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Four More Years of Living on the Other Side of A Country  

:: Wednesday, November 03, 2004 ::

I couldn't sleep again last night.

It's been this way since Al Gore lost in 2000. For the first time since caring about the state of things, I stopped listening to the Presidential Saturday Afternoon Radio Address. I stopped watching the State of the Union speeches. When the planes came on September 11, and crashed so close to where I live, friends from around the world emailed me in horror. "Kim, just tell me you're alive and okay," they'd beg.

I'm alive, but I'm not okay. You can't be okay when every night you have nightmares when you finally fall asleep. In mine, there's usually a flood. My house is being swept away and I'm trying to save my children. This is why I didn't vote for President Bush. I'm trying to save my children. I'm trying to save my home.

I was born into a very strictly conservative Republican family. There was my father's opinion and if you didn't agree with it, well, it wasn't pretty. The Republicans lost my conservative parents when Clinton ran for President. To my sheer shock, they switched parties to vote for President Bill Clinton. The Republicans lost me when President Reagan became President and he slashed college student funding to cut the Federal deficit, forcing me out of college.

The Bush Administration scares the hell out of me. I don't feel safe, and worse, I feel far less safe since 9/11. It's not because the US hasn't been doing whatever it can to make its citizens safe. It's because of hatred and intolerance for anything that isn't acceptable according to Right Wing Conservative thinkers. There is such hatred for anyone who comes here to start a new life, for example. Had my Swedish ancestors not done that, I might not be here today. There's intolerance for anything non-Christian. Which is why my Native American ancestors were forced to reject their heritage, spirituality and languages.

It scares me that millions of Americans believe the Government has the right to legislate matters of the heart. If I would ever find myself falling in love with someone with breasts, I would face a life of injustice and even threats on my life in some parts of this country.

Where I live, threats are made against us for the type of cars we drive. If you drive a large car, say, an SUV, so you can fit in your whole family, the groceries, and the dog, you are considered Un-American.

To limit us to smaller cars, with a seating capacity of only 4, means birth control. This is a country where birth control and ending unplanned pregnancies is constantly in debate, and yet how does a family of more than 4 go on that traditional all-American family vacation? Instead of finding alternative fuel resources, half the country voted into office the kind of people who write angry Letters to the Editor to my local newspaper saying anyone who drives an SUV or large vehicle should be shot.

I don't intend to allow my children to fight someone else's wars. I could be wrong, but I believe that no human is born with the intent or capability of killing another human being. For a soldier to be able to take a life, or a hundred of them, they must be trained to kill people. The USA incentive to kill people is a paid education and a place to live for a few years. Despite what many religious teachings insist God demanded - that we should not kill each other - the US Government has found all kinds of reasons to train its young people to do just that. I've promised to move out of this country before it can have my children and turn them into killers. Defense is another matter. When exactly did Iraq attack us?

The main reason I didn't vote for President Bush is because I want to be a mother who has the option of staying at home, or being at home, when my children or family needs me. I don't want to pay someone else to raise or care for my kids while I work. When my first born arrived, I worked full-time for $8 an hour. Her daycare costs, so I could work, were $5 an hour. Subtract after that what I paid for my health benefits and gas to get to work, and taxes and I was bringing home about $2 an hour. When I became pregnant again, I stopped working altogether. My husband worked 3 jobs to support us. I never saw him. The marriage was destroyed.

It takes two incomes,or one hefty one, to support the American way of life. What that forces people to do varies. Today, I make less money and have no health care whatsoever, but I work from home so I can make sure my kids are taken care of. I'm fortunate enough to be living with someone who makes enough to take good care of us on one income, but I know better than to take this for granted. There is no such thing as job security in this country. And until we're married, I have no legal security at all.

I ran into a woman last night who is a recent widow, with two children ages 14 and 5. She said her husband "did the voting", so she had no idea if she was registered, or where she could vote. I suggested where I thought she could go to find out, or possibly even vote. I learned later that she went there, but the lines were so long and there was no way her bouncing, active 5 year old would last a few hours of waiting. So she left.

She wanted Senator Kerry to be the next President.

In the years to come, not only will more and more people not support the USA, but there will be little knowledge of how many of us are coping that do live here. It was nice to tear down the Berlin Wall, but another one was just simply built elsewhere. It's invisible, but it divides a country into two pieces.

I live on the Other Side.

:: posted by Kim Krause Berg on 11/03/2004 04:55:30 PM

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