Apparently this phase of the Iowa Caucus lead-up is really boring. It might be time for more people to start dropping out hint hint. Then again, caucus night is still six months away. No one can pay attention this long! They don’t have anything new to say! And I’m so bored with checking my news apps every two hours to see what Donald’s up to! Let’s get this administration over with already.
A while back I did go to DesMoines for the candidate forum on gun violence and saw them all in action again. Kamala wore jeans, that was a nice sartorial choice. Elizabeth bounded onto the stage and literally bounced up and down in her chair like a little kid because she was so excited to respond to questions. Pete was brilliant. Joe blathered. It was all the same stuff even though it was worthwhile and an important topic.
Michael Bloomberg spoke. The whole thing was sponsored by Mothers Demand Action, Students Demand Action and Everytown For Gun Safety, all great organizations. Michael founded and funds Everytown and it really showed. There were ample chairs, A/C, great sound and lighting, smooth logisitics and FREE FOOD. There was a hot breakfast buffet set up when we arrived, sandwiches for lunch, and snacks and drinks all day. Thanks Michael!
Meanwhile yrmama has been attempting to turn her geneology obsession into a spiritual family history/memoir. You might say, “but yrmama! What happened to that novel you wrote twice, and your neglected political blog, and your Etsy shop? Are you someone who can’t finish anything or are you a creative genius?” To which I’d reply, “The proof is definitely not in the pudding.”
Cedar Rapids (or Peter Rapids as one sign declared) was the center of the Democratic world there for a minute while 19 candidates attended the Democratic Hall of Fame Celebration on Sunday. The day before a whole lot of them were in Des Moines for Pride Fest, and most made a weekend of it with multiple events all over the place.
yrmama’s Friday night was all about Bernie and hunger, Saturday was for Jay and Cory, Sunday was Pete, more Cory, and sightings of Bernie again and Kamala and certain hearing loss from the yelling TYT Army. Why were they angry at us? Were they angry at us or just…yelling? In between all those events yrmama held focus groups.
My dental hygienist got all worked up Friday afternoon with her hands in my mouth. It was hard to hold my own. She said, “well…I like Pete,” and a lot of other political things. She does not like Donald but knows a lot of folks who do. I do not know anybody who likes him. Another member of the Friday focus group told yrmama all about vanloads of diverted ballots, the hackers who vote remotely from nursing homes and, for some reason, the Whale Cycle. It’s kind of like the water cycle, but whales.
The large Saturday noon group determined that it is time to prohibit baby boomers from running for office. That means anyone older than yrmama because 1964 can count as a transitional year, right? The cusp. yrmama swings both ways. Donald, W and Bill were all born the same summer in 1946, Joe is four years older than them and Bernie is six years older than them. Kamala is 55, so in by a hair, and Cory is only 50. According to this metric, Elizabeth, a peppy 70, needs to step away from the microphone as well.
Towards the end of this session it got really real. “so, yrmama,” he said with sneaky menace, “which of the candidates has the best plan for completely disenfranchising all Trumpers? We’ve got all the evidence we need that representative democracy is a failure, so if someone is going to be in charge it better be us.”
To which yrmama calmly replied, “I love you, dude. I raised you to be this passionate and I’m proud of you. Who indeed?” Well, that didn’t get us anywhere, but the bile pressure was thereby reduced a bit. It brought the righteous anger of the good that is ominously burbling under the crust of society into focus and that’s valuable.
Sunday morning was, as usual, a confab of sweet middle aged ladies who think Pete is adorable, waiting for him to appear like a sprite from the mist. They said things like, “This is the first time I’ve been to any kind of political thing in years.” And “Well…I like Pete, but Elizabeth is good too. And I hope this doesn’t offend you, yrmama, but Joe is just too damn old.” At which point yrmama mentions Bernie and they go off. “Bernie’s even older! Oh no. I hope he’s not the one you like. I don’t want to hurt your feelings.” Look, if yrmama’s feelings were gunna be hurt by sweet Iowan ladies cautiously stating their opinions there’d be nothing left in here but scar tissue.
How about Liz and Pete? Or better yet, Liz and Amy? Joe and Stacy Abrams? That would make me like him more. Oh wait, she already turned him down, and declined to run for a senate seat, which means we may soon have 23 candidates…baited breath… Kamala and Pete could work, but we all hate to see Pete just cooling his heels for four years. Kamala and Amy? I think we are working with a top tier of Liz, Kamala, maybe Joe, maybe Pete…
But those maybes, that Joe is too old, Amy looks too much like yrmama and Pete is too adorable bring us to the issue of ELECTABILITY, a quality that doesn’t exist. Electability is when you start second-guessing yourself and stressing about what you think other people want and how much you’re willing to compromise to beat a tyrant toddler, and none of that is good, ever. Which leaves me with Liz and Kamala. And Pete. (My sweetie wants me to love Pete best and yrmama’s sweetie is very persuasive.)
In May or so of 2007 yrmama was at a wedding reception and a know-it-all, political writer academic guy asked what I thought of the upcoming Democratic prospects and I blurted out “Barack Obama.” He laughed at me. Until that glorious sweaty, fluorescently lit Iowa Caucus night in the jam-packed school gym Barack was not electable. Donald descending his golden escalator was a joke, unelectable. Electable doesn’t know it’s ass from a hat rack.
Listen to Sam Sanders on It’s Been a Minute, taped Thursday in DesMoines. They’ve really got our number, us stressed-out Democratic Iowa caucus people.
Joe is our current leader out of 22 candidates. He is the macaroni salad at the potluck – familiar and you’ll eat it if it makes grandma happy but your heart lies with that juicy, piquant quinoa tabouli a couple of bowls over. We are so afraid of Donald winning again that we are willing to put aside the quinoa and let the mayo slither down our throats if that’s what it takes. We all think macaroni salad is what our neighbors want, but do they?
yrmama arrived at Big Grove 30 minutes early and self-consciously forsook a tempting chair in the ADA pen with a clear sightline to the podium for a chair she carried over next to the ADA pen. “See? I am so able-bodied that I brought a chair over here by myself.” (read the medical postscript below for more information) Three large college girls with enormous backpacks stood right in front of me. There were 3-400 people outside around the fire pits and under the roof it looked pretty well packed.
Joe appeared 1 hour late. People stood up and clapped and strained their necks to see him. It was all very pleasant. Joe started out jokey and avuncular, like all those other guys a generation older than me (hence super old) who are “good guys” but kind of trap you into listening to them for too long and who you don’t really want to hug.
His pitch is that he is the one best able to defeat Donald and that defeating him is the main thing that has to be done. What he intends to do when he wins is to first roll everything back to where Barack left it and then continue on that path. Thanks Uncle Joe. I only partly listened a lot of the time because it was boring and because there was no electrifying energy in the air. Clapping but no cheering. He ramped up and raised his voice for his Grand Finale and people clapped a little more then left.
yrmama says, “Be brave enough to leave the macaroni salad with the Velveeta chunks and ham cubes and sooo much celery in the Corelle and help yourself to the quinoa tabouli because you know you want it.” We can both defeat Donald and have more.
I’d like to point out that my current assessment of the race matches that of Nate Silver of fivethirtyeight.com and he’s usually right. That is: Joe, followed by Bernie, Kamala and PETE. I say let’s pair one of the ones that isn’t super old with Stacy Abrams as VP and burn the thing down once and for all.
Medical Postscript: May is Ehlers Danlos Awareness Month and I’m not even kidding.
There are times when yrmama is ADA eligible because due to a special bit in my DNA I make crappy collagen. (Yes, you have to make your own collagen, ingesting it does not help.) With advancing age it gets worse. Collagen is in pretty much every body part and for me the current biggest consequence is I fall over a lot, get injured easily and have widespread chronic pain. My tendons and ligaments are like ancient crunchy elastic stretching for the very last time. My massive muscles have to hold my joints together by themselves which is exhausting.
A couple of weeks ago I recklessly swung my leg out of a car and stood up without first carefully rotating my butt 45 degrees on the seat, planting both feet firmly on the pavement, hinging from the hips and rising gracefully like I was in yoga class. Unused to sudden, mindless hoisting at that angle my quadricep felt like it had been struck by a hammer as a crucial tendon gave way. I’ve been expertly rehabbing that thigh with modified squats and a foam roller and blah blah blah but all the limping made the tendonitis in that foot flare up duhblah duhblah duhblah…. So before going to see Joe I taped the sole of my left foot within an inch of it’s life and could walk painlessly but wasn’t really up for standing for a couple of hours.