Friday, September 21, 2012

A Presidential Debate

I’ve never used my blog as a political forum.  You’ve probably been able to ascertain that freedom of speech is almost as important to me as frozen yogurt, but the only “party politics” I ever engage in on here have been along the lines of “I’m having a football party and you’re only invited if you’ll cheer for the Giants.”

But it’s hard to avoid political conversations with a Presidential election rapidly approaching.  I won’t go into all of my personal politics and defenses of them here.  I just want to make a couple of quick remarks regarding this election and then I’ll take three to five pre-approved questions from the audience that my team of writers has prepared answers for.

Number one, I am so sick of Mitt Romney being criticized for his wealth.  Why does the media keep insisting he isn’t qualified to be President because he’s too successful and out of touch with “normal” citizens?  They are essentially implying we should elect some minimum-wage earning, modestly educated, underinsured laborer to our highest office just because that person could understand us better.  Really?  Then they should nominate the assistant manager of my local Harris Teeter to be President of the United States of America.

It’s ridiculous.  Why wouldn’t we want someone who knows how to grow a business and amass a fortune?  He’s good with money and our economy is broken, seems like a good fit to me.  And you don’t have to experience unemployment to help find a solution for it.  Jonas Salk cured polio even though he’d never had it himself. 

And even if Romney didn’t care about low-income families out of a spirit of humanity or moral obligation as a leader, he would still want to improve their circumstances because it’s guys like him (multi-millionaires) who are giving up nearly 50% of their income to support the government assistance programs that sustain (and at times coddle) these citizens. 

And, yes, Romney will give rich people a tax break, because he sees the injustice of punishing people for their success.  But even with tax cuts, wealthy Americans will contribute way more to the federal budget than the rest of us.  As it should be.  If Kobe Bryant paid 15% of his annual income in taxes and I paid 15% of my annual income in taxes, he’d be giving about 4.2 million and I’d toss in another twelve dollars.  That seems fair.

Number two, I don’t want to hear Barack Obama and his peeps telling us he needs more time to make that change he promised four years ago.  Four years is a LONG time.  Maybe not long enough to fix everything, but certainly long enough to fix some things.  Four years should be enough time to instill confidence in your nation that you are definitely the right man for the job. 

This isn’t about what Obama did or didn’t do.  It isn’t even necessarily a remark on this election and Presidency.  I just think that politicians can’t ask for more time to do what they said they’d do.  The length of a Presidential term was chosen because that’s long enough to make a positive impact on our country, long enough to achieve your goals if you’re capable of achieving them.  And if you do a great job, there is the option (not right) of doing it again.  A second term is meant for repeating successes, not still trying to accomplish the first ones.

And even if a President is phenomenal and we wanted to elect him a third time, we can’t.  Because the framers of our constitution realized that our country can and will benefit from changes in leadership, from fresh ideas and perspectives.

I don’t agree with everything that Mitt Romney has said and done in his life.  And I don’t agree with everything Barack Obama has said and done in his life either.  Honestly, I don’t agree with about half of what I’ve said and done in my own life.  But I’ve seen how effective Barack Obama is as our President and I’m not very impressed. 

If this was football, and oh how I wish it were, and our team had a man at quarterback for four years and we hadn’t won very many games, wouldn’t we put in a replacement quarterback?  Maybe we didn’t even have a losing record, but we failed to make the playoffs for four consecutive years and our fans were disheartened.  We’d try out someone new at quarterback, right?  We’d probably sign some new wide receivers and safeties in the off-season too.  It would come down to who on our roster impresses us and where was there room for improvement.

But one thing’s for sure, I wouldn’t discount a potential quarterback because he had only played in Super Bowl games and never thrown a regular season pass.  Or because he didn’t know what it was like to be an offensive lineman.  It’s not his job to be an offensive lineman.  Obviously any quarterback would want his offensive line to be successful, because his success is dependent on their success, just as a President’s success is dependent on the success of American citizens. 

A quarterback understands and appreciates the role that the offensive line plays in winning a game even if he’s never been on that line himself, just like Mitt Romney can understand the need for a strong middle class and the plight of low-income families despite having never been in those positions. 

I’m sure there are legitimate arguments for why neither of these men should be President, but Mitt Romney being wealthy and successful isn’t one of them.Photobucket

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Pro-Life and Anti-Histamine

We have had the most amazing weather here in Raleigh these last few days.  Sunshine that makes you smile, but not sweat.  Air that moves enough to tickle any exposed skin, but not so much that you have to cover every last inch of it up.  Each day lately there is a perfect cerulean sky with a few splashes of marshmallow fluff white for effect.  We’ve had no rain, no humidity, and zero volcanic activity which is an important part of any good weather pattern.

There’s only one problem with this welcome weather change – I’m allergic to it!  My body is designed for the extremes of 100 or 10 degree temperatures and the lack of sustainable horticulture that accompany them.  Because all of this 75 degree comfort and goodness is toppling my sinuses.

This happens every September.  I long for a break in the heat, a chance to wear jeans, an excuse for a sweater, all of the hallmarks of fall, which is just slang for football season.  But they’re always delivered with a side of sneezing and topped with watery eyes.  I’m usually crying because of allergies, though, admittedly, I’ve been known to do it over an early season loss by the Hokies or the Giants.

I tend to let the sneezing situation get pretty out of control before I take medicinal action.  Often to the point of, “Heather, oh no, what’s wrong?  Are you okay?  Did something happen?  Is it one of the kids?  Did Timmy fall down the well?”  I would interrupt the concerned party to reassure them that I’m fine, but I can’t because I’m choking on histamine and my own reactionary secretions.  (You weren’t eating dinner while reading this, I hope.)

So today I broke down and took my first Claritin of the season.  The box promised 24-hour relief of allergy symptoms with just one tiny pill.  Was it presumptuous to think that would be the 24 hours immediately after taking it?  Because I’ve sneezed another 217 times since I swallowed that pill, that lie.

Perhaps my naivety is assuming it meant 24-hour relief for me.  I mean, it didn’t explicitly say it would relieve MY symptoms.  It just said 24-hour relief of allergy symptoms.  Maybe someone else’s?  Maybe yours?  If you’re out there frolicking in this autumn preview, all wide-eyed and completely unaffected by allergens, then you’re welcome.  Clearly I’m fighting them for you.  Oh, and you owe me eighteen dollars for the Claritin.Photobucket

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Harmful Myths

I realize I’m not a wizened senior citizen or repository of all medical knowledge, but I’ve been here for 35 years now – enough time to make it around the block.  And therefore I knew that if a foot were broken, you couldn’t walk on it.  It would probably also be black and blue and hurt intolerably.

I’m not so shocked that I was wrong, thirty-five years is also enough time to figure out my own fallibility.  I’m shocked that I erroneously believed the “can’t move it if it’s broken” lie so thoroughly and for so long.  Do you know how many times my three kids have gotten hurt and I assured them their arm, hand, knee, foot, etc. weren’t broken because they could still move them and they looked fine?  Well, at least one too many.  Stretch has been walking around for eight days on a foot that is broken in two places.

She fell down about half of our stairs last week.  Not for the first time, but she did cry longer than she usually did.   But, for the record, my criminal one, she was already crying before she fell down the stairs because she suffered a serious blow to the head during a pillow fight she got into with her brother and his friend.  (No charges were filed in that case because the plaintiff hit herself in the head with her own pillow.  So glad I didn’t name that one Grace!)

No matter how many kids are doing something questionable that could end in tears, it’s always Stretch who gets hurt.  There could be three or thirty of them running at the pool, or jumping on the beds, or throwing things, but having Stretch take part guarantees the safety of the others because she consistently sustains the token injury.

After hobbling around for a day or two, she returned to her normal awkward, long-legged, uncoordinated gait.  I considered a trip to the pediatrician, but we go for so many obvious illnesses that I didn’t want to throw another twenty-five dollars at them just so they could say she had a sprain or a strain or a flair for drama.  And, as I already stated, she could move it, walk on it, and even skip when giving chase to butterflies or cupcakes.

But today we went in for the twins’ six year check-up, so I had their doctor look at Stretch’s foot because it was a little swollen and still bothered her sometimes.  She gave me a transparent look of reassurance as she suggested we get an x-ray.  A harmless little x-ray.  As a precaution, right?

When the orthopedic doctor announced it showed two small fractures, I needed a new kind of doctor that could prescribe me the antidote to being sick with parental guilt.  I failed one of my kids.  Again.  “God, please let that be the last time.  So, you know, make me perfect, please.”

I had three alarmed and very hungry children waiting for a good chunk of the afternoon on a pink cast to be built from her toes to just below her knee.  We tried to distract Stretch from the pain by discussing what we would eat for lunch.  Or dinner, if our ordeal dragged on much longer.  But all the talk of milkshakes and French fries made our growling stomachs louder than her crying.  It wasn’t helping.  Instead, we talked about where we might purchase her rainbow colored flying unicorn kittens instead, since Mommy blew it and desperately needed to make it up to her. 

The doctor said it really didn’t matter that I waited a week; the breaks weren’t that severe.  I reminded him that it wasn’t his job to assuage my guilt; he’s an orthopedist, not a priest.  “No really,” he said, “it was easy to miss and it probably didn’t make it worse at all to wait.”

“Oh yeah,” I countered, “even when her sister accidentally sat on it in the toy room this weekend or when her brother stepped on it trying to get around her in the hallway yesterday.”  Because she walks slow, because she’s crippled, because her mother doesn’t take good care of her!

“Those things aren’t great for a broken foot trying to heal,” he admitted, “so we’ll avoid them for a few weeks with this cast.”  He didn’t mention how to avoid making this same mistake again, so I guess anytime one of them says something hurts, we’ll go get x-rays just in case.  Because who knows how many broken bones they’ve already had that have gone untreated just because they could still move something.  Apparently, I’m only qualified to diagnose paralysis, not broken bones.Photobucket