January 21, 2009

Two Fingers, Skyward

You know, when you explain a joke the joke itself gets lame fast, no matter how funny it originally was. Same goes for blog entries. But some things I must explain. When I posted my letters yesterday - particularly the one addressed to the outgoing Bush administration - if figured I'd take a little heat. With good reason. Some of you aren't Democrats. Some of you aren't as flamingly liberal as I am. Some of you have actual decorum and self-control. So I got more than a few comments and emails letting me know that I'd crossed some sort of line. Because I'm an overly sensitive type - something even those of you who read me daily might not guess - I felt kinda like I'd stolen a bottle of Boone's Farm from a homeless guy. But then I reconsidered. For several reasons.

  • We are involved in wars on two fronts.
  • Our economy is in the worst shape its been since the Great Depression.
  • Schools in the United States rank somewhere like 17th in the world in quality.
  • Personal freedoms and civil liberties have been sacrificed and compromised in the fight on terrorism.
  • Blind acceptance has replaced meaningful dialog and reason.
  • The credibility of our nation in the global community is severely diminished.

Each of these things is far more offensive to me than a picture of some dude on the internet shooting the bird. Rolled into the policy of an administration, collected all in one place, these things are unconscionable. So allow me a little crass celebration as the individuals responsible for these actions, these attitudes, these travesties, are escorted from Monkeytown. The fingers skyward helped me blow off some steam. Helped me reset. Helped me clean the slate. Sure, it wasn't overly respectful but then I don't feel as though Dubya and his administration were particularly respectful to me. Quite the opposite. I never got dinner first, or the courtesy of a reach-around.

This is my little corner of the universe. If the internet is a series of tubes, I fitted these little tubes together with my very own, somewhat inexperienced and occasionally crass hands. I'll be damned if I'm going to stop sharing my thoughts and feelings honestly. I'm never going to please everyone so I won't try. Why the hell would anyone want to read me if I did? And why the hell would I want to write it? I refuse to have my tubes tied.

Well, that was an unfortunate and unintended metaphor.

On a side note and speaking of politics and reproduction, I firmly believe that politics and politicians should inspire. President Obama has already done that in my house. While I was cooking dinner last night, Mia hauled out a Lego house and car we'd built. Then she found two Lego people.

I couldn't quite figure out what she was doing until I heard her say Ladies and gentlemen, presenting Malia and Sasha to watch the parade. The Lego house was a combination White House and viewing stand while the big Lego truck was the limo. In my book, the Obama presidency is already off to a pretty inspiring start.

Posted by Chris at January 21, 2009 6:35 AM

I never will understand the demand of respect that people have for those who do no deserve it. I am also not offended by swear words or profanity when it's not around children or the elderly. And I think you're in the same boat.

At the same time, although I disliked Bush, never voted for him, and don't trust him, I don't think he stepped into office wanting to make the world a worse place. I think he has, to date, tried to do his best and as you stated to President Obama, the job " comes with pressure that ages men instantly and relentlessly."

I don't think Bush stood up well to that pressure. I don't think he was ready for it. I also think that he thought his doing his best, his relying on his inner compass, would make a difference. Whether our country would have been better served under someone like Cheney, a true politician, I'll leave you to ponder.

People often tell me different things about myself. I'm sure, especially with this blog, you feel the same. My heart is stone. My heart is large. I'm too understanding. I'm too judgmental.

I can't imagine being president, can you? But then, neither of us signed up for that job.

Mr. Bush, my fingers are raised skyward, not in salute to you, but in prayer. Thankful that your term is over, praying to God that President Obama can possibly help us (one thing that will never change is that I am told I am a cynic), and in understanding that not all of this is your fault.

And Chris, the most offensive thing you said to me? The "Yours in Christ". I know it's tongue in cheek, but Obama believes in the guy, too. You aren't trading one faith for another, you know.

Posted by: alektra at January 21, 2009 7:21 AM

Just as I don't embarass easily, I don't offend easily. I'm opinionated so I often disagree with people but I can't recall being offended because someone was on the opposite side of the table.

Posted by: Maria at January 21, 2009 8:07 AM

I love it! My husband and I were just commenting on how amazing it is that our 4 year old daughter knows who Obama is and a little bit of what he stands for. Yesterday when I told her it was official he was our president she went and got her shoes on because she wanted to go see him. Oh how I wish that was possible. Keep up the good work.

Posted by: DeAnna at January 21, 2009 8:23 AM

I almost posted a comment yesterday but did not because I was a little pissed. You see, I wasn't mad at your "you're #1" picture, it was all the cheap shot comments that followed. I have had a lot of conversations with liberals lately that are so excited about Obama (and honestly I am a little too) and talk about history but then don't have their facts right. You talk about Bush taking away rights, well really politicians in this country have been doing that since the inception of the constitution. What America is today is not what the founders envisioned. Does that make it wrong? No. But before we start an official (beatdown) discussion I think everyone should have to have at least the facts (not opinion) straight. While W sucked, he wasn't the worst (that is still Jimmy Carter or some of the guys in the 1800s). I am not trying to demand respect for someone who doesn't deserve it (W). I am trying to ask for respect for others who do not agree with some of the comments on this blog.

Posted by: goodsnake at January 21, 2009 8:27 AM

I have to agree it has to be something pretty horrid to offend me but then again I was right there with you offering the door to MISTER Bush and letting it hit him in the proverbial rear on the way out.

On a lighter note, my son was also very curious and interested in the "Barack Obambi's little girls" and what their names were, and how they were, etc... VERY CUTE!

Posted by: Christina at January 21, 2009 8:28 AM

I didn't comment yesterday but I took the letter and the accompanying picture for what it was intended. I didn't start out hating Bush, even though he never received my vote in an election and I didn't agree with him from the get-go. When HE first took office, I wanted to give him a chance - I didn't want him to suck. I didn't want him to fail. The success of our president equals the success of our country and I'd have gladly eaten crow for my Gore vote and my Kerry vote to have been proven wrong. But I wasn't wrong.

The economy is a mess, the war situation is insane, and frankly - I was ready for a change, and yeah, I was giddy to see Bush go.

Posted by: Sarah at January 21, 2009 8:37 AM

Inspired by you yesterday, I flipped W the bird as he got onto the helicopter yesterday. & it felt GOOD!

Posted by: Shelly at January 21, 2009 8:45 AM

It does seem like the Obama girls are inspiring little kids. I read someone else's blog who said their kids were interested in seeing what the girls were wearing. I think that's pretty neat!!

Posted by: Claire at January 21, 2009 8:50 AM

Bottom line, it's your space and your dime, and you're free to write whatever you want. In my opinion, those who don't like your views should hit the back button and go share THEIR views in THEIR spaces on THEIR dimes.

Posted by: Elise at January 21, 2009 8:53 AM

My children are ecstatic about the new President, and that makes me happier than anything else that has come out of this. Imagine, a country where the youngest of citizens actually pay attention to what's going on in government!!

Posted by: Rebecca at January 21, 2009 8:59 AM

And yes, it is AMAZING the way our new President has grabbed hold of our youth. It's beyond thrilling to see young people so inspired.

Thank God for this man.

Posted by: Elise at January 21, 2009 9:08 AM

I can't believe you even felt the need to respond to offended commenters. It's your blog, Chris, always has been. The great thing about the Internet is that content is free (or at least cheap) and there are millions of people out there writing all sorts of assenting and dissenting opinions.

I must have been out of the blogging game for far too long, because I would have deleted them. Gleefully.

Posted by: Coleen at January 21, 2009 9:17 AM

PPS: The best W line I heard yesterday was from an acquaintance back in ABQ. As the Ws boarded Air Force One, he said simply, "Cue the geese!"

No matter who you support or disdain, you gotta admit, that's funny stuff. Schnort.

Posted by: Elise at January 21, 2009 9:19 AM

Your blog, your opinion. If people don't like it, don't read it. Maybe it's just little old non-confrontational me, but I've never had the urge to leave a comment or send an e-mail just to tell someone that I disagree with them or to make them feel bad about something they've written. I click 'close' instead. But then again, I'm the sensitive type too. Rock on, Chris.

Posted by: La Petite Chic at January 21, 2009 9:28 AM

Respect for the office is a given. I respect the office. I was willing to respect the person holding the office. Until he and his administration and his party decided that since I didn't agree with them on all counts, I wasn't a patriot, I was against them, I wasn't 'American' enough. Where was the respect for me from the outgoing administration?

It's going to be quite nice to not feel like an outsider in my government and country again.

I admit, there were a few 'You're number one's' in this household yesterday, too!

Posted by: cyndy at January 21, 2009 9:29 AM

Your blog is simply that, YOUR BLOG. You own it, you write what you want. Otherwise why would you have this blog? I have blogs that I read that piss me off occasionally. When that happens I don't read that post or if it's really bad I stop reading the blog altogether. I don't leave leave chastising comments. But, what the hell do I know? Maybe I'm doing this whole blog reading wrong.

Posted by: Jennifer at January 21, 2009 9:30 AM

I am still disappointed in you. Your little explanation won't work with me. It is your space. It is your blog and you can have an opinion, but dammit Chris if you are going to post something that can negativily affect Midget Hooker day then i have to speak up.

Posted by: William at January 21, 2009 9:33 AM

yep, exactly. Your space, your words...don't like it? Stop reading or disagree respectfully. Keep it up Chris! :)

Posted by: Kristin at January 21, 2009 9:57 AM

I didn't leave a comment on your previous post, though I certainly did find it interesting along with the comments. I think I read it in the light that it was intended, and I have always found there is nothing like religion and politics that can bring out the best and worst in people.

Like others have said, it's your blog, your voice. If others don't like it, they don't have to keep coming back.

Besides, since I'm a relatively new visitor, I figured with a blog entitled 'rudecactus', I've got be prepared for a little rudeness here and there!


Posted by: Daisy at January 21, 2009 10:01 AM

Just a few things...
1. Individual respect for a person has to be earned. Do you respect a priest who is also a child molestor simply because he is a priest and you're supposed to respect him? Just a thought to ponder.

2. A person can hold an important office, do a competent or an incompetent job and still be a horse's ass. It's not necessarily tied into your intelligence or your abilities you know.

3. Love him or hate him, you can't deny that Obama has changed us as Americans. If nothing else, he has taken away the whole "a black man will never lead our country" thing.

But for some of us, it's a more personal change. Obama made me believe and hope once more in a system that has been so badly broken for so long. I have never even cared enough before to WATCH an inauguration let alone be moved to tears like I was yesterday.

4. Bush still doesn't know how to pronounce the world "nuclear."

5. A picture says a thousand words, and yours surely said a mouthful my friend.

Posted by: Traci at January 21, 2009 10:12 AM

You are correct on so many levels. W's lack of reverence for the people who put him there was shown on numerous levels and countless times. It would seem that a finger here and there is more than deserved.

It's your blog, do what you like. We'll stay if we want to.

Posted by: Jen at January 21, 2009 10:14 AM

Oh Chris,

Ignore the haters. Look. This is fricking America. We live in a place that not only ALLOWS us to have our own opinions about our leaders, but encourages us to share them. You'd have been shot long, long ago in another country for the things you've said. The whole POINT of our government is that we CAN share those thing outloud.

Posted by: k8 at January 21, 2009 10:20 AM

Don't apologise for a THING.

It was a perfect and succinct gesture that many (outside of your country also) certainly echoed.

Chris, you'd be proud of me. I took my Math 9 class to a classroom with a TV to watch the inauguration yesterday (instead of class). Yes, we are in Canada and so it is not really as important to us here, but heck it was an historical day anyway and I wanted us to bear witness.

I'm so happy for the change down south. No guys have no idea how happy the world is now!

Posted by: Jacqueline at January 21, 2009 10:30 AM

I read your blog because of who you are and how you express yourself. It's one of my favorite web stops every day. Stay the course!

Posted by: James Proffitt at January 21, 2009 10:50 AM

It's your blog.

It's your blog.

It's your blog.

We waved goodbye to the helicopter and then again to former Air Force 1. My normally reticent husband extended the finger.

When my kids have heard me blasting our former President over the years, I explained to them that I do respect the Office. I don't have to respect the person who sits there.

I don't wish him harm but I'm rejoicing that he and his neocon crew are finaly gone. May he have a long and happy retirement.

Posted by: Ann Adams at January 21, 2009 11:22 AM

Oh please ... who cares what people say. "I" thought the post was brilliant and a great expression of your thoughts/feelings. That doesn't mean it's THEIR thoughts/feelings. Seriously ... I don't get it when people do that.

On the other hand though ... you get hate mail ... which means you pushed someone's button enough for them to get their panties in a bunch ... so you must be doing SOMETHING right in my book ;-)

Posted by: Kristy - Where's My Damn Answer at January 21, 2009 11:22 AM

Keep being yourself dude - if people don't like it they don't have to read it. I, personally, enjoy it daily though I rarely have time to comment. From Canada's angle, our fingers are skyward with yours. Welcome Obama, from your friendly neighbour up north! That's neighbour with a 'u'. ;-)

Posted by: much more than a mom at January 21, 2009 11:26 AM

I was fascinated to read some of the comments yesterday about you showing a lack of respect. I think it shows another cultural difference between the US and the UK, in the UK people would think you a bit odd for questioning your photo to Bush yesterday, maybe because we're more cynical and don't have massive respect for our politicians. In fact I probably have more respect for Obama as the first black president than I do for any British politician. Yeah, Obama will probably mess up at some point and make mistakes but he can't do worse than Bush.

Plus it's your blog, write what you want.

Finally, I was about to suggest you show Mia this: http://blog.craftzine.com/archive/2009/01/inauguration_made_out_of_legos.html?CMP=OTC-5JF307375954 but you might run the risk of being asked to make an exact replica. I leave it up to you!

Posted by: Katherine at January 21, 2009 11:28 AM

come on people, the picture should have come as no surprise. and while not reverent, completely within his rights as an american blogger to post.

on a side note, at our house we have a pottery barn kids doll house inhabited by "the obama family". its a new day!

Posted by: kati at January 21, 2009 11:31 AM

Good Lord no, I didn't mean I wanted you to stop. Why in the hell would I come here if you didn't at least make me think once in awhile.

Don't get me wrong, I didn't agree with Bush on several key issues, some of which you and I surprisingly agree on.

But, if I just put 8 years of my life into a job and all I got was a hearty f*** you on the way out the door, I think that would be unfortunate.

There were a few things he did right. Hell he had that head bobbing thing down pretty good, no other president will ever lay claim to that one! Oh and how about that I gotta poop smile of his, think Mr. Obama can pull that off? I think not!

I just think that we have to remember that he isn't the only one making decisions up there on the hill. Let's try to remember that he also had to fight a liberal senate and congress for the last two years also. He may have made some bad decisions, but he had help so spread the blame around Chris! :)

Posted by: Jeff A at January 21, 2009 11:32 AM

i missed your post yesterday. was in ny. inaugurating. :)

i'm so sorry i missed it, though. because it was fucking awesome.

Posted by: ali at January 21, 2009 11:46 AM

Stand by your principles and by who you are. There will always be people for, and people against. If you start trying to please everyone, you become the middle. I believe, being a long-time reader, that you have more integrity than that.

Posted by: Lisa at January 21, 2009 11:52 AM

Yes, I thought your second letter could've been a bit more reserved...but it is YOUR blog to say what you want. And, I was so overwhelmed by the letter to Pres. Obama that I linked to the post on Therapyfailed. You have a way with words and pictures. That is why I read and please don't stop being you because someone was offended...they can find another blog to read.

I totally realized that you were referring to the person, not the office...as you addressed him by name. If people took it offensively, that is their problem not yours.

Posted by: Krush at January 21, 2009 11:56 AM

That's a great picture of your kid and a charming story to go with it. My parents have one where I made gas lines with my Matchbox cars while they were rationing gas in '73. I like yours a lot better.

Posted by: rpm at January 21, 2009 12:06 PM


Thanks for laying out the facts and not just your opinion. (WTF?)

Posted by: johnnysmoke at January 21, 2009 12:15 PM

It's funny that I was thinking about something similar on the way into work. I guess there was some booing going on from the stands during the inauguration, and people were commenting that it was inappropriate. But you know, the last 8 years had been one freaking inappropriate thing after another. My favorite bumper sticker from that era: If you aren't appalled, you aren't paying attention.

So, is it inappropriate, in a country who was founded by a bunch of renegades who said we will not stand by and bow down to anyone, for us collectively as a people to tell a leader who has done us so much wrong ( perceived or otherwise ), to shove it? No. In earlier times in history, we would have solved these problems with rocks, then swords, then rifles, and gotta hand it to the French, guillotines. And if we look to our monkey cousins, they would have thrown poo. Now that would have been awesome to see. "And the former president is being pelted with poo as he makes his way to the limo". Our proudest moment? Yes and no, all at the same time.

Keep on trucking Chris.

Posted by: metawizard at January 21, 2009 12:40 PM

Not gonna lie -- when he got on Executive 1 yesterday, I flipped off my monitor (was watching online). With both hands. And if I had been there, I would've booed him. Both actions are well-earned on his part. (Also, it's not like he hasn't flipped us off a time or two himself anyway.)

Posted by: Sparkle Pants at January 21, 2009 12:52 PM

I adore you and I apologize if any of the people I sent over (because I LOVED your post) had anything negative to say. Frankly, fuck em.

Posted by: That Girl at January 21, 2009 12:57 PM

Have you seen this?


If so...sorry to show you again.
If not...glad I keyed you in.

Posted by: Kristy at January 21, 2009 1:59 PM

Okay, I've read and re-read your letter to the Bush Administration, and I have to say that I see nothing outlandish or over the line. Very articulate. Well said.

Posted by: Gramps at January 21, 2009 2:01 PM

I'm on the it's your blog and you should post whatever the heck you want, camp. Now that being said, I was totally with you yesterday. And really, you could have done much worse...I think you showed restraint. People need to get over it.

I've been flipped off by little old ladies in parking lots before. If someone is personally offended by a few middle fingers, they might want to consider moving to a deserted island.

Posted by: Issa at January 21, 2009 2:37 PM

Oh my word...I just read some of the comments from yesterdays post. The one who said that we are better off than eight years ago is on crack. Seriously.

I don't even have the words to describe my feelings about what Bush did too this country. Oh but I do have to fingers handy. ;)

Posted by: Issa at January 21, 2009 2:42 PM

I only wish I had thought of a letter EXACTLY like yours to W.

Did you hear Obama mention the non-believers too?! I don't remember ever being thrown some love like that. It was nice.

Posted by: sunshine at January 21, 2009 2:57 PM

You are correct in the point that it is YOUR blog and that gives you every right to post whatever you choose. Even if that means you offend people or not.
However, I cannot understand the blaming of one MAN for all the problems you list of our nation. Do we as the people of this nation not take any credit for putting our nation in this position? There is no human (man or woman) that is perfect, that can, with a snap of their fingers fix a nation or the world and that includes Mr. Obama. The people of this nation are the ones to blame, not Bush, and the people are the answer for change, not Obama.

So, if you are angry at our current state, feel free to look in the mirror and give yourself the bird!

Posted by: C at January 21, 2009 2:57 PM

How can people get up in arms about your goodbye and not be outraged at how poorly led our country has been over these last eight years? George Bush was a pox on this nation and the world, that he is finally gone is the second best thing that has happened (Obama being elected is the first).

We have so much work to do to undo all the harm that Shrubya has done to this country. Either get to helping or get the hell out of the way!

Posted by: Erik at January 21, 2009 3:31 PM

Meh... internets.

Worry pas (French for not, French probably offends some of your readers too.) I've wanted to give Bush the bird since he was declared president.

Posted by: Nat at January 21, 2009 3:34 PM

So cute and quite inspired!

You mentioned a sentiment yesterday that I also feel. Right after the election, I commented to my husband how wonderful I thought it was that the first president our children will remember is a black man. It will never occur to them that this was once thought an impossibility. But, more importantly, I want them to continue to live in an America that celebrates our differences - especially of thought or opinion - as well as our commonalities.

As you said - its your site. If you want to flip Dubya the bird or give him a hug, it is your perogative to do so. If someone disagrees, they are free to navigate away, express themselves on their own site, or just ignore it.

Posted by: kate at January 21, 2009 4:01 PM

Bloody hell, you Americans are way to sensitive... to be honest Chris, I thought your gesture showed great restraint, what came out of my filthy british mouth was infinitely more offensive. (but only the cat was listening.....and agreed)

The whole world has been affected by that morons dreadful decisions and why he was not impeached is still beyond me.

Posted by: english thorn at January 21, 2009 4:29 PM

Wow, people are funny. I think what several other people mentioned about Americans being touchy was true. Somehow the religious right (and I say this as someone who was raised in the thick of it) has gone and deified Republican presidents. It's like blasphemy if you say anything bad. As if you were calling God out. Which, btw, I personally, feel that He, being God, could handle. It's all the people down here who get their knickers in a twist when God is challenged or questioned.

Posted by: jess at January 21, 2009 5:42 PM

You giving the former (FORMER!!!) administration two birds is hardly the same as what they have done to us. I mean, they gave us that heinous bitch Ann Coulter, for the love of Pete.

Posted by: Stephanie at January 21, 2009 5:58 PM

I've seen the children I work with, even the kindergartners, interested in politics. Sure, with the little ones it's on a basic level (ie- legos and parades), but I've seen kids inspired by this. Our country is in a tenuous place, and anyone who can't see that has their head in the sand. I firmly believe that anyone who doesn't recognize FORMER President Bush's role in the state of our country is delusional and in denial. I like to think that even if I was a Republican (she said with a hysterical laugh) I would be able to be honest and say, "Yeah, he screwed the pooch."

I'm excited for President Obama, excited to see someone that cares about our country. I'm excited because I think he will try to change these things that have gone so terribly wrong. I too am excited to see how inspired even the smallest members of our society are.

Don't worry about the conservative wackos. If you want to flip the bird to the baby Jesus, go for it. This is your space :)

Posted by: Kate at January 21, 2009 6:39 PM

you don't need to explain yourself or apologize. it's your blog and i think you expressed yourself eloquently.

Posted by: Jodi at January 21, 2009 6:41 PM

I got quite a giggle from the picture, myself.

There's something called freedom of speech. If you choose to flip the bird to the former president, on your own blog, then....I don't see the problem.

No matter what you do, someone will be offended.

Posted by: Scattered Mom at January 21, 2009 7:41 PM

I apparently missed much yesterday by not reading your comments.

I thought your gesture was funny myself. But, I'm flaming liberal, never voted for or even liked Bush. Knew from the start that something was off with him that I couldn't place, but didn't trust.

I can see how you offended those that refuse to believe that President Bush ever did anything wrong. Too bad, I say. This is your blog and no one is making anyone read it.

Our country is in quite a state and he was at the helm, the burden is his. He was in charge and had the power to change things. The facts speak for themselves and I doubt that in another 40-50 years history will treat him kindly.

Posted by: One Mom's Opinion at January 21, 2009 8:00 PM

Chris, no need to explain. Your space. No probs with me! I WILL say this though...

I'll tip my hat to the new constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
Smile and grin at the change all around me
Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday
Then I'll get on my knees and pray
We don't get fooled again

Posted by: Beth at January 21, 2009 8:08 PM

I wondered if you were going to get flack for yesterday's post. It made me laugh, but as a Canadian (and socialist heathen that I am), I am probably not easily offended by a joke. (And I agree with the British commenter above... Americans are an oddly prudish when they want to be, despite the products of their vast media empires.)

Posted by: Mandy at January 21, 2009 9:24 PM

Great column on Dubya's farewell speech....

Op-Ed Columnist: The Long, Lame Goodbye


Posted by: LaineyDid at January 22, 2009 12:16 AM

Great column on Dubya's farewell speech....

Op-Ed Columnist: The Long, Lame Goodbye


Posted by: LaineyDid at January 22, 2009 12:16 AM

Well said Chris. It is your blog. We tune in because we are interested in what you have to say. Don't feel bad about it. Keep it up!

Posted by: Ashley at January 22, 2009 2:00 PM

Just wanted to add my voice to those who want to reassure you -- you have nothing to feel badly about for your 2 letters post. This *is* your blog, after all, but beyond that, your post was well written, funny, and quite quite appropriate for the reasons you note above.

For me, the politicization of the DoJ and the co-opting of our civil liberties in the name of "safety" are the 2 worst of the many offensive and Un-American things the Bush administration did. Write on! Please. paul

Posted by: paul at January 23, 2009 11:18 AM