Hamburgers, Doormats, and Tea Party Candidates


To dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily.  To not dare is to lose oneself.  ~Soren Kierkegaard

Where do we toss the cream and sugar?


Before I start tonight, I have a brief confession to make. I don’t consider myself a Tea Party member. In fact, I eschew most organizations precisely because they are organized. That being said, I think that the country at large has strayed from its most basic of principles: limited government, separation of powers, checks and balances, you know, all that “boring” stuff your teacher talked about in civics class. I also believe I, and only I, am best equipped to make the most important decisions in my life such as where I will work and whom I will work for, whom I will vote for, whether or not I choose to purchase Product A or not purchase Product B, what I do with my body, etc., ad nauseum. Not some nameless bureaucrat in Washington, DC whom I’ll never meet. That’s not a matter of right vs. left, Republican vs. Democrat…that’s a matter of common sense and putting faith in the individual rather than the bureaucracy.

Sorry, how’d I get there? I meant to leave some of that ranting for the end. Getting back to where I was…it all started with a hamburger.

Four fried chickens and a coke? What movie do you think this is?

Today was a special day. I felt like eating out. Normally I have about as much desire to eat in a public place as I do to shove a spork into the tender part of my own toenails, but I guess I was in a weird mood today. So, instead of heading faithfully to the local MSG-laden Chinese or Mexican place, I foolishly decided to break bread at a Chain Restaurant To Be Named Later.

My bad.

Chain restaurants are funny. If you were an alien from the Thermian Nebula and you accidentally phased into one of them, you’d have no idea whether you were in Phoenix, or New York, or Minneapolis, or even on the planet Earth. These places have no soul. Every frackin’ one of them is exactly the same. No accounting for Earthling taste, I suppose.

Anyway, I’m rambling again. Back to reality.

On the rare occasions I do go to one of these places, I always try something simple. A half-rack of ribs; a French dip sandwich. No Southwestern Thai Chipotle Mandarin Quesadilla for me. In this case, it was a cheeseburger. A simple cheeseburger, minus the tomato and mayonnaise, which I can’t stand.

Strike one: it came with both. Strike two: it was half-raw. Strike three: the side item was badly overcooked.

I’m not a complainer, and I’m not one of these professional con artists who always gets a free lunch. That being said, I did complain today. Never before in my adult life had I done that. I did get a free lunch, but that’s not the point of this story, or my post today.

Can I get one of these for my door?

 

Despite my height and powerful build and deeper than average voice, I am *not* a badass. In fact, I go out of my way to avoid most conflicts. This is such a running joke in my life that the book Ferdinand could have been written about me. I do have my opinions, but so long as I’m mostly left alone, I leave others to theirs.

However, the main problem with this logic is: if you never say anything in your own defense, who will?

I realize that a cold, raw hamburger is something people in 3/4 of the world would fight to the death over. I realize that what Americans call “poverty” is the lap of luxury to those 3/4 people. However, diminishing my standard of living does nothing to increase the standard of living for someone else. It only makes me poorer.

Since I’ve come to grips with my AS diagnosis, I’m also coming to understand some fundamental truths. You can be as sweet and gentle and nonviolent as you want, but you eventually have to take a stand. This does not mean that everyone should become a beret-wearing, AK47-toting Che Guevara wannabe. On the contrary. Some of the people who made the biggest differences in the world were nonviolent (surely you remember Gandhi from history class? OK, so you were sleeping through it. I understand.)

One word I’ve heard tossed around a good deal during the political primary season has been “establishment.” Whether you’re a Republican or Democrat (I’m neither) or Independent, or fairly apathetic about politics, the fact remains that what politicans do affects your life and the lives of your family members. You may gripe about higher taxes or unemployment or outrageous laws, all the while asking yourself whether your vote really means anything.

The challenge I make to you is this: if you have an opinion, no matter what it is, make it heard. Call your member of Congress. Write a letter to the editor. Get a friend or relative to register to vote. Better yet, vote for whomever you think is the best candidate rather than the “lesser of two evils.”

Rock the vote, baby

 

This post isn’t meant to be partisan either way. One thing I find interesting about the Tea Party movement is how much of a grassroots movement. Many of their candidates are not “establishment” figures who have been elected for many years. Most don’t have highly pedigreed resumes from Ivy League schools.

Still don’t believe me? Consider the following:

150 years ago, it was part of the “establishment” for human beings to be bought and sold like cattle.

Less than 100 years ago, the “establishment” did not allow women to vote.

60 years ago, every good “establishment” Southerner lived his or her life in a segregated society.

How did these long-held policies and views change? It wasn’t overnight, or even in the course of a few weeks or months. It was a long process, and involved many voices. But the truth is, if a few courageous people hadn’t been willing to take the first step and refuse to be treated as second-class citizens, the “establishment” never would have changed.

You may not think you’re changing the world when you tell a restaurant manager you’re getting bad service or cold food. But maybe you’ll save the next person from getting the short schrift.

When people think they’re doing nothing wrong, what’s to stop them from ever changing? Doormats only ever end up collecting a lot of dust and dirt and debris…and then get beaten every few weeks. Don’t be a doormat!

If you have an opinion, state it. If you want change, do something. To quote that “boring” old Gandhi, be the change you wish to see in the world.

Got comments? I’d love to hear them. Drop me a line at wikusandmurdock@yahoo.com!

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~ by Howlin' Mad Heather on September 17, 2010.

One Response to “Hamburgers, Doormats, and Tea Party Candidates”

  1. I respect people who are the change they wish to see. Problem is, most people aren’t clear on what they wish to see. They know only what they don’t wish to see. It’s a beginning.

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