Wednesday, October 22, 2008

An Open Letter to Sarah Palin

Dear Gov. Palin,

Up until now, I've been following your campaign with the interest of someone waiting to hear what you will say next. I learned quickly, early in your campaign, to always keep in mind that we share the freedom of belief and speech. Thus, I've been okay with your simple demographic of hockey moms and "Joe Six-Packs" as I know those are the only folk that you know. Those freedoms were on my mind as I alternated between amused and horrified at the footage of your rallies - your apparent ease with which you incite hateful epitaphs followed by an "oh geez, did I do that with my facts?" charm.

I've even put aside the fact that we disagree on nearly every issue facing us today. Gun control, keeping prayer out of schools, protecting the environment, encouraging alternative fuel research, not drilling, baby, drilling, and gay marriage (to name a few). I'm for everything that you are against. But still, this is a free country and you can believe what you want. You can campaign on the platform against mine. I can register my disagreement with a single powerful vote.

However, this weekend, Gov. Palin, you crossed the line. No, it wasn't the hilarious rap on SNL. It was when you said this:

"We believe that the best of America is in the small towns that we get to visit and these wonderful little pockets of what I call real America - being here with all you hard-working, very patriotic, very pro-America areas of this great nation."

Oh but wait, there's more:

"This [small towns] is where we find the kindness and the goodness and the courage of everyday Americans, those who are running our factories and teaching our kids and fighting our wars for us, those are who are protecting us in uniform and those who are protecting the virtues of freedom."

Excuse me? I don't know you personally, Gov. Palin, but I think you just called me anti-American. And that is the last straw in your silly, small folksy campaign. Our differences are one thing but as soon as you go throwing down about my patriotism - simply because I am like four of five of my fellow Americans that lives in a city - that pisses me off.

I'm not going to defend my patriotism to anyone, but I am angry about the clear disdain you hold for the 80% of the country you are vowing to lead and protect. How can I even believe for a minute that you will stick up for ME - a latte-swilling, arugula-eating, tree-hugging, gay rights-supporting, peace-loving, Christian techno-nerd who resides in a (horrors!) city?

I am deeply offended by the implication that small-town living is the only progenitor of what is good, kind and courageous in this country. That those of us who live by our Starbucks and Whole Foods don't have sons, friends, brothers and sisters who are fighting for our country. That those who teach our children in the inner-cities don't qualify as courageous. That goodness doesn't extend to those nurses and doctors working in hospitals large enough to qualify as small towns. That somehow, speaking out against failed policies qualifies you as someone who doesn't like this country. The ability to speak out against what has gone wrong (and not get jailed) is the very essence of being American.

I'm proud that I am able to associate on a daily basis with an office in a small town in one of our reddest states. I love that my colleagues are patriotic, well-educated, well-spoken and some damn fine programmers. I love that we trust and work with each other despite the red state/blue state differences that the media would have us believe are dividing us. We have truly bridged this artificially forged "small town/big city" bigotry that you have shoved down our throats. Take your class warfare someplace else.

Gov. Palin, I believe that the best part of America is the people in the small towns AND big cities with whom I live, work and love everyday - the wonderful great swath that is America. This is where I find kindness and goodness and amazing courage of the Americans who are leading churches, feeding the hungry, taking care of the homeless, bringing beauty and art to this world, healing us when we are sick, pushing advances in science and technology, raising great adults, and educating themselves and others. I know deep down that is how we protect our virtues of freedom.

You scare me, Sarah Palin, and not just because of your conservative platform. But because your Wasilla is showing. You aren't ready to lead a country of 300 million when you are only speaking to 20% of us. With these statements, you've shown us that you can't think outside of what you know. This is a big nation - and a big world. Try a different tactic in the next two weeks - try acting like a leader. Try talking to those of us who don't work in factories, teach children or wear a uniform. Try talking like you want to lead the rest of us.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Heinz 57

It's always been an endless source of speculation in our family - what breeds of dog make up our beloved mutts. We are pretty sure that Claude is a solid mix of German Shepard and black Lab.


See? Look at that sweet face and tell me there's no Shepard there.

My dog Bug is not quite so simple. With his copper fur and black spots on his tongue, the first guess has always been chow chow. But really? He isn't a one-person dog - he has several families which he loves. But he is somewhat independent and there is that curly tail.

We've gone through dozens of breed guesses - maybe he is a Spitz? What about some German Shepard? Perhaps some elkhound? I know! Maybe Australian Shepard. The vet guessed cattle dog.

What do you think?

So, in what was probably the most first-world purchase we've done in a long time, Chris and I sprung for a DNA test for our dog. Bug dutifully gave a sample of blood and off it went to the lab. The results came in yesterday.

It appears, like most mutts, Bug is a mix of many many different breeds. He is unique - unlike any other dog in the world. His most dominant breed is a....

A Chow Chow! With a trace of Golden Retriever. He's our little Chowtriever.

So there you go, that's our Buggy. I've always thought that Bug has the best traits of any of his breeds. He's happy, friendly, mellow and above all, a loving little companion.

Best. Dog. Ever.