Saturday, February 2, 2008

The Donut Shop Comment

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is not a political entity. She makes up her mind and casts her vote, usually based on the issues and not on the attractiveness of the candidate. And she enjoys a good debate, even the one the other night referred to as 'The Democratic Date'. Much like her fellow Hillbillies watch NASCAR for the crashes, and hockey for the fights, Mrs. HM watches debates for the fireworks. For the loss of composure that leaks out of a candidate every now and then. For thinly-veiled hostility that finally bubbles to the surface. For subtle, unspoken nuances that speak volumes.

And now I must take issue with Mr. Barack Obama. I hold nothing against him. All is fair in love and political campaigns. But don't pretend Big Bad Bill Clinton is the devil incarnate, when you and your advisers play the gender card. I'm talking about the entrance on stage at the Kodak Theatre. seemed to be 'ladies first'. And when they went to take their seats, Obama at one point put his hand out behind Clinton's back, like he was guiding or steering her, in a gentlemanly way. Then he fake-pulled-out and fake-pushed-in her chair, like a waiter at a fancy restaurant. I take issue with that. That is subliminally undermining her equality. What next, a walk down the street where he chivalrously takes the path next to the road, so that any water splashed from a carriage, or detritus from a chamber pot thrown out a window, will hit him, and not her? If one of them spill their bottled water on the stage, will he lay down his jacket for her to walk across? I just see this little tactic as a slap in the face to the women watching the debate. It smacks of packaging Clinton as 'the weaker sex'. Not an equal. It could only gain him favor for doing the gentlemanly thing, and beg the question that wouldn't she be better-suited in a kitchen, barefoot?

Like I said, all is fair. But I don't have to like it. And I didn't see her whining about it. But you can bet that she knew what he was getting at. She's not exactly a shrinking violet, in need of somebody else to fight her battles.

And while we're on the debate, Obama did seem to show displeasure when asked if there might be an Obama/Clinton ticket. He did his usual dance around the question, until pinned down, and could only agree with the moderator that 'Hillary would be on anybody's short list', though not specifically his. Clinton herself was a bit discombobulated on the question of voting for that 'going-to-war bill' for Bush. She dwelt on it a bit much without really saying anything. So I saw cracks in both their armors. Heh, heh. I said I saw Obama's and Clinton's 'cracks'.

Anyhoo...what really got me on this topic today was a comment I heard while washing dishes this morning with CNN playing in the living room. A comment from Obama: "I've spoken with teachers who are working at donut shops after school just to make ends meet; who are still digging into their own pockets to pay for school supplies." Not so fast there, Sherlock. Everybody knows teachers pay for a multitude of classroom supplies from their own pockets. What happens to all that money earned by the schoolchildren hawking overpriced candy and wrapping paper I'll never know. But I seriously doubt that a teacher would take a second job just because of buying supplies. Those who need a second job to make ends meet will no doubt spend that money raising their own children, not on supplies. OK, he didn't really say that in so many words, but that's what it sounded like.

Here is the bone I have to pick with this quote: What kind of freakish donut shops are open from 3:00 p.m. until, oh, I don't know...7:00 p.m. if the teacher has taken a part-time job, and 11:00 p.m. if it's a second job? Aren't donut shops open early in the morning until around noon? Because we used to have a true donut shop here in the nation of Hillmomba, and it closed at 1:00 p.m. And teachers are not off until at least 2:30 p.m., with most of them being closer to 3:00, and then there are duties and faculty meetings and two-hour tutoring sessions so we don't leave a child behind, and then ballgame duties and conferences and workshops and inservice meetings and mandatory insurance meetings and CTA meetings, and graduate courses to take to make a little more salary, or fulfill career ladder or certification requirements. So an after-school second job for a teacher is not truly feasible. But let's say, for argument's sake, that a teacher needs a second job. Those I have known have worked part-time at The Devil's Playground, or another full-time job in the summer, such as cooking at a canoe floating camp thingy, or selling candles in a fancy little shop on weekends, or selling licensed guns out of their home as a part-time business.

Perhaps city folk can find part-time work at a Dunkin' Donuts that stays open later. Or maybe they actually work in a deli or a convenience store. But don't go generalizing that teachers work after school in donut shops, because that brings to mind the scene in Primary Colors, where John Travolta as a Bill Clintonesque presidential candidate sits down in the early morning hours to have a cup of coffee and a cruller with a simple-minded donut-selling man who used to have a future.

I don't really think that's the image Obama and company wanted to plant in my head.

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