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I used to be a wuss.  I grew up in a family and a culture that wanted me to be quiet, well-behaved, and obedient.  I lucked out when my parents started breaking those rules in the '70's, and continued to luck out watching my 85 year old dad call BS on RW noise whenever it crossed his path.  

I moved to Texas in June of 2008 to help my sisters take care of our parents.  Mom's dementia was fairly severe, and dad was having problems with his legs.  One of my new responsibilities was taking him to Physical Therapy 3 times a week.  He'd hobble in, shaking off my offer of an arm to support him, and within minutes be in a discussion with someone, therapist or patient, who was repeating Fox Newsisms.

I always knew he was smart, I had no idea how smart, or how phenomenal his memory was.  Someone would start in on something - government is bad somehow - and he'd hit them with Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, Alexander Hamilton, Benjamin Franklin, Thorsten Veblein, Epictetus, Jesus, and Galileo.  I started out worried he'd be lynched, saw that even people who were hard-core righties were impressed with his knowledge, and with getting some facts about the Founding Fathers vision of America, Jesus' vision of how we treat people, and the insanity of a consumer only culture.

I joined this community sometime in there, and mostly just read.  I found other Progressive sites, and started learning about using the Internet to find out what you want to know.  I ended up being an Obama supporter mostly based on his speeches, his writings, and a sense I'd begun to put together that he had a far larger agenda than being elected to the Presidency.  He was seriously concerned with our fragmentation, with the national distrust of government, with our degrading civility.  He wanted to do something to change that, to start undercutting the RW propaganda machine mostly in order to teach us that a well run efficient government is the friend of the people.

I can't make a coal mine owner run safe mines, neither can you.  We need government for that, and for scores of things we take for granted and would suffer without.

After President Obama was elected I started seeing the beginnings of various circular firing squads in the trenches here and elsewhere and I did MORE research, reading and thinking.  The most stunning was a couple of days looking at Democratic circular firing squads from the past.  The anger with how weak Social Security, Medicare, and Civil Rights Legislation were compared to how they began.  Then I did a little research on leftie attitudes toward Carter, Clinton, Gore, Kerry.  I started seeing a pattern.  The Republicans start selling a meme: He thinks he invented the Internet, He's an effete snob, he's weak, ineffectual, so stupid he thinks conservation is going to solve our oil problems.  Within days Democrats are repeating it, with perhaps a leftie twist or two, and suddenly we've got Reagan, Bush, Bush II running things.  Well Cheney and the neo-cons mostly ran things, but you know what I'm saying.

I started to understand why Obama was so concerned about the future of the country long before the Bush Financial Disaster.  The propaganda machine is so effective it sells to the smart people, the people who know there's a propaganda machine at work.

I started commenting about things, and was often castigated or mocked about some of my positions, but somehow I survived.  When things got really ugly during and after the Health Care Warz I started to fight harder, to stop being nice and polite and quiet.  It was clear I'd have to have facts, links etc if I wanted to be heard in the middle of pie fights, so I found and used them.  I found other sites, places where there were people who were reading the bills, getting the details, and analyzing what was really happening.  (LOL - yesterday someone mocked me for using one of those sites as a resource.  Imagine a Democrat wanting details and facts!)

What I learned toughened me up, it taught me to stick to the point, stick to the facts as I know them, and to not be intimidated by people who wanted me to go away.

That started leaking out into real life.  I confronted my mom's caregiver when she started some birther bullshit, told her it made her sound stupid to believe that a vast FBI/CIA/ Democratic/Republican/media conspiracy had somehow been created in order to get a black foreigner elected to the White House.  To what end?

I gently smacked down someone whining about how Obama is killing small businesses, told him that Bush enacted 426 new regulations for small businesses and Obama was turning them back and simplifying the system, not to mention funneling a whole lot of money into it.  "If you want a strong business environment and a healthy economy, elect Democrats.  Don't believe me?  Look up the stats on the internet."

I did a lot of it on Thursday on various message boards and sites, targeting ranters who were in despair about the SC decision.  

It was pretty simple.  "If I understand you correctly, you're okay with your parents or grandparents having to decide between food and medication, with your neighbor dying of a heart attack because he can't get covered because he has heart disease, with your wife finding out she'll have to have $250,000 on hand if she really wants to beat breast cancer.  You're okay with being dropped by your insurance company during your open heart procedure.  You think it's unfair to make insurance companies pay out 80 to 85 % of every premium dollar collected on actual health care costs.  You think it's fine to pay CEOs multimillions, which means you pay two or three times more for health insurance and health care than you would if they were less greedy.  If you're comfortable with all those things, go in peace.  I'm not.  Thank You Obamacares!"

It may not change the minds of the ranters, but it puts the truth out there for the people whose entire head hasn't yet exploded.

I'm not so scared of taking on the haters as I used to be.  It still makes me sick to my stomach to look someone in the eye and say "That's not true, here's what is......" but I'm getting braver every day, and I do it despite the hollow pit in my middle.

I am the change I've been waiting for.  If I don't have the guts to confront dishonesty, to add clarity, to present a different slant or some facts that disrupt the conventional wisdom who will?  Obama is my President, not my well trained puppy.  He's the President of people I find appalling, too.  He has a responsibility to provide the best leadership for people I wouldn't follow into a palace if they gave it to me.  

He's not going to do things the way I'd like him to do them because I'm not that damn important, I'm one of hundreds of millions of citizens who have concerns and priorities.  

That racist fuckwad over there is also a human being who needs a job, health insurance, an education, and a government that works at all levels.  If I stop at "that racist fuckwad" I'm not bringing that change in any way.  If I swallow the bile and say "Let's see if I have this right......", I might just change someone who overhears or reads what I said.

This isn't easy stuff.  I want to be liked and approved of, and I walk away from some of these personal encounters thinking I've really done it now.  A couple of weeks ago I mouthed off in Church - the Catholic Church I don't belong to, but they pay me to play their organ and piano for services.  (not much it's a poor congregation).  I've developed some really close ties there, people I love and admire despite some of their theology.  I told 2 of those women that praying for religious freedom didn't mean much when laws were being passed that ignore the religious beliefs of large percentage of citizens.  I told them that Rep. Lisa Brown wasn't muzzled because she said a bad word, she was shut down because she said her religion says the life of the mother comes first, and the law they were passing said the opposite.  

I expected to hear from the Religious Ed committee that they could no longer use my services.  It could still happen, but I think these women took me seriously and understood something very large and very frightening.  Some Catholics may feel like they're winning this round but the Evangelicals mostly hate them.  They know that.  What's the next round?  Maybe they'll wonder about that.

Since we're on this topic at the moment, a revealing comment from an Iranian who was being interviewed about the people who are going to be executed for drinking alcohol.  Rough paraphrase:  People are leaving the religion now that it's become the government.  They buy alcohol because the religious rules mean less now.  It's not good here.

Originally posted to I love OCD on Sat Jun 30, 2012 at 02:50 PM PDT.

Also republished by I Vote for Democrats.

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Comment Preferences

  •  There are some excellent diaries up (42+ / 0-)

    with tips for selling this President's agenda, and they started me thinking about how I've changed, that I'm actually able to do those things.  

    Hoping this will touch others with those same fears.  It's not as scary as it looked at first, and there's a huge payoff:  I like myself better when I stand up for what I believe in.

    I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

    by I love OCD on Sat Jun 30, 2012 at 02:46:49 PM PDT

  •  More Power to You (13+ / 0-)

    I am glad you have found your voice.  It is not always easy.  

    You should be proud of yourself, I am sure your father is proud of you.

  •  Absolutely terrific! (8+ / 0-)

    I am stealing your little rebuttal list:

    "If I understand you correctly, you're okay with your parents or grandparents having to decide between food and medication, with your neighbor dying of a heart attack because he can't get covered because he has heart disease, with your wife finding out she'll have to have $250,000 on hand if she really wants to beat breast cancer.  You're okay with being dropped by your insurance company during your open heart procedure.  You think it's unfair to make insurance companies pay out 80 to 85 % of every premium dollar collected on actual health care costs.  You think it's fine to pay CEOs multimillions, which means you pay two or three times more for health insurance and health care than you would if they were less greedy.  If you're comfortable with all those things, go in peace.  I'm not.  Thank You Obamacares!"
    Gonna print it up and put it in my pocket until I get it memorized.  :-)  

    BTW, this was the first Sunday in several weeks that religious freedom hasn't been in the Prayers of the Faithful at my parish.  It made me wince every time I heard it.  The woman who writes them lost her mother and then was out of town for awhile.  I didn't want to cause her more grief, but if she starts putting it in there again, I'll have to have a talk with her.

    -7.62, -7.28 "Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly." -Langston Hughes

    by luckylizard on Sat Jun 30, 2012 at 04:15:28 PM PDT

    •  Cool! that really makes me feel good. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eric Nelson, nomandates

      Thanks for reading, and sorry I'm so late responding.  I'm on the outer edge of internet coverage, small town in Texas, and tonight I fell off altogether about an hour after I published this.  That frustrates me, but it's also sort of a rich girl's problem.  I HAVE internet, and a computer, and a cell phone!

      I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

      by I love OCD on Sat Jun 30, 2012 at 07:50:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This Is Why I Admire President Obama..... (10+ / 0-)

    The first person the President called after the SC ruling on the ACA was Solicitor General Donald Verelli.

    He wanted to thank him for representing the federal government before the SC.  Verelli was much maligned during the oral arguments.  Scorn was heaped on him.  He was called a flameout & a trainwreck.  That's how Jeffrey Toobin of CNN described him.....a trainwreck.

    The President remembered.  Verelli showed little emotion when the ruling came out but his eyes welled up when he heard it would stand.

    I'm sure it felt good to get that early phone call from our wonderful  President.  

    •  That touched my heart, too. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eric Nelson, nomandates, myboo, meralda

      That and the comment someone made to Victoria Kennedy that Teddy could rest now.  Tears.  Was that Nancy Pelosi?  Class act!

      I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

      by I love OCD on Sat Jun 30, 2012 at 07:52:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Thank you for sharing that of Vereilli.. (3+ / 0-)
      The President remembered.  Verelli showed little emotion when the ruling came out but his eyes welled up when he heard it would stand.
      Everyone is touting Roberts as this huge intellect who braved the storm and fairness abounds. I say hogwash. Roberts had no choice but to go with verillis' well thought out arguments. But he wasn't brave enough to do what was right for all the right reasons - the rejection of commerce clause was Roberts way of keeping some states rights creds for his teabag republican  base

      So he chose the tax & spend avenue

      Roberts knew after Bush v Gore; Citizens united that if he tried to put down PPACA his "legacy" and the court he chiefs would never live down the partisan/activist label. Legacy ruined

      Aklil Amar Yale law has determined that ACA was constitutional on four seperate ways (saw him on UP w/ Chris Hayes)
      • regulation of interstate commerce - commerce clause (Verelli had that angle covered)
      • taxing & spendong (Verelli)
      • National  security (Verelli)
      • Human rights laws (Verelli)

      Verlli had each of these areas covered
      ............................................................
      And a big H/T I love OCD for sharing your story so kindly. I'm glad you do it - fight the good fight standing your ground too. Thank you for real bravery  :)

      P.S. i too have a hard time sometimes confronting people and knowing how to get my points across and understood

  •  I'm going to try to follow your lead (5+ / 0-)

    I tend to just avoid people who spout RW talking points -- I can't believe there's such widespread gullibility, or lack of critical thinking skills, or whatever it is, and I get frustrated and just give up. I've fought too many fights and don't have much mojo left in me these days. Example: Thursday, a very intelligent, well-educated man at work joked about me wearing a hoodie (a.c. was really cold) and was I trying to get shot. I said I felt so sorry for that young man and what an awful thing had happened, and he said, well, the fault lay about 50-50% between Martin and Zimmerman. I literally turned around and walked away in shock. What do you say to someone so clueless, and so unfeeling? He was really surprised at my reaction and tried to find me later but I was busy so it got dropped. Normally we have a good relationship, so I might have to follow up on this and let him know my perspective. Anyway, well done.

    Exultation is the going/Of an inland soul to sea... . (Emily Dickinson)

    by Southcoast Luna on Sat Jun 30, 2012 at 06:19:50 PM PDT

    •  Thanks for reading and commenting. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eric Nelson, nomandates, Dirtandiron

      I have that shock response a lot, but you know what, I really thought about what Obama said all the time - we are the change we've been waiting for!

      I just can't let myself let my own anger, fear, annoyance, or boredom with morans stop what I think is probably the most important thing I'll do in this life.

      My kids deserve a better America and it's on me to fight for that.  It took Obama to make me believe it might be possible, and I'm so grateful for his message and his belief that we can bring out the best in ourselves and each other if we try.

      I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

      by I love OCD on Sat Jun 30, 2012 at 07:57:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Tried to "rec" your diary, but I'm "told" I can't. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    I love OCD

    So now I'll see if I can leave this note...

    •  I'm getting all kinds of odd little (0+ / 0-)

      messages this past week.  I blame it on my low-speed intermittent internet service, but maybe the bot deluge is doing something.  I tried to post a comment with links yesterday and kept getting a message that I'm not registered.  My page is up, but I'm not really here being really me.  ;-)

      I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

      by I love OCD on Sun Jul 01, 2012 at 04:35:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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