Not so long ago, I posted a blog about being an old and jaded woman who doesn’t believe someone like Bernie Sanders stands a chance in the general election.

Well, now I…still don’t believe Bernie could win. (Although Scott Walker has dropped out, thank the gods!) But I do have to make note of something I’m seeing… Yesterday was National Voter Registration Day, and I took the day off from work so I could spend it all registering voters. Because I’m a giant political nerd. Oregon does technically have the new law where you automatically get registered to vote if you have a driver’s license or ID at the DMV, but a lot of (especially younger) people who don’t have IDs might fall through the cracks, so voter registration drives continue to be an awesome thing.

We did our registration drive at a local college, and the students were incredibly enthusiastic about signing up. And the main reason for their enthusiasm? Yep, you guessed it. Bernie. Lots of young people who wanted to make sure they could vote for him in 2016, who wanted to make sure they were registered Democratic so they could vote for him in the primaries. So Bernie’s campaign to win the White House may not be realistic, but he is getting a whole new generation of Americans excited and involved in the election process. I doubt that the students would have been so fired up if it had been just Hillary or Biden running.

Or maybe they would have been. The number two reason I heard from our brand new voters was: “I don’t care what happens–I don’t want Donald Trump to win.” There are certainly some colorful personalities involved in the 2016 race, and that may motivate high voter turnout. Whether or not that’s a good thing? We shall see when the election results come in…

I don’t want Donald Trump’s money.

I know I’m supposed to want Donald Trump’s money. We’re all supposed to want Trump’s money. He’s the embodiment of the American dream we’re all supposed to aspire to. The fact that he’s got billions and billions of dollars–as he frequently likes to remind us–automatically makes him a human being of value. A human being worthy of our respect and emulation, and possibly our vote. He had the skill and the talent to make all that money. Or at least he had the cunning, and that’s good enough for us. If we don’t respect him, we’re likely to be sour grapes sore losers who envy his wealth.

But I don’t envy Trump’s wealth, especially if it comes with Trump’s fame and publicity. That seems like a heavy burden to carry. Perhaps I’m a weak person, I don’t know. I wouldn’t want to have to deal with that, and if it meant getting Trump’s personality issues as well…oof.

That doesn’t mean I’m not guilty of jealousy…isn’t everyone? I’m jealous as hell of Jimmy Carter.

I envy Jimmy’s serenity, his calm faith. What is his secret? What causes him to accept a cancer diagnosis with a smile and a remark about how this is going to be a “new adventure”? I mean, hypothetically speaking I can think of death and the afterlife as a new adventure too, but if I were faced with a terminal illness diagnosis in reality, I’m not so sure I could keep my cool like this. I envy how he’s been able to focus his existence on a higher purpose, on what is really meaningful–without allowing himself to be distracted by a gazillion doubts, the way I usually do.

So don’t give me any of Trump’s billions. Can I steal just a little bit of Jimmy Carter’s peace of mind? Can I have just a smidge of his kindness and patience? He is so rich in them already, he won’t miss it, right?

Yeah, I’ll admit it–I’m a sore loser, green-eyed jealousy monster. Call it spiritual sour grapes.

Living on an alien planet can be difficult sometimes. It requires work and effort. Every afternoon, I turn on the news and try to figure out what is going on around here.

The news anchor swivels his eyestalks as he lectures his audience. “On our planet, we believe in having as much freedom as possible,” he explains. “That’s why the clerk in Kentucky is keeping same sex couples from getting married…she’s doing it in the name of freedom.”

Okay, so that makes no sense. But hey, different lifeforms and all that, right? And what kind of strange name is Kentucky, anyway?

I keep watching, but it doesn’t get any better. An interviewer shifts herself and her low-cut dress towards the camera, so that we can more clearly see the cleavage of her five breasts. “Ooooh, is that really your answer?” she chirps. “You wouldn’t terminate your female partner’s pregnancy even if it meant ending her life? You would watch her die?”

“Oh, certainly! I will always stand in defense of life.”

“Well, blirpity blorpity, Senator!” she giggles.

This is becoming hopeless. Now, snippets from a press conference. A truly strange creature with a bizarre growth on its head leans into the microphones.

“The Latinos love me!” it yells. “The Mexicans, they love me! Just last week, I gave one of them a $10 tip, and he said to me…”

Is there no intelligence to be found out here?

It’s almost a relief to see the televangelist lifeform flail its tentacles up to the sky. “He’s coming back!” it screeches. “He’s coming back and when He does, everyone who didn’t listen to my warning will get TOSSED into the lake of fire!”

The lake of fire sounds preferable to this insanity…I hope I get tossed in there soon. To borrow a phrase from this crazy tribe, amen.

So what is the Republican party going to do to discredit Donald Trump?

They’re going to have to do something–they can’t allow him to be the nominee. In fact, that’s what I keep hearing: “Reince Priebus is going to do something.” But what? I’m racking my brains and, for the life of me, can’t come up with what that will be. So far, Trump has been saying offensive thing after offensive thing, and still going up in the polls. He attacks Latino immigrants–up in the polls. He attacks a Fox News host–up, up, up.

Since a lot of Trump’s appeal stems from his outsider cred, it might be possible for his opponents to undermine him if they can somehow portray him as an insider–a moderate or on the side of the Democrats. But right now, that doesn’t seem to be working either. He came right out and said he likes single payer health care at the debates. He’s fine with Planned Parenthood. His fans don’t care.

So what will the Republicans do? As we speculated, my mother came up with an elegant solution. “If it gets too close to the convention and he’s still the frontrunner, they’ll just shoot him.” I wonder if they could get away with that? They could always claim they mistook his hair for a lion….

On the other side, the Democrats are stuck with a similar dilemma. I’m sure they’ll want to get rid of Bernie Sanders. Perhaps they can do so by making the argument that he would be unelectable in the national contest. But that argument is getting harder to make as Bernie rises in the polls and Hillary continues to sink into her e-mail scandal. What happens if Hillary is too wounded to go on and Bernie sticks around?

I’ve got enough cynical faith in our country’s political machine to believe that we will, in the end, get the designated mainstream nominees we were meant to have in the first place. But the plotline of how we arrive there could be very interesting indeed to follow…stay tuned!

My last post came from a place of pessimism, but that isn’t the full story. If I want to be truthful, I need to write about the flipside, the things which are keeping me active and keeping me going. Most of all, it’s the people I’ve met–wonderfully stubborn, gutsy people who don’t give up and continue fighting. They have reminded me of the way I used to care and the way I still care.

More than that, the groups I’ve become involved with aren’t just idealistic, they’re also pragmatic and they bring results. Change happens. Some examples of what has become reality: The Bus Project is responsible for Oregon’s shiny new motor voter law, which makes sure that anyone with a driver’s license is automatically registered to vote–this at a time when voter rights are suppressed in other parts of the country. They have also pioneered the Fresh Start Initiative, which expunges minor marijuana-related infractions from criminal records. Because if marijuana is now legal in Oregon anyway, what’s the point of these incidents haunting individuals for years to come? This initiative not only passed the Oregon legislature–Representative Earl Blumenauer is now planning to turn it into a U.S. Congress bill.

Meanwhile, I’ve been spending even more time with the awesome folks at Oregon Climate, who are working to implement an innovative carbon fee & dividend plan. They had a bill in both the House and Senate in our last state legislative session, and have succeeded in passing multiple carbon pricing city council resolutions. Pretty impressive when you realize that they started out as a couple of friends talking about climate change in their living room.

And since I’m giving a shoutout to worthwhile organizations anyway, let me mention the Oregon Working Families Party and Fair Shot Oregon, both advocating for a $15 minimum wage. Thanks to them, the minimum wage issue is expected to be on the ballot in 2016.

I can tune out all the nonsense that is being spouted in national politics when I focus on the activists getting stuff accomplished locally. Local political engagement is hard work, and it doesn’t get the glamour or the media attention that the nationwide spectacle does, but it’s where things really get done. It’s more than worth the time and effort.

Finally, this post is a bit of an apology along with an explanation. My involvement with these local organizations is the reason for my posts becoming more infrequent lately. Between my full time day job and my spare time political activities, my schedule has become a little squeezed. I’m definitely not giving up on the blog, because I love writing, but may not be here as frequently as I have before. Sorry and a very grateful thank you to the people who have continued to visit ;)

First off, let me say that I tend to be pessimistic about most aspects of American politics. I was pessimistic about the chances of Obama winning re-election in 2012. And I was totally wrong about that. So, grain of salt and all that.

I’m not optimistic about Bernie Sanders.

Everyone I know on the left is super excited about Bernie. And why not? I get it. I love what he has to say too. But I’m not so sure the general American public is ready for him. The Bernie supporters that I’ve spoken to claim that it is. Perhaps they’re encouraged by Obama getting elected and then re-elected. But Obama has spent his presidency governing more like a moderate Republican, and half the country STILL believes that he is an evil Communist. So I’m a little worried about the chances of a self-proclaimed Socialist.

And I’m very worried about the chances of Scott Walker getting the Republican nomination, since that is the direction I believe the GOP is heading in. Scott Walker makes me nervous. I’m an American worker, and he’s got a legacy of either doing or trying to do awful things to the workers in his state. Keep in mind, this is the pessimist talking–I believe he could win the whole thing. I think he could easily beat Bernie, as Scott has a way of pretending that he’s a centrist during his campaigns. He will portray himself as the moderate and Bernie as the fringe candidate.

What are some of the things I fear a President Walker doing? Reclassifying overtime pay law, so that fewer jobs qualify for it. Killing the weekend and the 40 hour work week, as the Republicans in Wisconsin wanted to do. Repealing the ACA. Privatizing Medicare. I don’t buy for a second that there wouldn’t be any difference between a Hillary presidency and a Walker presidency. Yeah, most Democrats are part of the corporate system too, but none of them are going to go after the average worker in the aggressive way that Walker will.

Of course, Bernie would be perfect at addressing all these issues. Sadly, America just isn’t progressive enough for him. Maybe there’s been a deeper and faster demographic shift than I realized. Otherwise, I don’t see it.

I should add that if Bernie does become the Democratic nominee, I will definitely support him and put time and effort into working for his election. Until then, I remain cautious.

One thing is for sure–volunteering for Hillary’s local campaign should be a lot of fun. I expect to get abuse from both sides, the conservatives *and* the Bernie supporters. Bring it on! I’ve always enjoyed a good debate.

I miss the way guys used to dress.

Today’s masculine look doesn’t quite do it. Baseball caps. Even worse, backwards baseball caps. Wife beaters and droopy pants. Boring suits and ties.

A couple of friends and I visited an exhibit at the art museum this week. There were some plump ladies getting kidnapped by Greek gods, a lot of paintings of severed heads (reminding me that ISIS is nothing new), but I couldn’t get my mind out of the portrait section. Because, man, those eighteenth century gentlemen had style. I had forgotten about those amazing fashions I first fell in love with way back in the Amadeus movie. The wigs with the ponytails and fancy ribbons. The fantastic stockings and shoes with gold clasps. Why don’t men dress like that anymore? Well, okay…probably because people on the street would point and laugh at them. But hey, I’d be a huge fan!

This is one of the reasons why I’ve always been crazy about Prince. The little man is not afraid to be beautiful. He can rock the ruffles and high heels, and do so with complete confidence. Now there’s a deity who can kidnap me anytime.

Then again, if I demand that guys put more elaborate effort into their outfits, shouldn’t I be doing the same myself? Wouldn’t that mean having to wear giant frilly dresses, petticoats and corsets? Since I’m writing this in my pyjamas, I’m the last person who should be offering fashion critiques. Modern convenience cuts both ways.

All right, I’m not willing to spend fifteen minutes every morning lacing myself up at the waist, and I don’t want to have to run for the train in a long gown. So I won’t expect others to put in that kind of work, either. It’s only fair.

I think I’ll settle for our local hipsters with their bowler hats and handlebar moustaches. They certainly look bizarre enough for me….


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