Happy Election Day USA!

It’s that time again–our four year right of passage. For those that have a long wait in line (some people have 7 hour waits–not sure how that’s legal), here are some funny Petunia pictures in her Bon Jovi coat (minus the fringe):

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I remember where I was last election day, like it was yesterday. Time certainly does fly so fast. I was at the Black Swan in Tivoli, New York. It’s a fun little pub in an adorable little hidden town. The pub stays open late and features a fun cast of characters behind the bar. They mostly cater to the Bard College hipster crowd but they are usually coming when I’m going. They must return to their dorms after class and power nap because they only appear –in their too tight stovepipe skinny jeans–after midnight, at the earliest. I was there four years ago today enjoying many pints, getting caught up in the collective anticipation. I also had an ulterior motive for being there. At the time, my favorite pastime was drooling over a mustached bartender with fantastic fashion sense named Alex. Ahh, I haven’t had a crush like that since then. As time passed Alex and I became good friends and he certainly holds a special place in my heart. It now makes me laugh, knowing him better, when I think about how smitten I was with him. I remember the crowd in the bar going absolutely berserk when Obama was announced as our new president. People were crying. It was a great moment to be alive. There was so much hope in that room and in the world.

I must say that I believed then what I believe now: we are on a sinking ship regardless of who the president is. I remember looking around the room at all the ecstatically hopeful people and I felt sorry for Obama even then. And I feel sorry for him now. Sadly, these four years haven’t diminished that sinking feeling in my gut. It’s certainly not Obama’s fault. A wise yogi once said, Don’t hate the playah, hate the game. The world unfairly expected one man to change a system that’s completely broken in just four years. The United States isn’t a democracy, it’s a plutocracy. And it makes me sad to think that citizens of other countries are fighting to the death for this form of government when they should be fighting for something better.  A two-party system only serves to polarize us on issues that most of us can actually agree on (or can at least find some middle ground on) and any one elected official can’t possibly represent my vote on all issues. More than anything, the idea of voting for the lesser of two evils just doesn’t sit well with me. When I told my friends that I was voting for Nader in the last election, some of my friends stopped talking to me because my third party vote stole from a primary candidate (think of the Bush/Gore election). But I stick by the idea of there being more than two parties. I’m sorry. Women and people of color in years past didn’t fight tooth and nail for the right to vote just so future generations could have only two viable options. In a perfect world, each citizen should have their own say on every issue, instead of electing one person that represents a portion of their total beliefs. Heck, I’m willing to go to the polls once a month or even once a week if need be. It would probably be harder for billion dollar lobbies to buy our vote compared to one elected official–they are just sitting ducks for corruption. It’s instant job creation right there. Out of work politicians can run the polling booths. Oh silly me, they probably don’t ever have to work again. Most of them are rich.

The flip side of this negativity is that I believe in the collective power of people and I believe that we can change anything that gets in our way. Change is hard though and modern day individualistic Americans aren’t really accustomed to working together anymore. The social movements of the 60’s and 70’s seem all but wiped from our DNA. I’m proposing that, maybe not today and maybe not tomorrow but sometime in the near future, we get together and begin the work of reforming our political system. Taking it back from the few and giving it to the many. In the meantime, seize this rare opportunity to participate in a system that’s supposed to represent our ever changing individual and collective needs.

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