Resolution complexities, and a little about the caucus

It’s January 3rd, and already I’ve encountered some complicating factors with regards to my New Year resolutions. For instance, today is the third day that I have not purchased any coffee or bottled water, which meets my MAIN goal of growing more environmentally responsible but also aids my desire to spend less. Already, I have NOT thrown away 6 items I normally would, and I’ve saved approximately 9 dollars. Not bad, and I feel this is maintainable as I don’t really miss the extra caffeine or mind tap water. But what about when coffee is brought to you in a meeting? Especially when you haven’t voiced your resolutions to one and all? And so your usual coffee is brought in its usual styrafoam cup? Do you ANNOUNCE to the person who was obviously trying to be kind, and took it all in stride when a year ago you decided to lose weight and switched from cappuccinos to black coffee, that you no longer drink things from unrecyclable materials? I chose to drink the coffee, but am not sure what to do about future, similar occurences.

So, that’s one complexity I’m mulling over. Now, let’s turn our attention to my hair.  Currently, I have a fabulous hair cut – all sorts of shaggy, straight, Katie Holmes Cruise inspired fun. I’ve had this cut for about two months, and it requires professional straightening, and then lots of maneuvering with flat irons, hair brushes and hair dryers. On the one hand, I love my hair. On the other, it’s upkeep is expensive and it’s destined to come to an end in May, when all the product in the world can’t keep it from curling. I consider May my haircut’s natural end date, which will coincide nicely with S. graduating, but if I’m trying to live on less, perhaps I should let nature take it’s course NOW, so at least it’s long by the time May comes, thus resembling a cocker spaniel more than a poodle, and save me tons of money in the meantime.

But damn. I love my hair.

Pay attention. These are real problems, people.

Or perhaps, you disagree. Let’s turn our attention, then, to Iowa, the official beginning of New President Year. Some friends of mine expressed surprise awhile ago that I have decided on John Edwards as my candidate. My brother assumed I would choose Obama, and my post on reasons we cannot give, if we don’t choose to vote for Hillary, naturally caused many people to think I support her. And really, it’s not like I don’t support Obama or Clinton – if either one of them end up as the nominee I’ll be perfectly content, although I must admit my dream ticket is Edwards/Obama. 

I chose Edwards about five or six weeks ago after listening to a speech he gave about the war in Iraq. He didn’t speak in Clinton’s measured, even tones or rely on Obama’s ‘please all people’ approach. He expressed rage – pure, simple rage for a war that has been waged unjustly. And I began paying attention. On most of the issues I hold close to my heart, from our country’s poverty to the environment to (my number one issue) health care, Edwards expressed rage – rage on behalf of those struggling to pay their bills, rage for the men and women killed in the war on terror, rage for people who can’t afford even the most basic health care services.

I think, somewhere on this blog, I jokingly wrote Edwards off when he didn’t withdraw in the face of his wife’s terminal cancer. I know I wrote I fully expected S., if I found myself diagnosed a terminal disease, to give up everything to be at my beck and call. I found it a bit odd that, with two young children, the Edwards continued to campaign. But I’ve since read several interviews with both John and Elizabeth Edwards, and I’ve been moved more than once by their absolute conviction that they need to commit their lives to something beyond themselves. Unlike other candidates, they seem to understand how finite our time is, and the importance of trying to change the world while they are here. The New York Times piece covering the marriage and life of the couple actually caused me to cry this week – the loss of their 16 year old son, their 2 year hiatus from the world, and then their re-emergence. I don’t know – something about that story – about the power of love these two have for each other – it seems to me to transcend the relationship Bill and Hillary have, and the one Barack and Michelle do, and while I would never ever ever ever say being married (when so many cannot legally be married) or having a nuclear family in any way makes people good leaders, or good people, or any of that Republican family values baloney, I will say I believe two people who love each other while still believing in things greater than their love, well – I think that’s pretty amazing, and I believe in it, too. 

But more than that, because voting just because of a great love story would be stupid, I support Edwards for his rage – for the fact that he vocalizes his disconent, that he believes in lifting up his constituency, instead of dragging it down. Whoever the nominee ends up being (unless it’s Bill Richardson, in which case I will have to go with the Green party), I will support. I think, as a democrat, we have such luxury in our candidates, this year, unlike the republicans. While Mitt Romney (ugh) and Mike Huckabee (double ugh) try and out anti-abortion and out-anti-tax one another and McCain storms New Hampshire, we get to delight in choosing from amazing, capable, inspiring candidates, most of whom from an early age believed themselves to be agents of change. We can argue until the cows come home about who is more genuine, or who can truly lead the country expertly, or who owes special interests what, but regardless, it’s a great time to be a democrat.

If only my state hadn’t totally screwed up and moved the primary up, I might actually had been able to vote for Edwards. Since my voice won’t be heard in my own state, you had to hear it here.

And, let me say this. If America elects another stupid president, another embarrassment, well – okay. I have no threat to actually follow through. I won’t move to Canada. I won’t move to Europe.  But I will be really really really distraught so, let’s just not, okay? Let’s just not.

If you are in Iowa, happy caucusing. I’m insanely jealous.

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11 Responses to Resolution complexities, and a little about the caucus

  1. yogamum says:

    I think you just convinced me to vote for Edwards. Sadly, I don’t know when my primary is or if it “counts,” but I’ll still vote.

  2. SFP says:

    I’ve got my fingers crossed for Edwards, too.

  3. Dorothy W. says:

    Oh, let’s not. Definitely, let’s not.

    I need to do some research into this to make up my mind, but I will say your post is very persuasive!

  4. Smithereens says:

    I’m not an American, so maybe I should just shut up and let you guys say whatever you think. But something in your post stopped me in my track.
    You got convinced by Edward because he spoke with rage about grave problems. I am not so sure that a great and powerful country should be governed by rage. Maybe a good president should remain dispassionate. But a campaign is a different moment indeed. It’s the right moment to show passion, but what about later on? This said, one ocean away, I think Edwards is quite a nice guy too.
    And if you reconsider and want to exile abroad if the rest of the country votes for a stupid president, you’re very welcome in Europe!
    (about the hair, can’t you find another style you like that needs no maintenance?)

  5. Katie says:

    As far as the coffee cups and waste go, you control what you can. When someone offers you a cup, though, you graciously accept. I think you did the right thing.

    I’m laughing about the hair. For some reason, spending less time getting ready is a tough component of a ‘simple life’ or whatever you want to call it, and I totally hear you. I am already wrestling with what I am going to do when grey comes in. I know, leave it, don’t dye it, it’s beautiful, it’s natural, but it will still be a struggle.

    Miss you! Hope you had a great holiday season.

  6. Emily Barton says:

    I’m with you all the way when it comes to Edwards, and have been for some time, but I’m very happy that I’m actually pleased with all the Demmocratic choices. Interesting results in Iowa, no? Oh, but Huckabee!!! “Let’s just not,” please.

  7. Emily Barton says:

    Interesting new spelling I’ve created for “Democratic,” huh?

  8. Courtney says:

    Yogamum – Yay, Edwards! I think he still has a great shot…
    SFP – welcome! Glad to see another Edwards supporter here…
    Dorothy – Hi – yes, it takes some research to find the right candidate, doesn’t it? I don’t care so much who others vote for, but that they vote…
    Smithereens – You do make an excellent point. I don’t think that Edwards would govern with the kind of rage he discusses, though – I lived in NC while he was Senator and admired the steady way he worked. He is the only candidate who actually expresses disapproval over the way Bush has run things, though, without qualifying it, and I appreciate that. But the offer to seek exile in Europe is appealling…
    Katie – You are not going gray when it comes in. You have to draw the line somewhere. I think that’s the line…scrabble, soon!
    Emily – the Huckabee thing is crazy! Are these people serious? I was very pleased with the democratic outcome for the caucus, though – as I said, I like Obama quite a lot, too.

  9. Stefanie says:

    Coffee. It’s early in the year, just start mentioning offhand around the office about your resolution. People will catch on.

    Edwards. Yay!

    Hair. I’ve got curly hair too. Embrace the curl. Have you read Curly Girl? I highly recommend it.

  10. mandarine says:

    About the styrofoam cups: they may not be recyclable, but they are reusable all right. Just take them home and give them a second, third and maybe fourth life.

    After that, I am sure that they can somehow be shredded into insulation materials. I would not want my home insulated with used coffee cups, but hey, anything that saves fuel; especially when you don’t have to worry about the ‘grey energy’ and the disposing of, because it’s all the coffee drinker’s fault to start with (seems I’ve run in a circle here).

    Or carry your ‘no styrofoam for me, thanks’ mug everywhere with you. If someone comes to you with a styrofoam cup, just let them pour the coffee in the mug you magically take out of your bag, and let them worry with the piece of empty toxic garbage they are now holding.

  11. mandarine says:

    And about your candidates: you do not want to come to Europe. You are going to get to shape the destiny of the world, and you have fantastic new people to choose from. The mediocrity in our candidates here is absolutely dreadful.

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