Why I’ve Changed My Mind About Voting Across Party Lines

Generally speaking I think it’s dumb to blindly vote for someone simply because of their official political identification. Ideally every politician should be an individual with their own thoughts and opinions- not some robot blindly spouting their official party platform- and they should be voted for as individuals. But the Republican party has gone so far off the deep end and lost enough of its principled and moderate leaders that I can no longer think of any Republican who I would ever vote for.

I have immense respect for John Warner, a senator from Virginia who retired in 2008. He was a Republican who wasn’t afraid to step away from the party’s official beliefs and show his support for civil rights for those in a same sex relationship, gun control, a woman’s right to control her own body, ending the war in Iraq, etc. What Republicans are there now who stray from their official doctrine? Possibly Susan Collins from Maine and her fellow Maine senator Olympia Snowe. It should be noted though that Snowe is retiring at the end of her term this year due to disgust over “hyperpartisanship.” On a more local level there’s Mayor Bloomberg, but he’s an Independent now.

Speaking of Snowe, it’s possible she did not wish to be considered, but at the time (and still) I found it appalling that if John McCain wanted a female candidate for vice president why on Earth not her or Collins? Picking an unqualified nutbag like Sarah Palin was a) a disgusting way to pander to the very far right and b) could have quite possibly made some people think women in general aren’t qualified for that position. I would rather see another old white dude run than a crazy lady who could potentially make people discount other more qualified female candidates.

Thankfully I think most judged Palin as an individual, not as a woman, but it seems like the majority of the women who could potentially be president are on the Democratic side. Do all the strong Republican women either keep their mouths shut or leave like Snowe?

Everyone has a right to their own opinion, but the Republican party platform is so out of step with contemporary America and shows so little respect for women (their official platform states that abortion should be banned in all cases including rape, incest, and the health of the mother), gay people (same sex marriage is described as “an assault on society”), immigrants (making English the official language, making life for illegal immigrants so miserable they’d “self-deport”), the non-super rich (vowing to repeal the affordable health care act, refusing to pass tax cuts without additional ones for the super wealthy, etc.) and so on, that I find it hard to have any respect for someone who votes for a Republican because I find it to be an endorsement of fear of and hate for all of the groups mentioned above. Even if one votes Republican for purely economic reasons I feel it still shows a massive lack of empathy for those who are not white straight males.

Therefore, until the Republican party has a massive overhaul and realizes that the majority of the electorate is no longer comprised of white men I will never vote for a Republican candidate for any office. If the Democrats go insane and put their version of Sarah Palin up for election I suppose I’ll have to find a third party.

 

Why I decided to beome a vegetarian.

As of today it has been exactly one month since I decided to stop eating meat (I know the exact date thanks to Facebook). It hasn’t been as hard as I would have imagined. As big of a meat eater as I was, I mostly ate the same things. Maintaining a balanced diet using meat free options has forced me to expand my tastes and I’ve discovered a wider variety of food that’s even more delicious. Plus, good soy-based meat substitutes taste almost exactly the same as real meat.

It’s not as if a month ago I suddenly had a mysterious epiphany. I’ve always loved animals and a while ago stopped wearing fur (not that I was prancing around in fur jackets all the time- I just had a rabbit fur scarf), although I do still have a pair of leather gloves and 2-3 belts that are leather- baby steps! In spite of the fact that we had lots of pets and my mom can become unhealthily attached to animals, I was still raised in a big meat eating household, so it was habit to eat meat on a regular basis and I just never changed that when I moved out. Aside from an aunt and uncle who are vegan, I don’t even know any vegetarians.

I guess the part that was an epiphany though was, I was at Fairway listening to Meat is Murder by The Smiths and looking at the mural of farm animals that’s on the outside of their Harlem store, and I started thinking about how I love farm animals. I love them so much that I put pictures of various exotic and farm creatures on the desktop of the computer at work, and if I think it’s tragic and disgusting for an adorable puppy or kitten to be eaten, why would I feel any differently about an adorable piglet? I do not believe that meat is literally murder, I think that song is melodramatic (likely on purpose, although music as a form of propaganda is a separate topic), however the combination of listening to that and seeing the mural of the happy, frolicking animals made me feel disgusted about going into the store to purchase meat, so I bought other stuff and went home to do some research on the meat industry and animal cruelty.

My research was not very scholarly. I simply browsed Wikipedia and the PETA website. I should take this moment to state that while I think PETA has a good overall concept, that animals should be treated ethically, I disagree with some of their more extreme stances, such as support of the Animal Liberation Front- a group which uses violence, intimidation and other illegal means to secure the proper treatment of animals. I also think doing things like throwing paint on a fur jacket is stupid. I don’t think anyone is persuaded to join a cause by being confronted by violent nutcases. That said, PETA has accomplished a decent amount for animal rights, but I won’t be joining them anytime soon.

Back to the original point, what I learned about the treatment of animals in the meat industry made me quite sad. I realize that animals are treated poorly in the egg and dairy industry as well, and I have not become a complete vegan. It’s certainly possible for me to do that of course, but as I said before, baby steps. I actually don’t eat a huge amount of dairy anyway though, mostly just yogurt and whatever dairy is used as an ingredient in various other things. It’s not a perfect world and it’s nearly impossible not to be a hypocrite in some way. All I can say is I’m trying my best to do something positive. Even in the fruit and vegetable world as most are probably aware, there are serious problems with the exploitation of workers, so it’s not as if the meat industry has sole dibs on cruelty.

Animals aside, it’s probably healthier for me to cut out the meat. I felt it was gross for me to be known as the girl who ate a ton of meat. I was clogging my arteries with fat and processed junk. This isn’t about me losing weight, working at a cookie store that’s a losing battle, but just being healthier in general. I feel the same about riding a bike too. It’s better for the environment with the plus of being better for me.

I’m not out to judge anyone who wants to eat 22 quarterpounders a day while wearing a fur jumpsuit (well, if that was an actual description of someone there would be some private judgement). This is a personal decision I made and other people are entitled to do whatever the hell they want. I just want to make it clear that I haven’t become militant about this.

Time to enjoy my pumpkin muffin dessert after my delicious meal of rotini in marinara sauce.

I believe women are partially responsible for sexism continuing to exist.

Let me preface this with, this does not apply to ALL women,  just a large enough portion of them that it’s something that I notice on a fairly regular basis- and I’m sure there could be some valid reasons for the examples I cite below.  So, sorry if I come off like a feminazi.

Problem 1) Acting helpless specifically when a physical task needs to be done.

Right now a friend of a friend is moving. Since I know a lot of boys, I was asked to recruit them. I said, “I need some extra cash, I can do it as well!”

“NO. ONLY BOYS.”

Are girls not in possession of arms?? Am I just a lump of floppy dough?

I mean…I can understand big burly men being like…piano movers…but I think a resourceful woman should be able to move other things (and I think a group of women could carry a piano)…I feel like a lot of girls just don’t try. I don’t know if they act helpless to attract men or if it’s just an attitude that’s so ingrained it comes naturally at this point. I wonder what these ladies do when there are no dudes around.

Segue Regarding the Above

I feel like acting helpless like this encourages straight men (I’ve never gotten this from a gay man, which is why I make the distinction) to treat women like fragile dolls. There’s a patronizing tone a lot of men seem to take and it makes me want to club them in the face. AND BABY TALK IS THE WORST….YARRRRRRRR. I will pirate talk to any man who speaks to me like that, then throw him to the sharks.  I’ve even known a dude who used to take me by the arm whenever we crossed the street. He also told me I shouldn’t bother to get my Bachelor’s degree. I guided him into the path of a car.

Problem 2) The whole concept of things all women should like, i.e. “chick flicks.”

Just because I have a vagina does not meet I must like a certain genre of sappy, romantic dramas. I had once a teacher who said, “Whenever you’re on a date, you need to pick the movie because boys like action films and of course you don’t want to see that.”  Ummm… what? Plus that’s rude to assume all boys like the same types of movies too.

Problem 3) Being uptight bitches for no reason and publishing stories about being uptight bitches in women’s’ magazines.

I read this month’s Marie Claire and there was this weird essay about a lady who stopped being friends with her sister-in-law because the SIL said a present the lady got for her nephew was stupid, so the lady who wrote the essay refused to speak to her and by extension also cut off contact with her brother. Ok…so yeah that was a mean thing of SIL to say, but why react so passive aggressively then publish an article about it?

I wish I had more specific examples (I obviously am not reading these a lot- but my mom used to get them for me)…but a lot of times when I’m reading little blurbs in a magazine about say, why a lady broke up with her boyfriend and I end up feeling sorry for the dude…it’s like, “HE WAS LATE FOR DINNER SO I STOMPED OUT!!! WHAT A LOSER!!!” I’d be glad to be rid of a psycho bitch like that.

Problem 4) Relying on a man to make decisions.

Soooo many times when I worked in retail women would refuse to make purchases without their husband’s approval. Like they actually say, “I love such and such but I need to come back with my husband.” I mean, that makes sense if one is making a major purchase like a house or a car that will affect both individuals, but a pair of pants?? Come on a lady, grow a spine. I would never, ever, ever let a guy tell me what I could or could not buy…what’s the point of even having a job and earning your own money if you either literally don’t or feel you don’t have the freedom to make a purchase? For the record, whenever the husband/boyfriend/whatever is physically present they usually say the item is fine. Damn people who constantly need validation.

So yeah- I think there are a lot of women who act like whiny wieners and make straight men (again- don’t have these issues with gay guys!) think ALL women are like that and it makes for lots of bad dates- at least for me. I think men would have a much easier time relating to women as equals if there weren’t that subset who’s like, “Ooh look at me, I’m a prissy girl.” Being feminine does not equal being weak and voiceless.

I would burn my bra but they are relatively expensive so that would not be economically wise.

“It’s ok for a girl to one day wear pearls and lace, and another day ripped jeans and a Darth Vader T”

I found that quotation online (too lazy to go back and find specifically where), said by a woman who was trying to combat gender stereotyping encountered by her daughter.

Anyway, I hate pigeon-holing and stereotyping. We’re all guilty of it, myself included, but it helps to at least acknowledge one’s own personal biases and know a variety of different people to challenge those beliefs.

Upon first glance I probably appear to be a snobby bitch. I went to FIT,  I’ve done work in fashion, I wear nice clothes (mostly from LOFT- despite the fact that they aim younger and trendier anything affiliated with Ann Taylor conjures up images of a lady who lunches), I like theatre and opera, I listen to middle aged lady music and I do boring things like cat sit. And my alcohol consumption and illicit drug use is kept on the down low (and the illicit drug use is virtually non-existent). I am also shy when I first meet people- an issue that can be viewed as coldness.

But I don’t think I’m a bad person if one actually bothers to speak to me. Despite my appearance I have friends of all different occupations- some are stoners, some are venture capitalists. Some are my age, some are middle aged with kids. A lot are gay.  I at least try not to judge people based on appearance, and I at least try to get to know a person based on who they are on the inside, not the outside, before I make a judgment as to whether or not I like them as a person.

Therefore it bothers me when someone meets me an automatically assumes that I’m some prissy cow despite me trying to be nice and friendly. Maybe I come across as cheesy- I can’t help it, that’s just my personality- I am polite and courteous to everyone I meet, because that’s just how I feel decent people should be.

And why can’t my different interests be reconciled? Why can’t I like Lily Allen and Nine Inch Nails? Why can’t I like Project Runway and Star Wars? Why can’t I wear Ann Taylor one day and ripped jeans and a dirty t-shirt the next? Why do people assume these all things are mutually exclusive?

I shouldn’t let it bother me, because these people are small minded snobs, and it’s a reflection of them, not me, but I can’t help but feel a little hurt when people make random assumptions based on so little.

I am not a rabid patriot, but I believe people are too paranoid about our government.

Ever since George W.’s presidency, there have been numerous complaints from a large amount of people about how all of our civil liberties are being taken away, we’re all going to get hauled to Gitmo…and now that Obama’s president people think he’s a Nazi Fascist who’s going to take away all of our rights through the passage of his health care bill, we’ll all die from a death panel, and just now I read something about how Obama will be monitoring the internet or whatever.

We certainly do not live in a perfect country. This is a country that has engaged in racial profiling, abused prisoners, imprisoned people for inordinate amounts of time and came up with a silly color coded system in the name of national security (that is being eliminated however).

BUT WE KNOW ABOUT ALL OF THIS. This is not Russia where journalists get killed while Putin distracts the nation by wrestling a bear. This is not China where people get placed under house arrest. This is not North Korea where everyone is ronery!!

(Sorry- that was terrible).

But my point is- we are aware that the US is not a perfect nation, and we are allowed to talk about it and discuss openly where we went wrong and what we can do to make it better. We can even mock the president to the point where a movie is made about him while he’s still in office! Was Oliver Stone hauled to Gitmo for being a dissident? I think not.

Seriously….people just love to whine, complain and fear monger, but what they don’t understand is so many countries have it so much worse. Even some Western nations have restrictions on civil liberties- in France you can’t wear a hijab and in Germany you can’t be a Scientologist. In the US you are free to express your religion, be an Oprah couch jumping looney, and criticize the government to your heart’s content. I think the gravest indignity placed upon 99.999% of the population post 9/11 was having to remember to paint their toenails and wear slip on shoes to the airport (something I frequently forget).

Please tell me if there is something I am forgetting- maybe Obama recently declared himself Dictator for Life and I was so busy wondering why the cat I’m babysitting won’t come out and play with me that I missed it. But really, I don’t believe in USA uber alles, but I don’t think we live in the most terrible country in the entire universe either. That would be Bulgaria.

Just kidding!! I ❤ the Bulgarians, specifically Viktor Krum.

In the spirit of a book I just read, I am going to make a radical political statement.

Back in the day, when George Bush was president, it made me really angry when people of voting age would complain about his policies, complain about congressmen who supported him, yadda yadda…then would not vote in the elections, claiming, “Oh my vote doesn’t count, oh nothing will change, blah blah blah.” Of course everyone’s vote counts. People think it doesn’t if their candidate  loses, but hello, maybe he lost because of all the people who would have voted for him, didn’t because they thought their vote wouldn’t count. I honestly think that’s how George Bush won the presidency. And Al Gore and John Kerry are boring, and Ralph Nader’s a jerk ass vote stealer. But I still think voter apathy was a major contributing factor.

So I propose that the US make voting mandatory, like it is in Australia. I know that would completely fly in the face of the Constitution, but Americans really do take democracy for granted. Everyone just assumes everything will be all right in the end. Too bad we got into a war that probably will not be over by the next decade.

Here are some stats on voter turnout. http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/voting/004986.html. In the 2004 election only 64% of eligible voters voted. It makes me wonder who the other 36% would have voted for.

It also makes me angry how things like Proposition 8 are what get voters to turn out. Bigotry is what inspires the democratic process?

I’m done now. I’ve probably offended 4798237389743289472 people.

I don’t seriously hate or feel anger toward specific people who don’t vote, some people maybe genuinely don’t care and fine, that’s their business. I just wish people who think there’s no point to voting understood that to be heard, they have to try.

I suppose this is about two varieties of fake people.

The first instance that drives me nuts, is when someone pretends that they like you when they really don’t. I don’t mean pretends as in, is merely polite (that discussion will come after my first two), I mean pretends as in will actively converse with you and seek out your company and/or conversation then act really passive aggressive about it. Why would you torment yourself that way? I guess if people were friends but then grew apart, maybe there’s some lingering obligation left behind? But still…it’s just ridiculous and being passive aggressive is rude and stupid. If you liked someone, but don’t anymore, just be cordial in passing, and stop inviting them to places. And if you never liked someone in the first place, then why the hell would anyone lead them on? That’s just crazy and I really, truly dislike people like that…talk about fake social climbers who just want to claim they have 343242348 friends.

The second variety of fakery is a little more touchy and frankly really sad to all parties involved. Hate is a strong word, and I don’t hate the people, but I truly hate the behavior. It’s so sad, pathetic and tragic when someone becomes completely different when they’re under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Maybe I’m just really sensitive or don’t understand because I don’t get that way myself, but it does hurt my feelings when someone acts like they really like me and enjoy my company when they’ve been drinking, but when they’re sober it’s just like “….” I mean, I’ve been around the block regarding various “wizard liquids and enchanted juices” as I would have called them years ago….and while maybe I have felt friendlier and more social…I’m aware that feelings of inappropriate friendliness were brought on by the drink and I maintain enough self control to not be a completely different person around people I know I’ll be interacting with sober in the future or give anyone the wrong impression. I don’t dislike these people as much as I dislike the above, but it’s far more hurtful I think, because with the first example at least the passive aggressiveness makes it easier to read between the lines. Also, it’s just sad to see a person and wonder if they’re putting on a front because they’re insecure, or what.

In fact, people who put on fronts and don’t act like themselves in social situations is sad in itself, with or without alcohol or whatever substance of their choosing.

Anyway, what I had to say about politeness was, it really bothers me when people confuse being fake and being polite. I think even if you don’t like someone you should show them proper respect as a human being, such as greeting them, saying good bye…basic courtesy that you’d show to a stranger. But some very rude people feel that is “being fake” and that it’s preferable to be openly hostile. No it’s not, it just makes you look like a jerk.