Thursday, October 16, 2008

Presidential Elections

In my life I have only really known 2 presidents. I was born under the first Bush, and raised under Clinton and the GWB. I don't remember much about Clinton as president. I do remember being gathered in the auditorium of my elementary school in 4th grade and listening to the principal explain to us that the president of the United States had done a bad thing, and now they might not let him be president any more.
In 6th grade we read magazine interviews with Bush and Gore and picked our candidates based on the fact that Gore liked strawberry yogurt too. I was still in elementary school (it was a k-6) and as the oldest grade we got to perform a mock debate for the entire school. I was assigned to argue GWB's economic policies. ironic, huh? We didn't find out who won the election until December, and I remember exactly where I was when I found out that he would be our president. My soon to be middle school principal told me, at 6 am, while we were on our 6th grade camping trip. I almost cried.
In 2004 I was in 10th grade and taking AP gov and politics. This time I picked my candidate for more sound reasons, as in, he was not GWB. Our class often erupted in debates about all sorts of issues surrounding the election, I wrote an essay about why the electoral college should be abolished and wrote responses to the debates. Our teacher had life-size cut outs of Bush and Kerry. On election day we had off from school and I spent the day campaigning for the Kerry campaign.
Now, in 2008 I finally get to vote. And the election is exciting, first off, there will be no Bush on the ticket, and second the dems may actually have a shot at taking the white house. Now, in 2008 I am in college, I watch the debates in my on campus apartment, while trying to get my schoolwork done and trying not to think about the failing economy and the debt me and my parents are acquiring so that I can attend the second most expensive school in the country. And I am at a loss. I watch the debates and I am excited by the prospect of Obama in the white house, but my heart is not in it. I sent in the form and my absentee ballot should arrive any day now, and then, I will have to decide, who do I vote for. I can guarantee you it will not be McCain. But I have to decide, to vote with my heart, or to vote with my head. If I follow my heart then I know that niether of the major party candidates support what I support, or care about the things that I care about. And I will cast my vote for Cynthia McKinney, because atleast when she speaks her words resonate in my head, and I find my self agreeing, not just saying, well at least its better then McCain. And yet, everything/everyone else tells me to vote with my head. Pennsylvania is a swing state, and I keep hearing not to split the democratic vote. At the same time, i remember myself when I was young, as I watched the elections, and I think, what will I tell my children when they are 11, and 15, and 19. I want to be able to be proud of my vote, the one freedom I still have. I want to say that I cast a vote for something I believed in.
I probably won't know who I am voting for until my ballot comes in the mail... but hopefully it is a choice I will be able to make....

they say that each citizen of a nation is responsible for that nations actions... how do I vote responsibly?

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Straight Hair

By the time I was in the 7th grade I had started to straighten my hair. I went to a Jewish Day school and despite the fact that most of us had naturally curly hair everyone showed up to school everyday with perfectly straightened hair. It started out slowly at first, only straightening it for special events (bar/bat mitzvahs) and using my curling iron to do so (I bought the curling iron to make ringlets which never worked either) and then soon I bought my first flat iron. Currently I still keep my 4th and 5th flat irons, but I have not turned them on in months. Up until last spring I straightened my hair as often as necessary to make sure that it was always straight (except for the period of time it was too short to straighten, about 6 months senior year). And then one day, just as spring was starting to come in I went to my room to straighten my hair, and I turned on my iron and I started to do it and I was sweating, and hot and didn’t think it was worth all the effort and so I grabbed my clippers and chopped off the remainder of my hair. I liked my hair when it was so short that it looked straight. It made me feel like I could be one of those boys on the side of an American Eagle bag, the ones who are topless on a beach somewhere and all black and white and muscle. He was the perfect little blonde straight white boy, the boy that all the girls swooned after growing up. I wanted to be him. And for a little while I was proud of myself for looking like him, I could put on a wife beater and if I stood the right way with my boobs out of sight I almost looked like that. But in the end… my hair grew, and it didn’t grow straight, it grew back into its curls. And I reached the point with my hair where I would straighten it, so that I would be hot, like the girls or boys from the magazines, but my straigteners sit out in a basket in my bathroom untouched. And my hair grows curly and poofs up from my head and I like it. It is comfortable, it looks like me… No more pulling at my hair every night with every straightening product available at CVS. I guess at some point we all have to embrace the people we are, learn to walk down the street without make up, with out a front and just be ourselves. That is something that I still struggle to do (not the make up, but walking without a front) but I think that my hair has always been a big symbol for me. I started to dye it because people assumed things when they looked at my blonde hair, and then I stripped it back to the blonde, so that I could be hot, and I repeated the process twice in 2 years. I chopped off my hair so that people would stop looking at me and assume things because I have long hair, things about my gender or sexuality. And I guess in some ways these things are still a front, they still hide who I really am because it is still all about the way I am perceived by others. But some would say that it is the other who constructs our sense of self. What ever it is all I know is that for right now, I’m giving the straigtener a rest and dealing with my natural hair, after all, I think it looks pretty cute…