Underneath my yellow skin

Tag Archives: opinions

You’re entitled to your opinion; so am I

In 2004, my brother and I were arguing about the presidential election. He was voting for W. on the basis of morality, and I argued with him mightily about W. being the more moral choice. My brother was speaking strictly in the Christian sense, by the way. I said that he led us into a fictious war, what was moral about that? My brother said that, yes, that was bad, but that wasn’t what he meant. He was speaking specifically about abortion, and I said that abortions went down when Democrats were in charge because there were more safety nets and support for prospective parents.

Then he said that W. was a Christian so–well, I’m sure John Kerry professed to be a Christian, too. I checked. Just as I thought, he’s Catholic. which some Christians don’t consider Christian. I pointed out that while W. professed to be a Christian, he certainly didn’t act like one.

My brother finally snapped that he had the right to his opinion. This was probably after a half hour to forty-five minutes of us arguing. I said he did. But he didn’t have the right to his ‘facts’. Which is a snitty thing to say, but it’s also true. And it’s more relevant now than it has ever been.

Oh, side note to that story. My brother did end up voting for W. and regretted it. I voted for Kerry, and while I did not regret it, I wasn’t enthusiastic about it, either. The Democrats tend to nominate the boring and safe candidate who does not excite anyone, Obama excepted. Kerry was a terrible speaker and did not excite anyone.

Side note II: My brother had already been wavering, even during that time. He had been a Republican for ‘moral’ reasons and was more lefty on some issues than I was. Not most because I’m so far left, but on a few like the enivronment. When 2008 rolled around ,he was thoroughly disillusioned with W. and the Republican Party. Let’s be real. W. phoned it in during his second term. Not that he had his foot on the gas during his first term, but he at least tried to govern that term.

My brother called me one day after his eyes opened to the perfidy of the Republican Party, but I had no idea why he was calling. He started out by saying, “Minna, I have something important to tell you.” He sounded agitated, and I asked him what was going on. He sputtered for a few minutes before saying that he had gone to the national Republicanm website. I was waiting to hear what he had to say because I had no idea where he was going with this. It took him several minutes to say what he actually called me to say: That the Repulbicans had actual lies on their website.

I will admit that my immediate thought (which I did not express) was, “Well, duh.” It was amusing to me that he was telling me this as if it were some revelatory thing because I have been a Democrat since I was eighteen. By the time my brohter and I were having this convo, I was 37 years old–so nearly twenty years of being a Democrat.

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Respecting opinions

Many years ago during W’s first term as president, my brother and I got into an argument. It was about the next election and who we were voting for. My brother wasn’t thrilled with W, but leaned towards voting for him because W was purportedly a Christian and moral values and blah, blah, blah.

Side Note: My brother is one of the few people with whom I feel safe raising my voice. I’m not saying this is a good thing, necessarily, but it is, as they say, what it is. My brother at that time was more conventional and traditional than he is now. He was very much into¬† morality, specifically of the Christian bent. Marriage before¬† God, monogamy, one-man and one-woman, abortion is murder, etc. So even though he, personally, was a man of science, he was easily swayed by the religiosity of Republicans.

I pointed out to him that abortions went down under Democrats because people who feel personally safe are more apt to have children. There are other reasons, yes, but that’s what it boils down to. We kept arguing, and we were getting more heated. We were having fast food Chinese in the restaurant and our voices were rising. We argued for a good half hour, neither of us giving an inch. My brother was getting flustered, and he said quite loudly, “I have the right to my opinion!” To which I said, “Yes, you do. And I have the right to disagree.”

The second part is what I’ve think we’ve lost. We meaning the Democrats. At some point, we’re conceded the moral high ground to the Republicans. Which is a laugh because they are so fucking amoral, it hurts. They’re the ones who want to take away rights from people, but I digress.

No, actually, that’s not a digression; it’s the main point. For too long, the Republicans have been able to put the Dems on the defense with the aid of projection. Anything they accuse the Dems of doing is what they, themselves, do. I remember the fight for/against marriage equality and how we were being ‘nucivil’ if we were anything less than excruciatingly polite to them. “Please, Sir, may I please have my civil rights and be an equal person in the eyes of the government?” We were supposed to bow and scrape, tugging at our forelocks. We were NOT supposed to say that they were homophobic or fucking assholes We were supposed to pretend that it was just an intellectual debate and not our personhood on the line. It’s galling to have to supplicate others for our civil rights, and it’s supposed to be. It’s meant to show us how little we mean and how thin the ice we are on is.

Side Note to the Side Note: This is why civil rights should not be up for vote. Having to count on your fellow human beings to verify your humanity is not a good feeling.

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Long groovy hair

why is this considered unprofessional?
Would it matter if this was four inches shorter?

Reading advice columns is my guilty pleasure (and I’m someone who doesn’t believe in guilty pleasures. All pleasure, no guilt!), and I’ve been fascinated by older posts in Ask A Manager about hair. One was from a woman whose husband had grown his hair in his last job and wore it in a low bun (at the nape of his neck). She was wondering if he should cut it for interviews, and the responses were fascinating. This was from April of 2017, which wasn’t that long ago. He worked in accounting, which is a pretty conservative industry. The responses were all over the map with one person actually naming herself ‘boys shouldn’t look like girls’ and labeled herself as a female, then had a incoherent answer about how the men in her job (she’s the only woman, the guys work in what she calls dirty jobs, but in customer-facing roles) had to have short hair and be clean-shaven because they needed to look professional. She was by far the outlier on the conservative side, but she wasn’t the only one who was hesitant about it.

A very interesting side conversation developed around whether it was more professional for a man to wear his long hair in a ponytail or a bun. Someone threw out the term man bun, which annoyed the fuck out of me. Someone else said, “Why not just call it a bun?” And, yes! I get that it was started as a way of poking fun, but there’s an undercurrent of, “Hey, it’s not really a girly thing at all–see, it’s a MAN _______.” Man bun, man purse, man boobs. None of that is needed. Someone explained that with the man bun, it was more about men scraping together barely enough hair to make a bun whereas most women have enough hair to make a big fat bun. I can see that point, but I still hate affixing man in front of things that are traditionally feminine.

Anyway, one person said that a topknot was unprofessional in general which was news to me. There was some regional difference as to whether a ponytail or a bun on a guy was more professional. Top of the head vs. nape of the nap. It was a robust argument, and all I could think was, “Who the fuck cares?”

There was another post about women and long hair and how it had to be pulled back to be considered professional. This was straight from Alison, and there was a lot of robust discussion in the comments. I have hair that goes past my butt–

Side Note: My hair has been waist length for nearly two decades. I cut about three inches off the ends every year or so and I’m done with it. However, in the last year or so, it’s grown about four inches and is now past my flattish yellow ass (used to be completely flat, but now there’s some ass, and it’s all in thanks to taiji). Initially, I attributed it to taiji because why not? But it makes more sense that it’s diet-related.

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