Wednesday, November 9, 2016


Well, here we are. 

It's November 9th. The election is over. Donald Trump has won and will become our next president. 

Am I happy about this? Not particularly. Am I worried by the outcome? A bit, yes. Do I feel regret over how I voted? Not at all.

As I mentioned yesterday, I'm well aware that I - along with all other third party voters - am going to be blamed by some for the outcome of this election. In fact, it has already begun. Here's a sampling of what I'm seeing from people on my own Facebook friends list:

"How are you feeling, third party voters?"

"I blame... 3rd party voters."

"If you voted 3rd party... shame on you."

"If you voted for Johnson, just smack yourself - why bother voting?"

There's more, mostly in the form of memes and shared posts, but the general consensus re: third party voting is that I should feel terrible, shamed, and shouldn't have even voted.

And now, my response.

How am I feeling? I'm OK, thanks. Not great, mind you, but I'm hanging in there. I really thought Gary could get to 5%, so I'm definitely upset that he didn't, that there's no guarantee that 2020 will be any different. And I can't say I'm really looking forward to Trump's presidency, but it will be interesting to see where this takes us as a country. I want to see how people step up to fight against, or support, a Republican-run America. There is so much anger and sadness today, and that hurts my heart, but I also hope it pushes people to take action (appropriate, positive, non-dangerous action). Our votes are our voices, and last I saw, Hillary edged past Trump in the popular vote. That means that more people voted for Hillary, more people's voices screamed her name and wanted her leadership, yet Trump becomes our president-elect. This is how the system works, and clearly a LOT of people are not happy with that. So speak up about it. Keep using your voices until you are heard.

I will accept your blame if it helps keep the peace. I shouldn't accept it; I'm not truly to blame. You think that if I hadn't voted for Gary Johnson that surely my vote would have been for HRC, and that's why you're blaming me. You believe my vote would have helped your candidate, and that Johnson stole my vote away. Here's the thing about that: It's simply not true. Hillary never had my vote. Nor did Trump. Had they been the only two choices, I would have abstained from voting completely. Are there people out there who might have voted for Clinton if a third party option hadn't been available? Sure. But I'm not one of them. Nor is my Hubby. Many of us would have preferred to NOT vote rather than vote for "your" candidate. So you can blame me all you want, and I'll take it. I'll shoulder that for now because you're hurting and upset, because - particularly if you're my friend or family - I love you and I'm willing to do that if it will help ease the pain. 

Accepting your blame is one thing, but I refuse to feel ashamed of my vote. By telling me I should be ashamed of myself or by trying to shame me for my choice feels no different than bullying. Shaming me for voting for someone I believe in and admire? Shaming me for using MY vote for MY voice? Shaming me for not voting YOUR way? I've been raised to believe that voting is a duty and an honor. If I had voted any other way, I would have been doing myself and my country a disservice by letting my voice be silenced by those who are now trying to shame me. I voted for the person I truly felt was best suited for the role of president. In doing so, I have done nothing shameful or of which to be ashamed. I've taken your blame, but keep your shame. You may need it.

I "bothered" to vote because it's my right as a citizen of this country. Just as it is your right to vote for HRC, it is my right to vote for Gary Johnson. When I say, "Get out and vote!" what I mean is "Get out and vote!" Apparently, when some of you said "Get out and vote!" what you meant was "Get out and vote for my candidate!" You made it sound like you were encouraging me to exercise my right, but my right is to vote for whomever I choose. And yes, it is also your right to (try to) blame me and shame me for my decision. You are using your voice to convey your disgust and desperation, and you are entitled to do so. But here's a question for you to consider: Why? Why chastise me for voting third party and not almost half of the country who actually voted for Trump? Why use your voice to beat me down instead of using it against the party you're actually against? Why ruin friendships and burn bridges when you could be embracing an opportunity to engage in dialogue and hear different views? I "bothered" to vote because I wanted things to change. Now that the results are in, might you agree with that?

Donald Trump will be our next president, but don't blame me... I voted for Johnson. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Election Day Thoughts

Well, here we are. Election Day at last. Seems like it took FOREVER, right? 
No stickers for absentee voters.
I'm pretending this is mine.

Today, "I Voted" stickers will cover the country (or, at minimum, Susan B. Anthony's grave site), social media will take one last look at Ken Bone and his charming red sweater, and we the people will elect the next U.S. president. It's kind of a big deal.

As I've definitely made known, I voted for Gary Johnson. I've explained why I'm voting for him, but one thing I haven't really mentioned is this: I know he won't win. 

I'm not delusional. I've known from the very start that Gary had less than a snowball's chance in Haiti of becoming our next president*. And yet, I voted for him. Proudly so, I might add. 

Do you like your mom's posts
with that finger?
I voted for Gary knowing he wouldn't win. I voted for him knowing that I'm going to continue to hear that my vote was wasted. I voted for him knowing that I'll be blamed by some for the outcome of the election because somehow my vote for a third party candidate gave votes to, or took them away from, Mr. Trump or Ms. Clinton. I voted for him knowing that it was an unpopular position to take among my friends, and that some have chosen to hide my posts or unfriend me as a result. I voted for him knowing some people would get downright hostile about my decision and would probably think less of me because of it. 

 So knowing all of that, why did I do it?

Aleppo-shmaleppo, Gary's my guy!
I voted for Gary because I felt his voice best represented my own. I voted for him because I trusted in him over the other candidates. I voted for him because I believe he has this country's best interests in mind. I voted for him because the system isn't working the way I believe it should. I voted for him because I want him to reach the 5% mark so we are guaranteed more than two options in 2020. I voted for him because I wanted to vote FOR a candidate, not AGAINST one. I voted for him because when all is said and done, I will still feel good about myself and my vote. I voted for him because it was my vote to cast however I wanted, despite what others may think. I voted for him because it felt right for me.

I voted for Mr. Johnson because Ms. Clinton is well-spoken, polished, and prepared for the job, but she is a candidate I cannot trust. I voted for Mr. Johnson because Mr. Trump is bold, business-minded, and not afraid to shake things up, but he is a candidate I cannot respect. 

In the end, it doesn't really matter why I voted for Gary Johnson. Others who voted for him already understand and those who didn't aren't likely to care one way or another. But I have my reasons and I stand behind my decision.

I hope you stand behind yours as well.

*Yes, I meant Haiti, not Hades. The temps in Haiti are almost always in the 70s or 80s. This is not a place Frosty is going on vacation.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

A Lot to Cover

The countdown is on. We are one week away from Election Day, so I must be here to talk about politics, right? Right? Bueller?

Nope, I'm taking a break to write about something a little lighter. The past month has been rough. In addition to all the election BS everyone is dealing with, my dad was in a motorcycle accident and has been in the hospital for over two weeks. Add some extra personal stress and anxiety and... Well, it's just not been a great time for me.

There are a few things in life I can always count on to make me feel better. My hubby. My friends. My family. My pups. And music.

I love music.

Lately I've been focusing on covers, largely thanks to a trial of SiriusXM during which I could listen to their online stations, including the new Covers channel. I fell in love with that channel. Hard. My trial ended just over two weeks ago and I'm still not over it. I'm mourning the loss of my channel. I've tried creating sort of a covers station on Pandora, but I don't think it understands what I want (though it, too, has shown me some awesome songs).

I've written in defense of covers before, thanks to Glee. I've even written about Christmas covers. So it should come as no surprise to anyone that I'm obsessing over cover songs yet again.

Today I want to share my five most recent cover obsessions. (FYI, just because they're recent obsessions doesn't mean the covers themselves are necessarily recent. I say this so no one goes, "Pfft, that's not new!" Yeah, I know it's not. Shut up.)

So, in no particular order...

1. KHS, Sam Tsui, Madilyn Bailey, Alex G - Send My Love: This collaboration of awesome Youtube artists Kurt Hugo Schneider, Sam Tsui, Madilyn Bailey, and Alex G is one of MANY Adele covers out there, yet it stands out to me as one of the very best. Not only are the vocals amazing (a cappella is my weakness!), this is probably the craziest game of patty cake you'll ever see.

Favorite Moment: The vocals drop out around 2:22 for some intricate hand clapping. When they come back around 2:38... Perfection.

2. Disturbed - The Sound of Silence: I'm a big fan of oldies, and I have a hard time with a lot of modern covers of songs I fell in love with as a kid. However, this Simon & Garfunkel cover is a definite exception. David Draiman's voice and delivery really bring out the intensity of the lyrics, stirring up visceral emotions and rekindling my love of this 60s hit.

Favorite Moment: Hard to choose, but I'll say right around 1:48 when Draiman starts belting out the words. His voice is so beautiful it hurts.

3. Twenty One Two - Love Yourself: Twenty One Two consists of a drummer and a singer/guitarist, both from Sweden. I'm a huge fan and all of their covers rock (in fact, their cover of Lukas Graham's "7 Years" just won MTV's best cover of the month), but this one holds a special place in my heart. I hate to admit it, but I love this song in general. If you're like me, you probably got into it on the radio and then found out it was Justin Bieber and sort of hated yourself a little. Well, fear not! This cover means you can love the song without having to love the Biebs. Also, it was the first of their songs to come up on XM's Covers station (and you always remember your first love).

Favorite Moment: Probably the first time they start the chorus (1:13-ish), just before you find out about a slight modification in the lyrics. The impact is greatest when it's unexpected.

4. Pentatonix ft Jason Derulo - If I Ever Fall in Love: I've been a fan of Pentatonix since they were on The Sing-Off, and I've been following Jason Derulo since the days of MySpace (you know, when people still used it and thought Facebook was a "ripoff" of it). When I showed Hubby the carpool karaoke clip with Jason showing off his training, he was amazed to learn that he can really sing (not just "pop crap"), so I had to share this song with him as well. Shai's original is... well, it's something. Don't get me wrong, the vocals are pretty sweet (holy falsetto, Batman!), but the style of the early 90s didn't do the original any favors. This is a rare case where I think the cover is way better than the original.

Favorite Moment: 2:36. Falsetto FTW.

5. Postmodern Jukebox ft Haley Reinhart - Creep: Scott Bradlee's Postmodern Jukebox is a thing of wonder. "We take pop music back in time," says their Facebook page. Sounds simple, but the arrangements are anything but. PMJ takes a song and gives it a makeover, a whole new life. (I can't explain it any better than that, so just check out their Youtube channel, OK?) This Radiohead cover is a fan favorite, thanks in part to the incredible voice of Haley Reinhart, who I have a HUGE music crush on. (If she sounds familiar, you might have heard her version of "Can't Help Falling in Love With You" from the Extra Gum commercial. Oh, and I guess she was on American Idol. So. Yeah.)

Favorite Moment: I truly love this entire song, and if I could wrap myself inside Haley's voice like a burrito, I probably would. But my favorite part begins at 4:03. Not only is Haley singing her freaking heart out, but listen to the instruments in the section that follows. Scott Bradlee is going nuts on the piano (his arrangements are insane!), and the whole thing just comes together in the most spectacular way. I adore it.