Tuesday, May 23, 2006

A Rant about Indiana

Mommy, are we there yet?
It's been 7 months ago that we moved from Wisconsin, a truly northern state. First note of grace, weather improvement. Second note of grace, health care system - which indulges it's patients with "spa hospitals".

Where oh where is the Mason Dixon line? I was led to believe that in the civil war, indiana was a "northern" state. Yankees one and all.
Yet today the preponderance of rebel flags used as window treatments in homes across the city belies that northern heritage.
In the USA, only 4 states in the union have not adopted, or put on the legislative books, an anti-hate law. Those states are (not surprisingly) North Carolina, South Carolina, Arkansas, and Hey! Indiana. Whats up with that? Do the residents of Indiana enjoy being in the company of the most illiterate, er, under-educated states?

Well shocking as the last fact may be, even more shocking is that a girl like me, born and raised in Chicago, is still fighting for equal rights based on gender. I am a modern suffragette living in a backass state. Why would I make this claim? Oh let me count the ways:
Upon moving here and transferring home and auto insurance, (which in WI had been either jointly in my husabnd and my name, or individually in the case of auto insurance), all of our insurance was simply put in my husband's name. We do not have John Doe Insurance, we have a nationally recognized, long established insurance company. When the final policies were received by me in the mail, my hackles immediately raised and I called what would come to be our new local agents' office. When I asked that my auto insurance be put back in my name and not my husbands', I was asked "What difference does it make whose name it is in. You're insured aren't you?" Comments like this make a woman don her boxing gloves. It wasn't long before this problem was solved to my satisfaction, yet, it should never have come up. Each individual, regardless of gender, is entitled, HAS THE RIGHT, to hold their own, autonomous insurance policy.
Shortly after getting the insurance issues straightened out, I headed for the BMV to register my car (read: be bled to death by taxes) and get my IN drivers license.
Doing these tasks made me realize a number of things, but in the interest of not digressing, I will cover only one thing for now: it is the option of the BMV to provide voter registration to people applying for and getting new drivers licenses. This option was never mentioned to me (Gasp! Women VOTE???), yet it was not only offered to my husband, it was recommended and handled in an expedient manner. Oh no, women have to go to the County Court House (counting on MapQuest to not get a newbie lost) and present every paper known to humanity to get a humble voting card.
Being the founder, president and owner of a small not for profit organization, my next step upon moving was to register this business organization with the secretary of state. I blithely wrote a personal check from a joint banking account which has BOTH MY HUSBAND AND MY NAMES imprinted on the check face. Into the snail mail with the forms and check to the office of Todd Rokita. When the response form was returned by mail, it was not addressed to myself, the business owner and person filing the form, but it was sent to my husband as his name was on the personal check. You may ask if perhaps he had signed the check or the form. And my response would be NO. His name appeared NOWHERE on the form, or as the signatory for the check. Yet it was the MALE that the SOS office recognized. How could they do that if his name did not appear on any of the papers? It would seem that disregarding the form, some clerk in the SOS office took longer to read the face of the personal check and chose the MALE name as the principal applicant.
Maybe people in the SOS office should stop reading personal checks and pay attention to the forms that are being filed.

I'll stop ranting now about equal rights in this state. I'd like to rant more, as other things have come up, but there is a lot of ground to cover here and enough is enough. Suffice it to say, IN has 3 big strikes against it with feminists. And to think, equal rights is guaranteed to each human in this country - I guess that means we females have to fight for them every day.

You know I could get to like it here if I didn't have to deal with misogyny and intolerance. Where might these two traits come from? I hate to do this, being the non-confrontational kind of woman that I am, but I'm doing it anyways - I think it is the Moral Majority, the Christian Right, the Holier than Thou, Read the Bible, family values crap that has sadly infected the rest of this once free nation.
You know the type - they dictate to the family based on loose interpretations of a book that is grounded in myth and legend. Anything to keep the man the head of the household and the woman tied to the ox-plow.
My husband used to work with a guy who has recently quit his job and moved to a state much like IN in order to follow his minister and keep his family under control.
This is Bush-ism thinking. So the country goes, so the family follows. I can't wait for the backlash of young people who will be so disgusted with the hypocrisy and control imposed on them for so long they will break free of it with a gusto not seen since the 60s.

Ok, lets talk about culture. Indianapolis is gaining a reputation for being very arts oriented. It is all the talk in travel magazines, and rightly so. Indiana can be proud of the wonderful venues available for mainstream artists. It also is developing a nice little counter culture, a fringe element, as it likes to call itself. I simply love Mass Ave and its restaurants and galleries and theaters. All fringe-y, all good.
And Fountain Square is pretty hip with the art scene as any first friday will illustrate. Lots to see, do and talk about.
But damn people! Lets not all think we are qualifying for NASCAR or Brickyard pole positions! I thought I had never seen drivers as crappy as those in WI. That is until I lived here for a month or so.
When I applied for my drivers license, I had to take the rules of the road test, which I almost did not pass because I thought that much of the stuff on the test was so wrong. Like the two second rule for allowing space between your car and the one in front of you. TWO SECONDS!?? Like, One - Two? You have to be kidding right? Nope, not kidding. People, let me tell you this: you know why your cars look like shit and drive even worse? Because you over drive them. you drive too fast, follow too closely and are too anxious about being FIRST! First in the door of a store, first off the line at a traffic light, first at what ever it is you perceive as more important than safety. Get a clue Hoosiers, lighten up on the gas pedal. Price of fuel is going up and you keep pounding on your cars. No wonder you can't afford to go anyplace other than grocery shop. You don't know what being conservative is really about.
Being conservative is not about hating Planned Parenthood, Gays and Lesbians, people who don't go to church. No, being conservative is about using less, pushing less, fighting less, keeping an open mind.

I know you all want to be modern. You all love Chicago and the hipness and culture there. And you deserve it here too. But you'll never get it as long as your minds are narrow, your vision is shortsighted and you embrace the rebel cause.
No, you need a bit of sophistication. Maybe I'll stay here just long enough to give you all a bit of mine.
Then I'll be off to a new place with hopes that I won't have to work so hard to fit in like a normal person would in the northern states.

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