02 November 2012

Three Things: A survival guide to November 6th, voting day

Campaign for water conservation…or conversation?
I found the photo here.

If the presidential election and super storm Sandy didn’t provide such compelling rubber necking then I’d declare an immediate media black out, and I’d send you all a petition to join me:
 “Stand with me in solidarity over the loss of my iPhone and shun your media delivering devices! Hold fast against the tide of advertising and propaganda! You’ve already made up your mind as to whom you will vote for so stand with me and shut your eyes and your iPad covers! Free yourself from the 47 updates an hour in your Facebook newsfeed where your friends preach to the choir and your family have lost their ever loving minds in a black hole of Glen Beck and a Limbaugh superstorm while sipping Donald Trump TEA. Turn off your phones, light candles and pretend the power is out, drain your batteries! UNITE under one powerful statement of refusal, rejection and relaxation: MEDIA BLACKOUT NOW!!! Sign below!”

Not only is the political race getting stupider by the minute but tuning in these days also means sifting through what news outlets deem newsworthy. Poor news outlets, perhaps it’s not their fault…they have to lead where their public takes them right? Like this story that “went viral” so at least 2 high profile news outlets had to set bloggers onto the story. Really? Really Washington Post? Do we all need to discuss how rude it is that someone didn’t leave a tip at a restaurant? Or perhaps I should say, “Really? Really world? You caused a story like that to go VIRAL? Couldn’t find anything else to be outraged by yesterday?”

Some days I really do want to bury my head in the sand, and a media blackout would probably very healthy right about now - like going on a cleanse diet. These last few weeks would have been a perfect time to do so. I really have been without my iPhone for three weeks (GASP! Keep breathing, it’s ok, I have an iPad). And the news has been vacillating between outrageously aggravating and egregiously depressing. But alas, now is not the time to bury my head in the sand and declare indifference. Now is the time to do my part. So here it is, my part:

1. Go vote. Yes, I also believe the Electoral College is an antiquated piece of crap which at the very least needs some serious reform. But you don’t want to be the spoiled adolescent rich kid who whines and complains and declares they’re sitting out of the race on principal while voter suppression is running rampant in communities where people desperately want to vote, while many people fought and bled and suffered for your right to…sit there and do nothing…do you? Don’t be a dick, go vote. Someday it might actually work better than it does today and you’ll want to be in on the ground floor of that situation. And anyway, don’t you want the license to complain loudly on November 7th if things didn’t go your way? If you choose to stay silent on November 6th then I respectfully request that you also STFU for the next 4 years while the rest of us try to have a discussion about how to not let our country emulate Rome.

2. Tread lightly through the information storm, otherwise known as: Just because you saw it on the news does not make it real or true. Make up your own mind and don’t call anyone else stupid for doing the same. Treading lightly means being open to the possibility you were misled. Because in some ways that’s all that’s happening out there right now in the propaganda maelstrom.

3. Attempt empathy. And maybe empathy will assist you in your decisions. Here’s a really good example I came across yesterday. Here’s a really good blog from Huffington Post which discusses the issue of abortion from the point of view of a woman who wanted to be pregnant and who learned from an ultrasound that the fetus was developing with such grave deformities there was no possibility for life beyond the womb. Her doctors all recommended immediate removal of the fetus but the insurance company declared it a voluntary abortion because the fetus had a heartbeat, and would not pay for the procedure (which costs approximately $10K in a hospital).  This woman wanted this baby. This baby’s intestines were formed on the outside of its body. But the heartbeat…the heartbeat is the signal of life and is therefore sacred. She calls it, “the tyranny of a metaphor”, this heartbeat. Oh my. Anyway, if you are attempting empathy, no matter where you stand on the issue, I don’t see how you could read this story and not have your opinion be informed by the heartbreak that this woman and so many other women go through because of how abortion is tied up in politics and insurance red tape. The article says many women are forced to carry a fetus to full term and deliver stillborn because of the law in Ohio and limited financial options. This makes me want to gnash my teeth and tear my hair out. This is empathy. So how does it make you FEEL?

That’s it. Go vote, don’t believe everything you read, and don’t be a dick. Carry on.

I found this funny photo here.

I found this funny photo here.

I found this funny photo here.

PS. When I was pregnant I committed a felony: I ran around town liberating Yes on Prop 8 signs and delivering them to the trash can in my back yard. I figured I'd get a pass because my belly was so huge. Yes, I took advantage of my condition, sue me. I in fact am still taking advantage of that condition. ("It's your turn to clean the toilet because I carried your child for 9 months and then pushed him out my…" well you know how it ends.) But now that I've told you that story you can probably guess how I lean so I declare the right to be totally biased below. Also, it's the only image I own so if people start asking me to remove the mages I want to have at least one left.

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