It’s a beautiful spring day, which you have to treasure in Texas. We all know that the summer inferno — our local version of the long Russian winters — is lurking around the corner. My husband always says that summers should be sweltering and unbearable, though, and I think he has a point. For anyone who’s lived here for decades, as we have, it’s a point of pride. We didn’t walk to school battling blizzards, but we did grow up without central air-conditioning, sleeping next to rotating fans and turning our pillows over and over to try to find the cool side. Jeez, talk about character-building experiences we can brag to our kids about.
Besides the glorious weather, it’s almost 10 a.m. and I haven’t heard one word or punctuation mark about another political sex scandal. I’m sick of the sordid details, the confessions, the muck, the hotel descriptions, the Tammy Wynette wives, the how-could-she-do-it? I’d-kill-the-sorry-creep criticisms of the Tammy Wynette wives, the diatribes against alpha males. I also prefer not to know that Eliot Spitzer’s girlfriend du jour had a “magical vagina.” This only serves to remind me that I know very little about vaginas, magical or otherwise, and I’d prefer to keep it that way. For a few days, can’t we just, like, talk about something else?
In an era of too much information, do we really understand other people — or ourselves — better? Or do we simply know more details? I listened to an NPR segment on politicians’ health — and the secrets they’ve successfully kept — this morning. FDR, for example, forbade his ever being photographed in a wheelchair, sure that the country would never elect a candidate crippled by polio. You could argue that the public’s right to know about a candidate’s health was thwarted here. But can you tell me who would have been a better president for his time than FDR?
“I’d never vote for Hillary Clinton,” a male friend told me recently. “She didn’t leave her husband after he cheated on her. That goes directly to character.” Sorry, but I don’t think it’s nearly that simple. I think it speaks to the Clintons’ marriage, period. If I want evidence of Hillary Clinton’s character, I can look at the way she’s voted in the Senate, the campaign methods she’s used in the Democratic primary, the biographies her life has spawned.
After all these weeks and years of revelations and shenanigans, I don’t pretend to understand this private-gone-public world — which I find alternately confusing and saddening and infuriating. I do understand a few other matters, though. While we’re talking about the Mayflower Hotel and magical vaginas and wifely perp walks, 4,000 Americans and countless Iraqis have died in an illegitimate war that has wrecked our country’s reputation and made our world more dangerous. Our economy is tanking and the dollar is shrinking.
But why should we worry? We have a president who has famously never cheated on his wife who’s dancing the softshoe at public events, pretending he’s Fred Astaire the way he once pretended he was a soldier. And Dick Cheney, details of whose marital and non-marital sex life have been mercifully omitted from the national discourse, courting peace in the Middle East. Dick Cheney!
Maybe I can’t, precisely, define character or delineate what should be public knowledge and what shouldn’t be. But I do know a few things.
I do know a national disgrace when I see it.
And central air-conditioning in the long Texas summers? Now, that’s magical.
As I’ve stated before, as much as I’d love a female president, I don’t think that Hillary is the right female to be our first president. Everything else, aside, I just don’t agree with her politics. I mean I don’t loathe her to the same extent many other Republicans do. After all, she used to be a “Goldwater Girl” so she can’t be THAT bad!
I know a lot of feminists really want Hillary to win this, to be our first female president because of all the good she’ll do for the feminist movement. But I believe a lot of those projections are based on the assumption that she’s the right woman to be our first female president, that she’ll do a good job.
She may have the potential to do a good job, I won’t deny that. But, on the flip-side of the aforementioned pro-Hillary argument what if she doesn’t? What if she gets elected and is an abysmal failure as president? How badly would/will that set back the feminist movement? I mean Jimmy Carter was/is a great man, and in theory he should have been a great president. But his presidency was/is largely a failure. Carter is still a great man but he’ll likely be remembered much more because of his post-presidential humanitarian and diplomatic exploits than for his time in office.
As for A/C in the Texas summers, I don’t know how anyone could have lived without it. I experienced Texas summer weather for just a few days in the summer of 2006 and that was plenty for me… Despite the intense heat, I actually really enjoyed it. That being said, I was quite happy to return to Chicago… It can get just as hot here in the summer and much much colder in the winter. I don’t know too many other places on Earth that can experience temperatures of -4 Fahrenheit in the winter and then a 2 week long 100+ degree heatwave in the summer in the very same year.