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Category Archives: Elections

Thanksgiving and Politics – Difficult Decisions

Thanksgiving and Politics – Difficult Decisions

It’s hard to tamp down the overheated rhetoric of this ever-so-divisive election. Suddenly, the holidays are upon us and we aren’t even sure if we can bear to spend a whole day with certain family members. I see some online friends struggling with this. Here are some of the concerns and some solutions they’re going to try.

thanksgiving-meme-aliens

Online meme about Native Americans and undocumented immigrants.

M.L. has a great idea for Thanksgiving: “A tasty protest. If you feel obligated to have Trump supporting family members over for Thanksgiving. Do what I’m going to: have a Global Thanksgiving. No turkey here, just delicious food from all the countries and ethnicities that make up my community and my circle of friends.”

Another friend said, “This is great because you can feel good about it either way: if they like it, you’ve taught them the value of understanding people who are not the same as them. If they don’t like it, you get to smirk into your napkin as they shift uncomfortably in their seats and muddle through the meal.”

S.B.K. added an idea to expand on this, “I suggest that you play a soundtrack of world music while everyone is eating. Putumayo World Music puts out some fabulous albums.”

Someone suggested posting a sign at the door, “Politics not spoken here.”

B.H. had this perspective, “We have two options for dealing with Trump supporters in our family during the holidays:

A) Have the difficult conversations.

Don’t make it easy. Don’t fear making them uncomfortable. Part of the reason Trump was elected was because many white people, myself included, have not been having the difficult conversations with other white people. The old mantra of not bringing up politics or religion is dead. Bring it up. Make them squirm. Look up resources for having productive difficult conversations and practice as a family what you will say. If you’re thinking “I don’t want to ruin Thanksgiving” think about the LGBTQ youth who have been kicked out of their homes and might be without shelter in Trump’s America. Think about the undocumented people currently in detention centers. We need to sacrifice our own comfort to make the world a better place for them.

B) Don’t go/Don’t welcome.

We didn’t uninvite my in-laws to Thanksgiving, but we told them that we were deeply unhappy with them and didn’t really want to break bread with Trump supporters right now, so they uninvited themselves. These people voted for Trump because the bad stuff doesn’t affect them. Make them recognize actions have consequences. Make it affect them. A vote for Trump was a hateful act. The price should be your company and affection.

I recognize if you’re married to a Trump supporter these suggestions might not be possible, but I hope they are useful for confronting parents/siblings/cousins etc. Strength to you all as we navigate a difficult time together.”

V.B. is bypassing Thanksgiving with relatives, “I hope to go to the soup kitchen and serve. I want to give this year. I have a lot and more than enough to be thankful.”

A.L.B. has used these instructions in the past and it certainly seems appropriate for this election year Thanksgiving. “I actually post the ‘annual house rules’ when I invite everyone, since I do have friends of all types. It includes a ‘rule’ as follows: 3- My friends are diverse. They come in all colors, sizes, ages, ethnic groups, religious beliefs, political affiliations, orientations and with all kinds of hobbies/interests/passions. Negative energy or negative/inflammatory conversations of any kind are forbidden. I will toss out offenders. It’s my party, my favorite holiday and my house. Deal with it.

A lot of people are dreading Thanksgiving next week. If you find yourself with your stomach in knots,  then perhaps you need a new version of the holiday and not the same old family gathering.

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Posted by on November 16, 2016 in Elections, holidays

 

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Don’t Take Bernie’s Voters for Granted

Don’t Take Bernie’s Voters for Granted

One of the reasons that this election has me on tenterhooks is not knowing how the vote will split among the 4 candidates. The media focuses mainly on the two traditional parties, Democratic and Republican. I worry that a significant portion of the voters are disillusioned enough to vote 3rd party.

How the Libertarian and the Green Party votes play out is a scary part of the equation. The mainstream media seems to look at the two major candidates and assume that when it comes to the crunch the errant voters will return to voting Republican or Democratic.

I think media has underestimated the disillusionment of Bernie’s voters with the Democratic Party. This is not something that Bernie fostered, but it exists. Hillary Clinton hasn’t made much effort to woo them back into the flock.

bernie-voters-screenshot

Formerly, the Berners in the Facebook groups cheered each other on in making phone calls and donating to Bernie’s campaign. They flocked to his rallies. They shared stories of converting family and friends to Bernie and took pride in how long they stood in line to vote in the primary.

Now, the tone is rancorous with comments like this: “You green party/libertarian f—-rs just need to stop. There is NO WAY in hell Johnson or Stein will win. All you will do is make yourself feel warm and fuzzy at the polls, but not change anything. COME BACK TO REALITY!! Pick one, Trump or Clinton!!!”

Such interactions on Facebook and other social media aren’t creating any unified voting blocks. Trolls haunt the groups sowing doubts and being contentious. Bernie’s followers feel abandoned and most remain dubious about Bernie Sanders’ endorsement of Hillary and uncertain about what they should do.

14-bernie-believers-bernie-sanders-fb-screenshot

I’ve shared these screenshots and comments so you can see for yourself that much of this election is up-in-the-air. Don’t take Hillary’s lead in the polls for granted. There is much work to be done for anyone to win on November 8th.

I’m scared.

 
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Posted by on October 23, 2016 in Elections, Politics

 

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How to Avoid Voting Errors that Could Cancel Your Vote

Vote for Your Candidate
Vote for Your Candidate

With the election upon us and it’s an important one, it’s scary to think of what could go wrong at the polls.  I researched some of the problems that might come up and how to make sure they don’t happen to you.

Thousands of votes were wasted in the 2004 election when some Florida voters didn’t mark the ballots clearly. Don’t let your vote go to waste. Make sure you are properly registered to vote and bring identification. Ask questions if you aren’t sure how to mark the ballot or where to put it after you voted.

 
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Posted by on October 30, 2008 in Elections

 

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