Heather L. Barmore
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    Change In Action at Babble Voices


    What happens to men in positions of power? 

    “He is in a deep, dark, unspinnable place,” - Chris Lehane

    The day Chris Lee resigned I felt for his constituents first and his staff second. His constituents in need of someone to handle their Medicare, Immigration, Medicaid and flag requests. Then the staff that is now subject to possible ridicule for working for a man who managed to be so very irresponsible in his actions with little regard for who might be affected. This ‘I feel for you’ quickly turns to anger as I questioned why a member of congress might attempt to get their swerve on via Craig’s list and think that they won’t get caught. The balls on these men - the Lees, Vitters, Edwards and now Weiners of the world - to exploit not only themselves but their positions is not only disgraceful to the office they hold and the people they represent but also to those around them.

    That is where Anthony Weiner finds himself today wrapped in shame, which is where he should be. He is part of rather close knit delegation of 31 - including the House and both Senators - and right now he finds himself the odd man out. The head of the DCCC also happens to represent the western part of Long Island and now he must stand with Leader Pelosi to say that a House Ethics investigation will proceed against a colleague who represents a district just a few miles away. Trace amounts of shame always ends up on those who are even in the periphery. As such he will remain an untouchable to the rest. No one else wants that on them.

    What I keep going back to though, as I write this and as these sex scandals continue, is that they’re all men and always are men. That coincidence is not lost on me but I find myself wondering why. Is it a power trip in them? They’ve been elected and feel powerful and thus omnipotent? Is it something about what they are already offered to vote and do certain things (money) so that transfers into sexcapades? What is it about these men who are so brazen with their willingness to share photos of their genitalia but upon getting caught it’s hush, hush and suddenly hiding on the sidelines. How interesting that Weiner step out yesterday afternoon while in New York because the House is in recess this week. How do you go back to just doing your job - a job that requires interacting with people and deal with the sideways glances. How can you shake your constituents’ hand or hold their baby claiming that you will work for them in Washington but when you’re in Washington, you are doing this? How?

    I wonder if things would be like this if women ran the world. I really do. I wonder if more women should run for office because they might take it a little more seriously and the power wouldn’t get into our heads in manifest in such a destructive way. Sure we have power trips but we end up Divas who want crushed ice not cubed in our water. Is there a natural something in our make up that makes it more difficult to exploit our power or our sexuality in such a public fashion? I suppose that what I am asking is what makes men and women so...different? For me It’s not just that this a politician and not just that my respect for politicians diminishes when a scandal like this occurs but it’s wondering if a woman would find herself in a similar situation and if so how would it be handled?

    I guess more women are going to have to run for office and show these men how it’s done. Fingers crossed that this is how it ends.

    Oh Newt

    In case you have a life and missed the joy that has been the sudden implosion of Newt Gingrich's 2012 campaign, please, allow me to let me give you the Cliff Note's version: Hoo boy! He's a sinking! He's the Titanic post-iceberg.

    Conservatives hate him because he spoke out against Paul Ryan's budget plan to voucher-ize Medicare and referred to it as "right-wing extremism". Which it is but if you're trying to court your very conservative, why is the federal government all up in my business, base, then that is not the way to go.

    Liberals hate him because...well, he's Newt.

    Then there's something about a pesky $500,000 bill at Tiffany.

    He should be having a great week of kicking off his campaign and being overjoyed that now that very serious contender Mike Huckabee is out and scene stealer, Donald Trump is gone. Alas he is stuck bobbing, weaving and backtracking with House republican leadership and getting glitterized.

    I'd wish him luck but that would go against everything I believe.


    The Worst of Times

    "The marvel of all history is the patience with which men and women submit to burdens unnecessarily laid upon them by their governments." ~William E. Borah

    Congress has been enjoying a two vacation in their districts. And by ‘enjoying’ I mean, subjecting themselves to what can be the most difficult part of their jobs; answering to their constituents by way of Town Hall meetings.

    Here’s a visual:

    And this one, too:

    (both via Crooks and Liars)

    I’m torn between smirking from the hilarity of watching the likes of Paul Ryan sneak through small town Wisconsin and disgusted by the behavior of adults. I understand anger with politicians and I’m pretty sure most people have honestly thought of hurling something at the television during the Sunday morning talk show circuit. But there’s a fine line between the first amendment and the joys of democracy and being a total shit head who should be arrested.

    It might be tired and a cliche but very true that if you aren’t angry then you aren’t paying attention. I think we’ve gone well past angry to livid especially in the face of unemployment and a giant ‘fuck you’ from the GOP to seniors and the poor by way of erasing Medicare and Medicaid. I nod when I see the passion in the voice of these people attempting to get their most likely well-off and employed member of Congress to understand their plight. We also live in a time where this hysteria and displeasure towards our elected officials can lead to the worst possible situation. A terrifying scenario that was once a ‘yeah right’ is now a distinct possibility.

    So, in a time where uncertainty prevails and passions run high, how do we go about traversing the tenets of democracy without falling off the deep end? I’m not asking because I have a response but because I really want to know how we got to this point and how we get back.