Predictions for the New Year

December 21, 2013

Well, it’s that time of year again. It’s list time.

I don’t know what it is about the last two weeks in December that make journalists everywhere compile inane lists about various things that happened over the past year, but it’s true. I’m not really fond of lists or anything, but they’re easy to make and I have the perfect topic.

2014 is going to be a big year for several reasons, and here’s why.

Republicans are going to stay in control of the House, and Democrats will stay in control of the Senate

Here’s why. Gerrymandering is a real thing. It still exists and all the voters in the United States have been manipulated within an inch of their lives. So even though there are a few notable congressmen and women who are retiring (re: Michelle Bachmann), the general political makeup of the House will remain the same.

Besides, there aren’t many notable challengers for the 2014 general election. So nothing’s really likely to change.

Jennifer Lawrence is going to crash and burn

I don’t like the thought, believe me. I adore J.Law as much as the next woman, but it’s only a matter of time. She’s in early 20s, and she’s already hugely successful. She’s going to experience the inevitable quarter-life crisis that every twenty-something experiences, and since she’s a celebrity, she’s going to do it publicly.

It’s a shame that people have put her on such a pedestal, because everyone’s going to hurt when she falls.

CNN is going to get worse

I am not particularly fond of television news so I don’t have a high opinion of CNN to begin with, but I think everyone can safely agree that it sucked in 2013. Ergo, it’s only going to get worse.

I hope Anderson Cooper has the sense to get out before it’s too late.


What the state can gain from marriage equality

April 29, 2013

About a month ago, the Supreme Court decided to hear two separate cases related to marriage: a challenge to the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and the constitutionality of Proposition 8, a ballot measure that nullified the legalization of gay marriage in the state of California.

That day, my Facebook page lit up with people coming out in favor of gay marriage, which heartened me. They started changing their profile pictures to a red square with two, pink, parallel bars depicting an equal sign. It showed their support of marriage equality.

But while I appreciate my very progressive friends with whom I agree, I also, unfortunately, have a minority of friends who would every so often post the link to a poorly researched blog post arguing against gay marriage.

Reading them made me feel like this.

image

I couldn’t reply or post to any of it without ruining my journalistic street cred, so I had to vent to patient best friends instead. Then I remembered I had a fairly anonymous blog.

One of my Facebook friends posted an article entitled “The secular case against gay marriage” in which the writer makes a case against gay marriage because it serves no quantifiable purpose to society.

When a state recognizes a marriage, it bestows upon the couple certain benefits which are costly to both the state and other individuals. Collecting a deceased spouse’s social security, claiming an extra tax exemption for a spouse, and having the right to be covered under a spouse’s health insurance policy are just a few examples of the costly benefits associated with marriage. In a sense, a married couple receives a subsidy. Why? Because a marriage between two unrelated heterosexuals is likely to result in a family with children, and propagation of society is a compelling state interest. For this reason, states have, in varying degrees, restricted from marriage couples unlikely to produce children.

Except for the fact that no one has restricted old people from getting married. But whatever.

He continues.

Homosexual relationships do nothing to serve the state interest of propagating society, so there is no reason for the state to grant them the costly benefits of marriage, unless they serve some other state interest. The burden of proof, therefore, is on the advocates of gay marriage to show what state interest these marriages serve. Thus far, this burden has not been met.

image

Some background. In my last reporting job, I did a huge enterprise/feature project on foster care. In the reporting process, I learned some startling statistics. For example:

  • On any given day, there are approximately 400,000 children in foster care in the United States
  • This means the U.S. spends $5 billion every year to take care of these foster children (and it’s not nearly enough)
  • 11 percent (26,000 children) age out of the system every year, and most of them have no safety net in place upon aging out
  • Because there is no safety net, the majority of these children usually don’t graduate high school and end up in jail (or dead)

image

Yeah. Exactly.

So here are some gay adoption statistics:

  • According to a 2011 story in the New York Times, 19 percent of gay couples raising children have adopted
  • But only 4 percent of adopted children in the country live in a household led by a gay couple

There are only two states in the country that forbid gay couples from adopting: Utah and Mississippi. So why are the numbers so small? Because adopting without a valid, state-recognized marriage is damn near impossible. And guess what? There are still too few states who recognize gay marriage.

image

(No, Tom Hiddleston. I’m not joking.)

There aren’t any hard or fast numbers, and I don’t purport to be a clairvoyant, but I’m willing to bet if you legalized gay marriage it would possibly mean:

  • A larger pool of couples able to adopt children who need loving homes which would possibly mean less foster children
  • Which would also possibly mean the government would have to spend less (taxpayer) money on fostering programs
  • Which would also possibly mean less former foster children in prison
  • Which would also possibly mean the government would have to spend less on prisoners

So I think it’s safe to say the state has a lot to gain by legalizing gay marriage.

image


They should replace the definition of incompetence with one word: Washington

March 1, 2013

Well, our trusty Washington lawmakers have done it again.

In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past couple of months, fiscal armageddon is fixing to strik in oohhh…about 12 hours. And guess who’s fault it is? That’s right, our lawmakers. And guess who’s doing something to stop it? That’s right, NOT our lawmakers.

Fiscal armageddon, also known as sequestration, is the $1.2 trillion in across the board spending cuts that came about as a result of the disastrous debt ceiling negotiations last year. It was supposed to be so horrible that it would FORCE our lawmakers to confront our deficit problems and come to a bipartisan solution. But since our lawmakers couldn’t negotiate an icy sidewalk without first blaming the other side, it surprisingly isn’t going to happen.

The more I think about sequestration the angrier I get. Literally, I’m so angry as I type this, it’s just ridiculous.

Sequestration is going to hit our armed forces the hardest, because half of the cuts are taken from defense spending. OK, so I get that we spend a lot of money on defense and at some point their budget needs to be reduced, but to do it all of a sudden? To just be like, “Yeah, we’re going to halve your budget and you’re just going to have to deal with it” is reprehensible. We should first WAIT until we’re NO LONGER AT WAR before we reduce the budget. That would be the sensible thing to do, right?

nope

Instead, our lawmakers are reducing the budget NOW and they’re making no moves to stop it. So you know what’s going to happen? Civilian employees are going on furlough. They’re going to have to take a 20 percent pay cut. Children at DoD schools are going to be forced to take days off because their teachers are going to be forced to take days off. Contract workers at military installations are going to be laid off, and we all know what it’s like trying to find another job in this economy.

It just kills me. I know that these people are civilians, but they’re serving their country, too. They’re doing their part to ensure the mission gets done, and how does their country thank them? By cutting their pay or laying them off. It’s just absolutely infuriating. I can’t even…GAH.

And you know, sequestration isn’t only going to affect military spending. It also affects education spending and health spending. In my state, about $11 million will be cut off from our schools, ensuring less teachers and bigger class sizes. Another significant amount of money that I can’t remember right now will be cut from the public health, leaving less money for early childhood vaccinations.

Our lawmakers seem to think this is one, huge, gigantic joke. They don’t seem to understand that they are screwing with people’s LIVELIHOODS. They don’t seem to get that ordinary people have jobs that don’t include messing around with huge amounts of money. And these assholes get elected over and over again.

The next time you see your lawmaker, do me a favor and tell him or her about this blogpost. I doubt it will sway anyone’s opinions, but maybe they’ll begin to understand how this is so not a joke.


Your political social media posts make me want to break shit with my face (or election rant No. 3)

October 18, 2012

I know I haven’t blogged in a while, folks, and I’m sorry about that. So to make up for it, I’m updating twice in one go. Because I love you.

Anyway: Brace yourselves for election rant No. 3 (No. 2 is right below this one).

<rant>

Social media is both blessing and curse. Blessing because now everyone can keep up with long-lost friends, stay informed of people’s lives, share photos and information with the drop of a hat and express themselves.

BUT. Pay attention to that last blessing, because it doubles as a curse.

Has anyone else noticed (in the 2012 election season especially) that their Facebook news feeds and Twitter timelines and Tumblr dashboards and whatever-the-hell-else-you-use-to-avoid-talking-to-people-in-real-life have devolved into this clusterfuck of awful? Because I certainly have.

And when I say awful, I mean AWFUL. Friend against friend, sibling against sibling, husband against wife. This shit is pervading my social media landscape with biting comments, angry retorts and other passive-aggressive fuckery. It’s turned social media into a damn war zone and I’m OVER THIS BULLSHIT.

Case in point: My friend, with whom I served on the Catholic Students Association executive board in college, recently shared a photo from the Obama campaign on his Facebook page. The simple act of sharing on Facebook, I think, is kind of innocuous. Basically, the Obama campaign has a Facebook page of its own and it posted a photo. My friend, who follows the Obama campaign on Facebook, saw the photo and clicked a little link called “share,” which allowed him to post the photo on his own timeline. Keep in mind, my friend added no commentary of his own to the photo. He just shared it.

Within SECONDS some other guy who was a part of the CSA with us (and someone I never particularly cared for) commented on the photo. In the comment he made a long list of legitimate reasons not to support Obama. Which was fine.

BUT THEN he ended it with this sparkly turd of a comment:

“So [friend], why do you support Obama again? Remember, he will fully fund and defend Planned Parenthood to the end. And he is at war with the Church and religion you claim to follow.”

OK, well ignoring the part about Planned Parenthood that makes no sense, THIS KID COULDN’T BE A BIGGER DOUCHEBAG IF HE TRIED. If there’s one thing I hate, it’s Catholics condmening and criticizing other Catholics.

And I could turn this into a separate post if I wanted to (and probably will at some point), but it’s just so damn WRONG. If we claim to be a faith that accepts one another, if we claim to be a faith of love and charity, this kind of criticism and condemnation is just plain wrong.

Not to mention, this is the kind of bullshit non-Catholics (hell, NON-CHRISTIANS) see that give us a pretty shitty name. When a brother or sister in Christ comes up to us and sees us condemning one another based on political views, it shows a lack of unity and a complete lack of Christian love.

AND ANOTHER THING: Both candidates have demonstrated opinions and advocated policies that go against Church teachings. Obama is the most infamous because he’s pro-choice. But Romney’s immigration policies chafe with the Catholic belief of demonstrating charity and compassion toward immigrants. As a Republican, Romney supports capital punishment, which JPII has condemned over and over again.

And tell me again, where in the bible did it ever say that amassing large amounts of wealth was a surefire way of getting into heaven? Remind me where Jesus advocated people going out, getting rich and not sharing. Demonstrate to me HOW the pursuit of wealth can ever be considered holy. I can’t remember where it said the wealthy should not pay taxes because they earned their money while the poor earned their poverty because they clearly haven’t worked hard enough. Because I must have missed that part of the bible when I read it. I’m still having a hard time trying to find it.

Anyway, after this jerkface posted his unbelievably mean-spirited comment, others followed. My favorites included:

[Jerkface], you need to respect people’s differing opinions. [Friend] can support Obama if he wants to, regardless of who you support. And you are free to support whoever you like, regardless of who agrees with you or not. But it is not at all acceptable for you to attack his faith, especially based on his political views.

Also:

Regardless of my own political views, i think it’s awesome that you are public with yours. Politics and faith unfortunately get tangled. They are not mutually inclusive or mutually exclusive.

But of course, this guy couldn’t leave it at that and had to comment with yet another glistening turd bomb.

I do respect other people’s views. And when I think they are in serious error, I will attempt to show otherwise. Especially when it involves intrinsic moral issues that affect 1 million unborn lives a year in the USA.

It is quite acceptable for me to call out other Catholics who mistakenly believe it is okay to publicly support a candidate who supports intrinsic evils, and who poses a real, and dangerous threat to religious freedom. It would be uncharitable, wrong, to let a fellow Catholic stray and commit public scandal by not challenging their position as they become an accomplice to the person they support.

By publicly endorsing someone such as Obama, one becomes an advocate of the policies and positions of that candidate. Since Obama is a huge abortion promoter and defender, it is impossible to disentangle the abortion issue from him. An endorsement of him, is an endorsement of the 1 million abortions provided per year in this country. The Church teaches this is an intrinsic evil that can never be justified. Interestingly enough, Hitler killed just over 1 million Jews a year. The US has far outdone what Hitler did since 1973.

These are kids I went to college with and served on a RELIGIOUSLY AFFILIATED STUDENT GROUP WITH. Since we all share a common faith, I thought I could sort of defuse the situation with some light-hearted truth.

I do not support Catholics criticizing other Catholics over political views. Unity, people! There’s enough division in the political world. We don’t need it in the Church.

Sigh. Silly me. I should have known that, in throwing my two cents in, I was opening myself up for attack.

There is no unity when grave sin is overlooked. Then it is false unity (a lie). There is unity in the Church on abortion…it is that it is an intrinsic evil and can never be tolerated. To dissent from that is to separate oneself from the Church.

My reaction went a little something like this:

Here’s the D: I’m all for freedom of speech, religion, the press and expression. I love the First Amendment. If I could marry it, I would. As an American citizen, I will always, always, ALWAYS support your right to free speech.

But as a Catholic, I can NEVER support you using your beliefs to condemn someone else. It’s like having a penis: It’s great if you have one, but you can’t go waving it around and you can’t go shoving it down kids’ throats.

And for the love of GOD, please keep this shit off social media! If you disagree with someone else’s opinions, grow a pair and confront them about it IN PERSON. Jerkface only wrote all of that crap because he was hiding behind a pretty awful picture and a keyboard. I guarantee you if he saw my friend in public, there was no way he would have said any of that judgmental shit to his face.

The truth of the matter is, we’re going to look back on all of this nonsense when we’re really fucking old and shake our heads at our own stupidity. Because that’s what this is: stupidity.

</rant>


Fuck your lawn signs (AKA election rant No. 2)

October 18, 2012

Election day is less than a month away.

HOLY SHIT, GUYZ I’M FREAKING OUT.

No but seriously. It occurred to me (read: an individual who shall remained unnamed notified me) that I haven’t rant-blogged about elections in a while, and since I promised more election rants: Here’s the latest.

<rant>

As a journalist, I’m not allowed the luxury of political opinions. Or more specifically, I’m not allowed the luxury of expressing my political opinions. It’s a time-honored tradition of my profession and my forebears to maintain a level of unbiased objectivity, blah blah blah…

I find it kind of ironic my profession is dedicated to fighting for first amendment rights while simultaneously preventing its practitioners from expressing those same rights. But that’s what this rant is about today. This rant is about how non-journalists choose to express themselves, namely in the form of what I consider election season’s greatest evil: lawn signs.

I hate lawn signs. I hate them with a fiery passion typically reserved for cable news networks. They’re awful, and these are the reasons why:

  1. They’re expensive to produce.
  2. They’re unnecessary.
  3. They do not fulfill their purpose.
  4. They’re a hazard to everyone.

Reason No. 1 is fairly self-explanatory, so I won’t expand any further. As for No. 2, lawn signs are a superfluous show of support. Let’s face it: Most people who have lawn signs already have a plethora of other items that declare which candidates hold their political favor. For example, say you’re strolling down the street in your suburban, middle-income-earning neighborhood and you see a resident with a Obama/Biden sign planted right in front of his rose bush. Then you look over at the car parked in the driveway and you notice the bumper is plastered over with bumper stickers saying, “I think, therefore I am a Democrat,” and “May the fetus you save be gay.” If it were me, I might think to myself, “Wow, that car has an awful lot of bumper stickers. Why in the world would this person need a lawn sign?”

And in such neighborhoods, people with lawn signs and bumper stickers are not at all reserved when it comes to their political opinions. When I brought up my scenario, I bet all of my readers had a specific neighbor in mind. You know that neighbor, and chances are you’ve probably discussed politics with said neighbor. You’ve also probably been treated (read: tortured) to hours upon hours of political rhetoric from this individual. And let’s face it: You probably think this neighbor is a stuck-up asshole. So it comes as no surprise to you how this person chooses to vote, but it kind of pisses you off because he’s an asshole.

Which leads me into reason No. 3: THEY HAVE NO PURPOSE. Sure, lawn signs are supposed to declare your support, but aren’t they also supposed to encourage undecided voters to support the candidates emblazoned on the lawn sign? No where, on any of the lawn signs I’ve seen around town, do they list the candidate’s platform. It only lists the candidate’s name and the seat he/she is running for. NOTHING that would convince an undecided voter to vote for you. So what is the fucking point?! THERE IS NONE.

The last reason is the one that spawned this blog post. They are a public hazard.

Case in point: I live off a fairly busy intersection that sees a lot of traffic. For some unknown, God-forsaken reason this intersection does not have a traffic light. Instead there is one right-of-way street and a set of two-way stop signs. I live on the side of the stop signs, so every time I leave to go to work and come home, I have to stop and look both ways on the right-of-way street to make sure I don’t crash into anybody.

Well since that right-of-way street also happens to be one of the more traversed ones in town, these STUPID FUCKING POLITICIANS decided it would be a fantastic idea to line the side of the road with lawn signs, effectively blocking my vision.

SERIOUSLY. ON ONE OF THE BUSIEST STREETS IN THE FUCKING TOWN YOU ASSHATS HAD TO GO AND PUT YOUR FUCKING LAWN SIGNS WHERE VISIBILITY IS ALREADY ZERO BECAUSE IT’S AT THE TOP OF A FUCKING HILL. YOU MOTHERFUCKING LAZY STUPID SONS OF BITCHES.

Sorry. My capslock and backspace keys broke simultaneously.

Anyway. I equate lawn signs to alcohol: It’s a hazard to other drivers, so use in moderation.

</rant>


Why I’m not a “feminist”

September 18, 2012

As a woman and former Missouri resident, the remarks of Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., last month about pregnancies resulting from rape made me cringe and outraged at the same time.

HOWEVER, if you’ll refer to my previous blog post about freedom of speech, you’ll note that, while I disagreed with (read: loathed) the factually incorrect and ignorant sentiment, I didn’t post an opinion about it because 1) he’s entitled to his (wrong) opinion and 2) it’s a fad issue.

But here’s the deal: I’m also Catholic. And I’m also pro-life.

While it’s baffling to think that a white, male legislator claims to understand how women’s bodies work better than, well, a woman, he and other pro-life legislators still have far more legitimate arguments about the actual issue he was discussing. And as a woman, I tend to agree with him.

I can’t believe I’m about to defend Todd Akin.

Anyway, I found this blog post on the Interwebs yesterday. In it, a staunchly liberal, pro-choice woman in Missouri attended a speech given by Akin. In the speech, he elaborated on how he believed that government shouldn’t have the right or the ability to deprive people of their freedom. The woman who wrote the post agreed, and said this includes depriving women their freedom to choose what’s right for themselves.

Then this happened.

A woman in the audience asked:

“You mentioned that you don’t like when we’re divided, because we’re all Americans. And I actually agree with how you said that but I really feel like you’re sending a mixed message because I feel like, when it applies to women, we do divide. It’s not about freedom because you have voted to deprive women of the right to choose about their bodies and about their health concerns and the things that they can do. So I feel like when you say it’s about freedom and unity, it seems like you’re kind of forgetting about your policies and how that alienates women and deprives them of their freedom. So how do you reconcile that?”

Akin answered:

“And that is a question, isn’t it, about abortion. And it’s a question, is it a person or not? If it’s not a person, then you’re not allowing a medical procedure would be taking your freedom with it. But if it is a person, then you are certainly taking someone’s freedom, the freedom of life from the child.”

The woman continued:

“You still have to acknowledge the fact that you are, in turn, depriving women of their freedom at the same time. I feel like if you say that it’s life at conception, that it trumps the freedom that you are depriving women, and I feel like you need to answer to that.”

Um…

This woman has answered her own question and subverted her own argument in the same damn sentence. If we’re arguing based on the claim that life starts at conception, then it’s really no longer an issue of personal freedom. The test of true freedom is whether it interferes with someone else’s. So if we’re going to argue based on the claim that the baby growing inside a woman’s womb is a person (and I strongly believe it is), then your “freedom” to choose whether it gets to live or die is no longer a freedom. In much the same way, I sometimes wish I had the “freedom” to run over stupid pedestrians with my car. But that’s not really a freedom. You know why? BECAUSE IT’S MANSLAUGHTER.

And that’s what the pro-life/pro-choice debate boils down to: whether you believe that the baby inside the womb is a person. Because if you did believe that it is a person, there’s no way you could possibly justify the “freedom” to decide whether it lives or dies.

This is the huge, raging problem I have with feminism and calling myself a feminist. The minute I mention that I believe a baby is a baby, inside the womb or out of it, I’m considered anti-choice and anti-rights and anti-equality. AU CONTRAIRE, FEMINAZIS. I happen to be very pro-rights because believe it or not, the PERSON growing inside of you deserves to have them, too.

So if you tell me that the little baby growing inside your womb is not a person, then fine. The argument you are using to justify your claim of personal freedom has a more sound grounding in logic. But don’t be surprised if I vehemently disagree with you.

UPDATE

Found this article by pro-life feminist Liz Hoskings a couple of hours after I posted this blog entry. In it, Hoskings talks about how pro-life feminists have been alienated by a movement that generally prides itself on acceptance because they disagree on the issue of abortion.

She also says that the abortion issue is not only divisive among feminists, abortion can also be seen as another tool of male oppression.

“From the ‘pro-life’ feminist viewpoint, mainstream feminism has sold out to what is a masculine worldview. Instead of fighting for equality on their own terms, women have been forced into adapting themselves to a wombless, male world.”

I haven’t thought much about this argument, but it’s an interesting one. I’ll have to examine it further.

Hoskings also invokes the names of mother suffragettes Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, my ultimate heroes.

Susan B. Anthony, the pioneer of American feminism, viewed abortion as infanticide, a view shared by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and a number of her prominent contemporaries, who looked on abortion not as being liberating, but as a tool of male oppression. As Stanton put it, when women had been treated for so long as property, it was degrading that they should treat their children as chattel. These pioneers viewed abortion as the ultimate exploitation of women, and yet were compassionate towards those who resorted to it, and reserved their scorn for those men who had used and abandoned them.

So much love for this woman. So. Much. Love.


2012 Election: Rant No. 1

September 4, 2012

So remember how I warned all y’all that there were going to be more rants about voting as elections come ever closer?

Brace yourselves.

<rant>

I hate, hate, HATE how my generation seems so ignorant and unmotivated about elections! And as most of my blog readers know, I also hate the use of exclamation points, but I had to use one to close the last sentence because there’s really no other punctuation mark that accurately expresses my total, utter loathing and disdain for people — especially young people — who refuse to vote.

And maybe it’s just because I represent the tiniest fraction of people who happen to be hyper-informed about most everything. News quite literally is my life, and political news is my specialty. I am plugged into the 2012 election practically 24/7. I’m two weeks away from turning Politico into my homepage.

I understand to some degree that people can’t afford to be as informed as I am. I acknowledge that there are people out there who have lives that do not revolve around campaigns, press releases and proposed legislation. I get that.

But I also have to argue that it is SO DANG EASY to stay even marginally informed nowadays. It wasn’t like in the past when the public’s only access to election information was one hour every night on the television, or when it came in the form of a newspaper delivered every morning. With the Internet, people can stay on top of the election just as well as I can. And just learning the basic facts about any given candidate is too easy. With information as accessible and affordable as it is now, there really is no excuse for anyone not to stay informed about the elections in their area.

The advent of this rant comes from a conversation I had with a friend from back home. I told her that I had been focusing on a lot of election coverage at work lately, since the election day is 10 weeks away. Her reply was:

“I’m not registered to vote.”

I almost popped a vein, I was so angry. And I was angry for several reasons:

  1. She’s my age
  2. She’s my friend
  3. She’s a woman
  4. She lives in Texas

Admittedly, on the surface these reasons make no sense whatsoever. So let me explain them.

She’s my age, which is obviously old enough to vote. But not only that, she was old enough to vote in the last presidential election in 2008. WHICH MEANS SHE WASN’T EVEN REGISTERED TO VOTE FOR WHAT WAS PROBABLY THE MOST EXCITING AND HYPED UP ELECTION OF OUR GENERATION. I mean, seriously! The 2008 election happened while we were both in college, so even though I voted for the guy who lost, I still got swept up in all of the excitement and hopeful rhetoric. AND SHE DIDN’T EVEN VOTE IN IT. I’m retroactively pissed.

Second of all, she’s MY friend. She knows I’m a political reporter. She knows I’ve been a political nerd since fucking high school. She knows how passionately I believe in democracy and elections. And most importantly, she’s heard me rant about all of the above more than once.

Third of all, she’s a woman. SHE’S A WOMAN. Do you know how hard our founding mothers fought for suffrage? Real role models like Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton picketed, marched, lobbied, rallied and even got arrested just to give women the chance to vote. They fought long and hard so that their sisters and their daughters could have the chance to make their voices heard. And their sacrifice is just taken for granted nowadays. My friend doesn’t properly appreciate what it took to give her the opportunity to vote. She just throws away that opportunity like it’s a fucking nuisance.

Fourth of all, she lives in Texas. This is the last year before senior republican senator, Kay Bailey Hutchison retires. That means her seat is up for grabs next year. The race is between Democrat Paul Sadler and Republican Ted Cruz. But here’s the catch: Ted Cruz is a Tea Party Republican, meaning he’s on the far right extreme. My friend gets to vote in one of the most contentious Senate races of 2012 and she doesn’t even appreciate the importance of it. And how can she when she purposely chooses to remain uninformed?

And to further add to my anguish and ire, I saw another friend of mine post this as his Facebook status the other day:

“[friend’s name] has noticed a tangible sense of excitement in the air from many people regarding something called an “election season.” He appreciates and shares that enthusiasm, but how are so many people misspelling “football” so badly?”

I almost flipped my shit. And by “my shit,” I actually mean the desk that my computer was sitting on. I wanted to throw everything within arm’s reach.

And perhaps I’m blinded by my own ignorance of what really matters to people my age. Maybe I’m just too close-minded to try and understand their wants and needs, what drives their decision-making impulses.

BUT HERE’S THE THING.

The elections that my peers have such cavalier disdain and apathy for decide our entire fucking livelihoods. Take the 2010 mid-term elections as an example. The American people practically overthrew their congress and elected handfuls of Tea Party candidates to the House of Representatives. Since then, our Congress has:

  1. Played an incredibly detrimental game of Chicken over the debt ceiling which resulted in America’s credit downgrade and the loss of millions of jobs
  2. Enacted the rule of sequestration, which would automatically cut $500 billion in defense spending by January 2013; If sequestration cannot be stopped, military installations all over the United States would GREATLY diminish in size, and there’s no telling what would happen to the communities surrounding them
  3. Earned a collective disapproval rating that has remained below national record since 1974

And this is just our federal legislators. What a lot of people also fail to recognize is that our local legislators have MUCH more power and influence over our daily lives than our federal legislators. Our local legislators decide the state of our roads, how much we’ll pay in taxes in any given fiscal year, and they get to decide how to spend the tax revenue. These are decisions that directly affect us, and yet no one seems to give a flying fuck.

So I posted this on my Twitter account the other day, in response to my ignorant friend and to express my general frustration with such a disinterested electorate:

“There’s no telling what this country could accomplish if people were half as excited about election season as they are about football season.”

I whole-heartedly believe this. America is special in the fact that, of all the many democracies in the world, we consistently have the lowest voter turnout. How can we possibly call ourselves the greatest nation in the world when our own electorate doesn’t even give a shit about how it’s run?

We have a unique opportunity to have a say in who leads us, and there have been men and women who have died in the fight for these opportunities.

Don’t allow your ignorance to waste their sacrifice.

</rant>