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A Talk with a Member of the Tea Party

I know it’s been a while since I’ve blogged and several of you have mentioned it to me and I’m sorry. Given my current schedule I may not be able to make my regular Tuesday deadlines but I’m still here and I’ll still write to ya when I can.

And now onto the good stuff.

I try always to be open minded in my political beliefs, though I have strong feelings about what I think is right and wrong. Yesterday I had the opportunity to talk to a member of the actual, real life Tea Party via facebook. I’m including my side of the conversation here, as I haven’t asked my co-conversant’s permission to reprint her responses. But she was polite in her replies and our conversation was civil, as these conversations should be.

Zena Leigh Logan Sharon, I don’t know any tea partiers personally and I hope it’s okay if I ask you a question I’ve been wondering about. And I am not looking to start a debate, just curious. The tea party was established by the Koch brothers, wealthy oil magnates, who hired people to spread out and create a movement they could label grassroots so they could keep their names in the background. Their goal is to pay less in taxes than they do now, which is a lower percentage than the rest of us pay. And I’m all for fiscal conservatism, which is how I live my life, so I can understand the desire to reign in government spending to prevent increased taxation. The Koch brothers are looking to keep their personal high income and corporate taxes low and do not seem to be looking out for the regular Joe. My question is: Does that worry you at all, that the Koch brothers will get what they want and forsake those who stood up and fought for their ideals? Or is the movement bigger than it’s creators? Thank you.

The Koch Brothers

Sharon replied, saying she was angered that everyone lumped all Tea Partiers in with the ones who behaved badly.

 

On the topic of the Koch brothers backing the Tea Party she said, “Maybe true, maybe not. Is there some back up or is this just more hype from the media.” Aside from the lack of a question mark at the end of her query this prompted my reply in which I sent her two links to articles detailing the Koch brothers involvement in the Tea Party:

Zena Leigh Logan

Thank you for answering, Sharon. I totally agree with you that we can’t label everyone with generalizations based on the groups with which they identify. And the political rhetoric in this country has gotten out of hand with aggression. I’m not personally a fan of several tea party candidates because though they claim to be on the side of God, especially Bachmann and Perry (who claims God told him to run for Pres), all of their political speeches and stated intentions if elected are the opposite of every christian value I’ve ever heard of. It does seem like they want to make sure that their rich backers get all the perks they’re demanding at the expense of the rest of us, particularly the working class, poor and sick, who have somehow become vilified. And while not all Tea Partiers are people who would cheer the notion of an uninsured person being left to die or boo a soldier who fought for their safety and freedom because he’s gay, the things the candidates are saying are stirring up that kind of sentiment and I can’t get behind it at all. As for the Koch Brothers and their backing of the Tea Party, here are two articles that detail their involvement:http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/29/opinion/29rich.html and http://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/Peter-Fenn/2011/02/02/tea-party-funding-koch-brothers-emerge-from-anonymity. The Koch brothers and Rupert Murdoch, the owner of Fox News, terrify me with their ideas and plans for this country because it is blatant raping and pillaging of our resources at the expenses of the American citizens. And Rupert Murdoch isn’t even from this country, he’s just here to profit from us. We’re never going to get everything for nothing and those who are trying to do that will bankrupt us and turn us into a Banana Republic – a nation in which the top tiny percentage live in unbelievable wealth while the rest of the populace lives in abject poverty.

The Koch brothers and Rupert Murdoch have self-interested agendas that go well beyond the interests of those who carry their banners.
Rick “Hang Em High” Perry

Michele Bachmann

And that’s what I had to say about that.
So I’m pretty sure no one is going to persuade me to join the Tea Party. But just as I dislike religious people who try to convert me to their point of view, so too do I dislike people who are steadfast in their belief that their opinion is right and I am determined not to be one of them.
I just find myself wondering who these regular non-millionaire citizens of the United States are who are members of the Tea Party. I don’t think the vast majority of them are crazy zealots.
I think most of them are people who consider themselves strong Christian believers and the Tea Party organizers have tapped into that and exploited it. Religion is a strong identifier and one based on faith rather than logic (that’s not a judgment, just a statement). So when the Tea Party comes forth and says they’re on the same side of God the followers accept them without too much scrutiny. Now I think it’s time to start scrutinizing because their actions and intentions are in direct opposition to the tenets of the religion they’re touting and it reeks of exploitation.
I hear them proclaiming themselves on the side of God and Jesus I can’t find a shred of christian values in their ‘down with the working man/sick people and poor’ hate speech. It really is hate speech.
 I don’t think the people who cheered at the suggestion that an uninsured sick person be left to die are horrible humans who get their thrills from the suffering of others. I think they’ve been swept up in some very harmful and shamefully sadistic rhetoric being put forth by some of the current Republican candidates for President of the United States.
So my stance on this is that the people who comprise the rank and file of the Tea Party may not share my views and I may not share theirs, but as long as they are not of the hateful variety I’m here to listen to their points of view. I want to partake in calm, respectful political discourse and lead by example. You never know when that kind of thing will trickle up to our elected leaders.
None of this stuff from now on.
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An Unexpected Gift

A couple days ago my friend Alison showed up at my house with a copy of the book, “Writing Movies for Fun and Profit” by Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon. This is a book I had put on my Amazon wishlist a few days before and here she was, handing it to me as a gift.

It was unexpected, sweet and thoughtful. There’s no reason to give me a gift, other than to say that she was thinking about me and I was really touched. And, of course, it’s a great idea to give random ‘I’m thinking of you’ gifts so I plan to adopt the practice.

I try to be a good person and when I fail, which I feel is pretty often, I feel bad. Sunday as I walked out of the Hollywood Farmers’ Market a homeless man held a sign that read, ‘Even a smile helps’. I thought about smiling, was planning to do it and then he asked me for money and I just kept walking. It was a reflex and led me to feel bad for a while. And, obviously, I’m still thinking about it. I know that one of the worst things homeless people experience is the way other people treat them as if they are invisible. I should have smiled.

On my way out to work yesterday I saw a bird with a broken wing hopping around. He avoided me as I got closer and I thought about how I could help him. I was late, I couldn’t take him into my home with my cats, I didn’t know if the vet would take him and then he hopped into a bush and I got in my car and drove to work. This felt like another opportunity to do something good and again I’d failed.

I remember those failures the next time, though, and slowly my percentage of doing good seems to be going up. It’s a process and I feel good about the fact that I’m working on it. Sometimes I feel that busy lives lead to neglecting the small helpful and kind things we can do and I want to stay focused on that.

And thoughtful gifts for no reason is a good way to bulk up my stats.

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Next Thing You Know, People Will Want To Marry Their Pets

As you probably know, New York state has just legalized gay marriage. I hope this goes better for them than it did for California. And I hope that this legislation paves the way for California to follow in New York’s footsteps.

Why is gay marriage such a big deal to certain religious people? I had a conversation with someone about this the other day and she brought up a point that I hadn’t thought of before. If gay marriage is legal and gay couples go to their home churches to get married and the churches refuse to perform the ceremonies then they can be sued for discrimination. And no church wants to be sued for discrimination, it makes them look bad when religion is supposed to be about the love and acceptance of all humans.

So they make their arguments, including: If gay people are allowed to get married then, next thing you know, we’ll have people trying to get married to animals. The funny thing about that, though, is that it says much more about the people who spend their time (and I bet it’s a lot of time) thinking that’s the natural next step in marriage than it says about gay people. Or even about people who fraternize with their pets.

If we look into the fairly recent past we’ll find that there was a time when people thought that if interracial couples were allowed to marry then next thing you know people would want to marry animals, leading to anarchy. When we look back on that now most of us realize how ridiculous it is. We’ve exchanged one bigotry for another but it’s still discrimination.

I think anyone who answers the question, “When did you decide to be straight?” will concede that no one has decided to be gay and live a life of discrimination and hatred based on who they love. So once we admit that gay people are born that way we have to ask what they could have done to deserve to be denied the basic rights and happiness that straight people enjoy.

And once we’ve done that we have to take a good long hard look at ourselves and what makes us want to hurt others because they want the same thing we want, but in a different way.

And to those among us who feel this way about gay people I feel deeply ashamed that you’re my fellow man.

And to gay New Yorkers I say, “Mazel Tov!” Even if they’re not Jewish because I don’t want to discriminate.

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… And we’re back

I apologize for my impromptu and unannounced hiatus from the blog. It wasn’t planned but born of too much to do in too little time. So many people sent me messages or told me in person how much they like my blog and that really meant a lot to me. So I’m back.

And that brings me to the subject of today’s blog: our almighty busy-ness.

First, let me brag: the show I work on, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, won a Critics’ Choice Award yesterday. Sure, we tied with Hoarders from A&E and no doubt they’re going to keep those accolades, but it’s pretty awesome to win an award, especially on a Monday afternoon. If you’re into that sort of thing, you can watch the ceremony on Reelz Channel (wait, where now?) on Wednesday, June 22.

Actually, the Housewives are an example of what I want to talk about today. If you watched Season 1 then you know that the women all make a point of making sure everyone knows how busy they are. In fact, a bit of a brouhaha erupted when one housewife, Camille Grammer, declared herself to be 30% busier than the other women in some sort of mathematical calculation that will forever remain a mystery.

No one wants to be considered idle, let alone ‘idle rich’, or undeserving of their opulent wealth. Our society bestows value and importance on people based on how few hours they have in a day to do anything for themselves. And in the last year I have found myself increasingly ‘important’ and married to a super-‘important’ man and I can’t say it’s really a good thing.

So here we are, locked into the rat race, chasing that increasingly elusive dollar hour after hour and thinking we’re a big cheese because we believed the hype and now we exist in a self-imposed land of endless sleep deprivation and a never-shrinking to-do list.

I don’t mean to sound bitter. Things are actually good. I have a great job as a story producer on a hit show, I’m a grad student learning something incredibly amazing and helpful to humanity and an actor, and a writer, and a cat owner, and… I mean, really. Sometimes it’s a big deal if I remember to brush my teeth at the end of the day.

I have to say, though, that important as I obviously am, I am missing out on those quiet, introspective and all important meditative moments in life. I don’t have time for them. I’m lucky I ever see any of my friends at all. My husband is sometimes lucky if he gets to see my smiling face for a waking hour a day.

And if I want to get any of that new-fangled ‘exercise’ I have to get up at 5:00 a.m., often after four or five hours of sleep. Some days I fantasize about my bed. I imagine myself laying in it, sleeping. It’s pretty hot.

I’m always looking for ways to simplify, to bring it down a notch and when I do that, I find subtle and consistent resistance. If I want to stay home and spend a Sunday on my couch I am somehow less than everyone else. I think I’m just less busy, but really it’s just less than, apparently.

The point is, folks, WHAT THE HEY-NOW ARE WE DOING TO OURSELVES? How did we come to sell ourselves into a form of indentured servitude to our social and corporate masters in exchange for an iPhone and some hot shoes? Keeping up with ourselves has become a Herculean task and we’re but mere mortals hopped up on caffeine and determination.

I’d like to forge a society where we relax and enjoy our lives with a bit less stress and get-out-there and get ’em attitude. More of a ‘let’s all share the land’-ness, with lovely afternoon naps. I’m going to go ask Spain how that’s working out for them. Oh, wait…

Well, I don’t have an answer. Cuz if I did I’d have had a lot more time to write this blog. But until we can squeeze answer hunting into our busy schedules, I hope we can all remember to take deep breaths, notice the world around us and appreciate the moments so our lives don’t pass us by.

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The future looks cloudy with a chance of doom

This week I’m going to let someone else do the talking.

Whether you like him or you don’t, Keith Olbermann did predict many of the things that have happened in this country since this January 2010 broadcast and his further predictions are altogether frightening. I have no doubt these things are in store for us unless we stand up and say, “Enough”.

So instead of giving you my point of view I’m going to give you Keith’s commentary on what could lie ahead. Keep in mind he said these things before anyone outside of Wisconsin had ever heard of Scott Walker and before the recent vote to end net neutrality. Obama may veto that bill this time but what about the president after him?

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My Husband the Doctor

A year ago my husband started studying for a degree in Oriental Medicine.

He was drawn to the practice after acupuncture cured a herniated disk in his spine and saved him from needing surgery.

His four year master’s program includes acupuncture, herbology and, in the U.S., covers a comprehensive understanding of western medicine’s terminology, treatment and philosophy.

Yesterday he began his first rotation in the clinic, observing more advanced students as they treat patients under a supervisor’s care.

To say that I am proud of him would be an understatement. Did I also mention that he works full time while studying more than full time? And he still finds time to play video games. He is extremely organized that way.

And, he looks damn good in a lab coat.

See?

Due to a possible change in the title of acupuncturists in California my husband will most likely be known as Doctor of Oriental Medicine when he graduates because a doctor is in fact what he will be. The educational process not only covers eastern and western medical subjects but includes more intense study of some subjects western medical students gloss over only briefly in many schools, like nutrition.

Some people are dismissive or Oriental Medical school (known as OM school), saying that it’s not really medicine when in fact it is the oldest form of medicine humans have. It’s just not the kind that makes really rich doctors.

Conor has a great passion for acupuncture and a very natural feel for it. He knows where people feel their pain and how to make it better. It’s very impressive.

When I start feeling overwhelmed with all I have on my plate all I have to do is look at all that Conor is doing and then I know that I can take care of my to-do list too. It’s all about time management. Or unrealistic optimism.

Either way, as my cousin Rob says, ‘Git ‘er done.’

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