5 Reasons Why You Should Vote

Vote buttonI spent a lot of time bashing our political system in my last post. The truth is that no system is perfect and ours is no different. Regardless of our flaws, we are so privileged to live in a country where we have the right to vote. As far as I’m concerned, suffrage is such a hard earned right, that is not just a right, it’s an obligation. Each and every one of us needs to make our choices known and here are the reasons why.

  1. The right to vote is one of the greatest freedoms we have as Americans. Put simply, the inability to influence how we are governed through the election of representatives was one of the motivations for the American Revolution. Yes, there is corruption that needs to be rooted out, but for the most part we as Americans have the right to cast our votes in an election that is relatively tamper free and straightforward.  If you are black and/or female, of which I am both, the right to vote is that much more important. People fought hard for a right that so many of us take for granted. If you are 18 years old you are old enough to do your research and make a decision on who our leaders should be.
  2. Although the presidential election is usually the hot ticket item, many people may feel like their votes have no voice, especially in a state with a strong party ties. But elections are about so much more than the presidential election. There are tons of other candidates and issues on the ballot where your voice matters. As close as some of these races can be, our collective voices really do count when it comes to these candidates and initiatives.
  3. It doesn’t matter who you vote for, Democrat, Republican, or Roseanne Barr, voting gives you a voice not only now but for the future. It gives you the power to shape your country and your community.
  4. If you don’t vote, don’t bitch about­­ how you are represented in your nation, state or locality. Maybe that’s a little harsh, but how can you truly express frustration at an elected official that you neither supported nor opposed. Maybe this point is somewhat meaningless, because we’re all going to complain about whatever we want to complain about, but it seems that the amount of complaints about our system far outweigh the number of people who participate.
  5. Having the right to note vote, should make you that much more appreciative of the country we live in. Yes, that may sound odd, but there are actually countries that have compulsory voting. We are privileged to have the right to choose whether or not to vote, and while not voting may make sense for some, it goes against the very meaning of what being American is.

Although this list may be shorter, it’s no less important than the last. The ability to vote is a precious gift. The ability to vote is one of the principals the founding fathers fought for along with many other who have fought for the right to vote since then. As someone who wouldn’t have had the right to vote had I been born in another time, it’s that much more precious to me. As citizens we all need to become educated on the issues and take a stand by voting. It’s one of the only voices we have to make our thoughts known in the political system.

7 Reasons Why I Hate Politics

Democrats vs. RepublicansI can still remember my 9th grade civics teacher teaching one of the first classes of the year. He described politics as the following – “poli” means many and “tics” are bloodsuckers, so politics means many bloodsuckers. Even though I know the statement was partly in jest, that lecture from over 20 years ago still bears a resemblance to the truth.

Although politics are a constant in life, I always feel like the presidential election brings out the worst in politics. I follow the political issues at hand, so that I can make informed decisions, but I really hate talking or thinking about it too much. The bottom line is that although I deal with it – I hate politics. Here are several of my reasons why.

  1. All politicians lie. Yes, I said all. Maybe there’s some politician out there in the middle of a sweet little town in the middle of nowhere who really does tell the truth, but all of the major politicians lie, at least some of the time. Don’t believe me? Check out Politifact for a rundown of the truthfulness of what some of our candidates say. Maybe it’s their advisors, maybe it’s them, but the fact is it’s often hard to know without thorough investigation what is true and what’s not. Don’t believe it just because you heard it.
  2. There is a ridiculous, ridiculous, amount of money spent during the presidential campaign. This year sources have ranged between $2-6 billion. Really? What is this money really doing other than buying votes? Who really benefits? This is money that could be better spent on our economy, on the poor, on education, rather than thrown down the drain for political campaigns that aren’t even always based on truth.
  3. I can’t stand the negative tone of so many of the ads on the air. Yes, some amount of attention needs to be paid to the other party and what they’re bringing to the table, but how about focusing on your own platform? Let me judge for myself how bad the other guy is, just tell me why I should get behind you.
  4. A two-party system simply is not enough to represent all of the thoughts and beliefs of a country as large and diverse as the United States. Yet, if you don’t conform to one of these two parties, you only have a small amount of hope to win a major political position, and a snowball’s chance in hell of winning the presidency. The political systems in place are too strong for anything else.
  5. Politics are so divisive. Okay, so on one hand I’m saying we need more division, more parties, and on the other I’m saying politics are too divisive. Politics are too divisive in the sense that people seem to pick their party, and then decide that everything else anyone else says must be wrong. They vote on their party lines, and never make a decision on their own. It feels like it’s almost impossible to work together on anything. Politicians should work together towards the needs of all Americans, not just the members of one political party. After all, our system is one of majority rule, and neither party holds a true majority of Americans.
  6. Politics cause cyclical changes in all of society – One day in an economics class I asked my professor why we have so many ups and downs in the economy if we have so many people studying it and trying to make it owrk. His one word answer was “politics.” Every time a president changes, everything changes and we start from scratch. Issues that lag get attributed to the next person who takes office. How can we ever get ahead if we constantly have to start from scratch?
  7. The Electoral College needs to be put to rest. Every person’s vote should count for a presidential election. The republican voice in California should count as much as the Democratic vote in Texas. No election made that more obvious than the Gore-Bush election. The American people as a whole should have the right to choose the president, not proxy that collectively throws votes into a bucket.

So you’d probably think if I hate so much of politics, I could care less if people actually take part in our political system, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. My next post will talk about why each and every American of voting age should make their way to the voting booths or mail in their ballot to make their voice heard.

Dear Daughter

Dear Pumpkin,

You are the sweetest, most precious little girl in the whole world. Mommy can’t tell you enough how much I love you. However, mommy also really likes sleep. Mommy doesn’t think she’s had more than four hours of sleep at one time since before you were born, as you even liked to wake me up when you were in my tummy. So I’m going to ask you nicely, please will you learn to sleep through the night? Or if that’s too much to ask, maybe just five hours or so?

If you help me out on this, mommy will be eternally grateful and I promise I’ll give you a lollipop when you’re somewhere around five.

Kissies,

Mommy

Is the Chinese Mother really that bad?

So if Yale law professor Amy Chua wanted a maelstrom of media activity as she releases her new book she certainly got it. Everyone’s up in arms right now about the article Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior, which is just a glimpse into her new book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.  I guess as they say, all press is good press.

When I saw the article in my inbox this morning, kindly referred to me by my hubby, I had no idea the frenzy that was occurring on the net. Then next thing I know I get it again in my inbox from care.com. That really made me want to know, what’s the deal with the Chinese mother?

Ms. Chua’s article describes some of the extreme child rearing methods she uses to raise her daughters. Piano and violin lessons for hours at a time and even overnight. No sleepovers. No playdates. No sports. No plays. All justified because she says in the end her kids are “successful.” Nothing other than As are acceptable and the kids must be the best in every subject. And she even goes as far as to call her daughter garbage on one occasion when the daughter was disrespectful.

To me and my inferior Western parenting, that is absolutely nuts. She claims that when the children become good at each subject, they have fun. But where is the fun in being told you are garbage and never feeling you are good enough?

On the other side, I had to admit I agreed with some of what she said. I think Western parents could do a little more with expecting greatness rather than just hoping for it or requesting it. A little more structure and a few more rules might be a good thing. I also feel that some Western parents really are too permissive. We are so afraid of bruising little egos, that we don’t even let little kids lose at sports. But if they never win, how will they ever learn how rewarding it is to do your best and try to win? And if they never lose, how will they learn to be good sportsmen and that winning isn’t the only thing?

So maybe I’ll give her the point that we Westerners coddle our kids too much, but isn’t that some of what being a kid is all about? Kids have a lifetime ahead of them to be adults with adult responsibilities. But they only have a limited amount of time to be children. Responsibility is good, but so is creativity and even reckless abandon on occasion. While I don’t believe in throwing all the rules out the window, certainly there is room even for the Chinese Mother to let her child having fun doing something other than what she tells her to do. How else will the child learn to live life on his or her own.

And even worse, I think Ms. Chua is seriously missing the mark on life. While success is a great thing (and who doesn’t want their child to be a doctor, lawyer or a famous astronaut), success as a person is measured by more than the degrees behind our name, isn’t it? It’s about being a productive member of society and it doesn’t take a doctor or lawyer to do that, right? How about measuring success in the happiness in our lives rather than the myriad of accomplishments we didn’t achieve. (I guess she would probably say I’m just using that as a copout because I’m a not a Yale law professor.)

In the end though, rather than get so offended at what Ms. Chua says, I’d prefer to take it for what it is. She can write 15 books but she will never be able to tell me how to raise my kids. I can, however, take what I want from what she says, and leave the rest where it belongs… in the garbage.

A work in progress…

These last few months have been hard. Rewarding in so many ways, but just plain hard. I’m still learning how to juggle the demands of being a wife, employee, step-mom, mom, student, etc. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t feel like something or the other has fallen through the cracks. In the meanwhile my weight is creeping up and I feel so out of focus that some days it’s hard to keep it all together.

My pumpkin is the sweetest girl in the world during the day, but this little monster just can’t get it together during the night. Maybe it’s a byproduct of breastfeeding, or maybe it’s the fact that I work during the day so she tries to get her fill at night, but I will be a much happier mommy when this period passes.

Things change every day and I struggle just to keep up. But one thing always stays the same. I am so blessed to have this precious little girl of mine. They say nothing worth doing in life is easy, and that’s so true for parenthood. I have so much to improve on, but I feel like I get better every day. Although my sappy post-partum days are over, I still shed a tear or two sometimes when I realize how lucky I am. I can’t believe how much love I feel every time I take a glance at her… and when she’s asleep in my arms, all is right with the world.

I haven’t blogged as much as I’d like recently. But I will get better. There have been so many moments that I wanted to capture in words, and I am going to start getting it together now. 2010 was my learning curve, but now I’m ready to do what I set out to do.

Astrological Musings

I don’t normally get into the astrological mumbo jumbo.  I get them in my inbox because hey, who couldn’t use just one more piece of junk mail on a daily basis? Daily astrological reports are so vague and general that they could be applied to anyone that lives on planet Earth – but I have to admit that a couple I have received lately have been right on the money.

On Saturday, June 12 I received the following horoscope – “Go wild tonight — you’ve got the right kind of energy to rip up the town and make them remember your name! It’s a good time for you to go out for a super-fun date or just give your friends a good time.” Interestingly enough that was my first post baby date with my hubby.  Granted we didn’t rip up the town but it was a super-fun date.

Then today I get this – “You should make double-sure what you’re really getting involved with before signing on the dotted line today — though with your potent intuition, you should be able to go far based on your gut.” Vague, I know – but  today it hit home so hard.  Today was the day that we went to meet with the woman that will most likely be watching our daughter when I go back to work next week.  How much more important can you get than a decision like that?  I never thought I’d want to be a stay at home mommy but now nothing could be more important.  Until I’m able to do that it is so important that Gabby is well cared for and safe.  Leaving her with someone else while I go to work will be one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but I will say though, that this is one  decision that will have to put into the hands of powers way more skillful than intuition.

Counting my blessings

As I was driving by a church today I noticed a sign on the marquee, “Count your blessings, not your problems.”  The saying count your blessings is definitely cliché, but for some reason it hit home today.  Today is my first anniversary.  What an amazing day for someone who wondered if she would even get married.  If that isn’t wonderful enough, less than two months ago I gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby girl.

I have so many blessings to be thankful for, but how often do I really take the time to do that?  How often do any of us do it?  We always have time for the negative, the gossip, but how often do we look at the positive?   Doesn’t matter how big your rut is, if you are here online, with the ability to read this post, then you have something to be thankful for, right?

Yeah, this may be coming off a little preachy, but it’s something I feel so strongly about.  Starting today I am trying to live my life as positively as possible.  I am working towards being a better me, not just for myself but for my family as well.

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