve met girls who happen to be mean, but mean girls? Never met any. Not even in middle school. Not even at summer camp. Not even in my mom’s group. I don’t know any mean girls.

Which is peculiar, since apparently they’re absolutely everywhere, cattily spewing their venom to and fro.

That I’ve never met a mean girl makes me worry. Presumably mean-girl status is a function of jealousy, and I’m pretty goddamn envy-worthy. If I do say so myself. I’m a hot girl with a hot husband and a lovely baby. I’ve got naturally “good hair” and unnaturally great boobies. Thanks to years of education, my vocabulary is the only thing bigger than my rack. I’m funny, charming, upwardly-mobile, creative, fit, and Godly. And did I mention the gorgeous one-year old I get to enjoy every day?

And yet.

Women aren’t jealous. They wish the best for me, they encourage me, they care about me.

And for the other side of the coin:

For all my “good breeding” and good fortune and good living, there’s always somebody fitter, smarter, younger, better. And I don’t find myself getting jealous of these women. I wish the best for them, I encourage them, I care about them.

But still.

I’m not going to lie.

It would maybe, possibly, sorta feel a tiny bit good if somebody were a smidge jealous. Just once, just so I know what it feels like. Just so I can say I’ve met a mean girl.

Having a Baby Made Me Lonely

Because being frank is my whole shtick, I hate that I feel the need to include, right here at the outset, the following caveat: My little Nathan is my whole heart. He brings me joy and love and laughter. He thrills me.

But Nathan’s awesomeness is not the topic of this post.

This post is about the fundamental way I’ve changed since having Nathan. Even though they say that no one ever really changes. (Here’s what I think of that notion, by the by.)

Having a baby changed me. Before Nathan came along, I was an introvert. Other than a few key people (most of them family), I didn’t need or want much company. I could have (and did) go days and days without speaking with anyone other than my husband and my siblings. I was a hermit – a happy hermit for whom being alone never felt lonely.

Now that Nathan is almost one, I have to come to terms with the apparent fact that all of that has changed. I added a whole human to my life, and it made me lonely. Logically, it makes no sense. Philosophically, it makes no sense. Culturally, it makes no sense.

And it makes me feel guilty as hell, mainly because it simply fails to compute. Whereas before Nathan I never – literally never – felt lonely, now I ache all the time. I’m lonely when he’s asleep, and I’m lonelier when he’s awake.

I wonder if this is some kind of maternal phenomenon that nobody talks about. So acute is the ache, and so illogical, that it must have sprouted for a reason.

Of all the confessions I could make as a mother – not rinsing his paci, forgetting to brush his teeth – it’s this one that feels the most taboo. It’s this confession that feels the most confessional, the most raw, the most transgressive.

I’d like you to think that by sharing this that I’m being brave. But I’m not making this confession out of sincerity or any sense of solidarity. I’m confessing because I’m desperate to dull this ache, even if only for the time it’s taking to write this post. I’m confessing because it’s a way to connect.

I’m not certain I’ll not delete this post in an hour. I might. But for the time being, at least, I’ll send it into the ether.

What I Believe

I believe a man should make the first move, pay for dates, and be made to wait for sex.

I believe that health care is a right rather than a privilege or a product. I believe that universal care means that the quality of care suffers for everyone.

I believe in tolerance: Letting sleeping dogs lie; to each his own; it takes all kinds. I also believe in intolerance: Standing up to wrong people and wrong ideas; recognizing right versus wrong; making judgments.

I believe in drug legalization. I don’t believe in drugs.

I believe that a woman’s body is her own, and I believe that the corollary to that is that a woman must be singularly concerned with the preservation of her own sexual mystique.

I don’t believe in feeding my kid McDonald’s, high fructose corn syrup, or preservatives. I believe that feeding your kid any of these is ok if that’s all you know or all you’ve got.

I believe in love. I believe in lust.

I believe in not shaving my legs, re-wearing sweaty socks, and skipping deodorant. I believe in breast implants, trashy clothes, and filthy mouths.

I believe that immigrants must learn English, and I believe that learning English may be prohibitively difficult.

I believe in myself. I doubt myself.

I believe that people change. I believe that people never change.

I believe in abstinence and in waiting ’til marriage. Unless the woman is a sex worker who is being paid for her services.

I believe in the ‘F’ word.

I believe that family is the most important thing. I believe that family sucks.

I believe in forgiveness. I believe in revenge.

I believe my son should respect my authority. I believe my son should respect no authority except the authority of his own spirit.

I believe violence is never the right answer. I believe violence is sometimes the only answer.

I believe God. I believe that questioning God strengthens my faith.

I believe in full-time mothering. I believe not everyone is cut out for the gig.

I believe in karma. I believe in fresh starts and clean slates.