Privilege Blog

Too Damn You Know What, Or, Saturday Morning at 7:48am

I am too hot to write. It’s cooled down today, a bit, from highs of 105 on Tuesday to something like 88 predicted today. These days our 1950s thermostat reaches its maximum of 105 any time it’s hotter than 95 outside. I don’t know how hot it is when outside reaches 105. Just too, too hot.

We never needed air conditioning in this part of the world, but changing climate, and the large elm backyard that fell a few years ago eliminating shade, have made it unavoidable We’re having a heat pump installed later this month. I hope my brain is waiting in cold storage for me and I will be able to find it again.

But, before I return to my prone position, I allow myself one political post a year, right? I’ll keep it short. Come November, I’ll be voting for the Democratic candidate, whoever he or she may be. That is, assuming our democratic systems can hold out. I am not an expert, therefore I do not have any opinions about who can win or who should do what. However, I do have an opinion about myself, which is that, well, has been usefully said before, she persisted.

If you live in a swing state, don’t give up hope. Voters of Tomorrow are registering the first-time voters as we speak. They’ve never been counted. Grassroots organizations and individuals are raising money for Blue up and down the ballot, from school boards to kings, oh wait we don’t have kings. So many people care and are working hard.

And if you just hate politics, but you’d like to do a friend a favor, maybe vote Democratic in memory of my dear, departed elm tree.

Have a great weekend. May nature and the best of human nature persist.


51 Responses

  1. When I see the shape the blue states are in, no way would I vote Democrat. But to each his own. May the best person win because then it’s a win for everyone.

    1. I am not sure what you mean, as all the blue states that I know are in great shape! I live in Massachusetts, we have great schools, great healthcare, low crime rates, lots of parks, and the road and bridges infrastructure it’s constantly being worked on. so don’t overlook the blue states! And and don’t miss judge them as poor places to live.

      1. What about the Steward Health Care hospitals that are in bankruptcy with no buyer. 8 hospitals in Massachusetts are in limbo. Doctors are fleeing and patients are seeking new providers. Where are these people going to find care given the shortage of primary care physicians? Depending on where you live, public schools can be great or not so great. Over the last several years, public schools were taken over by the state due to poor test scores. Massachusetts can do better.

        1. Surely the millionaire tax will help, no? Or so reports seem to indicate. Let us hope. Health care in America, and private insurers, need a full-on structural fix.

    2. I grew up in countries run by dictators. My father was career military and I lived on bases in Spain (Franco) and Panama (Torrijos). A few years after Pinochet had stepped down, I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Chile. I had friends there whose family members had been Disappeared. One friend’s father died of a heart attack because they couldn’t get him to the hospital – it was after curfew and nobody was allowed out for any reason.

      We were just in Madrid and Spaniards – who have not forgotten – are horrified at trump. How can people even think of supporting him, they asked me.

      You do not want to live in a dictatorship, which is what trump wants. He even said those words.

      I would rather have a messy democracy than a perfect dictatorship where women, minorities, and gay people are stripped of their rights.

  2. Unfortunately, thanks to six members of the Supreme Court (which is made up entirely of unelected individuals with no term limits), we DO now have a king. We just call this figure a president. But your call to vote Blue in November is timely – this may be the last national election American citizens are allowed to engage in, so we should enjoy it while we still can! And as stated just above, may the best person win.

      1. This is also my fear. I’ve read the 900 plus pages. This is scary sh!t.
        This election we aren’t voting for a President, we are voting for Democracy and progress. These people waving around a Constitution they have never read, claiming to be patriotic, yet okay with voting for someone who has stated he wants to be a dictator! I really don’t understand them.
        I’m voting Blue across the board. Small offices to the top office – blue. After this election the real work starts. We need to overhaul the problem areas. The Electoral College needs to go. We need to take the money out of politics – Congress and the Senate should not be a get rich quick scheme . We need to improve public education, especially in the red states. Health care needs improvements. Climate change needs to be a priority or the rest won’t matter…
        I’m sorry for going on a tangent. Mostly, I’d like to see this division gone.
        When everyone’s basic needs are taken care of, it is much easier to work together for a common good.

  3. I am curious as to what Christine thinks of as the “shape” the blue states are in. In terms of statistics for incidence as a proportion of the population, blue states have lower maternal mortality, lower covid death rates over the pandemic, drastically better educational outcomes (higher math and reading scores, more students finishing high school, more students making it to/through college), lower homicide rates, lower opioid addiction rates, etc. Some red states have lower taxes for the middle-class to rich (but generally not those legitimately struggling to make ends meet), others don’t.

    There are higher wages in blue states but also higher costs of living in most (esp. in extremely popular locations where there quite simply isn’t enough housing for everyone who wants to live there, which is definitely a problem in San Francisco and Seattle, etc., but “oh no, too many people want to live here, this is a problem,” while definitely being a problem, does not point to those areas being in total undesirable to live in exactly…).

    (in terms of anecdote instead of statistics, currently living in a red state, having lived in four states over the last two decades, and talking with friends in red states and blue states: whew. Medical access and quality of care and speed of care available: better in blue states [or, failing that, blue cities within red states]; work quality and probability of home repair meeting code and looking okay when it’s done: better in blue states; less litter in blue states, better immigration integration in blue states, more reliable electrical power in blue states, less bureaucratic delay in blue states, lower chances of being shot in blue states…)

    It’s easier driving in Oklahoma than in two of the three other states I’ve lived in, though, so there’s that at least, likely in large part driven by this being the state with the lowest population we’ve lived in? But I am curious as to “the shape blue states are in” as compared to red states in terms of literally *any* actual population-level statistics. I get that the stories highlighted by particular media representatives and politicians can make it look like the blue states have bigger problems (also, the largest cities in the US are in blue states), and all the states have *some* problems and could do better in nearly every avenue, but in terms of data, I just haven’t seen any, other than lower cost of living [… along with lower wages], that shows a way in which red states are doing better than blue states?

    1. I live in Idaho. Please explain why people are leaving blue states in droves and moving to red states if things are as great as you say they are. My sister works in a job in Gavin Newsom’s office and she is a Democrat and even she says things are going in the dumper. I’m not going to comment anymore about this as I really read your blog for the fashion advice for we mature women.

      1. Christine, thanks for reading. I promise to keep fashion advice in the rotation. I live in California, near San Francisco, as you know. Maybe I can add some honest perspective.

        San Francisco has been hit badly by two forces: 1) the pandemic. 2) a huge inflow of venture capital money during the era of low interest rates (which amounted to free money for speculative investments), which spun up offices and businesses in traditionally impoverished parts of the city and then vanished. Our mild climate attracts unhoused people from all over the country, and as young workers who had moved here for tech opportunities fled home, or elsewhere, the street people took over the streets. So, in all honesty, SF is coming back, better every day, but slowly. Some streets are still unbearable to witness.

        However, down where I live, in the suburbs, is one of the most beautiful areas you’ll ever see. It’s just, due to that same venture capital money and tech success, very, very expensive. So that, along with tax “reform” on property taxes and over-heavy housing regulation due to well-intentioned environmental protect gone awry, makes it hard for anyone not in tech to afford. We’re working on it. Laws are changing.

        But I do not see a dumper anywhere. I’m sorry that’s your sister’s experience.

        1. I also live in the Bay Area, and I can’t imagine living elsewhere. I certainly don’t intend to ever leave California for another state.
          Any large metropolitan area has some problems, that goes with the territory.

    2. Yes, thank you. Although I reject the premise that it’s a competition (yes, obviously the election is very much a competition).

      But the phrase, “none of us are free ‘til all of us are free” (variously attributed) holds, whether we consider freedom, being fed, housed, working in safety for a wage that supports a good life, or whatever you value most. I want this for my fellows, whether Red or Blue.

    3. Thank you for taking the time to lay this out. It takes a lot of energy at this point in all of this. I appreciate you doing it, and I agree with you.

  4. “We’re having a heat pump installed later this month.”

    Wonderful for you, and wonderful for your house. Without this, the value of your house in today’s RE market would decline. If ever you and your husband decide to make a big move elsewhere, you’d want to list your investment in tip top shape. Once you figure the thermostat setting you both prefer, you are going to LOVE your new AC!

    1. Thank you! I can’t tell you how excited I am. ROI is one of the ways I have justified this fix, vs. just installing blackout blinds and hiding in the dark;)

  5. Thank you for posting. We need to end these hideous abuses of power.

    I think Blue states that are having problems have them because (a) they’re underfunded and (b) their efforts aren’t going far enough. There’s enough for everybody. Instead of allocating it fairly we’ve decided to idolize the kids who have the most toys, and made the rules so that whoever has the most toys gets more.

    1. Thank you, Maria. The wealth disparity, at least in my Blue state, feels unethical and I support efforts to narrow the gap.

  6. I’m sorry you’re dealing with such high temperatures. I share your dislike of heat. That was an aspect of my years in San Francisco that I loved: no matter what was happening in the rest of the SF Bay Area, SF was cool. I didn’t have air conditioning, and I didn’t need it. During the 4th of July heat wave, I read that my former Bay Bridge microclimate got up to 82º with Ocean Beach at 70º and Hunters Point at 90º. These are not happy days for people who prefer cool weather. As you know, I’m now in Seattle. We’re having a Heat Advisory of our own that will lift on 9 July. Today our high will be 85º, and while that’s too warm for me, I’m grateful to be in a northerly clime that is comparatively cool. I’m trying to take a morning half-hour daily walk as part of my long-Covid recovery. Today I left too late, at 11, and came home too hot. Tomorrow I’ll go out when I wake up at 6 or 7 and luxuriate in the cool. I have an HVAC unit, and therefore have air conditioning, but I don’t like using it, I raise my blinds in the evening, walk out into beautiful morning sunlight, and then lower all my blinds in preparation for the late afternoon sun. I haven’t put on my air conditioning this summer, and it’s become a goal not to use it.

    Thank you for mentioning your voting intentions. I’ll be right there with you voting for the Democratic candidate. Did you know that if Michelle Obama were on the ballot she would, according to the polls, win handily? I don’t wish the job on her, but I think she would be a fabulous president.

    Congratulations on getting a heat pump. I wish our world did not require one. I grew up in the Bay Area, and I remember the days when no one even thought about air conditioning except our natural kind that arrived via the marine layer in the late afternoon.

    1. Glad you’re some place cooler and best of luck with the heat dome. Seattle never used to need AC, so I’m glad you have it. I applaud the marine layer each time she arrives.

  7. With you. In honor of your Elm tree, and all who are vulnerable. We took down 7 Oak trees this year. Three last year. All were dead. Despite having more light in the house, it was terribly sad. We’ve added new trees and it looks better superficially but who knows what protections they will offer in the future. Bulwarks against angry wind and torrential rains. The heat pump is on my list, thanks for the reminder. Not for resale value, but better comfort in the North East for us now. So much uncertainty, and planning against the unknown, when we’d rather be enjoying our lives and simplifying.

    1. I love that. In honor of an elm tree and all who are vulnerable. So sorry about your trees, and I hope your heat pump, and mine, bring us comfort and some peace of mind.

  8. Living in a blue dot in a sea of red. I will be voting for Democrats up and down the ticket.

  9. I have wondered how folks in areas unaccustomed to this extreme heat were faring. I live where it’s ungodly hot and humid 5-6 months a year. Normally, people here say, “It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity.” This year, we are saying, “It IS the heat AND the humidity AND it’s hotter than hell.” But we have air conditioned homes, offices, stores, cars, and cooling centers. Organizations issue fans and people check on neighbors, elderly family and friends, homeless people. Good Samaritan laws permit breaking car windows if children or animals are left inside a closed vehicle. I have closed the blinds to block the sun more days this summer than not. But the lightning bugs have been amazingly abundant this year, creating their magical twinkling light show in my backyard at dusk each evening. I do hope the harsh conditions ease for you soon!

    1. I’m going to keep that vision of lightning bugs, fireflies as we called them when I’d visit my great-aunt and uncle in New Jersey, with me. Thank you.

  10. You will love your heat pump. They cool beautifully and are energy efficient. They also provide heat in the winter if you choose to purchase the heat pump that cools and heats. Vote blue! The alternative is unacceptable.

    1. Excellent! Yes, we’re doing both heating and cooling. Water heater would be next:)

      The alternative is unacceptable.

  11. I’m Canadian, so will not comment on US politics, although when I was in medical school in the US in the early 70’s, the confirmation hearings of Clarence Thomas as a US Supreme Court justice vs Anita Hill’s testimony – about him being sexually abusive to her, when they were both working for the Equal Opportunity commission were lighting up the newspapers. For a retrospective look from Hill’s point of view,
    I think it’s opportune for both American and Canadian women to ask – how far have we really come in the past several decades? Are the rights we thought we had secured under attack, and if so, why?

    1. We have not advanced at all. I was in grad school during the Thomas hearings and every single one of my female classmates and I had experienced some sort of sexual harassment at work. We were all furious that none of the men believed – or cared – about Anita Hill, because we sure did.

  12. Oh Lisa, there is so much crazy now everywhere. Yes to voting Democrat or voting to uphold the democracy. There really isn’t a choice is there? And the heat! That’s just too hot. When it got like that in LA I would soak sheets in cold water and hang them from the window at night so that the canyon winds would blow through. Take care. Sending you much love always Xo

    Bumble aka Miss W

    1. Love back to you too, Bumble. We have to vote to be able to vote, it seems. Would that I had canyon winds. That image is so beautiful, although I can imagine just how hot and dry it was.

  13. I have more friends leaving the USA than ever before Last election two moved to Canada permanently. My husband is losing a great employee next week, moving to South America. Just this past month two acquired dual citizenship. I am seeing some of the young people with online businesses doing the same. Sending children to school outside the US. The land of the free is becoming the land to flee. We really do not know thousands of people, so not sure if this is everywhere or just the sort of people we know and observe. And, its not a blue thing or a red thing, its a mix of both.

    1. Linda, I also know young professionals who are getting passports to other countries, through their families, preparing to leave the country if Trump wins and we suffer the blows to human rights that we are anticipating. It’s not just you who is seeing this.

  14. Unfortunately a vote for the democrats is a vote that says you’re OK with genocide in Gaza.
    As a European reader I feel sorry for US democrats and the the dilemma you must be experiencing,

    1. Thank you so much for reading. On this, however, I disagree. It isn’t a vote for genocide per se. Voting is complex. Sometimes you have to vote for what you can get, and then continue the fight for what you want.

      I ask you to consider how large the US is and how many people die here, mostly people of color, from our poor health care and punitive prison systems. You might then understand how someone could vote for Biden and feel that they had saved many lives, despite the tragedy of those lost in Gaza.

      We can raise our voices for Gaza without dooming those in our country to suffering. And don’t be mistaken, Trump would not be kind to Gaza.

      I wish, and I hope, that the world can get better.

  15. Hi Lisa,
    Yes to voting a blue ticket up and down ballot. Local, national and international issues are all difficult
    but we need thoughtful smart people to deal with these issues in our government. Climate change is real
    (Palm Springs 124 degrees last Friday), and how to deal with this, as I said, needs smart thoughtful people.
    (Hopefully the Presidential candidate will be a she!)

    1. Oh, poor Palm Springs! All those older people. Down ballot votes are so important, especially school boards.

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