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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Children Of The Same God

photo of mitt romney pictures
In at least two of the Presidential debates, Mitt Romney mentioned that he believes that “we are all children of the same God.”

Romney is no stranger to alienating large groups of voters with casual remarks. I mean, there was the video in which he dismisses forty-seven percent of Americans as irresponsible government-dependents who will never vote for him. His history of strong opposition to marriage equality (that’s a view that’s actually remained consistent over the last decade) is dismissive of gay voters, even after the President of the United States has publicly endorsed marriage equality. An estimated one-third of women will have an abortion in their lifetimes; Romney’s stance is strongly opposed to the reproductive rights of those women—and others.

So, in a country where even the most liberal, inclusive politicians say “God bless America,” it comes as no surprise when a politician like Mitt Romney announces: “I believe that we are all children of the same God.”

Because that is not a genuinely inclusive statement, any more than: “pale or tan, we’re all white folks.” And while I am not comparing the life of living as a religious minority to the experiences that one encounters when faced with racism, and while I am not comparing the Abrahamic faiths themselves to “white power” groups, there is one simple parallel: including individuals with minor differences in order to form a more powerful majority that can exclude more significant differences.

Romney faces some difficulties with some evangelical voters who consider Mormonism to be merely an offshoot of Christianity (or, in more extreme cases, “a Satanic cult,” but that’s with the people who believe that about every religion and denomination save their own). Elections are a numbers game, and if you can attract or reassure more voters than you alienate, it’s a “good move.”

This is one of the reasons for which I abhor democracy.

Alienating religious minorities who believe in different Gods or in no Gods at all is a necessary move to court much of the Christian majority. And because Mitt Romney’s line includes Jewish and Muslim adherents, it tries to appear to be inclusive. Members of both parties are guilty of using lines like this, but it is not usually by someone like Mitt Romney who, more than most Presidential candidates, should know what it is like to be ignored or dismissed because of his faith.
It is not inclusive.



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Lucille And Mitt

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I only got a tumblr earlier this year. It mostly use it to post nerdy things (what a shock!), reblog funny things, and also to view an endless supply of pictures of really, really beautiful people. I am so grateful that everyone in the world has a camera. The Internet is a more beautiful place for it.

On a less creepy note, are you guys familiar with the “Lucille And Mitt” tumblr? It is my absolute favorite tumblr since “Texts From Hillary.”

Most of you have probably at least heard of Arrested Development, which is a wonderful show. As far as I am concerned, it basically stars Jessica Walter (she is one of the main characters, if not technically the star) as Lucille Bluth, mother and grandmother in a very affluent family that has fallen on hard times (well, hard times by their standards) after her husband was imprisoned and most of their assets were frozen. In addition to her outlandishly absurd statements and her role as an emotionally inadequate mother, Lucille Bluth is perhaps best known for being radically out-of-touch with most people.

So “Lucille And Mitt” is perfect, because it combines actual quotes from Mitt Romney with appropriately paired pictures of Lucille Bluth from the show. Lucille herself is known for her own hilarious lines—

To a waiter by a pool because her membership to her country club was downgraded:

“Take it back! If I wanted something your thumb touched, I’d eat the inside of your ear!”

When her thirty-something emotionally immature son Buster sits at her table looking distraught and she angrily signs adoption papers that she had previously refused to sign:

“Fine, I’ll buy a new son—who will finish his cottage cheese!”

When a waiter asks her: “Plate or platter?”

“I don’t understand the question, and I won’t respond to it.”

So you can imagine that she is equally funny when pictures of her yelling are captioned with “Corporations are people!” Her facial expressions are best. And paired with Mitt Romney quotes, the pictures on this tumblr make for a lot of laughs. I think that the comparison of these two is better than that of Mitt Romney to Mr. Burns from The Simpsons, actually.

I cannot pick a favorite of these. Lucille Bluth’s face under Mitt Romney’s inability to understand why airplane windows do not roll down definitely comes pretty close.



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Surprisingly, Team Obama

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I was in eighth grade when George W. Bush and Al Gore ran against each other in the race for the US Presidency. Bush became President and I was quite disappointed. That was around the time that I first began watching The Daily Show With Jon Stewart. That was also when I was first becoming strict about rules of language and grammar. I was a freshman in high school when 9/11 happened (taking a Biology quiz when all of the televisions flicked from the silent PowerPoint slideshow of reminders that followed the televised morning announcements to a scene of the World Trade Center with smoke billowing out of one of the towers—we all thought that it was a movie at first). Shock for those first few days swiftly became greater alarm as I saw the Bush Administration take advantage of the national and international goodwill and turn it in what I saw to be disturbing directions.

My high school was not a “political battleground.” In a survey my senior year, when incumbent President Bush ran against John Kerry, I was not yet old enough to vote—few of us were—but a survey of students (conducted by one of the notably conservative members of the faculty) found that 71% of the student body supported John Kerry, and 26% supported George W. Bush. And I live, by the way, in the Southeastern United States. In the Bible Belt. And while I was not, personally, a Kerry-supporter, I was a huge supporter of not-Bush (which seemed to be the general sentiment in the Democratic Party). Thanks to the overwhelmingly similar view of my peers, I was very optimistic about the 2004 Presidential Election.

I was, of course, disappointed. This time, Bush actually won the popular vote, and was reelected.

In 2008, I was so #TeamHillary (and I still am, really). I saw President Bill Clinton speak at my university (and though universities are supposedly “liberal-factories,” my college peers were much more evenly split politically than had been my high school experience). I was disappointed when she lost the primary to Barack Obama, who was, at the time, a relatively unaccomplished politician who seemed to be supporting himself through charisma alone.

As someone who too often relies upon charm to get what he wants, I am very suspicious of other …

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