An Open Letter to America


Hi y’all,

Hopefully you all tuned in to last night’s debate, regardless of your political preference or level of involvement. It’s available on YouTube here if you’d like to watch it and haven’t!

And now, down to business. As some of you know, I’m involved in blogging for PBS’ Race 2012: A Conversation About Race & Politics in America and am supposed to write about how race affects politics, how it affects the way we vote, and how it will affect this election.

I have no idea how to do that.

I was worried when Monica Medina sent me an email asking if I’d join this group of bloggers, because…I’m white. I’m 19. I’m from a relatively normal, middle class family. I am, in the scheme of things, one of the more average people you know. But I do have a love for my right to vote. I don’t always love what America stands for, and I don’t always love how we act on the global level, but I am grateful for my right to vote because I know that millions of people would risk their lives to get the chance to vote, and some have. So with that in mind, I couldn’t exactly say no…

And now here we are, one month away from Election Day, over 200 years after our country began, and race (and gender) is still an issue. We just recently elected a black man as president, but every day since then have questioned his birthplace. During the primaries in 2008, people were worried Hilary Clinton was too hormonal to lead the country. We’re constantly looking for something that says, “You’re not good enough, you’re not stable enough, you’re not ready, you’re not American, you’re not you’re not you’re not.”

Because we’re uncomfortable with change. We went for so long with old, white guys running our country that we get thrown off by the color of Barack Obama’s skin. We look for excuses, reasons why someone isn’t right for president. In Obama’s case, he was…too intelligent. Elite. Because apparently if you’re not wrastlin’ hogs or fixing toilets, you don’t understand the fundamentals of American society. But I would argue that subconsciously, we just don’t know what to do with ourselves when something new comes along. I mean, tell me JFK wasn’t elite.

I don’t mean to say we shouldn’t look at our candidates with a critical eye, because we must become as informed about the candidates as possible, lest we vote like idiots. But we probably should focus on their politics, not their race, religion, etc. Honestly, though Obama isn’t Muslim and I don’t entirely know why that’s still a debate, I wouldn’t have a problem if he was. There are plenty of very peaceful Muslims out there who would run our country just as well as anyone else. And there are plenty of Christian idiots who wouldn’t.

This post has gotten a little off topic. I guess it’s just because I can’t believe that this is still an issue. I can’t believe that we still see someone simply as black or white, and not just as human. I was raised by parents who taught me that everyone was equal. That your race meant very little in the scheme of things. That your race might define your culture, and that’s great, but it would never define your abilities or character. So I don’t look at that anymore. I look at candidates’ ideas, beliefs, and intent much, much more than I look at the color of their skin.

Of course, it was a huge achievement that Obama was the first African American to get elected President. I celebrated along with everyone else, because that kind of change is groundbreaking. But now, we should be able to move on. Elect Asians, women, gays. I don’t care. I just want someone to run my country and have some dignity while they do it.

So now that I’ve run around in circles, I guess all I have to say is this: get over it, America. Get over your prejudices, your preconceived notions, your stereotypes. Get over it and vote. And give each other a hug, while you’re at it.

Cappy

I’ll be blogging a few more times about how race in America affects voting, and how my race affects my choices as a voter. I think I’ve got something to say. So stay tuned, and VOTE!
The documentary will be airing October 16 on PBS. For more information, like Race 2012 on Facebook or follow @PBSRace2012 on Twitter. Yay for public television! Without it, I wouldn’t be who I am today, and we should continue to support it, even though Mitt Romney doesn’t. 

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Happiness: Accessable 24 Hours a Day


See Happiness Inducer #2

In order to keep myself from shrieking loudly and then collapsing and writhing on the floor in agony (this agony is derived from being totally insane and/or hormonal/tired/bored/alive), I have to do totally awesome things. So. Totally. Awesome.

Okay, so I don’t actually DO these awesome things. “Doing these awesome things” usually involves remaining motionless and looking at a computer screen…

1. ‘Lectuals
From the people who brought you Hipster Olympics comes ‘Llectuals, the sexy new PBS show about intellectual high school students.
Have I mentioned I actually wouldn’t mind seeing a show like this?

2. The X-Files
Every season is streamable on Netflix, so I basically have 24 hour access to heaven on earth…aka Fox Mulder.

3. Sing Talk
Probably better than Ke$ha’s song TiK ToK, mostly because it doesn’t involve capitalizing the third letter of words.

4. Budweiser Greetings Commercial
I hate Budweiser commercials, usually. But this one makes me want to be a guy and do these things. Watch.

5. Old Spice Commercial Parody
Old Christ: The Man Your Man Could Smell Like
I love the real Old Spice man, but this comes as a pretty close second.

6. Watching J-Woww “feel like eating ham and drinking water”
I don’t know what it is, but I love J-Woww. She is my homegirl. Also, this is probably the cutest thing I have ever seen her do. Ham.

7. Sassy Gay Friend
This one (Hamlet) is my favorite, but they’re all amazing. Okay? Okay.

Cheers, enjoy, live long and prosper, and AHOY!

The Decline of the Barney Empire


I watched a few minutes of Barney today on PBS and was severely disappointed. Barney is not a good television show anymore, and I am sure it’s not because my tastes have changed. My tastes have not changed – I still love Elmo, the Teletubbies, and Mr. Rogers. Yeah, at least I have the guts to admit to it, unlike all you closet-Teletubbies-watchers out there.

But Barney has really let me down. I remember singing along to rousing choruses of “John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt” (because his name is my name too) but am now forced to hear songs like “Shapes.” I’ll give you a little snippit:

Shapes, shapes, it’s easy my friend.
You can tell a shape by the shape it’s in.
Shapes, shapes, sing it again…

What does that even mean? It’s like they’re trying to tell me something…Of course shapes are shapes…I don’t understand. If I can’t understand, I don’t think a 5 year old can. Please don’t argue with me on that.

Barney and Riff sounding annoying together.

And Barney’s new voice is really annoying.  It always kinda was, but this guy needs to listen to himself a little, because it’s terrible. Or maybe it’s been the same guy since 1991 and he’s just gotten steadily more…and more…and more annoying. His new pally Riff (added to the show in 2006) is pretty obnoxious too. We all know that every dinosaur on the show is a human in a costume, right? But I think it should be noted that the actual voice of each dinosaur is the voice of a completely separate actor. So these people are selected specifically for their voices. I think the Barney people need to get their ears cleaned out before auditions or something.

While I’m on a roll bashing television shows for small children (oops), I should probably add that Barney’s reputation was ruined by the rumors (I call them rumors because I don’t think they could possibly be true) that the old Barney actor used to hide heroin needles in his tail.

But then again, I got that information as a child from another child who thought that Kokanee beer was actually cocaine.

Who Here Would Date an Elvis Impersonator?


This is Real Elvis. Don't try to look like him. He'll always be cuter than you.

Think about it. You’d be dating someone who looks a lot like a dead guy.

You’d be dating a guy who lives his life as if he were a dead guy. Who loves this dead guy soooo much that he has dedicated his life to acting/sounding/looking like him.

That’s weird.

People die. In fact, everyone who is born will eventually die. It’s not a novel idea, people. It is really obvious. CAVEMEN (excuse me, cavepeople) KNEW IT. So why, Elvis fans, can you not accept that The King (may he rest in peace) is dead? He is dead and he is not going to be alive ever again. Don’t pay people to dress up like him and thrust their hips around and throw sweaty ascots into crowds in Las Vegas.

And to you, Elvis Lookalike #95, why did you get plastic surgery? You practically killed my mother.

There we were, in the comfort of our home, when all of a sudden a PBS special on Elvis came on the TV. My mom didn’t realize that it was a tribute performance to Elvis –  all the original members of his band were playing and an Elvis impersonator was, well, impersonating Elvis. This Elvis impersonator (Lookalike #95) looked so much like Elvis #1 that my mom thought it was him. And she was incredibly confused when all the band members were old and she found out the performance had been taped recently.

Okay, I realize “almost killing” and “severely confusing” my mother are two completely different things, but you get the point.

So knock it off! (I’m lookin’ at you, #95).

Edit: I just realized that I wrote a post yelling, “ELVIS IS DEAD AND WILL NEVER COME BACK” on the 33rd anniversary of his death. Foot. In. Mouth.

Ummm…I love Elvis!