Wednesday, July 28, 2004

I Was A Card Carrying Democrat

Part II - Bleeding Hearts And Hand Wringers

Well, as the last post would show you, I was a bleeding heart.  I bled everywhere.  A hand wringer.  And mostly, that's what I was.  A bleeding heart hand wringer.  Like my friends.  We didn't do much.  We didn't volunteer.  Not really.  We were too busy being young and crazy.  When we did something, it was usually like the "Aids Walk" or the "MS Walk".  Not a lot of time and money put into it.  Just sign up some donors, grab a T-Shirt so we could say we did it and walk a grueling 10 miles in the Philadelphia heat and humidity.

You would start at the Philadelphia Art Museum.  You know the one where Rocky runs up the 168 flights of stairs in the first Rocky?  Walked around and got little tokens.  Key rings.  Drink cozies.  They start you out with stretching exercises so you don't cramp up.  Then you walk around the beautiful Skuykill River.  Through the park and down by Boat House Row.  'Til you end up back at the where they would have fruit and juice and ice cream and peanut butter sandwiches.  Then pick up a few other cool trinkets to show that we had "done our part".

I remember one walk very well.  We had pulled an all nighter.  Made the rounds of the clubs that we always went to.  It was a Saturday night ritual.  That night, I had found out that my newest boyfriend (whom I'd been seeing for about six weeks) was either seeing someone else or was living with them.  Not sure which.  One of our acquaintances saw him at a club (that I had introduced him to; how stupid is that?) with another woman.  Kissing mind you.  Called up another friend of mine who got out of her Saturday slump clothes and ran down to the club.  Where she saw him kissing the other woman.  She walked up to him (per her account), took his beer, and poured it over his head.  After spluttering a few minutes, he apparently went into "panicky, guy who got caught" mode and proceeded to whip out the infamous "I wasn't kissing her, she was kissing me" line.  Compounded by the "she is just an old friend" line followed by the "I'll call Kat and explain everything" line.

Side note:  Are men genetically programmed with these lines?  I don't want to turn this into  a "man bashing" entry.  I could say all sorts of interesting things that my female friends pulled on men.  I just want to know where this stuff comes from?  Like:  I did not have sex with that woman!  Er...phallus...orifice?  What is that anyway?

I digress...short version.  Friend who caught boyfriend, calls friend who is with me.  Friend returns to table and asks me if I will be heartbroken if Andy turns out to be an asshole.  What?  Just a hypothetical question she said.  Drive home.  3 AM in the morning, there is other friend parked outside of my apartment.  Andy is an asshole.  Go upstairs.  Pour more margaritas.  Complain about men.  Friend informs me that she informed asshole not to bother to call (ever again) and try to explain as she was heading over to my apartment and explaining for him.  Drink and gab until 5 AM.  Sleep for 2 hours.  Hang over.  Drive to Aids walk.  Walk 10 miles with hang over in 90* F and 80% humidity.  Almost puke.  Get blister on right heel.  Curse men roundly for 3 hours under my breath.  Return to  Dump donations and go home feeling good (theoretically) that I have done my part to cure AIDS.

Another side note:  if you are a guy and you are reading this, first, apologies if you were offended.  Second, take heed of what I am telling you.  Women have friends who have friends who have friends.  Don't piss in your own backyard because you will be found out.  Third, we know when you are lying.  Only dumbasses who are afraid to be alone will let you get away with the lie.  Better to just toe the line and avoid the pain and embarrassment.

So, Andy the asshole never did call me back.  My friends urged me to call him and curse him three ways from Sunday, but I refused.  I was not giving him the satisfaction.  Never saw him again.

That was about the extent of my "bleeding heart and hand wringing".  Couple that with my voting.  If a new tax was proposed to help schools.  I voted yes.  Never mind property tax.  I was an apartment dweller and had no idea what that was about.  If a new tax was proposed to provide daycare centers for single, low income mothers who were working, I voted yes.  Never mind the increase in tax on "luxury" items.  I only bought them once in a while and it had no effect on me.  Fix the roads and raise the bridge tolls?  Hell NO!  We should be able to figure out how to repair the roads with the money we had.  Clean up the environment and raise gas tax by 5 cents per gallon?  I voted yes.  The environment is important don't you know.  Never mind that it was going to cost Pennsylvania residents a couple more bucks to drive to work everyday.  That's not important.  Never mind that it cost more to deliver goods and services in the state and made the price of these services go up.  Never mind that meant people bought less goods.  Never mind that meant businesses didn't have the same profit margin.  Never mind that meant people were probably laid off.  The delivery company couldn't field as many trucks or take as many routes.  People were laid off.

That's what I did with my bleeding heart.  I didn't have a clue about taxes or bureaucracy or impact on economy or whether any program, act or law actually worked.   No statistics. 

I voted "feel good" politics.  If they had a "cause" I was voting.  If they spoke well, I voted.  I didn't understand about how higher state taxes drove the businesses away and kept people unemployed.  Not until much later.  I remember the company I worked for moved their offices down the road to Delaware.  Delaware has very low taxes.  I believe the lowest state sales tax in the US.  I had to drive an extra 15 miles each way on my inflated gas prices.  I was screwing myself.  Eventually, I had to find a job closer to home. 

In otherwords, I didn't know and I voted like I didn't know.

Did I volunteer?  Nope.  Did I try to help somebody?  Nope.  I gave money.  I didn't give me.  I didn't know how my tax money was really spent.  I didn't know how much actually did or did not make it down the line to the people in need. 

But I still saw those people.  Every day.  Signs that said "Viet Nam Vet; Will Work For Food".  People that slept on the steam grates over the sewers.  Wrapped up in blankets.  During the winter, the really bad one in '93, my friends and I took some blankets down to the mission drop off point.  Why didn't the government do something?  How come we couldn't help these people?  What was wrong with our government?  Couldn't they see people were suffering?  We have a social obligation to take care of our citizens.  We need more money.  More programs.

Why didn't the government do something?

My heart bled.  I wrung my hands.  I did a few half assed things, like most people that expect "the government" to do something.  It's not their job.  As long as we give the government money to manage these programs, it's the government's job.  That's how I voted.

Tonight, I was listening to the Democrat Convention.  I heard Obama Barack, (D) Illinois:

It's that fundamental belief — I am my brother's keeper, I am my sisters' keeper — that makes this country work

Who is my brother's keeper?  Me?  Or some administrator up in DC who doesn't know my brother from Adam?


DagneyT said...

Kat, 9/11 woke up lots of bleeding hearts! Good job! I'm going to link this to my blog, in hopes that some of the bleeding hearts in my own family will check it out. I was raised that way too, and to add insult to injury, in So Cal in the 60's! JFK was a saint, wasn't he? That's what I was taught! I was always skeptical, unlike you, and learned football backwards and forwards just to have something I could agree on with my union Dad!

Pat in NC said...

I do believe we are our brothers keeper. That does not mean we hand him all needs of life in order to keep him dependent. I do believe we have brothers all over the world and that we are giving some of them a hand out of the tyranny they lived under. This is viewed as wrong by the "charity begins at home" people. They feel we should only spend our blood and treasure in USA and overlook the plight of so many human beings yearning to be free.
More social programs paid for by more taxes is not the answer. Our nation offers opportunity for all if they will reach out and take it. Our nation should not offer a "free ride" to any who have not first done their best to improve their status. Education and security are where I want my tax dollars to go.

Robert said...

I prefer the JFK liberal (strong on defense- if incompetent in its execution- and likes supply side tax cuts) to the screaming, whining moonbats of today. Why did the good Kennedys have to bite the dust? Why couldn't Ted bite the dust instead? Aargh.

Anyway, talking about voting for every school budget. Here on Long Island (thats as specific as I'll get) this huge ass school budget came up for a vote. It was fucking huge (and I use the cursing to show how big it was). And if you voted it down you wouldn't keep any budget from passing, but instead one that was only slightly milder. Such idiocy.

And there were these papers posted on telephone poles and such with messages with big Xs over schools with the ominus 'what now?' plastered on. As if we don't already give an arm and a leg to pay for public schools. (No offense meant to teachers, but you work half the year, and you shouldn't have every last bit of security stitched up for you). It was riduculous. The whole budget. And those signs made me want to throttle a liberal. Gaah, they still do.

My goodness, I hate taxes. I should move somewhere else. But I wouldn't want to abandon New York. I should lead a conservative tax revolution. :) And vouchers too, please. Some days I just want to nuke the government.... (like I've said before, especially the IRS).

MS walk- actually, I think thats a good thing to raise money for. As it is for any disease. AIDS should be preempted by strong teaching on abstinence- which is in use in Uganda and is the only successful AIDS program. Thats the first step, medicine is the second step.

mark said...

As for Aids, i saw a news report the other night, about how the African nations treat their aids patients. Apparently, the "Healers" say, a man with Aids should
Rape and Sodomize a young girl, to cure himself.
So the Aids virus goes on and on!

How do you stop that mentallity? I don't know, education? We pour millions into Africa for aids prevention, and NOTHING changes, go figure!

Robert said...

Mark, mark, mark. How naive. We cannot judge their culture. After all, all cultures are equal mark. Who are you to say that our culture is better than theirs?

If that is how they want to cure aids, then its every bit as legitimate as using medicine. You are such an ignorant Westerner mark.
Until people recognize that their culture needs a change as well, we can't make significant progress. Scientific method needs to be introduced to African culture. That aids cannot be cured by such methods is elementary to Americans, yet seemingly baffling to Africans. Apparently AIDS is the result of evil spirits, and not from a virus. But oh no, we can't hurt their feelings and actually say their practices are not only practically wrong but also morally wrong.

Kat said...

Dagney...funny you mention football. I love the game myself and my Dad doesn't watch it. LOL

Another funny, my Dad turned republican this year. He is still mad about 9/11 and doesn't think the Dems take it seriously.

Kat said...

Pat...I think this will be the closing of the "why not the government" section of my turn from Democrat and government handouts. I am basically the product of "offering opportunities". I have worked for 16 years to get to this point. No hand outs. No unemployment. Never even claimed bankruptcy although I think I was close once.

as I point out, I only have a high school education. everything else I got from self motivated desire to learn and be something more than I was. My parents wanted that for me and always encourage me. My Dad is constantly after me about not making decisions that he did. For instance, my parents only ever owned one home and they sold it when I was very young. After that they rented. Now my parents do not have the credit and consider themselves too old to try and get a home. They are stuck renting. My Dad browbeat me for 3 years to go get a house. I finally figured out how to do it and it was the best decision I ever made. Thanks to my Dad.

It is the desire to be something else, the "hand up" and not "hands out" that changes people. I had several hands up by people that barely knew me, but offered me a chance. The question is if you will take it or squander it.

Kat said... thing everyone talks about but can't seem to execute is the control of spending, appropriate budgets and accountability.

You can only have accountability if someone has consequences. No consequences, no accountability. That is one thing that I agree on the "testing" of schools. They don'tlike it because it threatens their jobs, but they won't change without force. a similar problem when unions get out of control.

Further, pork barrel spending requires line item vetoes vigorously exercised by the president with an eye towards economy and not on the bank account of the individual party or member. Like a CEO who is responsible to it's share holders. When you are in a deficit, it is the important projects like defense, education and infrastructure that should get the funding. Studies on the effect of pork rhines on mice do not get my vote.

Kat said...

Just a little historical perspective...the whole, "have sex with a virgin and cure your disease" thing has been around for eons and eons. During medieval times this was actually what caused the spread of gonorhea. Victorian times (yeah, that recently), syphillis.

You are right that handing out medicine is not enough. However, until they move forward from the dark ages into something resembling a modern industrial state, the education of the people and logical science will continue to be dismissed as hokum by the faithful voodoo believers.

I do believe that walking to raise money for aids and other research is good. I recently did the breast cancer survivors walk with my step mom (she had it, not me). I am not really denigrating those efforts so much as the feeling that some people feel this is all they need to offer and the rest is somebody else's job. If we all thought that way, we'd be dead. We need a little more giving of the "me" and a little less giving of the "green" in some applications.

DagneyT said...

Kat, you remind me of ME many years ago. God Love your heart, you have endured what I went through (I was in that group of women who had a man's job, but received a "woman's" pay, for the same work). Your family is quintessentially identical to mine, and you have come through it as unscathed as me! I would bet that you are around the age of my oldest son, 36ish? You are a gutsy, logical, and intelligent beyond my wildest dreams for myself. You epitomize my generation's propensity to say, "You GO, Girl!" And I would add, Amen!

Kat said...

Dagney...darn close on the age.

However, on the "women in a "man's job" making less"...still happens. Just happened to me. I had a counterpart that I knew made more money than me. However, I had the distinct impression that the "more" wasn't really that much more so I didn't make any beans about it. Frankly, I am all for paying the person what they are worth or what you can afford if you really need them.

Two months ago we did a RIF (reduction in force). If you read my older blogs, you would see we are in a crisis to reduce cost. I was doing the analysis. They RIF'd my counterpart and then my boss gave me the details of his salary to put on the analysis. He made 30k more than me. I know for a fact I have been in the business longer, etc. I think that put me in a blue funk for awhile.

Then they did the old "Chris is gone, we want you to take over this, this and that and here's a couple thousand dollars for your pain".

I am getting over it. I think. I reconcile myself to the fact that I am still employed and he must now sell his speed boat to make the mortgage payment.

oops..did that sound a little bitter? It's really bad because frankly, he was a nice guy and I didn't want anyone to be laid off. C'est la vie!

mark said...

Mark, mark, mark. How naive. We cannot judge their culture. After all, all cultures are equal mark. Who are you to say that our culture is better than theirs?

If that is how they want to cure aids, then its every bit as legitimate as using medicine. You are such an ignorant Westerner mark.

Robert, robert, Robert,If their culture subscribes to such things in this millenium, then it should be wiped out. It's not the "peoples" fault, it is their government who turn their back on such practices.
Raping a virgin is legitimate as you just said? I hope not!! Maybe I should go RAPE me a virgin to cure myself of smoking?? HMMMM... yeah!! That's IT!!! OHHH!! I forgot,, I'll go to jail for that!!
Robert,,, you are the ignorant one not me,,, sorry buddy!

ALa said...

Kat -as usual I love your manage to always make your political beliefs so personal to the reader! Congratulations on 'crossing over'...I was going to say now you can help me with my brothers, but I guess you need help with yours too! (haha)
Have a great night.

Kat said...

Mark, Mark, Mark...

I think you took Robert, Robert, Robert's posting wrong. You missed his tongue, firmly implanted in his cheek. Look again. I assure you it is not a jaw breaker he has clenched in there. LOL But, you make an excellent point. Maybe laughing about the systematic rape of children is too sick? Or, maybe it's so sick that if you don't laugh you will puke?

On that note...excellent points by both Robert and Mark. It is basically and economy/education thing. ONce both of those are dealt with, medicine flows freely and some folks might start actually believing in the magic of condoms,abstinence and pills.

Kat said...

ALa71...sorry. I have my hands full with the "zionist did it" moron. I think I was 2 seconds away from being indicted for committing bodily harm! LOL

Anyway...I'm glad you appreciate the "personal" part. Maybe a few less talking points and a few more personal stories would help me understand it a little better. Politics of either side.

Thanks for stopping by. Have fun with your brothers and sisters. Try not to kill them. At least anywhere the body can be found! LOL

mark said...

You are right,I re-read what he said.LOL
but he did make a personal attack on ME calling me ignorant! The NERVE of some people!! LOL

BTW. like your sight, your words and thoughts are right on!

mark said...

Or, maybe it's so sick that if you don't laugh you will puke?

YEAH,,, you got that right, I was sickened by the news story. I looked at my better half, and we both were speachless, couldn't understand how people could be so stupid to believe such things, and their parents SELL the child to be raped by an AIDS carrier, it's just sickening and sad. Were do all the millions we give to the countries for AIDS go to?? The UN officials,,, go figure!!

Kat said...

Rob, my are funny as hell. However, would you mind giving us the "sarcasm/irony/paradox" signal? Might keep the blood shed down to a minimum. LOL

But I love the dialogue! Very exciting to see here.

Robert said...

Ah! Sorry Mark!

I continually forget that you lose inflection and body language over the internet. I should put the sarcasm tags on.

I think this one would be good "/irrelevant socialist multiculturalist"

It is not funny that this happens, but we have to take ourselves lightly lest we turn into Gorebot2000.

As a side note, I'm absolutely tickled that you have the courage to stand up to nutty multiculturalists. I wish everyone was.

Kat- a question. If your employer can get away with charging you less for being a woman why doesn't he either 1. charge men less too or 2. hire all women, thus saving large amounts of money. /food for thought (feel free to dismiss me as ignorant)

Kat said...

Robert...good question. Here's a partial answer...

Believe it or not, women makeup 85% of healthcare workers. In my company, we are fully 90% of the work force. Until the day I saw this guys salary I never thought anything about whether some one was making more or less than me. I always naturally assumed (ahh the word) that it was fair and balanced.

Of course, companies will pay for what they need and want. Maybe he was better than me? Maybe he just negotiated better than me? I don't know. It just struck me as wrong right at that time.

Robert said...

85% women? Ah, I see. What we see here is clearly a case of discrimination against men. So, your employer is paying men more as a kind of affirmative action toward the minority of men. (As a side note, men are a minority world wide to women, our politicians should do something about that! Its unfair!)

I was joking right there, but you get my point.

Who knows what the difference in pay is because of. Differences in education? Like you said, better negotiator?

Now, looking at this from a owner's perspective, it makes no business sense to hire a man for more money. If I can hire female labor for the same amount, I would only hire him at that rate.

But, there are only so many female workers in the field. Maybe men have better options in other fields, and the only way to get them there is to pay them a bit more?

Or perhaps the marginal productivity of the male worker is higher than that of yours?

Please don't brand me sexist, I'm trying to have a good conversation here. ;)

Kat said...

Robert..a little funny story. I was managing one of the departments. I had 40 positions and 36 women in them already. When the resumes came in, I actually pulled all of the male candidates and stuck them on top.

I am all for "women's power", but I believe you need some sort of balance. And we were WAY out of balance. Even as a woman I can recognize the extreme danger of having that much estrogen concentrated in one place without a little testosterone to remind them that they are supposed to be "ladies". I probably shouldn't have admitted that, but I did set a private quota to hire men. However, I will disclaim now that I only hired those that had some experience in the field and decent references. I was willing to do a little mentoring and education, but I was not going to sink our department just to achieve "balance". I am sure that good male managers fill the same way.

I could tell some stories about women crying in my office because somebody did not invite them to lunch. Totally amazed me.

In regards to the gentelman that was laid off and the salary issue. Education was similar to me. Yes, I believe that he was paid that much because we needed somebody else with those skills at the time and that's what we could get.

Sometimes the danger of rising from within a company is that you're salary increase is based on your previous salary. It's not always about "male/female" gender issues. I recognize that. Sometimes you are better off to go outside the company and sell your talents on the market. Of course, the bad thing about that, which I read once in an article, is that companies have long since abandoned "employee loyalty" for the ability to maintain certain profit margins without looking after the long term costs of continuing to have to pay finders fees and the cost of training.

My company, fortunately for the most part, is into employee retention. And it has paid off.

I think my angst came the day they gave me his duties and didn't even act like I was worth even a quarter of his salary for increase. They would have still gotten their cost savings and made me a damn happy employee.

Cest la vie!