Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Mary Had a Little Lamb

Help me out, Hive Mind. The video below is basically my son right now. At the ripe old age of 6, he has doubled down on his previously feeble moral objections to eating meat. Correction: He has doubled down on his moral objections to eating meat that looks/tastes like meat. He "feels bad for the little chicken/cow/pig" when he is reminded of it's existence before it became dinner. As long as the helpless little creature is camouflaged, it's all good. Ground beef is okay (tacos/burgers). Chicken nuggets are fine (as he argues, "They're probably not even made with chicken anyway," and he may be right.) Pepperoni on pizza, bring it on. So basically if he wants to become the poster child for the childhood obesity epidemic, he's golden.

We just recently came clean to the kids that I am not, in fact, "allergic" to meat. Rather, I choose not to eat it and have abstained for the last twenty-some-odd years. So I can't in good conscience make the kid eat meat. I get where he's coming from. I had the same struggles when I was a kid (though I'd like to think I was a lot less of a g.d. drama queen about it, good lord), which started around the time my little sister was old enough to ask "Mom, what is pork made out of? Cute little baby piglets?" etc. (She would then smile and me and dig gleefully into her cute tiny baby piglet-chop, consuming it with relish.) I attempted to declare myself a vegetarian around the age of 8, and about every 6 months thereafter, but my mom said I had to eat meat until I could plan and prepare healthy meals containing all essential nutrients. I stopped eating red meat at 13 and white meat a year later.

The thing is, my kid won't eat fake-meat either. He hates tofu, seitan, tempeh, etc. He doesn't like eggs. He doens't like most beans or legumes. He doesn't like eggplant or mushrooms (can't blame him there either, those are the devil's slimy leftovers). He will happily eat the junk food noted above, as well as fruit, raw vegetables, salad, and carbohydrates. That's about it. Oh and he drinks a lot of milk. (As the world's worst vegetarian, I may not be the best role model.)

I've read a lot of articles about how, contrary to the wisdom of our parents' generation, you're not supposed to force kids to "clean their plates," or have those dinnertime battles with kids at all, lest we instill a negative relationship with healthy eating. (Side note - funny how one of my hallmarks of successful parenting - before I had children, obviously - was eating dinner together as a family. But it is actually the most arduous, painful, and least favorite part of my day.) Anyway, if we let him have his way, he will survive on bread/pasta/fruit/vegetables and take out at least until he is 18 years old. Will that result in him being a skinny, malnourished little shrimp with brittle bones? And if so, what am I supposed to do about it? Sit at the dinner table for all of eternity, trying to force him to eat until everyone's in tears? Get better about hiding furry little animal bits in his food? Ugh. Help!

 

Friday, November 18, 2016

That Day My Four Year Old Became a Trump Supporter

Colby: "Who do you want to win the election, Mama?"

Me: Hillary Clinton.

Colby: Why do you want her to win? She's a liar and a bad pewson.

Me: I'm sorry, what was that babe? I think I misheard you.

Colby: My teacher told me Hillary Clinton's a liar and a bad pewson.

Me: Well, some people think that, but I don't agree. I think Hillary Clinton will make a great president.

Colby: My teacher said Donald Twump will be the BEST Pwesident.

Me: Well honey, I disagree. Donald Trump says hurtful and disrespectful things about all sorts of different kinds of people. [Not to mention he lacks the knowledge, experience and temperament to be the leader of the free world.] I don't think he would be a good President at all.

Colby: My teacher says Hillary Clinton is the one who says diswespectful things. She told me anyone who says Donald Twump says mean things is just making it up.

Me: Hmmm... okayyyy... welll.... uh, everyone is entitled to their opinion, sugar pie. I'll just have to agree to disagree with her on that. [And/or provide video evidence.]

Colby: Mama, I know you won't be too happy, but half of me wants Donald Twump to win.

Sweet Jesus. I tried to think about how someone would feel if the situation were reversed - If the child of a Trump supporter came home from school spouting insults about Donald Trump. But then I thought, what could you possibly say about Donald Trump that is worse than the truth? And even if there was something, empirical evidence (and his own hubris) indicates that his supporters couldn't care less. (E.g., "I could shoot somebody and not lose voters.")

This exchange happened on election night. I had left a little early and was feeling nervous but giddy. I was anxious that the election would be a nail-biter, but felt fairly confident it would end in celebration of the first female president of the United States. NPR was on the radio, turned down low, talking about early returns from the east coast. When Colby spoke up, I honestly thought I had misheard. By the time the conversation was over, I was so mad I could barely see straight.

Later, when the kids were in bed, and I had come out of hiding from my hour-long bubble-bath to face the dystopian reality of a Donald Trump presidency, I rehashed the conversation with DM, the rage-heat rising, fire in my heart. I was out for blood. This was so wrong! Heads were gonna roll! (And by "heads were gonna roll," I mean, "At least one or two people will be receiving a strongly-worded letter!")

The next morning at breakfast, Colby asked, "Who won the Pwesident contest?"

Me: Donald Trump.

Colby: Yay! That makes me happy because it will make my teacher so happy!

[Me, smoothing my loving mom face over my apoplectic fury.]

DM pleaded with me not to say anything, and I didn't. But later that night we were out with friends and someone said, "I just cannot believe Hillary lost." I replied, "I know. I am devastated." Colby looked stricken. She went over to DM and whispered in his ear, "Why did they want Hillary Clinton to win? She is a liar." Later, Colby told us that Donald Trump was going to build a wall to "protect us" from "bad people" because that is what Pwesidents are supposed to do. DM looked at me and said, "You know how I told you not to write that letter? I changed my mind."

Dear Teacher –

I’m sad to have to write this after having such a pleasant visit with the class on Friday. You seem like a nice person and Colby obviously loves you a lot, but I don’t think this is something that should be swept under the rug. This is about the content, tenor, and very fact of your apparently in-depth conversation with my four year old daughter about Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

On election night, Colby shared some of your comments regarding the presidential candidates - that Hillary Clinton is a “liar” and a “bad person,” and that anyone who says bad things about Donald Trump is making it up. She also said something about Donald Trump’s “Wall” and how it would “help people,” but I’m hoping something was lost in translation there.

I have tried, and failed, to understand what would lead you, her preschool teacher, to believe it was appropriate to say these things to my four-year-old child. It is completely unprofessional and totally out of line.

I understand and support the discussion of elections in general terms, even in preschool. It’s an important aspect of American citizenship and I don’t think you’re ever too young to learn what it means to be a productive member of society. As a rule, I try to be honest and straightforward with my children about the goings-on in the world. But while I don’t want them to live under a rock, I don’t think they’re old enough to comprehend an unfiltered account of American politics, particularly the toxic brand exhibited in the 2016 presidential campaign.

I have tried very hard to shield both of my children from the ugliness of this election season. Granted they pick it up outside the home, from friends, relatives, or at school (though I always assumed that would be from their peers, not their teachers!) We don’t watch the news with them, we didn’t let them see the debates, I even switched off NPR in the car whenever a story about the latest election “scandal” came on. They are clearly aware that I prefer Hillary Clinton to Donald Trump, and of course they ask why, but in the spirit of not saddling my small children with my own political baggage, the farthest I have gone is to say I prefer Clinton because Trump has said hurtful and disrespectful things about many different groups of people (though, to be honest, my true feelings are much more… colorful). I don’t think reasonable minds can disagree that Donald Trump has said some pretty awful things about many groups of people, including women, gays and lesbians, Muslims, immigrants, and Mexicans, to name a few. So, to hear my daughter say her beloved teacher told her that anyone who says Donald Trump is mean/hurtful/disrespectful is “making it up” really stopped me in my tracks. Essentially, you told my daughter I am a liar.

The poor girl was in tears last night. She is basically having a crisis of conscience because she doesn't understand how two very important people in her life could be telling her opposite things. It has really shaken her. She is too young to learn that adults have just as many flaws and foibles as kids do (a lot more, probably!) If it was just “I choose Trump, you choose Clinton,” that would be one thing. But you have told her that her mother’s candidate of choice is a liar and a bad person, thus calling into question my integrity and judgment.

I understand teachers are people too, with their own values and beliefs. I understand this is a thorny issue, balancing the rights of free speech with the rights of parents to raise their children in the manner they see fit. I understand this is a private preschool, and that the YMCA itself was founded on conservative Christian beliefs. I also understand that, eventually, my children are going to face a full frontal assault from the “real world” and they will have to sift the information they gather there and make their own, informed decisions. What I do not understand is why you, a teacher, and a mother, thought it was okay to put all of that on my daughter’s plate in preschool. How would you feel if the situation were reversed? I can't imagine telling someone else's child that his or her parents' pick for presidential candidate is a terrible person, even if I believed in my heart of hearts it was true. I mean, why don't you just tell her there's no Santa Claus, while you're at it?!

But, since you seem to want to defend Donald Trump to my four year old, maybe you could also explain to her why Donald Trump wants to ban Muslims from entering the United States, impose an ideological screening test for immigration, why he claims Islam is synonymous with terrorism, why he plans to make American Muslims “register” in a database, and why his camp is citing Japanese internment as precedent. Keeping in mind Colby’s grandparents are Muslim immigrants from Iran. Not to mention Colby's other favorite, your co-teacher, a Pakistani immigrant.

Maybe you could explain to her why Donald Trump's top Supreme Court picks are openly hostile to the LGBT community, why he has promised to revoke executive orders that protect LGBT employees from workplace discrimination, and why his vice president Mike Pence believes that homosexuality is a choice and a sin, believes in “conversion therapy,” and passed a law based on a convoluted understanding of “religious liberty” allowing businesses to discriminate against gays and lesbians. Keeping in mind Colby’s uncle (my little brother) is gay, as well as countless other family members, co-workers, and friends.

You could also explain to her why Donald Trump wants to build that border wall. I guess it's because he wants to "protect us" from all those Mexicans rapists, drug dealers, and criminals. And why he wants to create a “deportation force” to deport millions of immigrants and tear millions of families apart. Keeping in mind that nearly forty percent of California’s population are Latino, native and immigrant alike, including our friends, family, co-workers, and your very own students.

Perhaps most importantly, you could explain to my four-year-old daughter why the President-Elect of the United States thinks it’s acceptable to just “grab a woman by the p*ssy,” because when you’re rich and famous, “you can do anything.” Keeping in mind she is a little girl who will one day be a woman. A woman who will, in all likelihood, be treated this way by a man some day, and who will NOT, so help me God, let it slide, nor minimize, legitimize or trivialize it with platitudes like “locker room talk” or “boys will be boys.” I plan to teach my son the same.

I am sure you have your reasons for casting your vote for Donald Trump, and while I vehemently disagree, to paraphrase Voltaire, I will defend to the death your right to cast it. (Okay, that’s a little bit much. Maybe not to the death, but, let's say to my "extreme moral discomfort.") That is democracy, for better or for worse.

However, in the future, if you wish to question my personal political choices, or debate the virtues (or lack thereof) between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, please do so directly, and not by using my four year old as your go-between.

The End.

Just kidding. This reminds me - recently a cousin of mine who lives in a red part of (what used to be, sob) a blue state, posed the quandary of what to do if the only qualified and affordable child care you can afford happens to be a proud, card-carrying Deplorable. That's a tough question. I mean, we've had really republican, really religious nannies and babysitters before. And then there's the whole "secular prayer" BS at Jack's school last year. I figure a little religion can't hurt. I actually remember my babysitter as a kid once told me, when I was four, that "Jewish people don't exist." I replied, "Yes they do, because I'm Jewish." I'm not, but, eff that. (I guess there's a certain poetic circle of life vibe to this story after all ;)) Anyway, I guess for me, the rubber hits the road when the person starts negatively shaping my tiny human's little brain. And yes, since I made said tiny humans, I get to subjectively define "negative" in this case. I would say that advocating for a "border wall" to "protect us" from Mexican "rapists and drug dealers," believing a Nazi database for Muslim Americans is warranted, and arguing that gays, lesbians or any other humans are not entitled to equal protection under the laws is where I draw the line in the sand.

Okay, I'm REALLY bad about promises like this but I do think this is my last political post. Probably. Maybe. At least until January 20th. I think :)

Okay this is kind of hilarious. C: Reuters/Dialy Mail. 

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Keep Calm and ... Eff That

If one more person tells me to Calm Down about the election, so help me God, I am going to aggressively visualize myself punching them in their bark box. My favorites are the ones who call me and my fellow pissed-off womenfolk "hysterical." Ah. I see. Accusing women who are voicing legitimate concerns about a President-Elect who has vowed to curtail our rights as suffering from "hysterics." How original. I keep seeing posts along the lines of, "Quit your whining and get over it already, you live in California, you'll be fine." I'm calling bullshit. Beware, I'm about to bust out numerical headings.

1) Trump supporters vowed to revolt with WITH ARMED MILITIAS if Hillary won, so you'll excuse me if I'm sorry-not-sorry about my peaceful protest.

2) You don't get to tell me or anyone else whether or not my shock/grief/horror about Donald Trump-as-President is legitimate. Pain and sadness are funny things. Personal, and subjective. Speaking from experience, as a mother whose children occasionally scream like they're being attacked by a chainsaw when I tell them they can't have lollipops, trivializing someone's pain does not make them "get over it" any faster. Just the opposite, in fact, because you're only adding insult to injury.

3) Saying "you're straight/white/upper-middle-class/and live in California, don't worry about it" is a textbook example of privilege-in-action. Or rather, privilege inaction. And just because we have the advantage of living in California, where only 33% instead of 50% (or more) of the electorate support a bigoted president, doesn't mean we should just throw our hands up and say, "Oh well, not my problem." That kind of attitude is how we got here in the first place, because the affluent educated white folk are so isolated from the people who are actually suffering, they are able to ignore the problem or forget it even exists.

4) It is further indicative of your privileged position when you call outrage at a President-elect who has vowed to violate the civil rights of several vulnerable classes of citizens, "whining."

But hey, maybe you're right. Maybe it won't personally affect me. After all, my ovaries are like two shriveled little California raisins someone left between the couch cushions circa 2012, so overturning Roe v. Wade won't affect me. Why should I worry about more unwanted children and back-alley coat hanger abortions? Out of sight, out of mind, right?

If they make my Iranian immigrant mother- and father-in law, who have lived in the United States almost 50 years, register in their Muslim database, I guess that's not actually my life. Nothin' to get my panties rumpled over there!

If they tell my brother he's not allowed to marry the man he loves: "Haha, just kidding! We're doing take-backsies on marriage equality!" that's not, technically, my problem, right? I mean, his last boyfriend was a total douche so maybe it's a good thing. So what if Trump's top domestic policy advisor believes gay sex is a transgression against God and homosexuality is a "choice" that can be changed! And, if Trump nominates some ass-backwards, vehemently anti-LGBT Supreme Court Justice (or two) (e.g. William Pryor, who was on the wrong side of the landmark gay rights case Lawrence v. Texas, in which he argued homosexuality was on a level with pedophilia and incest, and believed gay sex should be illegal), well, look at the bright side - it'll probably only take, oh, I dunno, thirty, forty years to gain back all the ground the LGBT community fought so hard to win, and lost under the Trump presidency. I mean, fifty years at the outside. Your gay great-grandchildren will be golden.

Cutting Medicare will probably affect my dad in his Golden Years, but it's cool, we have an extra bedroom and I'm a super fancy lawyer so I can totally afford a private, round-the-clock nurse and price-gauged medications, no worries. I got you, Pops!

I don't think any strange men are gonna be grabbin' my pussy anytime soon (see above re: shriveled ovaries). So I guess I shouldn't stress about the President-Elect of the United States trivializing sexual assault. (Please little baby infant Jesus let someone with a political agenda befitting the 21st century  be president before I have to worry about some creeper fondling my daughter's little lady bits and pawning it off as "locker room talk.")

In that case, I probably shouldn't stress about deepening racial divides, the increased militarization of the police, racial bias in the classrooms and the school-to-prison pipeline, the disparate impact of our justice system on black and brown boys and men, nor the certainty that these chasms will only widen under Trump, as evidenced by his assemblage of a white-supremacist dream-team in his cabinet. I mean, my kids aren't brown so, ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ On second thought, they are technically "ethnic" (Muslim Iranian grandparents as noted above), but they look super white so we should be good to go. So, yeah, you're probably right. What is there to whine about? Thanks, man. I feel much better. I think I'm going to drink some wine and watch some trashy television because that seems way more fun than being a vocal ally for my fellow americans that are being persecuted under the apparent authority of the President-Elect of the United States of America. Phew. Let me tell you, that is a load off my shoulders because I am way too freakin' busy to be stressing about the basic liberty and human rights of people who are not me!
Word.
It certainly is nice to live in California though. I can't argue with that. #blessed

“In California, diversity is strength. Our students come from all kinds of backgrounds, cultures, languages, and religions, and they all come together to learn on their way to success in 21st century careers and college. California already has, and will always maintain, strong legal and state constitutional protections against any and all kinds of discrimination, regardless of a student’s race, ethnicity, faith, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

“And I want to tell young women and girls that they will always be safe, be respected, and be protected at school. As the proud father of two daughters, I know that girls can achieve anything, succeed at anything they choose, and earn the respect that they deserve every day at school, in the workplace, and in our communities. California moves forward, not back.”

- State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Assures California Public School Students That They are Safe From Discrimination and Bullying

"By a margin in the millions, Californians overwhelmingly rejected politics fueled by resentment, bigotry, and misogyny.

The largest state of the union and the strongest driver of our nation’s economy has shown it has its surest conscience as well.

California is – and must always be – a refuge of justice and opportunity for people of all walks, talks, ages and aspirations – regardless of how you look, where you live, what language you speak, or who you love.

California has long set an example for other states to follow. And California will defend its people and our progress. We are not going to allow one election to reverse generations of progress at the height of our historic diversity, scientific advancement, economic output, and sense of global responsibility."

- Joint Statement from California Legislative Leaders on Result of Presidential Election

"Bigotry is bad for business." Or is it? Democrats demand that Trump rescind Bannon appointment - Politico

Sadly, even California is not immune to the particular brand of twat-wafflery fomented by Donald Trump's presidential campaign. Some stellar example of the human race was handing out fake deportation letters to Latino students at Shasta High in Redding, California. Harassment based on race and religion in California schools has increased since the election. It's super thoughtful of Trump to tell these a-holes to "Stop it" in his 60 Minutes interview Sunday, but I'm afraid you can't put the toothpaste back in the tube (or the bigots back in the basement) on that one.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Look Mom, No Politics!

I promised yesterday's post would be the last political post of the season. I've got itchy fingers, but I will abide. Scout's honor.

I don't have time to pore through my journals for a full-blow edition of Shit My Kids Say, but this one cracked me up so I am going to share.

Yesterday, we were looking at baby pictures, and Jack said to Colby, "See right there? That's where they cut the cord where you're attached to your mama. They cut it out of your stomach with a knife and it hurts, and it leaves a scar which is your belly button."

Me: The just cut the cord part, with scissors actually. They don't cut your stomach. And it doesn't hurt.

Colby [face contorted in horror]: THERE'S A CORD ATTACHING BABIES TO MAMAS???

Jack: Well. Anyway. That's why I don't want to get married. Because if I get married then my wife will want to have kids and I don't want to be dealing with all of that.

Me: Not all wives want to have kids.

Jack: Well mine probably would. So, no wives for me.

Me: I didn't particularly want to have kids, but then I met Daddy, and I had you, and now look at me! I mean, where would I be without you two? I'd be lost! I can't imagine! Can you even imagine?

Jack: Yeah, I can imagine. You'd be like, "What was I talking about?" And Daddy would say, "I don't know, I wasn't listening." And you would say, "Seriously?" So. Good thing you had us or that would be your life.

Me [between snorts of laughter]: Good thing! (For the record, having two children has not helped much in the "Am I talking to the wall???" department!)

(This isn't the first time Jack has professed an aversion to fatherhood. A couple months ago he said "I don't want to have kids because I don't want to change any diapers and I really like my alone time." Fair enough.)

Colby: Yeah, you didn't want to have kids but then Daddy said "Children are very useful" so you did and you are so lucky because now you have us to help you with stuff like doing laundry and setting the table.

She's onto me ;)

So anyway, like I always say: Kids. The biggest mistake you will never regret. Plus the added perqs of conversation carriers and free labor. Because my kids are so good at listening and chores ;)

Worth it. One hundred bajillion times.


Wednesday, November 2, 2016

The Lesser of Four Evils

I had to write the word "explosion" about twenty times for work today, and every single time my fingers inexplicably typed "explosure" and that's actually a pretty accurate term for what happens in my head when I think about the fact that Donald J. Trump may actually become the President of the United States.

I understand I'm just preaching to the choir at this point, and that's fine. I just hope I can impress upon the choir that this is not a drill. The latest Washington Post-ABC poll has Trump at 46%, Clinton at 45%. This causes me physical pain and acute nausea. The KKK, neo-nazis and other white supremacist groups are plotting a show of force at urban polling places on election day in hopes of suppressing black votes. Complacency has no place in the last best shit show of 2016. Get. Out. There. And. Vote.

I don't know how to "fix" America, but I do know Donald Trump is not the answer. He is the worst thing to happen to this country in a long time. He's a hate-peddling swill-merchant. And the saddest thing is, people are buying what he's selling.

Here's a little story. I was in San Francisco this weekend and ended up in the middle of a budding bar fight. Well, really it was just an unprovoked attack on some unsuspecting bystander and I decided to play knightress in shining Northface fleece. I was sitting at a table minding my own business, having a cocktail and chatting with my brother and a friend when I couldn't help but notice a drunk blonde leaning over me to yell at the woman behind me.

Woman 1 (Drunk Blonde): "ARE YOU EVEN AMERICAN?!"

Woman 2: Yes I am.

Woman 1: WELL YOU DON'T SOUND AMERICAN!

Woman 2: I don't know what to tell you. My family has lived in San Francisco for three generations. How long have you lived in San Francisco? [Her ancestors hailed from Japan, I later learned.]

Woman 1: WELL YOU DON'T LOOK AMERICAN! DO YOU EVEN KNOW ABOUT THE CONSTITUTION? DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY REPRESENTATIVES WE HAVE? YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW! SEE?! YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW! YOU'RE NOT EVEN AN AMERICAN!

I stood up at this point because, No, bitch. Nobody invokes the Constitution of the United States to support their harebrained, bigoted blonde ass on my watch.

Me: Do you know how many representatives we have?

Woman 1: I asked her!

Me: I'm asking you. Do you even know?

[I shit you not, this clown did. not. even. know. I cannot think of a more telling display of self-righteous dys-trumpian ignorance.]

Woman 1: SHE'S UNAMERICAN!

Me: 53. 53 representatives. Do you know who our senators are? Do you know your representative? Do you know your state representatives? Do you know when the Constitution was adopted? How many amendments are there? Which ones are in the bill of rights?

I basically gave this real life troll an American citizenship quiz. And she failed. Bigly. (She was then escorted from the bar by an acquaintance who assured me "She's really pretty nice when she's sober." Riiiight.)

This reminded me of the time someone called my little brother a fag in the Castro. Like, bruh, two groups you should probably not insult in San Francisco: The Asians and The Gays.

My husband thinks things have always been this bad - or worse - and the unholy trifecta of the internet, Donald Trump and the GOP have merely converged to reveal America's vast, flabby underbelly. Personally, I think I preferred when they stayed in their mama's basements. But if we're gonna smoke 'em out and smarten 'em up, there has got to be a better way.

Listen. If you truly think Donald Trump or Gary Johnson or Jill Stein are, in any universe, on any scale, by any measurement - more prepared, educated, capable, or qualified to serve as Commander in Chief - well then I personally think you need to get your news somewhere other than Facebook. Gary Johnson is dangerously uninformed. Jill Stein is a tin-hat conspiracy theorist who also has no idea what she's talking about - and, ps, has ties to Wall Street, Big Pharma & Big Oil - the same industries she so sanctimoniously decries!!! As I've said before, if you choose one of these yahoos over Hillary Clinton - flawed? yes, uninspired? maybe, a politician? most definitely, but one who's eminently qualified and has served thirty years as a public servant, then I think your "principled stand" against the "Lesser of Two Evils" is a bunch of baloney. But if, after doing your due diligence and educating yourself, that is what you truly and honestly believe, then I am not here to persuade you otherwise.

Likewise, if you truly and honestly believe that Hillary Clinton is an evil warlord intent on fomenting WWIII for her own personal and political motives, then, you know what? This post is not for you.

If you're still here - a recap of my feeling on third party candidates in general. I completely understand your beef with the two party system - now more than ever. And most years I would absolutely encourage you to do you. That is your right and your prerogative as an American citizen. But this is not most years! I am legitimately terrified that Johnson/Stein will pull a Ralph Nader and land that Squirrel Nut Zipper in the white house. People keep saying "If not now, when?" My answer to that is, ANY YEAR A BIGOTED, MISOGYNIST, ORANGE DEMAGOGUE ISN'T ONE OF THE TWO MAJOR PARTIES RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT. But hey, I guess it's better to "throw away your vote" than cast your lot with the likes of Donald Trump. At least then you can sleep at night. (Unless the third party votes result in a Trump presidency. Then that nightmare's on you.)

I have suffered from repeated brain explosures these past days as I read about the latest Hillary Clinton email "drama" that is, from what I can tell, more of a last-ditch political stunt than an actual story, but hey, 'Merrica. Obviously I'm looking at this through my own lens, but, this is how all this crap reads to me:

Trump says Mexican immigrants are criminals and racists.
Clinton used a private server for her emails.
Trump says John McCain isn't a war hero because he got caught, insults a decorated general, and lest we forget the Khan family.
Clinton used a private server for her emails.
Trump mocks a disabled reporter.
Clinton used a private server for her emails.
Trump says we should bar all Muslim immigrants, subject the Muslims that are here to an "ideological test," and while we're at it, screw those Syrian refugees.
Clinton used a private server for her emails.
Trump threatens to unwind the First Amendment.
Clinton used a private server for her emails.
Trump tried to play judge, jury, and executioner when he said the Central Park Five, who were cleared of any crime by DNA evidence, were "still guilty."
Clinton used a private server for her emails.
Trump vows to single-handedly overturn Roe v. Wade, says women who have abortions should be "punished," (and clearly lacks basic understanding of the workings and responsibilities of the three branches of government).
Clinton used a private server for her emails.
Trump says a federal judge ruled against him because the judge was Mexican. (He was born in Indiana.)
Trump refuses to disavow white supremacists.
Clinton used a private server for her emails.
Trump has said countless terrible things about women, but I think this is everyone's personal favorite: "Grab 'em by the pussy. You can do anything."
Clinton used a private server for her emails.

Of course, I'm hardly unbiased here. And I do understand why people have concerns about her. She's hawkish, she's too cozy with Wall Street, etc. Fine. Again, if you truly and honestly believe that her shortcomings outweigh those of your third party candidate of choice, then great, democracy, yay. But just FYI, the whole "Crooked Hillary/Killary" thing is such a fallacy. Hillary is not a "criminal." If you had gone to law school (ps - I did) you would know that one essential element of a crime is criminal intent. Such intent was deemed lacking in each and every Republican-led witch hunt investigation against her. Another "minor" prerequisite to being a criminal is breaking the law. She hasn't done that either. On claims that she (personally?) "sold weapons to Saudi Arabia" or "created ISIS" - News flash - America has been bargaining with bad guys (the lesser of two evils, so to speak), propping up authoritarian regimes, and engaging in shady back-channel arms deals with countries lacking democratic pedigrees since the Cold War, so you're not pinning that shit on my gal Hillz. On the claims of her being a "murderer" - Unless you are ALSO going to call every sitting president, vice president, secretary of state, director of the CIA, and so on and so forth an "evil-murdering-murderer-head" then you do not have a leg to stand on.

Do I agree with these policies, from my comfortable position as a civilian armchair quarterback? Absolutely not. Do I think this is the way it should be? Hell no. The thing is, I have never been president or secretary of state, so I cannot presume to know what kind of difficult choices they are forced to make on a daily or hourly basis, but I don't think any of these people (save Donald Trump) goes to work every morning deviously rubbing their (tiny) hands together planning how many innocent lives they're going to destroy. These people receive stacks of surely terrifying intelligence data. They make hard decisions. They try to protect our country - its people, and yes, our economic and political interests. This is the real world. It's messy and scary and there are grey areas and terrible things happen and the United States, in building itself up as a global superpower, has made some pretty shitty sacrifices along the way.

Should we as a country work together to change the United States' role in this global game? Well sure, if everyone really feels so strongly about it, then yes, we certainly should. But you know what is 100% NOT the answer? Handing over the nuclear codes to an insecure, power-hungry little man who can't resist pushing shiny red buttons.

You know something else we have to do if we really want change? We have to care about this shit more than once every four years, and we have to do something other than bitch about it on the internet. The only thing politicians care about more than money is votes. If we - their constituents - show them that we really and truly care about these issues, all the time, not just as a platform and imaginary agenda. If you really care about things like oil dependence, unnecessary foreign intervention, drone strikes, civilian casualties of war, war period, police brutality, inhumane treatment of immigrants, for-profit prisons, the school-to-prison pipeline, equal pay, public education, to name a few - then we have to get involved, find your local representative (mine's Daryl Issa, so I'm fucked), get organized, get vocal, BE THE CHANGE. This means still caring, still bitching, and most importantly, STILL DOING on November 9th, December 9th, next year, and beyond.

PS - In case you're wondering, I personally, do not at all feel as though I'm voting for the "lesser of two evils." I think Hillary, though as flawed as anyone who has spent her entire adult life in the public eye would be, has a solid track record as a "liberal with a centrist tinge." I don't even see it as a choice. It's like asking if I want a vodka-with-flat-tonic, or a glass of drano.

PPS - Anyone who thinks Bernie Sanders or the like could have stepped in January 20th and immediately sever all foreign ties and turn the United States into a great pacifist nation and change our national anthem to Kumbayah has been smoking too much of Gary Johnson's wacky tabacky.

PPPS - This is (probably) my last political post for the year, I'm sure you'll be happy to hear. This time next week, I'll write about something much less controversial, like vaginas. Unless Trump wins. Then I'll be writing about my little "vacation" to the insane asylum.

For some reason this reminds me of Donald Trump. Except without the leash. 
Read:

I Didn't Unfriend You Over 'Politics' "I am so tired of people feigning shock and outrage over others not wanting to remain friends with those who are directly or indirectly fueling discrimination."

The Atlantic: From Whitewater to Benghazi - A Clinton Scandal Primer

Newsweek: Donald Trump's Companies Destroyed Emails in Defiance of Court Orders.

Newsweek: The George W. Bush White House 'Lost' 22 Million Emails

Oh, hello Pot. Meet Kettle.

Salon: Is Hillary Clinton an emailing criminal? A nonpartisan guide to national security and foreign policy issues in the presidential election

Media Matters: A Comprehensive Guide to Myths and Facts about Hillary Clinton, Benghazi, and Those Emails

Admit It. The Clinton Email Controversy Bothers You, Yet You Don't Actually Know What the Clinton Email Controversy Is

Fact Check: Hillary Clinton 'Corruption' Claim

Also, if you're going to get your news from Facebook, follow Dan Rather. He's awesome.

Watch: