The “R-word”

Last year while a senior in high school at a K-12 private school, I worked with children before and after school whose parents weren’t able to drop them off or pick them up due to their occupation, office location, or were just simply busy.  I work with a boy named Aidan, then a fourth grader, whose mother, Amy, is a special education/life skills teacher at an elementary school in a high-low, low-income area of Austin.  As I began to get to know Amy, Aidan, and Amy’s daughter, Maysie, then a seventh grader at the same school, I began to have an occasional meal over at their house, which was close to the school.  One time, I was commenting on something I had heard and I said, “Well, that’s retarded…” and continued on with my statement.  When I had finished, I looked up and saw Aidan wide-eyed in surprise, Maysie in about the same situation, and Amy yelled, “What did you just say?!?”  She then began to explain why saying the “R-word” is bad.  I began to realize it as well and began to try to censor myself at all times, but especially when I was around that family, from saying it.

Sarah Palin, last Tuesday, February 2, blasted President Barack Obama’s Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel by saying, on her Facebook blog, that he should get fired from the administration for saying the “R-word” in a closed meeting at the White House.

Just a few days later, on his show, Rush Limbaugh decided to add the “R-word” to his rather extensive, unappealing vocabulary.  After being notified of Limbaugh’s statement, a Palin aide said, “Gov. Palin believes crude and demeaning name-calling at the expense of others is disrespectful.”  While it was reported by the Washington Post that she was also calling Limbaugh out on his use of the “R-word,” that statement was later explained to POLITICO in which the spokesperson then said it was bad if anyone says it but the statement was not calling out Limbaugh.

Personally, this makes me think of the family I know and still eat meals with and hang out with pretty regularly when I go back home from college.  To me, it would equate to Amy telling her daughter Maysie that she can use the “R-word” and it wouldn’t phase her at all, and then telling her son Aidan that he should never use it, that it is a demeaning word (which in my opinion, it is) and scolding and punishing him when he decides to use the word.  It would be hypocritical.

Gov. Palin needs to have some decency and not let Limbaugh get away with this–if you are going to slam one person for using it, you need to hold that standard to everyone, not just the people with which you agree politically.  It is hypocritical of her organization to hold Rahm Emanuel accountable for his use of the word in a private meeting and not hold Rush Limbaugh accountable for using the word on his nationally “acclaimed” radio show.

I’m sure there is some correlation between the fact that if Rush Limbaugh decided he didn’t like Palin criticizing him, he could turn a large part of the conservative American population against her and thus putting a big dent in, if not completely ending, her political career.

Third Party

In the article, “Are independents America’s third party?,” the author asks the question about whether voters in between the two major political parties in philosophy can be called a third party.

In my opinion, the two parties should not be considered a “third party” because the reason many independents call themselves by that name is so they will not be affiliated with the ideology of any centralized party.

And I guess it is possible to refute that argument by saying that it is a hypothetical third party, but another reason independents call themselves “independent” is because they disagree with specific policies from both parties and in a sense decide the way they are going to vote based on the ideology that they want the person they more agree with to be in office, also referred to as “the lesser of two evils.”

I’m also not sure that the basis of the article would be entirely accurate: Scott Brown is technically a Republican from Massachusetts (which in itself is almost an oxymoron), but the only major city he would carry in Texas in any election is Austin—the liberal stronghold of the Southwest, in a county where Barack Obama and Joe Biden received 61% of the vote—because of his liberal-leaning voting record.

The term “third party” has been thrown around a lot in the last three or four years since the economy peaked and then proceeded to bottom-out, but there would be very dire implications for America having a third party with the same clout that both the Republican and Democratic parties hold.

One problem that would be encountered is that it is very unlikely that a president could be decided in a general election.  It’s not like we decide our president anyway—thanks to the Electoral College—but the vote would be prolonged in the House of Representatives to decide the President.  Whichever of the three hypothetical parties had the highest number of members would theoretically receive the largest number of votes of President.  But wait!  The House requires a MAJORITY of the votes.  But, fear not, they just vote again so you can theoretically have 146 people out of a citizenry of over 300 million voting for the president (33.5% of Representatives).  Talk about elitism!  But that is another topic for another day…