Voting My Conscience

I voted for Jill Stein for President in the last election, and over the past 14 months, whenever someone who hated Hillary yet voted for her anyhow (out of irrational fear of Trump) asks me in a snarky manner, “And now we have Trump as President, so how did voting for Jill work out for you?,” I reply, “It worked out wonderfully for me. I voted my conscience, so I have zero regrets. If I had given into the fear like you did, we would have still had Trump as our President (since Hillary won my state and my voting for her would have changed nothing), and I would have loathed myself forever for succumbing to vote for a warmongering, corrupt cheater.”

I voted for someone who represented my values and beliefs, and offered much better solutions to America’s problems. I refuse to vote for any candidate who pushes for more senseless wars. That is a deal-breaker right there. Forget everything else. That one issue alone determines whether I will vote for you or not. Then after that, I must agree with you on issues of the environment, law enforcement reform, fracking, Citizens United, gun control, free public health care, Wall Street reform, raising the minimum wage, and many other important issues. I don’t have to agree with you on everything, but there are some issues I refuse to compromise on. If you want to call me a “purist” then be my guest. But I refused to give up my values and ideals for the likes of Hillary Clinton.

In my opinion, the 2016 general election was the biggest no-win situation we have ever had in America – being told we had to choose between the two most despised candidates in history. That was no choice, as far as I was concerned. I have hated Trump for decades. I have hated the Clintons for decades. I have voted Republican a couple of times in the past and deeply regretted it. I have voted Democrat many times over the years, and have almost always regretted it. I actually became a Democrat just to vote for Bernie, and how did that turn out? It was a total farce. That was not an election – it was a coup. He (and all of his supporters) were disrespected and cheated. Why would I ever become a Democrat again to try to help someone win, when I already know that the person I would want (Tulsi, for example) would also be cheated out of the nomination? Fool me once, shame on you… fool me twice, shame on me.

The last I checked, Hillary’s approval rating was even lower than Trump’s! And she’s not even in office anymore! To say that the Democrats screwed up in the most colossal way imaginable is an understatement. Everything that she says and does just reinforces to me that we would have not been “better off” with her in office. We would still be in a huge mess, but most people would be living in this false delusion of “safety.” They wouldn’t be out there protesting against any of the bad shit she surely would have been doing. The only real difference with her was that she talked more intelligently than Trump. Or at least gave the illusion of talking more intelligently. But pushing for no-fly zones in Syria is really not intelligent nor sane, no matter how nicely you spin it. It would have meant all-out war with Russia. Does that sound “better” to you than Trump? It sounds just as insane as Trump’s escalating tensions with North Korea. Bottom line: We were told to choose between 2 corrupt, lying, despised, insane warmongers. No thank you.

I don’t intentionally vote for horrible candidates just to stop other horrible candidates. I don’t vote out of fear. I don’t vote the “lesser evil.” Some of my choices over the years might have later turned out to be a “lesser evil” (Obama, for example), but I at least believed in my decision at the time I made it. It just simply turned out to be a bad decision. But deliberately voting for a so-called “lesser evil” is still voting for evil. It boggles my mind how people can rationalize that approach to voting – especially since 40 years of constantly voting the “lesser evil” is exactly the reason why we were now in the position of having to choose between two horrible candidates. If you think that you can eventually vote your way towards a great President by using that approach, then let me know how that works out for you.

Honestly, I don’t even have any faith in our election system. It is corrupt, it is non-democratic, it is ripe for cheating and rigging. And that’s not even mentioning the Electoral College, which is the reason why Trump is now our president. Plus, I don’t believe for a second that Jill got as few votes as she did. Not with so many Bernie supporters claiming to have voted for her. I heard people say they voted for Jill, yet the totals for their town registered no votes cast for her. So don’t tell me that Hillary really got as many votes in the general election as they say she did. I don’t buy it. Because of our corrupt election system, we will never really know just how many votes were actually cast for any of the candidates. The 2016 election was a total farce from beginning to end. But that’s America for you.

Perhaps Jill stood no chance of winning, but in the end I voted my conscience. That is the way all people should vote – with their conscience. You can vote any way you want, but at least make sure it is someone that you can walk out of the voting booth feeling good about. Hint: If you walk out of there feeling like you need to bathe in battery acid – then you made a bad choice.

I already knew that it was going to be either Hillary or Trump winning, which meant America was fucked either way – but at least I felt good about who I voted for.

Can these Hillary-hating-but-voted-for-her-anyhow people say the same?

Written Jan. 21, 2018…

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This Is Not a Protest

Written Sept. 19, 2016…

When I hear Hillary Clinton supporters, or even worse, Bernie Sanders himself, saying that voting for Dr. Jill Stein is simply a “protest vote,” that will only “help Donald Trump win,” that really offends me by the sheer arrogance of someone thinking they have the right to tell you who you should or should not be voting for. I have never once voted for someone out of protest, and I’m not about to start. I don’t owe Hillary Clinton my vote, and she has done nothing to deserve receiving it. Her lies, her cheating, her endless scandals and her corruptness are the reasons why.

Saying that I am only voting for Stein out of “protest,” is to suggest that I don’t really want her as my President, but I’m just voting for her to “stick it” to the Democrats. They also make it sound like, deep down, I actually want Hillary as my President, but I’m simply not voting for her out of spite that she is the nominee, instead of Bernie. Listen, if I wanted Hillary as my President, I would vote for her. If I didn’t really want Stein as my President, I would not vote for her. It’s as simple as that. It’s the same reason why I voted for Bernie in the primary – because he was the candidate I wanted to lead our country.

And when I hear people say that this election is too important to throw away my vote, I totally agree. That’s why I am voting for the only candidate I can trust, as well as believe in. I don’t vote for someone based on their “win-ability” factor. I vote for them because I feel they are the best candidate. It’s just like that saying, “I don’t fight fascism because I think I can beat fascism. I fight fascism because it’s fascism.” A lifelong New York Jets fan would not root for the New England Patriots just because they have a better chance at winning – so why would I vote for someone I don’t agree with, trust nor like, simply because they have a better chance of winning than the candidate I actually want? And does Trump being a horrible candidate somehow make Clinton seem “less horrible?” No, he does not.

I have always deeply believed that voting for someone you don’t want, in order to beat someone else you don’t want, is the definition of a throwing away a vote. You will walk away not feeling good about your choice, and you will almost certainly regret voting for that person. And whether the other candidate would have been even worse is really irrelevant. Evil is an absolute. There is no “lesser” in the equation. A bad choice is still bad, regardless of whether the other choice is even worse. All you do, by voting for that “lesser” choice, is guarantee that the bar will keep being lowered in each election.

I will be voting for Dr. Jill Stein – not based on what her chances are of winning, but because I agree with her agenda, I trust her, and I feel she is exactly what this country needs. Instead of the “lesser evil,” I choose to go with the “greater good.” She is the closest to Bernie, as far as agenda, and she is even more progressive than he is. Would it have been better if he had run with her? Of course, but he chose to side with a corporate establishment shill like Hillary – which makes me wonder if he is more of an “establishment” politician than he likes to claim?

Anyhow, I will not be voting for Hillary Clinton because I feel she is everything that is wrong with this country. And whether Donald Trump is worse than her or not is completely irrelevant to me. I detest both of them equally, so therefore, if my voting for Stein inadvertently “helps” Trump, then so be it. It’s certainly not my intention to help him in any way, but I’m not going to vote for Clinton just to keep him out of the White House, as I feel that she is an even greater threat to America.

You can label my vote whatever you want, but I consider it the only viable choice, based on my convictions and beliefs. I will be able to live with myself when I walk out of that voting booth. Will you be able to say the same?

Vote for Jill Stein

Derek Jeter: The 3,000 Club (Validation #6)

July 9, 2011…

The Federation would like to say congratulations to Mr. Derek Jeter for becoming only the 28th person in major league baseball history to reach the elite 3,000-hit club, and the first to do it exclusively as a New York Yankee. Best of all he did it at Yankee Stadium, which only seems appropriate for a player that is well-loved among Yankee fans, including us.

The future Hall of Famer and Yankee captain has had a great career, so far, and may be finally starting to show his age (37) during this difficult season, but he proved today with his two hits (the 3,000th being a home run) that he still comes through in times of pressure, and he has been nothing but a class act throughout his entire career.

We hope that his body holds out and he has a few more good seasons in him, but even if not, he deserves all the accolades that have been thrown his way over the years and we thank him for all he has contributed to the World Series wins the Yankees enjoyed in 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2009. Jeter has given us Yankee fans much to cheer about over the past two decades. He is one of the most beloved Yankees of all time, and we are happy to see him reach this remarkable milestone. Congratulations Derek!

George Steinbrenner: An American Legend (Validation #5)

July 13, 2010…

Sadly, this morning, controversial, yet colorful Yankees owner George Steinbrenner died at the age of 80 from a massive heart attack, and only mere days after beloved, longtime Yankees announcer Bob Sheppard passed away at the age of 99.

What do we say about a man that we sometimes admired, frequently hated and constantly were bewildered by? He was certainly one of a kind, in good ways and bad. He frequently made rash decisions, especially back in the late 1970s and throughout the ‘80s, concerning managers (Billy Martin, most {in}famously of all), as well as players and general managers. He was once derisively referred to as “Manager George” by Dallas Green because of his constant meddling in on-the-field managerial decisions. Many people, especially Yankee haters, and Red Sox fans, most of all, hated him and felt he ruined baseball and simply “bought” championships by spending ungodly amounts of money, and being more responsible than anyone for the rise in free agency. Even Yankee fans felt that way from time to time. Through it all, though, he forced people to begrudgingly respect him by the results he achieved. He was, simply, “the man you love to hate.” The constant criticisms didn’t seem to faze him though. He even appeared to relish in them, and frequently poked fun at his media image on TV – most famously in commercials with Billy Martin and Derek Jeter.

We’re not sure what to feel at this moment, but we are saddened. The Boss may have drove us insane during the 1980s with his constant managerial changes and pursuit of aging prima donna players, which caused us, as well as millions of others, to curse his name on a frequent basis. There are times when we felt he “ruined” our beloved Yankees. Yet, despite all of that, we were constantly fascinated by him, and always trusted that his heart was in the right place. He simply wanted the Yankees to be the greatest team in all of sports. He achieved that goal in 1977, 1978, 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2000. Last year’s championship might have been more the result of his sons, Hank and Hal, running the day-to-day operations of the ballclub for the past few years, but we’re sure Old George still had his say and influence in matters, so you can probably throw 2009 onto the list as well. The Yanks also made the World Series in 1976, 1981, 2001 and 2003. That’s eleven World Series appearances and seven championships since he took over the team in 1973. Even allowing for the fact that the Yankees didn’t win at all in the 1980s, and had other long stretches without winning the World Series, that’s still an impressive feat.

Hate him if you will, but George Steinbrenner certainly put his money where his mouth was. He didn’t always spend that money wisely but he was always in there fighting to make the Yankees the best team in baseball. He proved on many occasions that his instincts were correct. Plus, he simply always made things interesting, at the very least, and he demanded that Yankee players carry themselves with dignity, class and be well groomed at all times.

It seems fitting that Mr. Steinbrenner, a former shipping magnate, was born on the Fourth of July (1930), for he was a true American original, and a symbol of everything that is good and bad with our capitalistic society. It also seems fitting that he died with the Yankees the defending world champions and in first place this season, with the best record in the league. He wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

We may have hated him from time to time, but we are geniunely going to miss him. He was truly a baseball legend, and when all is said and done, we would gladly go through the past 37 years with him all over again. The end of an era is upon us.

Goodbye George. Say hello to Billy for us.

Goodbye, Texas Stadium (Validation #4)

April 28, 2010…

 

On April 11, 2010, the iconic Texas Stadium was demolished. It was a sad day for all Dallas Cowboys fans, which, naturally, includes The Federation‘s members. It was the home of our beloved Cowboys during our childhood years of the 1970s and ’80s, when they were, more than at any other time perhaps, America’s Team.

With a seating capacity of 65,675, and a European soccer-style retractable roof, it opened its doors in Irving, Texas on October 24, 1971, and closed them on December 20, 2008 (with an unfortunate 33-24 loss to the Baltimore Ravens), making way for team owner Jerry Jones’ billion dollar monument of ego, Cowboys Stadium in nearby Arlington. It was the site of dozens of great games and hundreds of classic memories – too many to mention, in fact.

We think of all the great players who once called Texas Stadium home: Roger Staubach, D.D. Lewis, Tony Dorsett, Danny White, Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, Drew Pearson, Randy White, Michael Irvin, Ed “Too Tall” Jones, Herschel Walker, Charlie Waters, Everson Walls, Jay Novacek, Golden Richards, Calvin Hill, Billy Joe Dupree, Lance Alworth, Mel Renfro, Bob Lilly, Bob Hayes, and the list goes on and on, right up to Tony Romo.

Then, of course, the greatest head coach in Cowboys history, Tom Landry, who will never be forgotten, as well as Jimmy Johnson and Bill Parcells.

Texas Stadium, along with the old Yankees Stadium, is now just a memory in our hearts. It’s sad to see these iconic stadiums being replaced and demolished. Perhaps it’s just a part of so-called “progress.” The America we once knew, though, is slowly being lost. Another part of it was reduced to rubble on April 11th. We’ll always have our memories, though, and you can’t destroy those.

Long live Texas Stadium!

Teddy Pendergrass: Never to Be Forgotten (Validation #3)

January 14, 2010…

Yesterday the music world sadly lost one of its all-time greats, R&B singing legend Teddy Pendergrass, at the age of 59, after a long battle with colon cancer.

As a member of the 1970s hit singing group Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, where he started off as their drummer, before stepping up to the mike, and then on his own in the late 70s and 80s, Pendergrass tore up the charts with his church-inflected, gruff baritone voice. He had the fire of a Pentecostal preacher, even when singing tender bedroom-love songs. The man could sing the phonebook and spin aural gold from it. He had the type of voice that could be soothing and gentle one minute, and then exude raw, fiery passion the next.

The five-time Grammy-nominated Philadelphia native enjoyed many classic hits, such as the immortal “The Love I Lost,” “If You Don’t Know Me By Now,” “Wake Up Everybody,” “Love TKO,” “The Whole Town’s Laughing at Me” and “Close the Door,” among others. The world may never know how many babies were conceived with these songs as the musical accompaniment.

Sadly, Pendergrass was involved in a 1982 car accident at the height of his career, that left him paralyzed from the waist down, but he still continued recording for many years to come. His days as a matinee idol sex symbol, were over though. But he never succumbed to self-pity, and saw himself as a role model to other people with spinal cord injuries. Unfortunately, his singing voice was robbed of some of its natural power.

It’s a shame that he has been somewhat forgotten these days, due to the fact that he had not recorded anything new in many years. It’s also a shame that it sometimes takes someone dying to make the world truly realize what they meant to us. Now is the time for Pendergrass to be rediscovered by a whole new generation of music fans. He is clearly someone whose music will stand the test of time, and he should never be forgotten. The man was a true legend. May he forever rest in peace. And may the world continue conceiving babies to his immortal songs. That ability was the greatest gift he gave to us.

The Revenge of Brett Favre (Validation #2)

December 8, 2009…

We come here to praise Brett Favre – not bury him.

The Federation would like to (somewhat) apologize for the comments we made months ago about the man. We called him “a pathetic, attention-seeking joke” in his constant decisions to retire and un-retire in recent years, and the underhanded, deceitful way he seems to have gone about the whole mess.

But you know what? He has proven this season, if any more proof was needed, that he is simply one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game. In his most-recent stint with the Minnesota Vikings, he is having one of his best seasons ever. After 12 games, he has led the team to a 10-2 record (10-1 up until the other day), he has the highest completion percentage of his career (69.0%), has thrown 26 TD passes and only 5 interceptions, which considering the fact that he has always thrown a lot of interceptions in his career, is far below his average (as of 2008) of 17 per season (his worst season being 2005 when he threw 29). It shows that he is becoming a much smarter passer in his older years and not making as many risky throws. It proves the old saying, “with age comes wisdom.”

He is leading his team to victory week in and week out (this past weekend notwithstanding) and has clearly shown that he still has excellent leadership abilities and a strong competitive nature. He beat the Green Bay Packers twice and proved to them that they never should have allowed him to get away (not to take anything away from the talented Aaron Rodgers). He was simply dominant in both games. It may have been purely revenge that drove him during those games, but whatever it was, it worked.

On November 22, he even had perhaps his best game ever. Against the Seattle Seahawks, he threw 4 TD passes and completed 22 of 25 passes for a single-game, career-high 88% completion rate, en route to a Viking blowout victory of 35-9. It was truly breathtaking to watch a QB, that some (perhaps us included) thought was over the hill.

If he can take the Vikings all the way, or even deep into the playoffs, then we really will have nothing bad to say about him anymore. He is a world-class athlete, pure and simple. And who are we to argue?

He still may be a bit narcisstic at times but he has shown that any team would strongly benefit having him on their roster. Whether he retires, yet again, at the end of the season or not, he has already proven that coming back was the right decision.

Looks like old Brett is having the last laugh. We say good for him.

The Eyes of Passion (Validation #1)

December 6, 2009…

We realize that we spend a lot of time on this site ranting and raving over things that truly piss us off – and rightly so. Life has become an absurd experience over the past few years, due to an endless war, a bad job economy, Jon & Kate, AIG, and the latest obsession over Tiger Woods’ sex life. But we don’t want anyone thinking that we are simply a group of constantly-angry folks who find nothing good in the world to cheer about. There are, in fact, plenty of things to celebrate. It’s just that life on this planet, circa 2009, is making it harder and harder to find those moments that are worth praising.

One truly extraordinary thing, that brings immense joy to us, is the lesbian love scene in David Lynch’s bizarre 2001 symbolism-laden film Mulholland Drive (noted in our Roll Call #3 on this site). We have decided to honor it in a new category called “Validations.”

We cannot think of a single scene in any other movie that is as sensual and erotic, yet also as innocent and pure, as the one between the characters of Naomi Watts (“Betty”) and Laura Elena Harring (“Rita” aka “Camilla”) while they are lying in bed. We realize that we are taking the scene totally out of context from the rest of the film, but still, it’s a scene we at The Federation have watched dozens of times and never fail to be equally moved and turned on by. It’s got nothing to do with two attractive women simply “gettin’ it on” and everything to do with smoldering passion and emotions. It is ten times more erotic than any porn film we have ever scene. Whatever anyone thinks of Mulholland Drive, in general, it is worth owning just for this 4 ½ minute interlude alone.

David Lynch directs the scene brilliantly, taking his time setting up the moment. and Watts and Harring are so convincing in their love and passion for one another that you never believe for one second that they are merely “acting.” It is a very intimate scene – like we are eavesdropping on a private moment between two women who suddenly discover that they are in love with one another. There is absolutely nothing cheap or lurid about it. The way they look at one another, the way Betty confesses her love to Rita, the moment they begin kissing and undressing – it is all done in a very innocent and beautiful manner. It’s all about subtle nuances, which this scene has in abundance – as when Naomi Watts looks down at Laura Harring’s lips and then looks back up at her eyes right before they begin kissing. She has a look of surprise and innocence that is truly mesmerizing. If this scene does not move you, then as an old song once said, “Jack, you dead.”

Watts and Harring say more with their eyes than most actors say with a thousand lines of dialogue. Both actresses have very beautiful, sensual, expressive eyes and the way they look at one another is absolutely captivating.

This scene begs for repeated viewings – not just because it is so incredibly erotic, but because watching it multiple times reveals all of its subtle nuances. It is a scene that unless you have watched it you cannot begin to understand its magnificence. We, here at The Federation, nominate this as being in a list of probably the 50 greatest scenes in cinematic history. And definitely the most erotically sensual.