Okay, so part of the reason my head hurts is because I had a migraine yesterday, and I'm still in that "everything above my neck isn't working in synch" phase. (I feel like a vampire: stay away, bright light!)
But where my brain hurts regards the conversation I had with my nutty, Rush Limbaugh lovin', Fox News watchin', xenophobic Republican father last night. Let's just say that he has drunk deeply of the Kool Aid.
I make it a policy (an oft-repeated one) to avoid discussing politics with my dad. We have had a difficult relationship at times (he's not a perfect person, and among other things, he was pretty weaselly in his treatment of my mother when they divorced), and we don't need additional, unnecessary challenges. And as I pointed out to him years ago, I am a very intelligent, self-sufficient, successful adult who is more than capable of making my own decisions. Since the conversations don't tend to go two ways, perhaps he should do me the favor of shutting the fark up? (Ahem.) Besides, he gets the majority of his news from Fox News and Rush Limbaugh, while I get mine from a variety of sources, including NPR, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, RSS feeds, and a variety of high quality magazines. (Do you all remember the study from the Pew Research Center--an indepdent, neutral, and widely respected institution--a few years ago which showed that people for whom Fox News was their major source of information had the least factually accurate beliefs about what was going on in Iraq, whereas those for whom NPR was their source had the most factually accurate beliefs? 'Nough said.)
Anyway the good, the bad, and the ugly:
The good: I managed to not discuss Sarah Palin with him. Honestly, I don't want to hear from my dad about how Palin is a VPILF. Yuck.
The bad: Dad said that Obama had advisors with ties to Fanny Mae and Freddie Mac. Um... Dad? Rick Davis? How confused are you? How far up your ass is your head? (I think Dad had his fingers in his ears and was singing "la la la la la" at this point.) I spewed out Phil Gramm, and that shut him up.
The ugly: Dad said that the financial meltdown is because of bank regulation, rather than deregulation. Nice. And what regulation was he referring to? Those pesky rules forcing banks to loan to poor people, people of color, people on the wrong side of the tracks (I cleaned up his language for you). In other words, the regulations against red-lining. Never mind that the reality was that it wasn't necessarily banks behind these loans and that the loans were very often predatory in terms of their rates, their schedules, their fees, and the (too large) amounts that they loaned. Never mind that people were often unethically not duly informed of what they were getting into. Never mind that a lot of people made a lot of money basically scalping these people and packaging and selling bales of this crap. As always, I like to point out to Dad that the reason we get rules in the first place is generally because someone was unable to rely on their own (lacking) sense of ethics to do the right thing. And deregulation was a disaster.
I want to rip my hair out (or wash my ears out) after listening to him. I do my best to counter him, and then I change the subject. Ironically, though, we agree on a few things: the people "running" these companies are being paid absurd amounts of money for doing nothing to improve their companies. Basically, they come in for a few years, strip out value for themselves, and then poof goes the golden parachute. My father brought up the fact that CEOs make an insane multiple of the folks on the lowest rungs of the companies (who, ironically, tend to have much greater loyalty to the company). When a capitalist of my father's ilk points that out, wow. We also agree that the people running these companies are not doing anything for their companies (or our country): what do they make? what valuable service do they provide? what are they adding to the economy? Nothing.
Thanks for the opportunity to vent. When I feel better, I'll get back out canvassing. In the mean time, I think this may provide some inspiration for some LTEs (written in a dark room).