How the Sausage is Made

Raise your hand if you get annoyed by craft bloggers who suddenly turn into political commentators every other November.
I see a lot of hands. 
What the…Hey, mine is up there too!
Imma vent.  There are two big things that tick me off every election season and if I can’t talk about them on my own blog, I am not doing it right.
1. Why do people assume we think the same?   
Want to see a toddler go into a full out melt-down? Tell him he is tired. 
Want to see me go seven kinds of crazy? Tell me how I should vote. 
If a politician wants to ask me for my vote that’s fine. It’s their job and someone has to do it. And telling me how and why you are voting is great too. Assuming you can keep it brief, I like hearing how you came to that conclusion. Even if I don’t agree with it, my perspective is broadened by hearing it. 
But assuming I share your opinion without asking me for mine? Oh Hell No.

and for another thing…

2. Why don’t people vote?
Even in a presidential election year, less than 60% of Americans vote. Do you know how crazy that is? 
Do you want to know why I vote?  Because of money. Namely, my money. Not because it’s a sacred act of freedom, but because over the course of my lifetime the government will take 1/3* of every dollar I earn and I’ll be damned if they piss it away on beer money. If I have to spend more money on the government than I do on my own retirement, you had better believe I will be paying attention. Furthermore, I deserve a say in how they spend it. 
How do I get a say? I do my part to keep assholes out of elected office. I vote. 
*Tangent: Yes, roughly 1/3 of my income goes to the government. No, I am not rich. Last time I calculated in 2008 it was 38% to be precise.  This includes typical paycheck deductions, plus the dollars spent on the taxes of other living expenses like utilities, insurance, real estate, groceries, retail items, etc. Literally, 25% of my cell phone bill is taxes. What is wrong with this picture? Granted, I live in Illinois where taxes run a little higher, but I can say with confidence that most of middle America falls in the general ‘one third’ window. Sit down some month and figure it out for yourself. It’s an eye opener. And here is the thing; anyone who tells you they can lower your taxes and put more money in your pocket is either, a. lying, b. really bad at math, or c. taking that money from somewhere else (in essence “borrowing from Peter to pay Paul”). Neither political party has much swing in how these things shake out, at least not in Washington, and certainly not in the White House. The sad truth is that’s just not how laws are made. How are laws made? Click here for a sing-a-long refresher.
Tangent on a Tangent: Yes, I know everybody likes talking about the presidential races, and that’s exciting, but we need to remember that’s not how the sausage is made. Presidents have tremendous influence but the actual guts of legislation get decided on Capital Hill. If you can’t name your congressional representatives there is a distinct possibility your money is being represented by someone who isn’t doing a very good job. Someone who doesn’t have your interest at heart. But honestly, why should he? Why should he have your interest at heart if you don’t even know his name? Man, what an asshole, right? Actually, today would be a great day to pay attention and find out what particular breed of asshole he is. Or she is. There is no gender gap when it comes to acting like a jerk with other people’s money. 
Speaking of gender gap, here are three interesting facts that have come to my attention in the last two weeks:
  1. Women have voted in higher numbers than men in every election since 1964.
  2. Women make up a higher number (55%) of undecided and swing voters than men.
  3. Women are the most sought after voters in this election cycle. Not Soccer Moms or NASCAR Dads. Regular women like me are going to determine who is going to Washington next January. And I like it that way.
If you are one of the many folks who are still deciding, take a few minutes to check out THIS WEBSITE and decide for yourself. Project Vote Smart a legitimately non-partisan organization that provides information about every candidate running for federal and state races.
Whew, vent over! That was fun, huh guys?
And just remember, if all else fails, raid the polling station Wednesday morning and grab all the corrugated signs you can carry. They make for excellent crafting.
Happy Election Day :)

Comments

  1. Thea says

    I worked the polls on election day, but had to vote mail-in absentee, ’cause the precinct I worked was not the one I vote in. The job requires you to be there (without leaving) from 6:30 am to 9 pm. so you can imagine how important I think voting is. I know that in the next few months I will get in discussions with people complaining about the outcome of the election and I can predict 90% of those people won’t have voted. To which I say “fuck you if you can’t take a joke”, vote or shut up. One of the best things that happened that day was we registering 128 new voters (we had 930 registered in our precinct to start) and most of those were 18-20 years old, voting for the first time. Still wound up with only 521 total votes including the 128 new. I’m from Chicago originally where the motto was “Vote early, vote often”, back in the old Mayor Daly years. Now getting someone to vote just once is pulling toenails, but those young people gave me some hope for my future since they are going to be the ones paying my Social Security! Excuse me I rant, gonna grab a kitty and go to bed with a book, the cure for everything.

  2. Gol de Glo says

    Do not underestimate the importance of a president. They are the ones who get to appoint Supreme Court Justices, who are then around making decisions that fully impact the quality of your life for DECADES.

  3. PeachesFreund says

    You have a point. I think President Obama has only used it once (and it was to avoid releasing documents to the public I think…nothing related to legislation, I’m sure). But there have been exceptions in the past. No names mentioned…..

  4. Guest says

    Agree…but there is thing called an “Executive Order” its been used a lot and it bypasses the checks and balances.

  5. PeachesFreund says

    Well said. We have 435 Reps in the House and 100 more in the Senate. That 535 people who should be held accountable *before* the President. Any President. But it’s a lot easier to credit or blame one person instead of 535, I guess.

  6. Tracy Griffith says

    Agreed wholeheartedly about the lack of tact in telling me how I should believe regarding politics when they wouldn’t do it regarding religion!

    & What gets my shorts in a crumble is all the yelling about each candidate and that they’re going to do this or that when it’s something that the President HAS NO CONTROL OVER. Do these commentators not understand how our system works? The President can’t overturn a Supreme Court decision even if they tried. Presidents don’t pass laws, Congress does. We have checks and balances, folks, they’re built into our system for a reason! I don’t want to hear it from them if they can’t even understand how our republic functions!

    Ugh now I’m ranting too… :D

  7. michelle l says

    My dear! I have been thinking all month about your post on grabbing used political signs. I can’t wait for the morning after! Tis one of my favorite posts you have ever written. Agree with your mini rant – all I would ever blog is, “Vote, dammit!” Never “Vote for X.”

  8. PeachesFreund says

    I have had my eye out too! There are some signs posted along the road by my house….I am so grabbing them Wednesday!

  9. Gina says

    This is a great post! I especially like your 2nd point, because it’s so true. Here’s to a successful election day!

  10. PeachesFreund says

    I’m right there in the boat with you.

    I never get that thing about “polite people never discuss sex, politics or religion in public.”

    Ummmm, why? We will never understand other people if we don’t make the effort to exchange ideas on important issues….HOWEVER, why is that when people do dive into discussing politics (or alike) it’s as though they forget all their manners and just start ranting on about whatever dogmatic idea they buy into and start shoving it down my throat too? In etiquette terms, I would rather watch someone eat with the feet. What is wrong with people?

    If/When I call the shots, I want all public schools to teach children subjects like Discussing Awkward Issues, and Confrontation, and How to Disagree with People Without Being a Meanie Head. This is important stuff and hardly anybody knows how to do it!

    Why can’t we talk about these things like civilized human beings? *Grahwr!*

    Oh no…I’m ranting again. Sorry Tracy!

  11. PeachesFreund says

    Ab-so-tootly!

    Is it wrong that I have more confidence in women making consciousness voting choices than men? I can’t decide if that’s sexist or just routing for the home team. Either way, VOTE FOR WOMEN*

    *In my mind I said that just like the Mom in Mary Poppins.

  12. PeachesFreund says

    I went to early vote over the weekend and the line was already three hours long….think I’ll take my chances at the polls on Tuesday. You are right though — accessibility is key. Let’s make it easy on people as possible.

  13. Kara DeCarlo says

    Yay!
    Also, considering the legislation that’s been brought up in Congress over the past year it is VERY IMPORTANT that WOMEN go vote.
    It took a long-ass time for men to “give” us the right to vote. Don’t squander your rights.

  14. J Hill says

    A vocal, informed, even downright irritating voter base will never aggravate me. The thing that NEVER fails to get me downright stabby are the good people who don’t vote. Please, for the love, VOTE!

  15. says

    I am 100% behind you in your tangent-on-a-tangent. I think politicians bank on people forgetting how government budgets truly work. After all, the last time most people have any conscious thought about who spends the money in government is when they have to take a civics/government class in high school. I get sooooo aggravated when people blame the President (any President, not just our current one) for spending or deficits or whatever, when what they are complaining about is something Congress actually has done.

  16. palak says

    love the ideas for political signs! I did used to frown on those who don’t vote– until the 2010 elections. I had neglected to vote early, and when I did get ’round to it on election day with two toddlers in tow the line was already a couple hours long. Lesson learned. Vote early– and vote for poeople who will make voting more accessible each year.

  17. Tracy Griffith says

    Oh, Peaches, this is exactly the thing I like to hear/read from bloggers. I get to a point where I’ll quit reading someone’s articles if they get too ranty. In either direction, right OR left! I’ve been in, around, below, above, outside, and inside politics for years and I’m sick to death of being told what to do :)

    Good on you for this piece!

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