Of Rats and Jen

Tales of a Perpetual
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Invasion of the 20-foot Baby; or, If It’s This Easy, What are the Idiots in Congress Actually Doing?

Filed under: Retired - The Life & Times of a Winged Cat — folkcat at 5:23 pm on Tuesday, August 16, 2005

You might want to bookmark this blog entry. It’s one of the rare times you’ll ever see me speak on a political topic!

Gryphon and I went out for a nice ice cream on Sunday. It was uneventful enough – I had banana fudge, he had the flavor of the month, whoopie pie, both were good – and I got some nice pictures. Then we came back home to Wilton, and found this sight waiting to greet us.

It’s a big boy…girl…uh, baby!

This inflatable critter is about 20 feet tall, and was part of a demonstration set up by a group called True Majority. Their entire point is that they’ve thought of a simple, easy to understand way to demonstrate certain points about the United States Federal Budget, especially that part apportioned to the Pentagon. With stacks of giant, fake Oreo cookies, each representing $10 billion dollars, the speaker demonstrates how a simple re-apportionment of a tiny fraction of the Pentagon budget could solve an awful lot of problems with schools, health care, and unemployment.

Oreos = Money

Anyone who knows me well will tell you that I am the most a-political person there is. I grew up with a father who’s heavily involved in the Republican party in Syracuse, and as a child, I was dragged around door-to-door and made to ring bells and hand out flyers. I was painfully shy, and this was like torture to me.

Add that I grew up meeting politicians, and I don’t think that helped at all. I got to know that they are generally, mostly, nice people. But that I couldn’t see any reason to prefer one over another.

People who get involved in political causes are doing a lot of good for the world, and fixing a lot of wrongs. I’m not saying that politics isn’t worth time and effort. I just have trouble feeling like it’s right for me.

I know, I know – a bunch of you right now are muttering to yourselves, “It’s people like you that are what’s wrong with the system!” Well, you’re entitled to your opinion.

Please understand, though, that I am painfully aware of the limited capability of the human being to do things well. I do my crafts well. I cook well. I write well. I do an awful lot of things quite well, and I enjoy them.

I could get involved in politics. But I think I have assessed my ability to cope with politics carefully. I don’t think I could do politics half-assed. I don’t think I could ever just fit it into a couple odd moments here and there. I would probably take up leadership on some campaign and make it a major effort, which would push a lot of other things I do into limbo.

I am fairly sure that, as a political person, I would be intensely unhappy. Politics is a game* that never ends. Either you don’t get the changes you want, or you only get a partial change, or you get the change, but immediately identify another issue to take its place. There are no finished projects in politics.

I can’t deal with that. I suspect I would become insanely driven trying to make a finished project happen. And I would take extreme issue with anyone who couldn’t see the logic of my position.

I would probably have a heart attack or stroke in very short time.

In short, politics is a valid matter for people to get involved with, and they can make massive changes in the world that make it a better place. But I think I’m a personality type who couldn’t handle it well. I couldn’t control it so it wasn’t my whole life, and I couldn’t get into it without taking it all very, very, personally.

My hats are off to those of you who can do it. It’s not an easy job. It must be a lot like raising kids, something Gryphon and I have also decided we could probably never do (aside from the fact that physical reality makes that something that’s not going to happen.) Even when they grow up, the job’s never really done, is it?

All that being said, if it’s all right with you, I’ll leave the politics to those who do it well, and I’ll stick to what I know. Crafting.

Now, why that long digression? Well, because as an apolitical person, I sometimes have a bad reaction to receiving a political lecture. But this time, it was all so simple and clear, and it made extreme sense. And it was delivered without a hint of malice** in the entire speech.

At the end of the speech, people who signed up for the website, http://www.showmethemoney.net , were given a pen. But not just any pen. Apparently, this pen was featured on C-Span or something when someone testified on the Senate floor. This pen has a window-shade like component that can be pulled out to display a bar graph of the Federal Budget. It’s rather cool.

I didn’t sign up that day, but when the speaker saw I was planning to blog about this, he gave me a pen anyhow. You can buy them, too, especially if you want to hand them out and spread the word. And I haven’t ruled out that I might still sign up for True Majority – they actually seem to be a level of political involvement – and a positive attitude – that I can deal with.


Cool Trick Pentagon Budget Pen

*(It is not my intention to trivialize it by using the word “game”. Rather, I use the term as an indicator of the type of strategic maneuvering that is involved.)

**(Malice may be one of the big reasons I can’t get into politics. I can’t stand spending my days with people who are only talking about what’s wrong with the world, and I think sometimes that’s the only mode that politically-involved people are able to use. I’m not saying be all Mary Sunshine and everything, but there’s almost always a positive way to spin your story that will sit better with people, and not contribute to the vast pools of negative emotion poisoning the world.)

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