Well, in my previous post 5 months ago I called the election for Trump, and here we are having our very own Brexit moment. I expect that the media will spend a lot of coverage time today on the question 'how could this have possibly happened?' Allow me to explain in a sentence:
Working and lower middle class America just gave the establishment the finger.
Much like any other instance of using an obscene gesture it is highly unlikely to do anything positive except give a very fleeting sense of satisfaction to the person making the gesture, but that usually doesn't stop people.
I often have the urge to post about current events, but usually don't get around to it for one reason or another. Maybe this time I will actually post this.
I am convinced that Donald Trump will win the election this year. I don't even think it will be very close.
What's that I hear you say? "Inconceivable!" You keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means.
Trump will win, not that he really has any merit as a candidate, but because of the two folks who will have major party nominations he is more clearly the anti-establishment candidate. One of the reasons Sanders was doing so well was that he is also an anti-establishment candidate, he just happened to be a different brand of anti-establishment. If the Democratic party field had started out as crowded as the Republican field we might well have seen a Trump-Sanders showdown. The fact that it even was mildly possible speaks to how much being anti-establishment is an advantage right now.
People aren't happy with the establishment right now and rightfully so. Working and middle class people have for a long time been seeing their real incomes shrink, college tuition is sky-high and only getting higher, and more and more people are coming to the conclusion that things are getting worse for them and their families, and there is no end in sight. The problem is that there is no consensus on the best way to fix this problem. I don't even think most people are really trying to fix the problem even, they're just trying to make pieces of the problem better, or getting band-aids for bits of the problem applied. Access to affordable health care, and student loans are examples of this. I'd also say that immigration is seen by some as part of the problem, as globalization has certainly been part of what is keeping wages down. Given the lack of any clear way to solve big issue, or even very much real talk about the big underlying issue, I think most people are just inclined to vote for the anti-establishment person because while they probably haven't thought to much about the specifics they probably do feel that the establishment is not on their side.
Of course I don't think Sanders supporters are going to go out and vote for Trump, but they don't have to. All they have to do is not vote for Clinton, or even just not turn out quite as heavily in key states. That is way the electoral system works in our country, it all depends on how many senior citizens in Florida feel that it's worth it to leave the house on election day. Trump's supporters are fairly enthusiastic, and people who would have preferred a different Republican president will no doubt be rallied to vote for him if only to stop Clinton getting elected. I think 'Stop Hillary' will work better than 'Stop Trump' for two reasons. The first is that Clinton is very much an establishment person, and the second is that whatever Trumps various shortcomings he is in possession of a Y chromosome in a society where there is still a fair bit of subconscious sexism.
What will happen after the election? I don't think he's going to solve the big problem that get him elected. I don't think he'll be easily gotten rid of either. As the Donald says, he's a "winner". Of course I also have all the best words, so I understand that "winner" actually means narcissistic sociopath. The times are right for a "winner", and I'll just wait for the big crisis in 2020 plus or minus some.
The inevitable has happened. This morning I rushed through helping Duncan (who is really not a morning person) dress. An hour later we were in the car, just starting off to school when Duncan was finally the first to notice that I'd put him in his brothers size 3T trousers. The reason he noticed was that Martin's trousers were worn through at the knees, which his are not. I managed to switch the trousers and still get everyone to school before the late bell, so all's well that ends well. Still, it's a bit disconcerting at how easy it was to fail to notice that my six year old was in size 3T trousers.
Yesterday was the second ever dance competition for Margaret and Duncan. (Their first was Yankee Classic last June.) I was surprised that they were actually dancing at 5pm instead of I-have-to-get-up-WHEN o'clock in the morning. I would have been more delighted about that had in not meant driving through the snowstorm both was. The way out was OK as the snow had just started, but the way back was bad enough to give my winter driving skills a workout.
In case it's not obvious from context, they are doing ballroom dancing. They are not dancing together. Margaret is enough taller than Duncan that it isn't very practical. Unfortunately this means Margaret doesn't have a proper partner, but it turns out that there is a category for kids that kind of like pro-am, but the non-judged partner isn't called a pro. I have mixed feelings about it, but barring a sudden influx of little boys the only other option would be for her not to compete, which would cause jealousy issues unless we kept Duncan from competing as well.
Duncan has had no issues getting a partner. The reality of his situation is that he is the only little boy his age at the studio. His very first day of class this fall a cute little girl came up to him and asked, "Will you be my partner?" This is how he has ended up competing with Lisa Perry's little girl, for those of you who remember notable Boston area dancers from the late 90s. Right now they have way more cute factor than competence, but they are having fun. They are also insanely cute off the dance floor.
Both kids said they enjoyed the competition, and they like playing with the medals. I'm a little unsure of just how much they really enjoy the dancing. On the other hand, I really want them to be doing some physical enrichment stuff, and since I hate team sports with a fiery burning hatred that leaves us with dance and martial arts, which is what the kids are currently doing. Hopefully none of the kids will decide that they absolutely must play soccer, or even worse baseball. I suppose if they asked for sports I would probably let them do sports, but I am happy they haven't expressed any interest.
Oh, and on a tangentially related note, Margaret has been doing junior after school chorus, which she clearly loves. Her singing has really gotten quite good, at least as far as I can tell.
December 6th: We got up and stood in line bright an early to get tickets to the Somerville Illuminations tour. We then went and bought the first real tree the kids have had for the holidays. I went crazy when I saw the (relatively) low prices the boy scouts were selling for and told the kids they could pick any tree they wanted. The thing barely fit in our house, but we brought it home and decorated it and had a great time.
December 12th: We went for pictures with Santa at the mall.
December 19th: We did the Somerville Illuminations tour. We scored tickets on the tour we wanted, which was West Somerville at 8:45. Shara, our wonderful au pair joined us. The tour is on a trolley and hits a number of really well decorated houses in the city, and the kids got to make some decorations while we were waiting for our tour. We had a great time, though Duncan did fall asleep at the end.
December 21st-22nd: We lit candles at sunset to mark the winter solstice. We had a celebratory dinner of pizza. Margaret’s friend Sadie stayed extra late for their regular play date and joined us for dinner. Afterwards we ate a bunch of cookies that we’d made a decorated the day before. The kids had a blast helping to roll cookie dough, cut out shapes, and decorate with colored sugar. Actually they were way more into making them than actually eating them. We brought the candles upstairs at bed time so we could keep them lit until dawn, and all snuggled together in my bed for the night. (I used to stay up all night on the longest night of the year, but I prefer the new, more kid-friendly approach.)
December 24th: We made gingerbread houses with Shara before the kids went to their Dad’s place for a few hours.
December 25: We did stockings first thing in the morning, then breakfast of cinnamon rolls, then present opening with Shara at 10 am. Cookies and gingerbread available until dinnertime, though the kids ate fewer sweets than I was expecting. I did salmon for dinner, and we watched seasonal movies and went to bed.
Decenmber 27: My parents arrived. We had a second round of present opening that was nearly as big last the first.
My parents are here until January 2nd, and it's really nice to have them.
Oh and in the loot-for-me department Margaret got me a really nice skein of yarn that I made into a new hat for me. I'm pretty psyched about that.
As a grown-up I'm not that thrilled with Santa, but I'm also really big on not denying the kids things without a good reason, plus this picture does a good job of capturing Margaret's currently "interesting" smile.
It wasn't a simple case of just neglecting my blog for over six months. I filed for divorce in late April of this year. For reasons that should be obvious if you think about it, I thought it unwise to write about what was going on. I doubt that even friends-locked posts would be wise as I am dubious about how secure they would be, so I said nothing. I'd do miss writing about the kids, though, and I think I can now write around the stuff I don't think I should be writing about online.
This week's memo from Margaret's school mentioned that a child in the school had socially transitioned from female to male, and talked about how we should talk about this to our kids. This may have been more timely if it had come back in October. You see the kid is in Margaret's class, the transition happened at the beginning of the school year, and the talking about it (such as there was) has already happened.
I get the school being silent about it for so long. Obviously there are privacy considerations. This is why I haven't posted about it previously, but with the public school memo I figured mentioning it was OK. What I wonder is why they are offering simplistic and slightly condescending advice on talking about it now when the transition happened months ago. It's not like six-year-olds are going to not notice and not say anything about their classmate who used to be a girl but is now has a boy's haircut, clothes and name. On the plus side the six-year-olds are pretty understanding of the change.
I will say that I was a little taken aback at first at such a young kid identifying as trans, but it's not my kid so I have to assume that the family is handling this reasonably, and it does seem that there are more kids identifying as trans early. I do wonder if there would be so many trans folks if we didn't pack so much extra garbage onto the whole gender thing. If people weren't so very keen about telling little girls and little boys what they ought to like and how they ought to play maybe fewer kids would be unhappy with the parts they were born with. I don't know. I'm a happy XX person with female parts who is happy to be the way I am but still OK liking "guy" things like science and computers, and I'm happy to have a very femme look because I don't feel limited by being female. To my way of thinking my gender simply dictates the reproductive stuff, everything else is fluff. I have trouble imagining what it would feel like to be unhappy with my gender, but that doesn't mean I can't be supportive and understanding of those who find themselves in that position. I just wish society wasn't so caught with the supposed differences between the genders.
We have a workbook pages for cash program at out house. Margaret and Duncan have both been taking advantage of this and spending their cash on lego and other toys at Barnes and Noble every Saturday, but we didn't have any workbooks for Martin. The Saturday before last he found a Kermit the Frog beanie baby and dragged it around the store the entire time he was there, but since he didn't have any workbooks he didn't have the cash to pay for it and had to leave the store without it. What he did leave the store with was a workbook of his very own, which was a tracing workbook. Sure enough, he completed enough pages and earned enough money that this past Saturday he had enough for the Kermit the Frog. It's often hard to understand Martin; at 2 and a half his speech is not all that clear (but steadily improving). Actions speak louder than words with him, and he made a beeline for Kermit and kept it with him the whole trip. He got to leave the store with his frog this time and he's had it with him ever since. If he looses track of it there are cries of "My fog! My fog!"