Tag: politics

My Thoughts on the Election

So things have been happening this week in the good old USA…

Any follower of this blog knows I am a strong and passionate conservative. Typically that has meant I align with the Republican candidates for office. However, this year I didn’t feel there was a conservative in the race so I voted for 3rd party candidate Evan McMullin. My hope was maybe Utah would vote 3rd party and that would be a message from one state on both of the terrible options we were being given. Unfortunately that didn’t happen in Utah and they voted Republican as expected.

Being a 3rd party voter this cycle has provided me an interesting vantage point that I didn’t entirely anticipate. I’ve explained in the past that a vote itself is statistically insignificant especially for president. That said, when I did vote for a major party I felt an investment in the outcome in a different way than this cycle. Voting 3rd party I’ve been able to simply observe and ponder the great country I am a citizen of and the tremendous events that have happened. It is this perspective that has made me a bit of a post-election coverage addict. I’ve watched an insane amount of pundits from both parties giving their conclusions of how this happened.

To be clear, I was completely stunned by the results on Tuesday. I was positive Hillary Clinton was going to win the election, and we would just have to put up with more of the same type of failed policies we’ve had from the last 8 years. That was it and I could deal with that.

But then Donald Trump won state after state, and I couldn’t believe it. In our world of PC and quick to offend lifestyles it seemed impossible that someone like Donald Trump could become president, and yet there it was. I honestly support more of the platforms and policies of the Republican party that Trump adopted so in a way I was glad but I was also sad to see the highest position in the land come down to someone like him. I certainly hope he proves me wrong and ends up being a better president than campaigner, but I was still sad.

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about how I have lost my faith in ‘public servants‘. I still believe that and stand by my sentiments in the post; however, I’ve realized a few additions to the ideas I presented. Politics today and perhaps always, is an exercise in self-interest and self-protection.  This is why we saw senators and congressman distance themselves from Trump just enough to claim the moral high ground while riding his popularity to a win. For example, Mike Lee never officially endorsed Trump and he announced after the election he had voted for Evan McMullin, but that doesn’t mean much when you could have  said something before the election. He rode that wave of self-interest in just the right way to keep his job and still claim he did the right thing at the ballot. It’s sad when you think about it but it is reality

But self-interest is what we’ve got and so where is the cause for hope? I actually think there is a fair amount to be hopeful about.

It might sound strange but oddly there is some hope to be had in self interest. Yes, Donald Trump has said some awful things and I understand why people are upset. I really do. However, it is not in his self-interest to implement all those things or continue saying all those things. I’m not excusing it in the least just stating what I think is reality. Even with a house and senate he still has to sell his ideas to the Congress and the American people. It’s in his self-interest to make them as palatable as possible.

It’s the same way with Hillary Clinton. She gave a gracious lovely concession speech where she said:

“Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and a chance to lead. Our constitutional democracy enshrines the peaceful transition of power and we don’t just respect that we cherish it”

She could have gotten up there and been bitter and gone on a tirade, and I have no doubt a side of her wanted to do just that. I mean just days before she had called Trump supporters a ‘basket of deplorables’. Why didn’t she do it? Because it would not be in her self-interest to do so. Her best move at this moment is to do exactly what she did, and I commend her for it. I’m not trying to take anything away from her. I’m just being realistic about the motives of our leaders.

I think this is perhaps why the Founding Fathers made Supreme Court justices lifetime appointments. It removes, for the most part, this element of self-interest and forces them to look at the cases without fear of backlash or legacy. Their jobs are safe and so they are free to decide on these important issues in the way they see fit.

President Obama stated today he wants to see President Trump succeed:

““It is important for all of us, regardless of party and regardless of political preferences, to now come together, work together, to deal with the many challenges that we face…If you succeed, then the country succeeds”

What he is basically saying is that it is in all of our self-interest to make this work and to want President Trump to succeed because if he fails we all suffer. It’s as simple as that.

I’m not excusing any of President Elect Trump’s behavior. I’m merely saying- this is the situation we have and just like President Obama we have to make the best of it. It’s in our self-interest to do so. Peaceful protest is fine. I did it with the tea party and I’m proud of it but we must never allow it to harm the very institution we are trying to save. People breaking windows and destroying property are hurting the country they feel so passionate about. That is not the answer.

We also need to take stock of the toxic climate we have created where good men and women don’t want to be involved in politics any more. Think about your friends and family. I bet most of them avoid politics like the plague- even discussing it, let alone running for office. Perhaps we have left no one more to vie for leadership than what we got in 2016?

Either way, this is what we have left with. Agree with it or not, Donald Trump is our president.

I want him to be successful because I want America to be successful. It’s as simple as that.

Also you guys should read this post I wrote in 2012 about America and a female president.

Lastly I want to say thank you to Evan McMullin for giving me someone to vote for. You stepped up when nobody else would and that means the world to me. Thank you so much!

My Dwindling Belief in Politicians and Public Service

constitutional-convention

“How prone all human institutions have been to decay; how subject the best-formed and most wisely organized governments have been to lose their check and totally dissolve; how difficult it has been for mankind, in all ages and countries, to preserve their dearest rights and best privileges, impelled as it were by an irresistible fate of despotism.”

James Monroe

In writing this post I must own that as a 35 year old woman I may come across as incredibly naive. Some may laugh at my ever being so foolish as to believe in such noble concepts. But today I’m here to tell you that this woman’s idealism has been wounded perhaps beyond repair in this election cycle but even before then.

You see friends I used to believe in something called public service. I knew there were certainly egos and narcissists in our government, but I was pedestrian enough to believe this was a loud minority. I believed that a majority of our leaders saw a need, an opportunity to serve and chance to do something more for the world than they might have in the private sphere.

Part of my reason for believing this was the lessened salaries most of these Ivy league graduates could receive in public service. Even something like the presidency doesn’t pay near what the men of that position would have earned in a different occupation.

public-service2Of course it is easier to believe the side I agree with is full of noble intentions and the opposite point of view is suspect, but I have always been one that defended the indefensible. Yes for years I stood up for politicians!  It was understandable to me that a person like John Edwards could place himself over the good of the country or any number of other narcissistic scandals could exist but I could ignore them as disgusting outliers.

When other people ragged on our representatives both national and local, I said “at least they were out there fighting and trying to make a difference.” I worked on campaigns. I even made calls and went door to door on occasion because I really believed in these people.  How foolish do I sound now.

public-service

I’m not speaking for anyone else but myself. I just wanted to say that I don’t believe them any more.

In the last few weeks I have seen one representative after another compromise their principles to support both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. If they believe they are good candidates than that I can understand and support that, but it is the public maneuvering to save face that makes me sick.

For example, congressman Jason Chaffetz, who I at one point had a ‘political crush’ on went in under a week from saying “he couldn’t look his daughter in the eye” and endorse Donald Trump to tweeting out “I will not defend or endorse Donald Trump but I am voting for him”

Shame on him. This is not the politics of public service. This is politics as political maneuvering to try and save face. A public statement of who you are voting for is an endorsement Mr Chaffetz whether you like to call it that or not.

He is not alone. Now after Hillary Clinton has been put back under investigation by the FBI liberals like Paul Krugman have gone from saying Trump’s allegations of media bias and a rigged system are outrageous to making the same claims about Hillary Clinton’s treatment. Nancy Pelosi said it was “partisan conspiracy-mongering.” Evidently only liberals are allowed to throw out conspiracies…

Other people may buy into one side or the other but I don’t any more. They are all spin doctors. They are all out to protect themselves more than what is good for our country.

They have all forgotten PUBLIC SERVICE!


You can call me a cynic but that’s really how I feel. They are supposed to be serving us. They are supposed to be looking out for us. Instead all they care about is themselves, their careers, and how it impacts their precious party.

I personally was proud of Senator Ted Cruz for being the one Republican to not endorse Donald Trump at the GOP Convention. This to me showed integrity. How wrong I was when mere weeks later he was answering phones and working for Trump.

Since then I have seen one leader after another fail to make a stand or compromise where they know they shouldn’t be.

It reminds me of the scripture story where Esau sells his birthright to his brother for a mess of pottage. When all this is said and done they will have either failed to speak up or actively spoken for something and someone unfit to stand with their own daughters let alone lead our country. They sold their birthright for pottage of momentary consensus and inclusion.

Yes, the third party candidates do give me a sense of hope but they are the minority and it is easier to be brave when you do not face the peer pressure of the bullying sheep.

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This is not a sudden realization for me but something that has been brewing for a long time. Back in 2009 I joined with other concerned citizens to protest the bank bailouts and other insane spending by our representatives. The tea party protests were the most inspiring and patriotic experiences I’ve had in my life.

Back then I believed that the representatives would listen and at least some of them were true public servants. Then I spent the next 7 years being treated like a terrorist, and radical by the very party that I was supposedly in allegiance with.

Representative by representative, leader by leader has fallen into a sea of self-interest since those days of protest in 2009. And now I just don’t trust any of them and perhaps that is the healthiest place to be in.

Gone are my illusions of public service and that elected officials were for the most part trying to do what is right.

I don’t believe in them any more.

Throw Away Your Vote

voting-twainThis post may seem somewhat cynical but it’s really not. If anything it should be empowering. I have decided to vote third party this election and have heard the outcry of ‘you are throwing your vote away’.  Well, the truth is that my individual vote  doesn’t really matter to begin with. What does matter is the act of voting. This is especially true in the presidential election.

What! I can hear you saying. How can Rachel the patriot be saying that a vote doesn’t matter? Let me state again- VOTING MATTERS, A VOTE DOES NOT.

Statistically speaking voting is not a utility maximizing activity.  Almost any activity you can do has more of an impact than voting. In just the state of Utah there are 2 million people of eligible voting age. Of those people about a 1/3rd actually vote (which is a crime). So, around 700,000 people vote in a Utah presidential election. Just think about it. My vote in Utah has a 1/700,000 chance of impacting the race in just my state. This means it is statistically nearly worthless.  You’d have better chances of entering some lotteries or playing poker in Vegas.

These statistics are made even worse in a presidential election where the popular vote may not even matter at all. United States citizens do not actually elect the president of the United States. The electoral college gives states power over popular consensus by awarding delegates based on their representation in Congress. In theory the delegates are supposed to vote with their states electorate will but they are not required to do so. Typically the votes go on a win-all basis so if Utah goes Republican than the electoral college will give 6 Republican votes. Maine and Nebraska are exceptions to this rule. 

You can debate the value of the electoral college but for the moment it is here and it can have an impact on the election. For example, in 2000 Al Gore won the popular vote but lost the electoral college to George W Bush. If you are one of these 538 electoral delegates than your vote does matter but statistically speaking for the rest of us it really doesn’t.

So why participate in this waste of time called voting? Because what is actually statistically important is the act of voting. While my vote in Utah may be 1/700,000, my act of voting may encourage 3 or 4 other people to vote. All of the sudden that is a significant impact. Those 3 people encourage 3 other people and the ripple effect is real. Plus, there are smaller races, which while still statistically not utility maximizing, the impact is more like 1/20,000

Another reason to vote is simply because it is the right thing to do. There are lots of things we do which we draw mainly moral inspiration and fortitude from. An article I read in the Harvard Political Review put it well:

“There are many actions we consider morally valuable, even when they have little or no consequence. Such actions are intrinsically valuable, or their goodness consists in their being suitably related to a deeper moral ideal or principle we find compelling. Suppose I make a promise to my grandmother that I will visit her grave once every year. It seems that honoring this promise is morally valuable, irrespective of the positive consequences doing so may bring about. It is valuable because promises are simply the sort of thing that it is right to honor”

If we are voting out of a moral imperative than doesn’t that make voting for someone you don’t believe in even more nonsensical? If voting is the right thing to do than voting for the right person logically must go along with it.

In the end, it doesn’t really matter who you vote for. It just matters that you vote. People can say you are throwing away your vote but statistically that’s just not true. Vote for whomever you want and then encourage other people to do the same. That’s how you really make a difference.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

ps. I will be so happy when this election is over!

Unnecessary Enemies

Last week I had an interesting experience over on my youtube channel. I reviewed a film called Southside with You. This is a romantic comedy about President and Mrs Obama’s first date. As you all know I am a conservative who strongly disagrees with the president on nearly every major issue. As a bit of a joke I even wore my Romney t-shirt from the 2012 election to do my review. The interesting thing is that I actually liked the film. It’s not groundbreaking but a solid, sweet romantic comedy.

What? You say? How could I like a movie about the Obamas? Well, just because I disagree with the President on policy doesn’t mean I think he is a terrible person. From everything I can see he is a good person and he and Michele have a healthy solid relationship. Why wouldn’t I want to find out about their first date? The script was solid and it felt like an authentic voice of a young Barack and Michele. There was one moment where I felt the writers couldn’t help but aggrandize their hero president but for the most part it was about 2 people going on a date and that’s it.

The interesting thing is I posted my review and the next day lost 10 subscribers which is a big dip for me (I just can’t seem to get to that big 1000 sub number!). I don’t know if it was because I said nice things about the president so I upset my conservative viewers or because I wore a Romney shirt and upset my liberal viewers. Either way it is very silly.

Why do we have to turn people who think differently into an enemy? What is so wrong about a conservative person learning and admiring something about a democratic president? Why must we be so partisan to not even listen or admire an opposing view in any way? It’s all nonsense if you ask me! I have actually read both of President Obama’s books and I can see why he thinks the way that he does. I don’t agree with him but I can see his perspective. And isn’t there a famous quote about you never understand your own argument until you can adequately explain your opponents?

I’m not saying Southside with You is some kind of masterpiece but it was an enjoyable romantic comedy.  It certainly was much better than say the Tyler Perry romantic comedies often served up to African American audiences. But the target demographic shouldn’t really matter. We should all be able to appreciate good writing and acting and want to learn more about our elected leaders.

I think it is kind of sad I lost those 10 subscribers but I have gained 6 of them back so good riddens! 😉 Life is too short to create enemies where no enemy exists and to not listen to all kinds of perspectives. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

Writing

writing

Growing up my sister was the writer of the family.  I was the opinionated one.  She used to have these little notebooks where she would write poems and other witty observations about the world.  I was the commenter.  I would tell my thoughts to whomever and whoever would listen. This got me into trouble on more than one occasion.

Even with my friends I would talk about my opinions about my family, church, and feminism.  I remember when I was a little girl being disgusted at a wedding when they introduced the couple as ‘Mr and Mrs John Doe’.  I immediately thought ‘hey why doesn’t she get a name?’   I was talking about this experience with a friend and she was surprised at how a young girl would even notice such thing but I did.

Megan and I used to make little newspapers where we would write comics, movie reviews and of course the news of the day.  One of the editions I saved has a pretty good critique on the democratic primary of 92 and Bill Clinton’s performance.  What 11 year old kid watches the debates and can gather her thoughts into a concise argument for fun?

I also have a persuasive essay I wrote around that time about how my mother is so ‘overly-cautious’ and ‘won’t let me do anything.  Even go to the mall alone’.  I actually turned that in for a grade.  I found it and gave it to my Mom for Mother’s Day a few years ago.  I hope I got a good grade!

I found some journals I did for a civics class in middle school where I railed on President Clinton and the welfare system and how people should be taught work skills as well as be fed/clothed.

It continued on to my high school years where I was involved mainly in drama and swimming but I still found ways to express myself.  Mainly in debates with my mother.  I read much of the feminist mantra when I was that age and my mother caring for an infant seemed far too backward.  I’m glad she was patient enough to challenge my newly forming brain and help me develop more nuanced ideas.  It actually became a part of our relationship I cherish most.  We can talk and debate and challenge each other and leave with a smile.  I miss it if we go too long without a deep thoughtful discussion on the issues of the day (I’ve pretty much come around to her way of thinking in the end!)

Then I started college and what do you think drew me in immediately?  It was politics, particularly political theory, because theory can be discussed and pondered forever.  There is no right answer to what freedom means or justice.  You can talk about such things until you are blue in the face and believe me during those years I tried.

I also took fabulous classes including ‘theories on human freedom’ and the ‘political economy of women’.  Both of them taught me the importance of words on people’s lives and how I must always find the heart in my writing.  Whether it is advocating for the Lost Boys of Sudan or Speaking out against domestic violence, words should matter and effect the reader or they are just words.

Then there was the mission.  I didn’t have a lot of time to write on the mission, but when I did, it was my salvation . I found a mission to be a very difficult and lonely experience.  I lived off of letters from home and writing back.  I have always collected stationary and I used up most of mine on the mission

“Life is like a great human chain.  The point of the human chain is so no one gets lost.  Everyone has someone in his or her life to hold on to  and everyone has someone else holding on to them”

It’s not the most profound statement ever written but the point is I was writing and giving opinions even when on a mission.

The the journey of writing continued into grad school.  I wrote papers about everything from HR needs and Economic policies.   Writing for some reason felt easy for me in grad school.  It’s like all the jumbled up stuff I wanted to explode out in high school had gotten out and it was a great time for writing, even if it was business writing!

I even became a pretty good editor at this point.  Who knew!

Then I graduated and quit my job.  All of the sudden there was a void in my life and what was I going to fill it with?  What I had always filled it with- opinions and writing.  That birthed this blog.  I am excessively proud of it and it fills me with joy when people can feel my honesty and they feel they know the real me.  Because they do.  It is how I have always written and spoke and it has served me well for many years.

It means a lot to me to write.  But also to write to say something, to comment on the world.  I want someone to read my entries and say ‘I’ve had that same situation in my life’ and then we can bond and share and grow together.  The world really is small when you can write and opine.

I’m so grateful for the many people, particularly in the last few weeks, who have told me that they relate to my writing and that it speaks to them.  That means a lot because my writing is my heart.  There is no writer veil.  It is just me.

So my sister invents characters and creates worlds.  I see the world around me, comment and create words.  Both great.  Both needed.

I’m grateful to be a writer

(in my own little way)

I must write it all out, at any cost. Writing is thinking. It is more than living, for it is being conscious of living.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/a/annemorrow115409.html#2iaWUd1yyJyQ2Lgk.99

“I must write it all out, at any cost.

Writing is thinking.

It is more than living, for it is being conscious of living.”

Anne Marrow Lindbergh

If my writing can help someone else live better than this blog may be the greatest thing I do.  I’m proud of it.  Proud of each post whether silly or profound, and I intend to make it my legacy because it is me in full on technicolor.

So writing and commenting.  That’s my way. Particularly in the last few weeks I seem to be phrasing issues in a way that people really respond to.  This makes me very happy and I’m excited for the future as we learn and grow together.  I’m excited for more writing!

Going to be interesting to see how that meshes with nanowrimo coming up.  Anyone out there want to be my writing buddy?

HEAR ME ROAR

Why Bother?

Sorry but I feel depressed.  I’ve always been real on this blog and I don’t see why I should sugar code it here. Both the candidates that I donated to and worked for lost, and I’m having a hard time seeing the silver lining.  No, I’m not calling for impeachment or moving to Canada (which makes no sense unless you want to pay even more taxes).  I did JOKE that Utah should just secede.

I’m not going to go into all the reasons why I think Mitt Romney would have been a much better president than 4 more years of Barack Obama and I am definitely not going to level out a criticism of the Romney campaign or the tea party (which you’ve got me why they are thrown together.  Mitt Romney is not now and  never has been a tea party Republican.  Paul Ryan, yes.  Romney, no.  Not even close).  If you are going to criticize the tea party remember that you are criticizing the sainted Marco Rubio (who I love) or Chris Christie.  Its easy to (I think unfairly) criticize Sarah Palin or Christine O’Donnell and say the tea party is a bunch of fanatics but we actually got some pretty impressive things done. At least it was one time in my life where I felt like my voice actually mattered to this country.  I will treasure that moment. May be last time I feel it for some time…

Here’s what’s frustrating, even depressing to me.  On my ballot I voted for Romney, Jason Chaffetz and Orin Hatch.  All 3 of these candidates won Utah by over 70%.  One vote with such margins is hardly consequential.   This election I thought I could make a difference by donating time and money to campaigns but both Mia Love and Mitt Romney lost.  I just feel like why bother?  Nothing I do seems to make a difference whether for or against.  I’m sorry if that sounds  pessimistic that’s just how I feel right now.  I’ll get over it (and if one more person tells me to not be bitter and to be happy for our country I think I will scream. Some people wouldn’t give me one hour of sadness).

Well, I bought food storage last week because I fear our country going into even more of a steep decline until it all bursts.  Its happened in Iceland, Greece, Spain.  Why do we think it can’t happen to us?  Are we somehow immune from dealing with 16 trillion in debt? Obamacare is done.  It won’t be repealed.  I’ve already lost a doctor it took me 2 years to find.  They said in their letter they just couldn’t make enough money to fund the type of care they wanted to give.  That’s depressing on so many levels and its only the beginning.

Last night the President said he had listened to me, even if he didn’t get my vote.   I hope so.  I am not optimistic my opinion will be taken into consideration or listened to. So far he hasn’t put together a single bipartisan piece of legislation.  He hasn’t reached across the aisle once in a concrete way.

At least we have a mostly Republican representation from Utah that will come close to speaking my point of view.  I’m super bummed about Mia.  I think she would have made a great congresswoman and all the attack ads distorted her positions.  I certainly have no respect for Jim Matheson after the race he has run even criticizing Mia’s immigrant parents along the way.  Real classy.

Anyway, I am sure many of you will be alarmed by this post. I will get over it but today I feel like saying why bother? Why bother?  I’ll just start focusing on Dancing with the Stars voting and hope all the dreams of my liberal friends come true over the next 4 years.  I hope they all prove me wrong.  I really do.   Today I just say why bother?

Romney’s Funny

So I’ve been sick the last few days and been working more than I should.  I still struggle to sleep at night even when sick so after my 20 minutes of trying to go to sleep I turned on the TV and stumbled up on Mitt Romney’s remarks at the Alfred E. Smith dinner.   It made me laugh a lot.  In fact, I thought it was much funnier than anything SNL has done this season.

Favorite lines:

“…tomorrow’s headlines would read, “Obama Embraced by Catholics; Romney Dines With Rich People.”

“Usually when I get invited to gatherings like this it’s just to be designated driver”

“In the spirit of big bird this dinner is brought to you by the letter “O” and the number 16 trillion”

After looking at recent job #s President will boast “you’re better off than you were four weeks ago”

On the bias of the press, headlines will say “polls show Obama leading from behind.”

Nice to have a good laugh! Hopefully it will make a few people see Romney in a new light. Not as stiff an unapproachable as the primaries made him look.

Blogger in Training

Today I finished work a little early and started looking for photos of me at the 2002 Olympics (post to be coming on 10 year anniversary.  Still can’t find photos!).

As I was looking through my old stuff (yes, I am a pack-rat and yes, I love it!), I found a bunch of old newspapers my sister and I made, current events logs, and journals I kept.   The thing that is amazing is how little I’ve really changed.  The basic Rachel at 31 is in many ways the same at 8, 13, 15, etc.

I think the Jesuits might be right- “Give me the child of seven, and I will give you the man.”

A couple things that I noticed from looking at these journals.

First,  how much I craved being special, being recognized, being first.  For example, I HAD to have this photo taken by the crayons because it was special.  It wasn’t my Dad, the professional photographer, taking photos.  It wasn’t even the regular school shots.  It was different and fun.  The smile on my face shows a lot.

Even my reactions to the people in my life seemed to carry more meaning than they might to other children.  When Anna was just a baby we went to Disneyland and I write “I had an outrageous time in Disneyland.  I remember how Anna was always laughing when I tickled her! I also went on a lot of rides and had a lot of fun” (12-31-1991).  Isn’t it interesting that the laugh of a sister produced the same degree of glee as rides at Disneyland?

Second, express basically the same interests then as I have now. Entries like “today we went swimming for a whole hour” are common with big exclamation points. I speak about cooking and when my friend loses her brother in an accident I say ‘our family brought them food on Sunday and I made an apple pie (All by myself no help from Mom!!) with homemade flaky crust and I cut the apples…’.  See how independent and strong I was but with such a desire to serve those in need? I would still feel great about making an apple pie by myself (although I highly doubt I did so at the time!).

Third, I was always confident in my testimony of my church and in Jesus Christ.  October 21, 1990, “I love the Lord and Jesus Christ and I love it even more when you go to a place and have a great feeling and that place is the place where sins vanish.  In the stake center or a church building when you are baptized and confirmed”. At a very young age I knew that the church was true and I could always feel it, never doubted.  Once I made a decision I was done. Luckily for my parents, I made a lot of good choices!

At an older age (probably 13) I said “The thing about knowledge is once we have a testimony.  We must use it!  Missionary work is very important.  I know not everyone can be a full time missionary.  But we need  to use our knowledge to set a good example.  If a friend swears you must (underlined) tell them to stop.  Because it is better that you be embarrassed or picked on or made fun of than to make Heavenly Father sad” (quite a statement for a girl who was routinely picked on…).

Fourth, it is amazing is how knowledgeable and fascinated I was by the news of the day and I had no problem expressing my opinion on those subjects (sound like anyone you know?).  For example, after hearing one of President Clinton’s speeches I wrote:

“I’m sorry but I didn’t buy the President’s speech!  All the emphasis on working together and cutting taxes.  He sounded just like Rush Limbaugh.  If the president really plans to be better than great, but the Republican congress should not be in tears and all touched by Clinton’s speech though…The Republicans and the American’s just say to Clinton if you want to follow, follow, but you’re not leading” (Fall, 1994). What 13 year old says things like that? I love it!

Its funny I can totally see the strabimus problem in this photo. I notice it all the time now. Things are just slightly off symmetry.

I even had an opinion on Charles and Diana getting divorced, saying “I can see how their marriage went bad.  Charles being forced to marry.  I also think that when Charles married they were more in lust not in love.  Prince Charles should still be allowed to be King”

I just think it is amazing that a child even knew about such things and then had the gumption to venture an opinion. I even have entries where I talk about balancing the budget and cutting taxes.  In one of our newspapers I give an update on the 1991 primary presidential election and that ‘Bill Clinton is doing very well’.

In high school I wrote “When I was a little girl I thought that everyone was special and everyone liked everyone else no matter what they looked like”.  I think that was true, even about myself.  I thought that I was special and I still do… I had a great desire to make others happy.  I talk about sharing my testimony with others a lot because it was something that made me happy.

“Some think that they are too busy, or that they need Sunday to go on vacation or to fish, boat or ski.  we must all think about the opportunities we have everyday where we can influence people, and use them to benefit mankind.  We must not only attend church, we must live a life worthy of the church’s standards.  We must invite as many people as possible to activities. We shouldn’t count on the government to do everything…”

Can’t you just see the little blogger inside some of those words? I’ve hopefully polished it a bit and gotten a bit more open-minded but the core is there.  That desire to make others happy, to feel happy myself and to speak my mind is still with me.

One last quote

“What would happen if everyone made a special effort to love someone every day.  People would be friendlier and less people would turn to evil.  Too many people are trying to fit in with their friends instead of having their friends fit into their beliefs and personality.  The only people who are cool are the people who aren’t trying to be.  We need to realize that with just giving the friendship, people would have no reason to want to fit in and drug abuse and crime would drop.” (1992, school journal)

There you have it my friends…

Not Ready for Female President

I haven’t done a political post in some time but my thoughts have been on the upcoming Iowa caucus.  I am very curious to see who will emerge as the Republican frontrunner (combined with New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida).  There are things I like and don’t like about all of the candidates and I honestly have not decided who I like the most.

I relate to Mitt Romney and feel he has the business sense to help get this economy running- like America’s CEO. I also like his dedication to family and traditional values. I am not a fan based solely on his Mormonism, but I must admit I do feel a certain underlying connection when he speaks. I felt the same thing when Harry Reid spoke at BYU and I would never vote for him, so clearly it is not a deciding factor.  I do think that he is good in debates and will present a formidable candidate to Pres.  Obama.  I also think he is a smart choice for Republicans because he has experience working with democrats to get results.  He is a compromisor (sometimes too much so) but after 4 years of uncompromising liberalism I can live with a moderate Republican.

That said, closest to me in positions is Michele Bachmann who as a fellow tea partier believes in a small federal government with greater rights going to the states.  For example, programs like education should be handled at the local, state level.   Bachmann has also been consistent in her support for marriage, minimal spending, against raising the debt ceiling and supporting pro-life legislation.  The interesting thing is whenever I talk to my Republican friends who mirror my political opinions they all say that Bachmann is ‘unelectable’.

Why is that? Part of the reason is she has some polarizing positions that won’t attract moderates, but I also think that America is not ready for a female president. 92% of American’s say they would elect a female president, but I don’t know if that statistic pans out to actual candidates.  A 2007 study found  “that a significant percentage of people are hiding their true feelings on questions related to female candidates for the presidency….While women candidates seem to be making some strides in races for many offices…the office of the presidency may be difficult to reach.”

Why would people be resistant to a female president?  Well, I think the problem lies that a female candidate has to have everything that a male candidate needs plus they need to prove their leadership abilities (something that is a given in most men).  A woman must also prove that their family is not a barrier to their work (something that has been thwarting women in many careers for years).

Also, all of the female candidates so far have been criticized for their styles in ways men are not. Someone like a Hilary Clinton is too much of a pantsuit wearing unfeminine witch (I would use another word but I have a family friendly site!) or in the case of Sarah Palin you are too much of a prom queen, too fluffy.  Men are not judged by such a shallow filter.  For example, John Edwards was criticized for his $400 haircut and his fluffy internet video getting ready for a photo shoot; however, it was only a momentary laugh and it did not seriously hurt his candidacy.  If it had been a woman with the video getting primped and spending $400 on a haircut she would be immediately dismissed as a joke.

Anne Kornblut author of ‘Cracked Ceiling: Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin and What It Will Take for a Woman to Win describes what is an ‘electable’ female candidate:

“I’ve played this game with myself for a long time. She is completely impossible. She would have served in the military and stayed home and raised her children full-time. She’d be married to someone with money, and she’d have some business experience. There’s just no way she could exist. There are too many demands on this candidate.

But joking aside – she’d be authentic, which would need to be true of a male or female presidential candidate. She’d cross the credential threshold – she’d have demonstrated that she’s qualified, and she’d be a communicator. Those are the areas where women have sometimes struggled.”

The problem is there will always be a male candidate with similar positions without the barrier of being a woman.  What political party will take the risk on a female candidate when you can pick a male without that risk?

I really wonder if the democratic party (a generally more progressive party) cannot elect Hillary Clinton with all her leadership experience is there an electable candidate out there?  I really don’t know.  I certainly believe there are many candidates that are capable and would do a great job but are they electable?  I just don’t know.  I wish they were but I don’t know.

It is generally seen acceptable for a woman to be chosen as a vice presidential choice and perhaps this is a first step but perhaps not.  Since the first vice president the office has been seen as  “the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived or his imagination conceived”.  Women have always been the supporters of men and is that not the role of the vice president?  Of course, there is always the potential of becoming president as the vice president (happened 9 times in our country’s history) but it is still the silver medal of political power.

The problem is not that women couldn’t do the job, its that people subconsciously feel they can’t do the job as well.  It may be unfortunate but true that people still see maternal affection and feminine virtues as weak and fragile.  I happen to believe they are strengths and provide an empathy that is not as present in most men who have not spent time caregiving in their lives.  In addition, not all women, or all mothers, are the same, even if they are perceived as being the same or as having the same weaknesses.

Just as men shouldn’t be looked at as one voting block, women should be seen as unique individuals with different strengths and weaknesses.  Unfortunately, I don’t know if this will ever happen.  I hope it will, but again my fear is there will always be a male candidate that doesn’t have to overcome these barriers.

What do you think about this issue?  Are we ready for a female candidate?  If so, why do you think the candidates so far have failed (assuming Bachmann does not get the nomination)?  What can be done to create a viable female candidate? Who do you think should run that hasn’t? Do you feel that motherhood is more of a barrier for women than fatherhood is for men?  What other barriers need to be breached and how can that happen? Do you feel resistant in a woman’s ability to lead? (Be prepared to defend yourself on that one!) Do you think that a women would make a better or worse president?  If so, why? I would love to hear your perspective.

On a lighter note, there have been 2 female presidents on network shows (Commander and Chief and 24) so that’s some headway. Now for life to imitate Hollywood!

More Random Thoughts

Today I have a lot on my mind, so I’m afraid this will be another one of my random, all-over-the-place posts.

1. I just watched Say Yes to the Dress and it has me all fired up.  There is a girl who is a 20 (which is still a touch smaller than me).  She can’t fit into any of the sample plus size dresses (this is the Atlanta show which doesn’t seem to have the plus size selection of Kleinfelds).  Anyway, as she fails in trying on the bridal dresses the upset woman says “Its not that bad.  I’m not that big.  I’m not this horrible person”.  What is wrong with our culture that big girls feel their size is not just a health concern but a sin, an evil- that it makes you a horrible person.   It is a classic example of the prevalence of fat stigma in our culture.  It makes me crazy!

2. So the former political science grad  in me has been eating up this recent debt ceiling debate.  I find it fascinating to watch the back and forth and try to guess what is going to happen (not only now but in 2012 as well).   It is a source of pride for me that the principles I helped fight for in the tea party rallies are being instituted by both parties.  Of course, I am the biggest fan of the cut, cap and balance bill but I think any spending cuts are a step in the right direction.

I’ve also given it a lot of thought and I don’t know what I would do if I was in Congress.  I respect the representatives that are sticky to pure principles but I also understand those that are accepting a practical compromise. I will be very curious to see how everything plays out. What would you’all do and why?

the government listened to my sign! 🙂

3. Today I made delicious whole wheat banana bread.  It is really good and actually good for you.  Here is the recipe:

1/3 cup grape seed oil

1/2 cup clear agave

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 eggs

1 cup mashed bananas (2 large bananas, 4 small bananas)

1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 cup hot water

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Directions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
In a large bowl, beat oil and agave together. Add eggs, and mix well. Stir in bananas and vanilla. Stir in flour and salt. Add baking soda to hot water, stir to mix, and then add to batter. Blend in chopped nuts. Spread batter into a greased 9×5 inch loaf pan.
Bake for 55 to 60 minutes. Cool on wire rack for 1/2 hour before slicing

4. Relationships are so confusing.  Its like the great mystery of life.  How does anybody get together in the end?  It happens every day so we just accept it but it seems impossible sometimes.  We hear a million talks in the church about how great marriage is and how we should all get married- if someone would please tell me how to do that I will be glad to oblige?  Anyway, finding love is hard  and that’s all I have to say on the topic.

5.  I am in need of good book suggestions.  I just finished reading the July-September book club picks (Life as We Knew It, All Creatures Great and Small, Anne of Green Gables- 2 out of 3 were terrific).  I figure I can’t read the October book so quickly (I’ve read it before, the Book Theif, but I want it to be fresh for book club).  Anyway, I am looking for engaging, creative, whimsical books.  They can be sad or even tragic but it just has to be something with likable, interesting characters.  I like historical fiction, classics, high-quality chick literature, poetry, and even some fantasy.  Please send me your recommendations.  Even if you think it is not my cup of tea please let me know what you have enjoyed and I will give it a shot.

6. My quest for the open water swim is going well.  As I mentioned in a previous post I had a great effort last week.  It was exhausting but thrilling. I did 5 tough work outs in one week.  However, this week was not quite as successful because of some stomach upset.  I have stepped up my dosage of victoza and once again my body did not like it.  I was doing so well for weeks that I thought I could up the dosage but not so much. Anyway, we will see.  Including tomorrow I will get 4 workouts this week which is pretty good considering I had 2 sick days.  I just want to be ready for the swim.  Next Thursday I will do a practice swim so that will be a good test to see if I am prepared.  If not, I can wait for the October swim but I hope I can participate.  Wish me luck!

7.  Today is the end of week 1 for the cpap machine.  It has been a hard adjustment but I’m improving each day.  Its difficult to get used to sleeping with a mask and it is hard to keep it from leaking.  I also miss being able to read before going to sleep.  Thank goodness for ipods.  (Also, thankfully I am not in a couple because the mask is not a romantic look!).

this is at the sleep lab but my mask is basically the same. Darth Vader here we come!

So that’s my random thoughts.   Love you guys!