Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Pork Chow Mein Primary (politics)

We stopped to see my mother over the weekend and she was surprisingly restrained in feeding us. She served us a main course (chow mein) and Chinese broccoli and even resisted dropping a freshly poached chicken into the mix. After she talked about their trip to Peru, the subject shifted to the presidential race. I wouldn’t say that my mother’s ever had strong political convictions. My father was a fan of the Kennedys. He broke with his own family’s support of Richard Nixon in 1960. My Grandfather thought that Nixon was more supportive of Taiwan because of his stance on protecting Quemoy and Matsu, islands between the two Chinas. My dad felt that one should vote for President based on more than one issue and he was one of many thousands of people who were swayed by JFK’s more vigorous appearance in the televised debates. My dad and I also used to exchange books about Robert Kennedy. My father died in 1978 which I now realize was just 10 years after RFK was shot.

After my dad died, she married my stepfather who had been a farmer and who believes that the Republican party supports business owners. My mom’s politics drifted towards my stepfather’s views and those of his friends. It didn’t help that they motor homed for several years. My mom started getting Swift Boat e-mails and Hillary jokes from various people she had exchanged e-mail addresses with from the world of motor homing. We visited them once when they were staying in a park in Palm Springs. The average age was about 70 and the hot springs pool was like a scene out of the movie Cocoon. While Hillary enjoys strong support from seniors, it’s probably not from the seniors who drive around the country in motor homes as opposed to the much larger number who fret about paying their rent vs. paying for prescription drugs.

I was more than a little surprised between plates of pork chow mein to learn that my mother had decided to support Barack Obama (at least for now). First she felt that McCain was too much in the thrall of lobbyists. I’m pretty sure that mom’s main source of information about political matters is the cable news networks and occasional chatter with friends their age. It also doesn’t help that she also thinks he’s entangled with certain lobbyists in ways that go beyond money. Second, she was very offended by attempts to twist Michelle Obama’s comments about being “really proud” of her country now. My stepfather remains mildly supportive of McCain. A few minutes later my mother said “We’re republicans.”

My wife and daughter are supporting Hillary Clinton. My daughter didn't say much.
She's one of these kids who eats bacon, but doesn't eat pork :} She spent much of the meal eating all parts of her grandmother's chow mein while laying strips of roast pork on the outer edge of her plate. My wife mentioned a couple times that she feels that Obama is promising too much while Hillary Clinton is both getting a bad shake from the media and the one who seems to be presenting realistic-detailed approaches to the problems. My mother apparently really does find Barack’s speeches about doing things in new ways and working together inspiring. No one mentioned the war.

As strange as this may sound, I said virtually nothing other than my usual I’m actually happy with either Democratic candidate vs. McCain. I read my own blog from time to time and I hardly seem like the sort of person who wouldn’t say something in one of these dinner table exchanges. Is Chancelucky really a different person from me? On the other hand, what sane person would take a side in a political discussion between his mother and wife at his mother's house unless he absoutely had to?



At 2/28/2008 11:38:00 AM, Blogger None said...

ohh.. been there. Politics can be a disaster of a dinner discussion. Thats why people invented sports/entertainment. Its much much better to chat about volleyball and the Warriors than potentially insulting family. For me, its painful to listen to my family members that dont feel the same way. I just dont want to think about these issues when I'm with them. Even my friends it can be difficult. I just got an email the other day from one. The rhetoric in the email saddens me. I know I'm not convinced by anything a family member or friend will tell me. I dont really expect my words to have the same effect on them (well.. Huckabee not withstanding, thank God nobody takes him seriously).

At 2/28/2008 11:51:00 AM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

I guess that's why they invented blogs. It lets me talk as much as I care to about my political views without getting into open disputes with the people I love.

I do sometimes wonder what Chancelucky does in these situations though.

At 2/28/2008 12:44:00 PM, Blogger Gifted Typist said...

I've gave up arguing with my mother about politics years ago. I now listen to her opinions as a way to poll her demographic etc - I may not agree but it is a good barometer of what's out there.

At 2/28/2008 01:34:00 PM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

I agree. There's something very primal about talking politics. IT's part of what's wonderful about it, but it helps me understand why people seem to make political decisions in such irrational ways.

At 3/01/2008 09:13:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love the way you interweave your family history, eating, and the current political scene. I love the pork chow mein, your daughter's eating habits, and why your mother favors Obama.

At 3/02/2008 09:20:00 AM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

thanks. My wife still insists that my mom is being duped by Obama's oratory.
The worst thing though was that my mother gave ua a couple boxes of chow mein to take home with us and my daughter got to it before I did.

At 3/08/2008 01:09:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah, the Caucus Scandal. On the issue of fairness and so-called 'earned' delegates, 12% of Hillary's vote is prevented from participating in caucuses because of a terrible fear of falling. (I found this out to my total shock as I made 2400 volunteer phone calls for Hillary starting in caucus Iowa.)

Every 8th phone call in a caucus state to a passionate Hillary supporter got me some version of "I can't caucus, honey. I'm a cripple." I'd always assumed that the truly handicapped could vote-by-mail absentee.

Nope, in a caucus state if you ain't there in your body, you are robbed of your vote. Period. Those of us lucky enough to be healthy enough have no clue about these invisible folk who are prevented from participating by a completely anti-democratic caucus system. In this historic & crucial election, these particular voters are overwhelmingly for Hillary. These folks do not dare chance going out to a caucus. If they fall, it's essentially the beginning of the end of their life.

THIS is the kind of appalling anti-democratic skew and unfairness that superdelegates are supposed to wisely adjust for. Please tell your smart wife & daughter about this, cl, so they can spread the word about what's truly earned and fairly elected in delegate land.

At 3/10/2008 09:27:00 AM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

I assume this has always been true, but I don't know that there's been a race in some time where one candidate has most of the young folk and the other has most of the elderly. It definitely makes it interesting and it probably has exaggerated the impact of the caucus.


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