’twas the pump handle

1/25/09

Okay, it’s Monday, so let’s take care of a few things, shall we?

1. Kirsten Gillibrand – There’s been a lot of hand-wringing and rending of garments in liberal blogland about the bona fides of our Congresswoman Gillibrand now that she’ll be appointed to the Senate. I think most of the problem was the media circus surrounding Governor Patterson’s selection process – it was messy and silly, precisely the kind of drama we were supposed to denounce in the Obamanian era of politics.

That said, I understand why people are upset about elements of her voting record. The whole gun thing is problematic, mostly because the NRA are such assholes. Honestly, the NRA would have a lot more sway with those not in the wingnuttery if they’d drop the “cold, dead hands” bullshit, which is just cruel and infantile.

Her other votes seem prescient (“no” on TARP) or are the same as Obama himself (FISA). But here’s the thing: she won NY-20 as a Democrat. Unless you’ve perused the woods of Oswego County, you don’t know how Republican this place used to be. She was celebrated by liberals for turning our District blue after 75 years, yet is denounced as a “Blue Dog” now that she’ll be in the Senate.

Do I know how she’ll vote? Will she drift inexorably left, now that she represents a very liberal state? I can’t say I know for sure, but this I know: she’s super smart, actually cares about her constituents, is religious about transparency in government, and she will take all these criticisms to heart. In the long run, that’s awesome for New York, but in the short run… well, I hope her cute boy Theo isn’t reading Daily Kos.

2. The Purple Tunnel of Doom – This drives me crazy. Why do the police always lowball the numbers in a crowd? The day of the Inauguration, when we were shut out of the celebration (even though we had a ticket), the official line was “due to unprecedented interest, about 1,000 people did not make it into the ceremony.”

That’s disingenuous on several levels. Unprecedented or not, they should have had their best crowd control teams testing every scenario, weeks before the event. Anything else is a goddamn security breach, and they were very lucky nobody expired, especially in that weather.

PurpleTicketCrowdDC(bl).jpg

Secondly… “1,000 people”? Even when they upped the number to 4,000 on Wednesday, those of us who were there knew they were on crack. By our eyeballing estimate, no fewer than 15,000 people got stuck in that tunnel, and even more were crammed against the gate outside. There’s a Facebook group dedicated to this, but seriously – why can’t people just admit they fucked up, and be honest about the numbers? Anything else just invokes fury among those who gave the most to be there.

3. Gratuitous pictures of our balls – The Texas Black Tie & Boots Ball was oddly corporate and depressing. I don’t think I need to add anything to this photo op:

TexasBallTanksNGuns(bl).jpg

In stark contrast was the Staff Ball, which frothed with youthful fervor. We missed Obama by about an hour (I was getting the flu I’m battling right now) but dined on some great fixins and saw the relaxed joy of our niece (on T’s side) and nephew (on my side) as they truly realized, along with everyone else, what they’d done.

CrowdStaffBallDC3(bl).jpg

You see that picture? That’s Gen Y, and they largely made it happen. Our Generation X sure as hell didn’t – we’ll be on our deathbeds, still choking on snark and sarcasm – but it’s not all our fault. As Salem and I were remarking the other day, it’s all about timing, and we didn’t have a chance. A glorious idealist born in 1970 would have been trampled into the ground by Reagan, given false hope by Clinton, and then destroyed for good by Bush. A glorious idealist born in 1985? Well, that’s them above.

I take it on the chin, I understand my place in the 20th and 21st century timeline. 2004 was my last gasp of trying too hard, and as I’ve said before, something in me broke. Never again will I trust Americans to do the right thing; the revelation of that disgusting, pockmarked underbelly is all I care to take, thank you very much.

Does that mean I miss out on the joy of this moment? A little, yes. I appreciate it intellectually, and I did cry with joy a few times this year. But that’s a fever I had once before, and like every virus, it’s very hard to catch again.

0 thoughts on “’twas the pump handle

  1. Anne

    Ah, Dean (above) — I knew someone would be tracking down that blonde! But I thought maybe it would be a modeling agency. :)
    Many of us in the Boomer generation got very involved in the Obama campaign, too — traveling to NH to go door-to-door and hold signs near polling placels, etc. Maybe the fever skipped a generation or two.

    Reply
  2. GFWD

    The woman in the photo is Jennifer Kazmeier from Lancaster, Pennsylvania. She’s one of my Facebook friends. That’s not even a good shot of her. She used to model when she lived in Atlanta a few years ago. Met her through my wife’s friends. Very nice lady. Small world.
    Ian, is it ever reasonable to own a gun?
    I inherited some from my grandfather. And then, when there was a rash of home break-ins and home invasions in the area, I started training with my neighbors. And then I trained some more. And then I bought a gun safe. And then I procured a concealed-carry permit. And then I purchased a gun. Still didn’t carry with me much until I read about the couple who was held up at gunpoint leaving the bar my wife and I frequent and I have made it a point to carry more and train more regularly by hitting the range more often.
    My point is this–aside from a piss-poor PR guy whose ill-timed mantra came on the heels of the Columbine shooting, why all the fuss against owning a gun? Or the gun owners themselves? I feel like I’m parrotting Ainsley Hayes from The West Wing, but it sounds like you just don’t like people who own guns.
    Of the gun owners I’ve met, they treat their gun ownership like rich guys treat golf. It’s a hobby and a tradition passed on from generation to generation.

    Reply
  3. caveman

    she’s like a young Nordic goddess, alone and afraid, coming to America for the promise of a new……back to work, back to work, walking the mile, walking the mile.

    Reply
  4. kazoo

    ian, have you read “outliers” yet? (and i hope that doesn’t put me in the “you still read what gladwell writes?!” camp too squarely)
    i found the whole cohort opportunity thing really interesting. but it IS true that certain generations will have moments presented to them, on which no other generation could have capitalized. and if they miss that opportunity, woe to us all. i feel it’s a bit like realizing the bunk of being told you can be anything you want to be when you grow up. it’s not just up to us, we’re depending on the crazy complexities and happenstance of everyone else.
    anyhow, i’m grateful to be around an witnessing this, on the brink as we are. although my dad always reminds me that there’s nothing wrong about living in less “interesting” times…sigh…
    happy monday, eh? and soup up!

    Reply
  5. Ian

    Greg, that is INSANE that you know her! Tell her to stop by the blog for her accolades. More on guns tomorrow…
    Kaz, “Outliers” was the subject of my conversation with Salem – good call. I haven’t read it yet, but maybe Salem will chime in.

    Reply
  6. Piglet

    I for one have been supporting Gillibrand on the blogs. My one reason for having hoped she wouldn’t move up just yet was the desire to hold her Congressional district until after 2010, when we could ungerrymander it.
    She’ll be Senator for a long, long time, and I’ll be glad of it…assuming the psychiatric wing of the progressive movement doesn’t drive her away.

    Reply
  7. grumphreys

    Although you’re right that Gen Y has not seen the crushing defeats that we have, i think we can rightly claim the Prez as one of our own generation. He left snark and sarcasm behind and it worked for him…

    Reply
  8. am

    I too, was a purple ticket holder. The estimate of 1,000 is absolutely absurd. We were sardined for blocks, and for hours. My guess was 10-15,000. I didn’t get in either.

    Reply
  9. GFWD

    Ruse Alert!
    I don’t know the attractive blonde. I said I did to see if anyone would send me an off-blog email asking for her digits or whether there would be funny comments. I even sent Ian an email immediately after the post so that I could let him in on the ruse. Either he got my email before reading my post and was in on the joke, too, or he reads his blog comments first and then later slapped his own forehead.
    I mainly thought my post would trigger an immediate phone call from the first commenter and my former roommate, Dean, asking how come I never talked about “Jennifer” before. Alas, it did not.
    She is hot, though. Whoever she is.
    Lorelle, I still know every other person. Kevin Bacon’s got nothing on me, cause he needs all six degrees to make his connections.

    Reply
  10. Ian

    Kudos, however, GFWD… “Jennifer Kazmeier from Lancaster, PA” is just quirky enough, and just boring enough, to elude skepticism. Well done!

    Reply

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