How to motivate Iowans and what yrmama really wants

After the Liberty and Justice Celebration we stayed on in DesMoines for a couple of days to attend the Pete Summit. It was “leadership training” for core campaign volunteers from across the state and if yrmama is a “core campaign volunteer” … they should look for people who are less cynical than yrmama.

The Battle of #LJ19 Hill
Plus, yrmama would like to be awarded all the style points for her patriotic outfit. The JCrew clearance jeans are spangled with little blue stars, while the TJMaxx clearance red cotton sweater and moisture-wicking gray hooded sweatshirt underneath take the adorable ensemble all the way from cute and festive to dressed-for-the-weather. Photography credit – JM And thanks to Amy for all the green signs to pose with.

I like Pete, but despite my signed Commit to Caucus (a “CTC” to the real insiders) and the t shirts and yard signs I’m still my old deeply skeptical non-joiner self. If it weren’t for this doggone blog (thanks Sharon) I would probably not be doing any of this, but there I was, in a junior high school gym with 175 fellow core campaign volunteers from all over Iowa and a lot of extremely bouncy, youthful campaign staffers. The first morning we were treated to a bonus visit from Pete himself and we even sat next to the nice sixteen year old girl who has become Chasten’s new best friend. I’m not even kidding – when she was sick he called her. JM said, with a healthy mix of jealousy and awe, “She’s going to get invited to the inauguration.”

Despite now being well-trained in interpersonal persuasion tactics meant to be used on the Pete-curious (they actually call you that), what I really want out of this is a little different. I really want people to caucus and vote for whoever they want. I want them to be able to talk about their “values” (wth. Talk about a mushy concept.) and political ideas, which in itself is kind of revolutionary. I want them to feel like their ideas matter and that their vote will ultimately make a difference.*

This training skipped over the fact that Iowans, for the most part, consider talking about politics bad manners. I was explicitly taught to not talk about politics, religion or money except in special circumstances. I think there should have been a session on how to create “safe spaces” where Iowans would feel like talking about their “values.”

I know that the way to motivate Iowans is not to talk them into things, or jump up and down and yell zestfully, or set expectations for them, but to tell them that their work and ideas are valuable and appreciated. I was at a volunteer appreciation dinner the other night for a different organization whose army of volunteers brought in $100,000 of revenue in September, one price tag on a used pair of socks at a time. That’s what they tell us all the time there – your work and ideas are valuable and appreciated.

In the comments – were you taught that there was a set of topics unsuited to common civil discourse? Have you ever been persuaded to take a position?

*Hey! Let’s do a thing where the presidential candidate with the most votes wins!

The Shallow Truth About Depth

It’s kind of nobody’s business how anyone does their makeup, and it’s a super duper shallow thing to comment on. There is nothing remotely Quaker about it. At the same time, since it is so fundamentally shallow, does it really matter if yrmama has something to say about it? She was going to compare the appearance of Nancy’s eyes to Donald’s but that’s dumb so instead we will will focus on her own:

As a white person ages the hair and skin all even out into a sad, dull beige. The flesh that has not melted into bloated blobbishness creases, leaving one with the face one deserves, based on the accumulated ratio of smiling to sneering or lip-pursing.

You might say, “But yrmama, that is a remarkably fresh, plump and colorful eye socket-region there in that photo. What the heck are you talking about? Certainly not personal experience.”

Aha. This is a photographic record of my eye-socket region as an art project. In my youth I had visible eye lids. I had honey-kissed tresses. Were you to see the before shot you would register a nice chunk of silly-putty with a blue circle in the center, very one-dimensional, and a colorless, straw-like fringe of “hair” above.

The rich hue of yrmama’s hair is now from henna. That’s easy. But the three-dimensional eye-socket area shown above required a Google how-to and a shopping trip. This effortless, natural appearance involved deft application of primer (not even kidding), three shades of brown eye-shadow, brown mascara, brown liquid eyeliner and “moonbeam” colored highlighter.

When I was teaching myself how to paint faces with oils I marveled at the way I could sculpt something that appeared three-dimensional on a flat surface with color alone. Then I began to notice the eye-socket areas of ladies on television when they blinked – it looked like there was a dark line drawn in an arch between the crease of the eye and the eyebrow, like a drawn on second eyebrow. I also read that studies have found that humans find faces of other humans most attractive when there is a lot of contrast between the features and the more featureless expanses of skin. These revelations led to today’s art project.

Now it’s your turn. Was it worth it? Is makeup a sign of spiritual bankruptcy?