On brand…

I was having a text conversation this morning with someone who was decrying the increased likelihood of political violence following the upcoming midterm election. Given the level of Republican fuckery over the last few years and the already demonstrated propensity towards violence of the extremist element among them, I’d say it’s almost unavoidable. Perhaps it won’t be immediately following the next election, but sooner or later I fully expect to see levels of domestic terrorism in the United States on par with The Troubles in Northern Ireland in the last half of the 20th century.

It’s not a future I’m particularly looking forward to, but it feels definitively on brand for America. We are, after all, a country founded in part due to a violent rebellion against a three-penny tax. In 1794, the ink of our Constitution barely dried, federalized troops were called out to put down a rebellion in Western Pennsylvania, again, over taxation. Sixty years later, we fought a bloody, four-year civil war. All the years before and after are pock marked with acts of individual and group violence. It ebbs and flows as a common thread through the history of the Republic.

I can’t deny the nagging feeling that we’re on another up swing towards conditions that will almost certainly be worse than anything seen in living memory. Just because we haven’t personally experienced it, though, we shouldn’t pretend that this is something altogether new and different. The only real question in my mind now is whether this generation will develop the will and personal fortitude of a Washington or Lincoln and put down this latest accumulation of rabble before they manage to do any lasting damage.

Maybe it’s more of a “you” problem…

There are a few things that make my eyes roll harder than the idea that women are held back in the world because they have to cook, do laundry, and tend to the basic chores of running the household while implying that men somehow don’t need to do those same things.

For most of the last twenty years, of my own volition, I’ve been breadwinner, cook, bottle washer, launderer, housekeeper, maintenance technician, armorer, groundskeeper, appointment maker, shopper-in-chief, and animal care officer. Somehow, I’ve managed to do those things while exerting the effort to reach a wide array of personal and professional goals.

Whatever perceived “male privilege” with respect to basic household management some seem to think accrues due to having a penis hasn’t shed its divine grace on how we do things here at Fortress Jeff. If it had, I clearly wouldn’t be typing this with one ear cocked to hear the buzz of the dryer or while casting the occasional thought towards what to make for dinner tonight.

So, when someone tells me I don’t understand that “Nobody cooks for her…,” honest to God, I have no earthly idea what they’re talking about. As a fully formed human adult, I possess the ability to do all of those things for myself – and I do them, because I like to eat and wear clean clothes. Since setting up housekeeping on my own twenty years ago, I’ve never expected anyone to manage those things on my behalf.

If you’re not happy with whatever domestic arrangement you’ve created for yourself, I struggle to think of it as a structural issue rather than a “you” problem. To the best of my knowledge there’s no Constitutional amendment, executive order, or holy writ codifying that ovaries are required to operate the damned stove or to take something out of the washing machine.

We live and die with the choices we make and the things we decide are acceptable or not. If someone or something is standing between you and the life you think you should be living, the onus is on you to find a way over, under, or through them… or just post funny, funny memes on the internet.

That probably works too. 

Jeffreytharp.com vs. Mike Hayden…

According to former Director of the CIA and NSA, because I’m an advocate for electronic privacy, I should think of myself as part of a collective of “nihilists, anarchists, activists, Lulzsec, Anonymous twentysomethings who haven’t talked to the opposite sex in five or six years.”

I usually try to keep this place about halfway family friendly, but the only response I can come up with is: Fuck You, Mike Hayden. I swore an oath awfully close to the one you swore as a Air Force officer. We both swore to defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Check that again. Foreign and domestic.

This republic has endured two centuries of revolution, invasion, civil war, trench warfare, sneak attacks, and terrorism. Our foundations are too strong to be brought down so easily from the enemies at the gate. If it is to falter, fail, or fall it will be from the domestic advocates who are willing to cut down every protection guaranteed by our Constitution to prove their point or press their agenda. Once that happens, I don’t know what the hell we’re bothering to fight for anyway.

Sunday is for soup…

Some people are domestic by nature. They seem to have a knack for cooking, cleaning, and general homemaking. And I’m not talking just about the chicks, either. Me, on the other hand, I’m domestic by necessity; because I like to eat, wear clean clothes, and not have three inches of dust covering every flat surface in the house. That last part might be more a symptom of OCD that domesticity, but that’s not my point.

A few days ago I was informed that I had a lot of “kitchen stuff”… for a guy. I’m still not exactly sure how to take that, so I’ve decided that I’ll just take it as a compliment and move on. The fact is, I like good food and that has ment that I had to learn to cook. I suspect eating out every night only has a certain charm for people that haven’t had the experience of doing it. By the time a guy has reached tentatively into his mid 30s, I don’t think it should be surprising that he has a vegetable peeler and a couple of oven mits, right? Regardless, I decided it was better for the time being to keep the food processor, vast collection of spices, and collection of cook books and recipes to myself for the time being.

If I’m in a confessional mood, I’ll tell you that I actually enjoy cooking when I have time to really do it. Savory items are really my speciality. Comfort food, if you will. It’s rarely fancy, but more often than not it turns out to be somewhere between edible and pretty tasty. With enough effort over the weekend, I can usually make it all the way to Wednesday just on leftovers. So unlike many of my Y-chromosomed brethren this morning, I’m not preparing for an afternoon of football. I’m prepping to tend to a large stockpot of soup. The perk of soup is that it’s hard to ruin and easy to fix if you do screw it up… and it gets better after sitting for a day or two. So if you’ll excuse me, I have to go give some of my abundant “kitchen stuff” a workout… and then stash it back in the dark recesses of the kitchen cabinets before all my secrets are revealed.