The Vice Presidential Debate: It was easier to follow, at least.
My son is playing in a Fall baseball league. This is the first league in which he's played that allows stealing bases. Because there are still a lot of errors, 80% of runs are scored by stealing bases. I don't like it. Nobody that I've talked to likes it. Sometimes we refer to it as the "stealing bases game".
Tonight I noted all of the "stealing bases" coaching -- how far off the base to lead, when to run, when to slide, when to stay. We clap and cheer. It feels weird in my bones. Toxic. Unchecked masculinity. I don't like it. I'm not cut out for baseball momming. I just want to look at the birds.
I thought about stealing bases tonight -- and all the rest -- when Pence wrote his own questions and then added an additional minute to every answer. Like when Susan Page asked if they thought voters had a right to more detailed health reports of two aging Presidential candidates, and Pence ran out his time by thanking well wishers and complimenting Harris on her accomplishments.
I liked it when the moderator apologized for calling Harris, "Kamala" and then Senator Harris smiled and said, "It's fine. I'm Kamala," and laughed. I desperately miss SOUL and HUMANITY in the White House. All I see is greed and toxic ego.
I put Fisher to bed somewhere around, "How will raising taxes on the wealthy impact economic recovery?"
Tucked into his new Minecraft blanket, Fisher asked me if Mike Pence was an idiot. (His words.) I said, No, he's not an idiot. He's probably pretty smart. He speaks well, anyway. He's articulate (even if he doesn't say much of substance). ""Then why don't you like him?" Fisher asked. So we talked about gay marriage and abortion. I told him I didn't really see any moral ambiguity about gay marriage. Nobody should be arguing against that. But I confessed that I understood why many people feel so passionate about abortion.
When you explain abortion in plain terms to an 8-year-old, it's hard to ignore the squishiness of it -- for me, anyway. I still support a woman's right to choose, but I understand it's really fucking heavy. (And if we're going to go there, what really fuels my jets is a comprehensive plan to help women -- and men -- plan for pregnancy: equal access to affordable healthcare and birth control; redistribution of wealth that increases living wages; revitalized neighborhoods that increase public safety; education...)
Sticky conversations are about the only times I feel confident as a parent, oddly enough. Handling noise and commotion? Getting him anywhere on time? Shifting gears on a dime? Repressing my irritability? Remembering anything? No. I'm shit for all of that.
Having uncomfortably frank conversations about complicated social issues that splinter a grieving world? Got it! I'm your mom.
Anyway, I told Fisher, as I have many times, that I loved him all of the time, exactly as-is, and that there was never anything he could say or do that would change that. Then, I told him not to worry about grown-up stuff, yet, and said good night. He went to sleep remarkably quickly for a kid who just discussed abortion with his mother.
I returned to the debates in time to hear Harris tell Page that foreign policy is about relationships. Maybe I missed the Fly-on-Pence debacle. But what I did not miss was what sounded like a small dog barking in the background. Am I making this up? Did I hallucinate? Maybe it was the dog barking in my head.
Anyway... In addition to a dog barking repeatedly, Page said, "Thank you, Vice President Pence," at least 8200 times over the course of the rest of the debate, because he didn't stop talking, and yet, remarkably, still did not answer any of the questions asked.
I kind of wished Biden was there to shake his head and say, "Shut up, Man."
Instead, Harris was steady and persistent:
"I would like equal time."
"I will not be lectured by the Vice President."
I thought it was especially hilarious when Page asked Pence what their administration would do to protect citizens with pre-existing conditions if they got rid of the Affordable Care Act, and he absolutely did. not. answer. Instead, Pence asked Harris if the Biden administration would pack the Supreme Court.
When Harris didn't answer his question (the one he made up in place of the one he was supposed to be answering), he complained that she wasn't answering his question.
[And the kid who got walked steals 2nd base.]
And then later... what will he do, personally, if Biden/Harris wins the election and DT refuses a peaceful transfer of power? Pence ran down his time arguing that Democrats have spent three years trying to overturn the 2016 election (Would someone please roll the tape of the Obamas graciously welcoming the Trumps into the White House?) and then explaining why Trump/Pence would win again.
I'm tired. You're tired.
(I have lost the "stealing bases" metaphor. Time out.)
I, as many people I know have struggled to maintain positive personal relationships across ideological divides over the course of this administration. I think about what I tell Fisher over and over again -- that I will love him all of the time, no matter what. How do I take the spirit of that and apply it everywhere, without condition?
For many, it doesn't feel like politics as usual. It feels deeper. Bone-deep. Part of me blames Trump -- his relentlessly divisive, derisive, greedy, and mean-spirited rhetoric. How anyone abides by that -- PARTICULARLY anyone of FAITH -- is one of the biggest confusions of my life, thus far. But the other part of me thinks he's just the manifestation of a deeper dis-ease coming to the surface.
How do we heal that?