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Posts Tagged ‘Independent’

Perhaps I should note, right up front, that I am not equating Barack Obama to a douche. Or more accurately, I am, but not in the spirit of meanness. South Park fans will understand immediately. For the rest of you, let me explain. After major elections overseas and several state primaries, my thoughts turned to voting and the process of election. A friend, discussing similar topics, brought up episode 808 (#119) of the well-known satiric TV series South Park, wherein a new school mascot must be decided by vote and the two choices are anything but ordinary: a turd sandwich and a giant douche.

To cut a complex story short, a boy who is told he must vote refuses, citing that he doesn’t agree with either of the candidates and it is a pointless exercise anyway. After heavy pressure from family, friends, and community members, including threats of bodily harm, he relents. But before doing so, he is advised by the leader of a nationwide activist group that “every election is between a Giant Douche and a Turd.”

So we have our foundation. And I am inclined to agree with Matt Stone and Trey Parker, the creators and principal writers of the South Park series. Most elections do seem to come down to the choice between between a douche and a turd. It is one unfortunate result of a two-party system. As much as we tout the wide variety of choice in political preferences, it really comes down to Democrat or Republican on the ballot. Though a few shudders of revolt have been felt from the Independent and Tea factions, most candidates elected to major offices still carry an (R) or (D) by their names. (Is it a mere coincidence that douche begins with (d) and turd contains an (r)? I wonder.)

So what should one do, when faced with the choice of selecting between a turd and a douche? How can one determine the lesser of two evils? Either way, the populace effected is sure to lose. Yet not voting – refusing to choose – is seen as an insult, not only to the nation as a whole but to the many who fought and died to bring the nation to where it stands today.

I argue that refusing to choose is not an insult to the nation but a measure of the abuse the political system is experiencing. Without strong figures of reason and credibility to vote for, what impetus is there to cast a vote? Why mark the box for a turd if a turd isn’t wanted in office? It becomes a catch 22: the only candidates with enough political savy and sway to reach levels of importance are all douches and turds, so only douches and turds can be elected. Which I believe is the point made by Trey Parker and Matt Stone. And for the more patriotic, who see refusal as a dismissal of the battles that gave us the freedom to vote, I can only ask if those same battles were fought so that we would only be able to choose between two corrupt, greedy, unappealing, unwanted, money- and power-hungry candidates. I don’t believe that was what any of those men and women fought for. I don’t believe that is what men and women the world over continue fighting for.

I whole-heartedly support the right to vote. 1,000%. It was meant to be our greatest freedom, our most powerful weapon of peace and justice against our own government and political system. I value that right beyond words and will defend it to my last breath. With force, if necessary. But it has been so misused. It has become such a pitiful shadow of what it could and should be. It’s the 21st Century. We are surrounded with technological and biological marvels. And yet we vote as though we are still in the Dark Ages, ignorant, apathetic, afraid. James A. Mishener once said, “An age is called dark, not because the light fails to shine, but because people refuse to see it.” Well I see it, or at least the potential of it, and I refuse to vote for darkness. I refuse to vote for turds and douches and rampant liars and unconscionable thieves. Not when we, as a nation, are capable of so much better.

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In a post a few weeks back I noted that I had gardening on the brain and was determined to make it happen. I also said I would share my information in case it would be useful to some other poor reader out there. Let me preface what follows by pointing out that this is my first garden in years (years) and what I do may or may not be what is generally recommended.

First, I bought my seeds from a small distributor of heirloom varieties, Skyfire Garden Seeds. Turnaround was beyond excellent; I mailed my order and payment on a Monday and received my shipment that Friday. I also received two “thank you” packets free in my shipment and a hand-written note wishing me “a great garden this year.” I value that personalized touch. Even better, Skyfire beat both Burpee and Gurney’s prices on every variety I ordered, often by a landslide. So far, that puts Skyfire up by four-to-one (better products, customer service, turnaround, and price).

But the proof is in the pudding as they say, so with a handful of starter trays and a bag of potting soil, I got to work. (I’ll also note here that every seed packet contained more than the amount listed on the website, especially nice for those of us with a bit of black in their thumb.) On March 19th, three heirloom varieties of tomatoes were planted: Rutger, Pearson, and Long Keeper. They got a south-facing window in a garden shed and water but no special treatment (heat lamps, flourescent lights, etc.). On sunny days, I moved them outside for direct sun; nighttime temperatures stayed mostly in the 50s but dipped into the low 40s a couple times. On March 24th, Orange Sun Sweet Bell Peppers went in under the same conditions. The Pearson tomatoes sprouted earliest, on April 1st, followed quickly by the Rutgers and Long Keepers simultaneously on the 2nd. My Orange Sun Bells sprouted yesterday.

Together, the varieties have averaged a 95%+ germination rate, even with my unskilled plantings and less-than-ideal conditions. (And, in case they didn’t sprout, Skyfire offers a replace-or-refund guarantee.) March 19th also saw the open sowing of a cabbage variety called Glory of Enkuizen. They came up beautifully and thick as fleas; a few more nice days and they’ll be ready for transplanting. It’s a couple weeks until I’ll plant the rest of the seeds ordered but so far I am immensely pleased with the results and have nothing but praise for Skyfire Garden Seeds.

My garden growings also include yellow onions, purchased locally in sets and planted March 19th, and potatoes eyed from grocery store spuds. The onions are 6 to 8 inches tall; the few potato sprouts (about 4 in all so far) up are 1 to 2 inches.

I’ll keep posting from time to time and make notes, if only for myself. 🙂 For further consideration, I offer up the abundant resources of Dave’s Garden, which is very friendly and helpful in all things sproutable. In signing off, I’d like to say that gardening is not much of a chore, and the proceeds greatly exceed the effort. Plus, it’s a nice way to stay a bit active, promote independence, and stick it to the man. How could anyone resist?

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You may have noticed this story already from the AP feed or MSNBC or some other news organization but I think it bears repeating.

Muskogee, Oklahoma, has a new mayor.  Aside from Merle Haggard fans, this probably holds little meaning.  But don’t click to a new blog just yet, it gets a lot more interesting.  You see, he’s 19.  Yup, not even old enough to legally drink and he’s mayor of an entire city.  Given, it’s not exactly New York (Muskogee’s population is roughly 40,000), but I very much doubt I could have taken a fraction of that responsibility at his age.  (If you’re honest, I doubt you could have, either.)  I thought I was doing pretty well to get passing grades in my classes, keep a part-time job, and pay my car insurance on time.  To win, he beat out Hershel McBride, 70, a former three-term mayor.  Was it a squeaker, you ask?  Did he win by re-count and dimpled chads?  Hardly.  In a landslide victory, John Tyler Hammons, a freshmen at the University of Oklahoma, garnered 70% of the votes and is set to be sworn in next week.

So did he run on a lark?  A dare?  As a result of a booze-fueled frat party?  Sorry to disappoint, but no.  He’s serious.  And he’s non-partisan.  Democrat, Republican, Greener, Independent, Whig, or whatever, he plans to work for Muskogee as a whole.  “Politics stop at the door,” Hammons said.  “First and foremost, Muskogee is my one and only interest right now.  …If someone wants to talk politics, I will literally leave the office and leave the building if I have to.  In this office, it needs to be Muskogee-oriented.”  To begin, he has at least two ambitious projects to pursue for the city:  1) the introduction of an independent ethics commission to track city officials, both those elected and those directly appointed, and 2) the campaign finance reporting requirements for those running for office.  “I’m sure the [city] council will work with me on these issues,” Hammons shared.  “I campaigned on this, and this is something I intend to push.”

It’s clear this driven young man has big plans.  And Muskogee is betting he’s worth the risk.  Unencumbered by political secrets, schisms, and scandals, Hammons can bring a fresh perspective to the office and hopefully affect greater change than his predecessors.  At the very least, it provides a hopeful turn of events for the millions of voters across the country who remain unsatisfied by their elected officials at every level of government.  Change can happen.  

And not just the change from (D) to (R) in front of a congressman’s name, which is almost meaningless today anyway.  I think the mere act of shaking up an arena is worth as much as any outcome, if not more, whether the results are good or bad.  A former professional wrestler was elected governor.  A former body-builder and actor was elected governor.  A former actor was elected governor … and then elected president.  Oh yes, change can happen, though it may come in many a strange form.  I almost wish I lived in Muskogee so I could have penciled in a ballot for John Tyler Hammons myself.  At least he wants to work for the voters, he wants to make improvements, and wants to try.  That in itself is a victory.  “I’ve always had it in the back of my mind to be governor of Oklahoma one day,” he also said.  “That’s always been a dream of mine.  If I am lucky enough to be governor, I’ll probably flirt with the idea of trying to become president.”

Tell you what, John.  Try your hardest.  Stay honest (I’m assuming, of course, that you are now).  Fight for everything you want to see happen and don’t budge an inch on the important stuff.  Keep your ambition, your idealism, your drive, and I’ll be first in line to vote for you in 2024.  I’ll even make a campaign contribution.  I’m not holding my breath … but I’ll be rooting for you.

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A little Muskogee trivia, for those interested…   Located in the eastern portion of Oklahoma, Muskogee is about 45 miles from Tulsa and 120 miles from Okie City.  It is 61% white, 53% female, and 54% of the population is under 40 years old.  Median income is less than the state average at $26,418 and overall crime is slightly above average.  (A bunch of poor, angry, white women to blame, perhaps?)    The city encompasses roughly 35 square miles and is partially bordered on the northern and eastern sides by the Arkansas River.  It was settled in 1872, was once capital of the Indian Territory (pre-statehood for Oklahoma), and continues to grow today.

 

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