Twisting The Ballot Box Screw

When I got into the conversation with my boss recently about Clinton vs. Sanders, the thing that hit me the most as I pondered it afterwards as how firmly and repeatedly he was trying to give me the message that I needed to get in line, that all of Sanders supporters needed to get in line. Repeatedly he said things like ‘if there was a better candidate, I’d vote for them in a heartbeat’ about Hillary, and instead of telling me why I should vote for Clinton, he spent his time telling me why Bernie didn’t deserve the vote. These are not the ways to get someone to vote for your candidate. This is how Kerry lost to Bush — No one wanted to vote for Kerry, they wanted to vote against Bush, and that’s not how you convince the swing voters. This election cycle is looking to shape up the same, there are a lot of people who aren’t supporting Clinton because they want her, they’re supporting her because they don’t want Trump.

Part of the reason why so many of the Sanders supporters are still holding out, why so many of us are still voting for him or planning to vote for him in the remaining primaries, is because we believe in his message. We know that not all the things he’s talking about are going to actually happen, especially if we don’t also get progressives to fill the house and the senate to back him, and even if we give him a happy majority in both it will be an uphill battle. Regardless of how much of what he’s trying for he can actually achieve, we believe he will give it a good try and his goals are the things that we as a country need. We believe in him and his message, and most of us are voting for him, not against Trump, Clinton, or anyone else.

I can accept and even respect someone who actually supports Hillary because they’ve considered her position on things, even if I disagree with them, because while I dislike a lot of things about Hillary, I don’t believe that the things that they’re aligning with her ideologically about make them horrible people, and they’re actually selecting a candidate they agree with. The people who are just saying ‘Sanders has lost, we just need to accept Hillary is our only hope’ when they don’t actually agree with what she stands for are going to be the weakness in the campaign. Yes, we are subject to First Past The Post voting, so in order to get the candidate that most agrees with us we need to strategically vote, but that shouldn’t mean that Hillary’s campaign and supporters should use fear to convince us. They need to tell us what’s good about her.

As an aside, if you’re not familiar with the term First Past The Post Voting (also sometimes known as Winner Takes All voting), or if you don’t know why it’s bad for pretty much everyone except for the powerful minority, please take the time to watch this video. Also check out more videos by C. G. P. Grey to follow up on this subject: talking about alternatives to FPTP such as Alternative Vote (also known as Instant Run Off voting) and how Gerrymandering works. I highly recommend them because it breaks them down into really easy to follow examples, which are great if you’re trying to get the point across effectively.

The other experience I had recently was I was having a twitter conversation with someone I follow. She’d been expressing her dismay at how there’s a type of Clinton supporter than accuses women who are supporting Bernie of not being Feminists, and I starting talking about my boss mentioned above. She and I were pretty much on the same page, and then a Clinton supporter @ mentions both of us, telling us they don’t understand us. Now, instead of doing the logical thing that one would do when you don’t understand, you know, asking questions so that maybe you can, she instead links us to a blog post that was trying to insist that Sanders isn’t a feminist. Pretty sure that the definition of Feminist is still striving for equality between the genders, and things like raising the minimum wage to a living wage, affordable health care, affordable education, and reproductive freedom all further gender equality. Particularly when the majority of minimum wage earners are adult women, and the way to pull themselves up from minimum wage jobs involve being able to maintain one’s health, further their education, and be able to make informed, safe, and healthy choices about when and how they reproduce.

So, how about this Clinton supporters? If you want my vote, tell me why I should vote for Hillary. Stop shouting doom and gloom about Trump being elected. Stop telling us we’re not feminists because Bernie’s an old white man. Stop telling us we’re young and stupid, entitled and delusional. Woo us, tell us what’s great about Hillary. And if you can’t? Why don’t you try to affect change and hold her to task. Quit starting negotiations at the middle ground because you think you can’t do any better, aim high so that when you have to compromise you end up closer to where you want to be.

Finding Words

I’ll have had for 12 years coming up on the 24th of May, and (which is currently set to mirror since December 31st 2000. Over the years I’ve had various projects hanging off subdirectories and subdomains, but the main page on the site has always been intended to be a portfolio. I’ve been horrible about maintaining my efforts on that front, often times going years between updates and leaving things languishing even when broken (the style switcher *cough*), leaving really crappy old pieces of writing that dated back to high school up for everyone to see, and having a bio page that was old as sin.

I’ve found lately that the only writing I do is half-cocked rants on diaspora*, little quips on Twitter that mean nothing and seem to only gather notice when I’ve at-mentioned someone, or my writing for my Star Trek role play game (USS Joshua Norton because shameless plug). Even though the quality was pretty bad, there was a time where I carried around multiple notebooks and an accordion folder full of various fiction writings and random musings. That all seemed to die off after I had my backpack stolen with all my rough drafts and works in progress in it, and I never really sprung back from it.

Recently I had an opportunity come up in my twitter feed that I would have liked to try for. An editor was looking for writers for her site and other projects, because a couple of her existing writers had moved onto bigger things. When I followed up, she asked for writing samples in addition to some personal information… and I absolutely dropped the ball because I didn’t have anything already written that I felt was usable, and the suggested prompts she offered when we’d talked about it failed to resonate with me. It particularly bothered me that none of the prompts got me anywhere, because one of the pieces of advice I kept seeing from various authors and writers I admired seemed to boil down to the same thing: Just write. Don’t wait for the muse, don’t second guess yourself, just get your thoughts down until they’re all out. Once they’re down, you can go back and edit, clean them up, turn them into the finished work you’ll eventually show to others, but you can’t do that until such time as you’ve gotten them written out to start.

I feel like I’ve lost something of myself in not doing this long form writing anymore. I constantly feel like I have things to say, and if someone gives me their attention for any length of time, I’ll start ranting about whatever has me fired up lately — usually politics and the downward spiral it feels like the USA is on right now. But in the end, I feel like this ranting gets me nowhere and it feels like it rings hollow. I’ve never been particularly good at speaking off the top of my head, I’m too crass and hot headed for many people to take me seriously, and I feel very disorganized when speaking aloud. Public speaking is a skill, and it’s an especially difficult one to master without preparation before hand, and since I’m usually stumbling into conversations when I find a willing partner for conversation, I don’t often find myself well prepared.

My goal here is to try to get myself in the habit of writing regularly again. I’m not particular about if I’m writing fiction or non-fiction, I just want to get in the habit of getting words out. I want to get better at sharing my thoughts, and I want to make sure that when I’m expressing myself I am doing so in an articulate manner. To that end, I am aiming to post something on a weekly basis. I suppose if any of you want to help out, if anyone is reading this thing, feel free to ether harass me if you don’t see me posting stuff, or offer me topic suggestions. I really need to figure out this self motivation thing though, so I really hope I can keep myself on task with this.