Succeed, Don’t Secede


A lot of people were bringing up, over the few weeks following the 2012 US Presidential Election, that “multiple states” have petitioned to secede from the US.

This is not actually true. People in a couple dozen states have started petitions at Whitehouse.gov to allow their states to secede from the United States. And by “people,” I mean a few thousand in any given state. In some cases, as many as twenty-thousand. So, as many people as could be found in a mid-sized or large university. The states themselves are not asking to secede. The vast majority of the populations of each state are at least reasonably sane and, therefore, do not want to secede.

You can start any kind of petition that you like on Whitehouse.gov. I can petition the US government to start funding a program to genetically engineer real Pokemon. They won’t do it, no matter how many signatures I gather (pretty sure that I can get more than twenty-thousand, by the way). How many petitions to end mountaintop-removal or to encourage the US government to terrify Uganda into not being evil have I signed? The US sure did not intervene in Sudan, and we have yet to crush Syrian President Assad and his government beneath our heel. If petitions were some sort of magical formula, a lot of good things and a lot of horribly stupid things would happen. They do not actually mean anything—petitions are a vehicle to show that a number of people stand behind a certain idea. On occasion, they are just a vehicle that people use to whine.

Honestly, I had to endure eight years of the Bush Administration. I know what it is like to, as I assume that most of those who have signed these petitions, absolutely despise your President. George W. Bush has been so far and will hopefully always be the worst US President in my lifetime. But no matter what I may think of Bush or what anyone else may think of Obama, neither of them are the worst President in US history. That honor belongs to Andrew Jackson, and we all know it. Andrew Jackson makes Sarah Palin seem like an intellectual, Ron Paul seem like a proponent of Big Government, Hernán Cortés seem like a friend to the pre-European inhabitants of the Americas, and Yosemite Sam seem like a responsible gun-owner.

Worst. President. Ever.

So when I say that I would not actually want for my state (which, ugh, is one of those in which some residents signed one of those stupid petitions for secession), or for any other, to secede. Not even if the nightmarish future depicted in one episode of Supernatural came true and President Sarah Palin became a reality (that’s a horrible future in which the Christian devil, Lucifer, has years to roam free and devastate the planet, by the way). We’re stronger together. I hope that Puerto Rico, where support is growing to become our fifty-first state, becomes fully integrated in the United States. Honestly, I would love for us to absorb Canada and, a decade or so after the War On Drugs and this senseless prohibition ends, absorb Mexico (where the cartels will lose much of their strength since the War On Drugs will have stopped feeding them). I look forward to when the entire planet—when the entire human species—is one nation.

Ideally, one that I rule. But I will accept a less perfect version, so long as we are all united and justice prevails.

Secession is a coward’s answer to a political disagreement. If you think that something is wrong, fix it. Don’t leave.



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Post-Election Reflection: What We Could Have Had

I voted in this election, of course. And I was so excited when Obama was reelected—as were the vast majority of my friends and family. Also, the actors and celebrities whom I follow on Twitter. An Australian actress whom I adore tweeted about watching Obama’s inspiring victory speech while working out at the gym. The entire world was watching us, and I do not have to awkwardly explain that “we tried our best,” or “please don’t hate all of us,” over the internet to my friends in other countries (as I did, as a senior in high school, when Bush was reelected). Our country is continuing to move in the right direction. We still have a President who thinks that gay people, women, and religious minorities are actually people and that zygotes and corporations are not. I almost* couldn’t be more excited.

But we did miss out on a few things that an end to the Obama Presidency and a Romney administration would have meant.

First of all, a Romney White House would probably have meant an end to the First Lady’s crusade against childhood happiness. Because seriously. I am so tired of her Disgusting Food And Miserable Activities initiative. You know what? Elementary school is Hell on Earth. You’re a powerless, miserable child whose entire day, at home and at school, is planned out by adults. The one highlight of a typical third grader’s day? Lunch. People complain about cafeteria food, but if you live in a household where hot dogs and pizza and fried anything is a rare treat, lunch in elementary school is this magical time when you get to eat delicious food and socialize with your peers—or read a book. Food is happiness in its purest physical form, and I, for one, want for children to be happy.

I trust that I do not even have to explain to people why jumping rope outside or playing some kind of sportsball in your backyard is, even if you enjoy it, a hideously inferior activity to anything that you might do indoors. Legos, action figures (or Barbies, etc), books, television, video games—children today have so many delightful ways of entertaining themselves that have nothing to do with the insect-ridden, overly warm, overly humid, exposed, way-too-bright outdoors. Playing outdoors is for barbarians. As a child, I only did it when forced to. And I was forced to.

Guess what? Forcing children to play outside and to eat that gross green stuff that grows in dirt? It does not work. My family only drank water at dinner, we had a “salad night” at least once a week, and my mother used even meaty foods as mules to smuggle even more vegetables into our gullets. In my complaints about my (less than pleasant) childhood, this does not even make the top ten, but it’s not something that I remember fondly, either.

And then I went off to college, where I slowly began to realize that I did not have to eat like I had been required to for all of my life. If I made double-stuffed Oreos (or, more likely, quadruple-stuffed), I could discard the gross chocolate wafers that had no crème on them for a roommate to eat. You can control your weight with how much you eat, and how often (plus riding an exercise bike in front of a television); you do not have to make eating a miserable activity, even some of the time.

As an adult, to quote the fabulous Leslie Knope of Parks and Recreation, “I stand by my decision to avoid salad . . . and other disgusting things.”

Okay, so the second thing that we missed out on that we would have had with a Romney Presidency: Mitt Romney Sucks Pass It On. It was a simple post made on Tumblr. For those of you unfamiliar, Tumblr is a blog site where users can upload images, text, or even music or video, which can easily be “liked” and “reblogged” by others on Tumblr. Personally, I tend to take screencaps from shows that I watch, add text from the scene in question, and that makes up the vast majority of my original posts to Tumblr. My most popular original post to Tumblr is from a few weeks ago (taken from ABC’s Once Upon A Time), has 120 “notes” (a number derived from the likes and reblogs that the post has received, mostly from strangers). It is not unusual to see posts with several thousands notes.

One simple, unassuming text post titled: “Mitt Romney Sucks, Pass It On” did not include anything beyond a title. It has received over ten million notes. That is, for the record, a lot. It is, to the best of anyone’s knowledge, the single most popular post ever on Tumblr. With a Mitt Romney Presidency, imagine how many likes and reblogs it could have gotten over four years.

Third, but not last, is all of the poor hurt feelings in our neighboring country of Canada. Just look at this graphic (also on Tumblr), depicting Canada’s disappointment that pro-Obama Americans will not be flocking across the border to a country that has gun control, universal health care, same-sex marriage, and the right to choose. This picture is adorable.

Finally, and most seriously, a Romney White House might have meant a serious reduction among the crazies. If you’ve watched NCIS or Law & Order or just about any other crime drama, you are probably familiar with the ironically named “Patriot” movement or similar movements. These are whackadoo militia-types who are paranoid and crazy. They do not register the births of their children or socialize them normally (even beyond the normal crippling social isolation that comes with homeschooling). They do not vote or obey speed limits or traffic lights. They are, in essence, a bunch of terrifying, well-armed anarchists who often have some very racist views.

Now, if you know someone who is a gun-nut, that’s just weird. But, weird like my obsession with superheroes. Admittedly, my obsession with superheroes does not really equip me to kill people, but my point is that these “Patriots” (who do not acknowledge the legitimacy of the US government) are scary and you should not just assume that someone who is super into guns is one of them.

The “Patriot” movement sprouted up while Clinton was in office, went down when Bush was in office, and then cropped back up with a vengeance when Obama was first elected. In other words, if the political Right is unhappy with the President, the absolute fringe of the fringe right loses their minds.

If Romney had won, these lunatics might have taken four years off to only be normal amounts of crazy.

 

*The absolute Most Beautiful Human On Earth retweeted one of my tweets on Election Day, which kind of almost completely overshadowed the entire election for me because I have “very sensible” priorities.



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Hey Girl: Paul Ryan Gosling Goes Web-Viral


Is everyone familiar with the Feminist Ryan Gosling meme? You know, it’s a picture of Ryan Gosling (who is still super dreamy, but I think that he really looked his best when he was on that short-lived Young Hercules* show) with text that conveys really compassionate, understanding, entirely-too-perfect boyfriend lines that often involve an in-depth knowledge of feminist thinkers.

It’s an adorable meme and it’s fun to imitate. I actually made a set with my favorite handsomes specifically catered to me. Pictures of Avan Jogia seeming to commiserate with my frustrations over Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse being canceled have a lot more to do with poking fun at myself than anything else, but it was an entertaining exercise.

Well, you guys have probably read that Paul Ryan is a terrible nightmare for American women. In my experience, die-hard Republicans who are opposed to abortion state that they do not wish for women to be jailed for having abortions, but simply wish to ban the practice. Paul Ryan goes beyond that. (He also goes beyond wanting to ban any recognition of same-sex couples and wants to ban adoption by same-sex couples, which is kind of the political position of an over-the-top 1980s supervillain)

So, the Paul Ryan Gosling meme is a pretty brilliant way of conveying Paul Ryan’s 17th-century views in a humorous way. I don’t think that it’s inappropriate to do this—I think that it’s perfect. Like the pointillist portrait of Rick Santorum comprised entirely of tiny images of gay porn, except that there is actual substance to Paul Ryan Gosling. Tweets like: “Hey girl, I support your right to choose: kitchen or laundry,” is kind of beautiful in their simplicity.

If you aren’t following @PaulRyanGosling on twitter, then you probably should. It’s worth a laugh. And sharing something humorous rather than something political can reach more people.

A lot of people know about Paul Ryan’s alleged** handsomeness, and about the fact that he apparently mostly likes musicians and philosophers with whom the feeling is not mutual (Rage Against The Machine, of course, but it’s important to note that fiercely pro-choice Ayn Rand would have detested Paul Ryan). A lot of people know that his social views are ultra-conservative, but I think that it is important to keep reminding people. And humor is a wonderful vehicle for that.

*Before you cry foul, he was 18-19 then. Even though it was the 1990s, he somehow had better hair back then than he does now.

**Is anyone else a little weirded out when people talk about Paul Ryan being handsome? Like, I wouldn’t say “no,” but that says way more about my terrible, terrible sexual decisions than it does about his appearance. He has nice eyes, but I kind of think that he looks like some sort of albino goblin king.***

***I actually came up with a fairy tale involving the 2012 election. A retired knight who is now an aged but handsome baron and an albino goblin king team up to seize control of the kingdom from the kindly king whom some of the peasants view as a “dark lord.” And there was something about Jon Huntsman with a bow and arrow and being left out of the adventure but I don’t quite remember.



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Should Sarah Palin Forgive Levi Johnston?

In the wake of rumors of a reconciliation between Levi Johnston and Bristol Palin, Johnston is making a public and, ahem, heartfelt apology to the Palin family, particularly Sarah. Whether this public self-flagellation will mean anything to the Palins remains to be seen, but it’s big of him to make the effort. I guess. Or maybe just the politically savvy thing to do, all things considered.

From People:

“Last year, after Bristol and I broke up, I was unhappy and a little angry. Unfortunately, against my better judgment, I publicly said things about the Palins that were not completely true,” he tells PEOPLE exclusively. “I have already privately apologized to Todd and Sarah. Since my statements were public, I owe it to the Palins to publicly apologize.”

Johnston and his sister Mercede appeared on CBS’ Early Show in 2009 to fight claims that their family is “white trash” and other alleged Palin lies.

Continue reading



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