I haven’t yet found the words…

I haven’t found the right words yet for the election. Many are posting long treatises on Facebook. Manifestos. Jokes. Memes.

I cannot yet get it together. My responses on Facebook and Twitter count as some of the most disorganised and obscenity-laced I’ve published. I need to gather it all and make it work somehow, and at the moment all I can do is babble.

Brexit and Trump in the same six month period. My grandchildren will forgive me nuking my feeds with ‘Fuck’ interchanged with ‘shit,’ ‘god damn it,’ and ‘fuck.’

I deleted the post I had set up to publish while I was at work on Wednesday afternoon at 14:00. For what it’s worth, this is what I had written:


96 years ago, this picture ran in the newspaper.

“The sky is now her limit,” created by Elmer Andrews Bushnell in 1920, shows a young woman carrying buckets on a yoke, looking up at ladder ascending up to the sky. The bottom rungs are labeled “Slavery,” “House Drudgery,” and “Shop Work.” The top rungs are labeled “Equal Suffrage,” “Wage Equity,” and “Presidency.” (Library of Congress)

She isn’t who I would have wanted. She isn’t perfect. But this is an historic day.

As it turned out my misgivings and dread, months-old and deep, were well-founded.

I don’t yet have the words. But this was absolutely heartbreaking.

And for now, my kindergarten girls are getting extra high fives.

I’ll be back with you all soon.

Blowing Your Mind with the Political Compass

I first took this quiz, written in fairly shitty HTML that is nostalgic for all those in my generation, in maybe 2004. It was around the time that I first began watching the Daily Show. I was a leftie then, even at age 16. This was around the time I regularly wrote to my senators about the Iraq War (correctly stating more than once that this was a Hydra we couldn’t just carpet bomb into submission, and that worse and worse terrorist groups multiply).

A few important changes since then:

  • The death penalty is never justified, lacks internal logic, and risks killing people who didn’t commit crimes for which they were convicted.
  • A one-party system is more efficient (see China), but not necessarily preferable.
  • Sex outside of marriage is not to be frowned upon; abstinence-only preaching seriously endangers young people and old with misinformation and scaremongering.
  • National borders are like the lines children draw on the floor and say, “You can’t cross because I say so.” If not for the accident of my birth in Colorado to my particular parents, I could have been born anywhere to anyone. That random event shouldn’t decide things like whether I get to live and work in the same country as my husband.

In 2016, I’ve been listening to a ton of podcasts about the election. NPR’s Politics Podcast. The Political Junkie. Coverage on All Things Considered and Morning Edition. Grand Reportage from RFI. One in Italian that I don’t remember the name of presently. I read The Guardian, the BBC, Le Monde, La Nacion (Chile), The People’s Daily, and a few more periodicals. I’ve recently started looking at Red Feed, Blue Feed for balance.

I’ve been seeking out Trumpites and those with whom I actively disagree on Twitter, too. I feel very well informed about the political climate.

Screen Shot 2016-07-26 at 10.55.08 PM

Ugggggggggh. The disagree is so strong.

And yet, when people ask me about the main candidates, they are slightly surprised what I have to say. I tell them that Trump is embarrassing, and reminds me of Silvio Berlusconi. I tell them that political decisions have immediate impact on my life, since I live abroad and have to answer for all Statesian actions when people find out where I’m from. I tell them that Bernie Sanders never had a chance (but that I liked him since 2011!).

And I tell them that Hillary Clinton is a centre-right candidate. 

This blows my countryfolk’s minds. I often try to explain that if she held the views she seems to hold based on public remarks, she would be right of the current government of the UK in a few ways. I continue with the idea that politics in the US is skewed so far right that she seems reasonable compared to a Ted Cruz or a Jerry Fallwell Jr.

But this chart, released by the Political Compass based on public information from the candidates in 2016, makes my point much more clearly.

Screen Shot 2016-07-26 at 10.13.30 PM

For comparison, here are the rest of the candidates from the primaries. Bizarrely, Trump moved right on this one, indicating perhaps that he has adjusted his apparent views to suit a right-wing GOP slugfest over the last YEAR. Screen Shot 2016-07-26 at 10.13.36 PM

I took the test again today.

Screen Shot 2016-07-26 at 10.24.14 PM

Left of the Green Party…..WHOOOOOOOOO!

And for fun, here are three dictators, an economist, and Gandhi.  Of course, no implied connection to any current candidate. Ahem. Screen Shot 2016-07-26 at 10.24.07 PM

Does this change your thoughts about the 2016 Election? How do you feel about the 2016 election?

Want to talk on Twitter? I may be a mega-leftie, but I’m happy to listen and try to understand how you come to your opinions. Come find me!

On Not Having My Vote Counted

All rights to Google Maps. Taken as I began writing this post at 10:40 AM Seoul time.

We have received your ballot. Unfortunately you are not listed as an overseas voter. Please follow the instructions below as soon as possible.

I received these disheartening words last week by email, from the Boulder County Clerk’s office. They gave me several steps to follow, but warned that I should allow several days for processing of the ballot and my registration. This eleventh-hour confusion began literally 24 hours until the deadline for changes to the voting record in the lead up to this 2012 Election. It was too close for the changes to be registered in time.

Today, I checked my ballot’s status and found that it was not counted.

Listening to election coverage a world away in South Korea on NPR.org, I’m incredibly disappointed.

This election began almost as soon as Obama was elected. I cast my first vote ever for him in the 2008 Election and voted in the mid-term elections that transformed the US Congress into a gridlocked partisan inefficiency machine. I’ve monitored the issues closely and I consider participation in the democratic process fundamental. I am vocal on Twitter about my views, and even though I fall to the far left on the US political spectrum I still want to participate in the electoral process. I had faith in the voting process going into this election.

But my vote was not counted.

This is the form one has to fill out in order to vote from overseas.

In March 2012 I walked across the street to the Post Office in Yeongtong and sent my Federal Post Card Application for an overseas ballot. I’d moved to Korea three weeks earlier, and I knew that voting this November would be a defining part of my year.

As a woman of 25, I feel the heavy weight of politics more than most. I had to move abroad to find employment after college graduation. I was denied insurance coverage for a pre-existing condition. I use hormonal birth control and I believe it should be covered. I plan on taking out federal student loans to fund graduate school. I believe rape is rape, period. I am pro-choice. I am anti-Citizens United.

I believe Wall Street must be better regulated to prevent further economic crisis. I believe those who make the most income must pay higher taxes. I believe marriage must be equal for all citizens regardless of who they love. I believe immigration must open up to the best and brightest who want to come to the United States, and that it should be easier for my English boyfriend to live in the same country as me.

I believe drones are illegal and immoral. I believe climate change is real. I believe that the NDAA and increased power to detain citizens forever without trial is unconscionable. I believe that the two-party system in the United States is strangling our representative democracy. I believe the War on Terror and the War on Drugs have failed. I believe separation of church and state should be total. Crucially for Colorado, I believe marijuana should be legalized, regulated, and taxed.

Why this litany of causes and issues? Someone, somewhere needs to hear my voice.

I woke up early this morning, too excited about the election results to sleep in. I’m following it on NPR, Twitter, Google, Telemundo, Le Monde, and Al Jazeera. I’ve done my research. I’m a model voter, if I do say so myself.

But my vote was not counted.

All rights to Google Maps. Taken at 11:20 AM Seoul Time.

As soon as I realized my registration had failed, I filled out an emergency ballot downloaded from govotecolorado.com. I sent it via express air mail at a cost of $15 out of pocket. I feel that I did everything in my power to vote and have my voice heard, and yet for all my preparation and my desire to participate in the democratic process, I was blocked from it.

I can take commiserative comfort in the fact that I am not alone. Thousands of ballots in Colorado have been rejected for various reasons. Voter suppression tactics and outright fraud by groups like True the Vote and faulty machines have probably influenced the election. Super PACS and the massive influx of money from corporations in this election have tried to buy the election. (If you haven’t watched Big Sky, Big Money…watch it right now. Right. Now.) Faced with such problems, I’m tempted to say that my vote would not have made a difference even if it was counted.

And here’s the kicker:

I voted for neither Obama nor Romney.

That’s right. My vote, in the swing state of Colorado, was for neither major party candidate. I found myself incapable of voting for Romney and equally incapable of voting for Obama. I could not reconcile myself with voting for the lesser of two evils, as so many have convinced themselves is necessary in our two party system. To some, my vote for president would never have “counted” anyway. To vote for a third party candidate is tantamount to throwing away one’s ballot, especially in a year with such a close election.

But that’s not true. My vote still mattered, and there is more than just the presidential election at stake. My entire ballot was disqualified, and with it my voice on all the issues at stake.

All right to Google Maps. 12:38 PM Seoul time.

The democratic process is inherently flawed. It’s inherently messy. Votes get lost. People get discouraged. It’s tempting to believe that the democratic process is so broken that there is no point in even trying to participate. It feels so anticlimactic, after four years of campaigns and research and preparation.

My vote was not counted, but this will not stop me. I will continue to speak out on my issues. I will continue to write letters to senators. I will continue to support Planned Parenthood. I will continue to vocally oppose drones. I will find grassroots means to make certain that whatever issues for which I attempted to vote are not lost in the process like my ballot. I still believe that voting is my civic duty, a moral obligation, and that my voice matters. I will protest in the streets if necessary.

Courtesy of the Denver Post—Yes, that’s me in the middle with the sign above my head. November 17, 2011.

My vote was not counted, but this election has helped crystallize my views on the process in a way I could not have hoped for. I learned that I believe in the democratic process and in participatory elections, even in the face of an uncounted ballot.

My vote was not counted, but I will still remember this election for the rest of my days. I’m not a number included in the maps of swing states. I’m not a statistic for pundits to quote.

I’m a voice. I will continue to be heard. I voted. Whether or not it officially counted, it mattered.

EDIT: This post was made on 7th November 2012. My ballot eventually arrived, more than THREE MONTHS AFTER the election in January 2013. To say I was disappointed with the services of the Boulder County Clerk’s office is an understatement; I laughed so loudly and bitterly that my Korean coworkers thought I’d finally snapped.