* Friday night I was fortunate enough to go to the preview of the Chicago Flower and Garden Show at Navy Pier, called An Evening in Bloom. Lots of movers and shakers were there, and it was a reminder that without my husband by my side, I am unrecognizable. That empowers me for good and for evil! I said hi to Tim Smithe from Walter E. Smithe, but I just watched the others milling about for a couple of good causes- The Chicago Gateway Green, and Friends of the Park. Alison Rosati and Rob Stafford were there between newscasts, and they did not even get close to a microphone!!! The cast of Days of Our Lives was there too- NBC 5 must have been onboard. Those women are SKINNY. And beautiful. Made me feel frumpy, which I am. If you want a jolt of spring fever, this is a great outing. I always forget how beautiful the pier is at night. I think we take it for granted, or are too cool to go to a "tourist trap." Well, treasures lurk, from great restaurants like Riva and Harry Caray's to the stained glass exhibit in the halls.
The seasons will bring us beautiful days soon, and that my yard is a train wreck. I'll get out there. Someday. In the meantime, I have a house guest, Walter The Dog, of the Matthew Dahl household. He is fertilizing every corner.
* I watched the Sarah Palin movie , Game Change, with a friend on Saturday night's HBO premiere. I am not, nor have I ever been in her fan club, but this movie evoked empathy from me for her. Our politics have become so fractious that the unknown trumps experience when choosing a running mate for the most elevated job in the US. The process of finding someone with no national voting record to dissect or contradict the party's most conservative members was cynical and calculating. John McCain was an older, battle scarred POW, cancer survivor that qualifications needed to be enhanced, not diminished. Sarah Palin IS a proud American, and her faith made her believe this was a calling. She should have said no.
Why didn't she?
Hubris? Narcissism? Ambition? Naivete? Patriotism? Faith in John McCain?
I have no clue, and did not get one from the movie.
Lacking her demurral, better minds should have spared her the months that followed. She was a new mom again at 44 with a Down's baby, had a pregnant teenager....it was not her time. This is not to say that she will not have a second act. She is still revered in many quarters, and I expect she will pop up in the Republican or Tea Party corner. I just hope it is not as the Executive Branch.
At any rate, I ended up full of disappointment in the system we use to select our leaders. The election of a President and a Vice President is not a reality show. It should not be "cast", it should be earned with service, vision and wisdom. Think back to the John Edwards debacle, Herman Cain's imploding candidacy, the cannibalizing primary season. Yikes! We all suffer along, wherever we are on the political spectrum, because the dialogue has become brittle, and the epidermal layer of words and appearance is what is played, replayed and argued from the distant bunkers of left and right. Those of us in the middle- that giant hump in the bell curve, wish to save our breath and our eyes. We are tuning out. The middle realizes that our candidate will not be 100% in lock step with our views- we will look for the one closest or more worthy of faith. We do not use a litmus test for our friends. Reasonable minds can differ. BUT the emphasis is on reasonable. Oddly enough, it seems that is a lofty goal in today's 24/7/365 hour news cycle. There is too much time to fill, and so where breathless hosts will let anyone prattle. When there are no guests, Tweets and Facebook posts can fill in the gaps. In this universe, Joe the Plumber is the Republican candidate for a Senatorial district in Ohio.
Anyway, Julianna Moore was amazing. Woody Harrelson and Ed Nelson inhabited their characters well, and there were nuances that kept me from hating anyone- but I really hate the divisive cynical nature of our political system these days.
* Last thought. A horrific event Afghanistan took place this weekend in Afghanistan. At least one rogue soldier went off on civilians, killing women and children in two villages. There were no enemy targets in proximity. This is not a reflection of our troops, but surely is the work of someone at the breaking point of combat psychosis. The damage seems irreparable. The Taliban controls 50% of Karzai, and we control 50% with our money, our guns and the lives of our young soldiers. He plays us off against each other because it benefits him. Now he must publicly castigate us. President Obama must apologize- this is the requirement of a civilized society when such incivility occurs. It will not be enough.
This action has placed all other soldiers serving there in mortal danger, and reduces the odds that there will ever be anything but Taliban control in this region. It allows Afghanistan, by default and our presumably accelerated withdrawal, to become a training camp for terrorists. So much blood has spilled, it is sad to concede. Koran burning and mass murders have allowed us to be viewed in an inaccurate snapshot. It is the men in boots on the ground that are in the sights of vengeful warriors, and the President and the military must be devastated. I hope they are proactive.
If they cannot be safe, they need to come home.