The State of American Politics: The Democrats Messaging Problem and the Republicans Attack on Big Bird

When it comes down to it, politics is about two things: messages and action. One can say the right things, but without acting on what has been said, nothing gets done.

I am a lifelong Democrat. My first major election was the 2000 Presidential election in which George W. Bush ran against former Vice President Al Gore. For the last twenty-ish years, I have voted mostly along party lines. But that does not mean that I can’t or won’t speak when I feel the need. The problem with today’s Democratic Party is not the message. They just finally passed the Infrastructure Bill, for G-d sake. The problem is how the message is being presented. Instead of hearing that our young children will be educated, our seniors will be provided for, and our roads will be maintained, the only thing we are being told is the cost.

There were three recent elections that exemplified this issue. In my hometown of New York City, former police officer, and current Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams won handily against activist Curtis Sliwa in the Mayoral election. Truth be told, Adam’s win was not a complete given, but generally accepted that it was the obvious outcome. NYC is, for the most part, politically blue. It was not a surprise that Sliwa lost.

Across the river, current New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy won his Gubernatorial election against Jack Ciattarelli, but only by a narrow margin. Down south, the shock that Republican Glenn Youngkin was proclaimed the winner in the Virginia Gubernatorial election rippled across the nation. His opponent, Terry McAuliffe lost because instead of focusing on kitchen table issues, he spent his time on you know who. Youngkin won because he mostly repudiated the former President and spoke to the everyday problems that voters are dealing with.

While this is happening, the Republicans are making mountains of out molehills. With the announcement that children ages 5-11 are now eligible for the Covid-19 vaccine, the powers that be reached out to the people at Sesame Street. Via Twitter, Big Bird is encouraging young children to get the shot.

Ted Cruz, in his usual unhelpful way, decided to attack this most beloved of characters. Instead of remembering the 760,000 Americans who have died from the virus, he is opening the door for even more of us to lose our lives. When will he get it through his extra thick skull that the only way to stay alive and return to normal is to be vaccinated?

There is no doubt that the American political scene is nothing short of a shit-show. Until we get our heads out of our asses and do what needs to be done, it will continue to be a shit show.

P.S. How is Paul Gosar still in Congress when he posted a video in which AOC is killed and the President is attacked? He doesn’t have to agree with her, but he crossed the line with the suggestion of violence.

Flashback Friday: Addams Family Values (1993)

Subversive comedy is in my mind, the best kind of comedy. While we are laughing, the gears in our brains are turning, bringing up questions that we might not otherwise ask.

Addams Family Values (1993) is the sequel to the 1991 film, The Addams Family. Gomez and Morticia Addams (the late Raul Julia and Angelica Houston) have just added a third bundle of joy to the family. Their elder children, Wednesday (Christina Ricci) and Pugsley (Jimmy Workman) are not exactly pleased to have a new baby brother. In the usual Addams Family style, they do everything they can do to get rid of him.

As many parents have done before them and will do after them, Gomez and Morticia hire a nanny to help with their little one. Debbie Jellinsky (Joan Cusack) is supposed to take care of the baby. But while she is doing this, she is pretending to fall for Fester (Christopher Lloyd). The rest of his family knows that her feelings for her new fiance are merely an act. Can they stop her and reveal her true intentions before it is too late?

I was a preteen when this film was initially released, so some of the humor was above my head at the time. But looking at it with adult eyes, I find myself laughing. My favorite scenes are the ones in which the kids are at camp. When they dramatize the first Thanksgiving and delightfully shock the audience of white upper-class parents.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

One True Loves Book Review

We are often told that we can only have one true love. But what happens when fate throws us a curveball and we have more than one?

One True Loves, by Taylor Jenkins Reid, was published in 2016. Just a year after her wedding to her high school sweetheart, Jesse, Emma has it all. A job that she loves, opportunities that take her far from the New England town that she grew up in, and a husband that is her world. Then she gets the news that no one ever wants to hear: Jesse is killed in a helicopter accident.

Needing to move on from her loss, Emma returns to her hometown and eventually starts dating again. Three years later, Emma is engaged to Sam and has settled in her new life. When her husband is found alive, Emma must make a choice. She could either continue with Jesse where they left off or start a new chapter with Sam.

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This book is really good. The author takes the love triangle, which is one of the cornerstone narratives within the romance genre, and elevates it. Emma is more than the woman who has to choose between two men. Her choice is a major life decision. I would not blame her if she went back to her husband. It is a very tempting thought, especially when our spouses/romantic partners are lost in a dramatic and violent manner. But, there is also a recognition that three years has passed. No one stays the same forever, we do change over time, regardless of whether we recognize it or not.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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