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#NotMyPresident… but wait? He is.

I didn’t watch the inauguration. If you know what a news and political junkies we are in this house, this was big.

News are big in our house. Domestic and international. Politics are discussed profusely.

Throughout the day, there are texts, news alerts and tweets sent among our household group text. We watch the news together nightly.

The first inauguration I can remember watching with full memory is of George Bush. I have watched every one since. I know little tidbits like the oath is always at noon and other things that do nothing for my personal gain.

But I couldn’t watch today.

This whole election cycle, I feel we sat around passively thinking it was not possible to elect such a candidate and *news flash alert* he now holds the office. I don’t know if it says more about the type of people who support him or more about the type of people who passively allowed this to happen.

A man who lashes out on twitter over minute things. Doesn’t he, or should he, have better things to do? You know… like trying to figure out what this presidency entails exactly??

A man who probably has a contradictory statement for each one he has made. Probably on his own Twitter account nonetheless.

A man who is equal about discrimination against all. A racist, sexist, ableist, a bigot.

A man who lacks the basic understanding of what this position requires suddenly holds the power and control over so many things. Let’s not even start with the nuclear codes.

His own campaign staff didn’t/couldn’t trust him with his own twitter handle leading up to the election, need I remind you, but we are suppose to trust him as the POTUS?

Where do we stand, as a nation, now?

How much weaker are we as a nation in the eyes of countries around the globe?

Was it a publicity stunt for him? Perhaps. Are we suppose to wait around holding our breaths what’s to come in the next four years? No. Way.

Popular hashtags trending on twitter include #NotMyPresident and #OptOut. But you know what? Whether we like it or not, the reality is that he is now our president. And we certainly can’t just opt out.

I tried to convince myself post-election that we have to give him the benefit of the doubt. That rooting for his failure is essentially rooting for our own demise. But you know what? No. No we don’t have to. And we certainly shouldn’t.

Enough of the “how bad can it get?” and “what worse could happen?”. All logic and common sense has gone out the window. Anything and everything is suddenly fair game and quite the possibility.

As a matter of fact, it suddenly got just that more important to be proactive and speak up for what is right and what we believe in and make our voices be heard and be heard and hold those in office accountable. Not be silenced or sit passively any longer.

One of my biggest regrets will be that I wasn’t active in the election campaign this go around like I was during the Obama campaigns.

It starts small. It starts local. I urge everyone to become more involved in their own communities.

We can’t change what happened, but we certainly can have a lot to say about what is happening and what happens in the next four years.

His slogan may be “Make America Great Again”, and we certainly need to… but he certainly isn’t the one to lead our nation to do so.

Update: This can also be found here.

Why Do We Fall?

As a nation, we failed.

And we failed our children the most. They are the ones to suffer the most. They will see the aftermath the most and be effected the most.

No, we didn’t fail because we failed to elect Hillary Clinton. In fact, it was never about Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump the people themselves.

It wasn’t ever about them. It was about everything we stand for as individuals and as a collective society and what candidate aligns closely with that sentiment.

We, as a country, elected a racist, a sexist, a bigot, an ableist all in one who openly discriminates against all, … and all those that were at least embarrassed and ashamed and as a result hid their hate for all? Now, its socially acceptable to display freely.

The polls weren’t wrong. What happened was the closet haters didn’t express themselves openly until they could cast their votes in anonymity.

It wasn’t about the lesser of two evils. Rather, it became that evil [and hate] won.

We try and teach our children basic differences between what is right and wrong. We teach them that innately each person is equal and the same and no one deserves to think they are entitled or put anyone else down for any reason.

How do we teach our child(ren) it’s wrong, when we didn’t stand up for what is wrong? How do we teach our child(ren) to do the right thing, when we didn’t do the right thing? How do we teach our child(ren) to stick up for what is right no matter how hard it is or how unpopular it is, when we failed to do that?

How does one teach their child(ren) its wrong to discriminate, disrespect women or put others down when as a nation we said it’s totally acceptable? Let’s be clear: there was a choice and we chose this as a union.

Today, as a nation, we moved backwards. And to reverse this? Not as easy as changing the clock for daylight savings. We took a huge step backwards in the wrong direction. We have a lot of work to do and its going to be rigorous, but more important than ever to stick up for what is right. Now it’s more important than ever to have these honest hard conversations.

All the closet haters that were built in these past eight years since we elected Barack Obama came out in full force yesterday and spoke volumes. For anyone who naively thought we were making progress in terms of discrimination of any sorts? Our eyes were, unfortunately, opened to reality today.

Elections have consequences. Actions have consequences.

How can SO many people be … so far off from reality?

It’s easy to play the what if game. What if more people had voted. What if more people hadn’t wasted their votes. What if the media hadn’t created this monster. What if the voters turnout was greater in the primaries – would the candidate be different? Who knows. What if’s never become what is. And what is? Is an unfortunate reality that we now have to deal with.

It doesn’t just go away in four years. In reality, today, we opened way to create this as a new norm. We said, wrongly, that this is okay. That it’s okay to hate. And that isn’t okay ever.

I always send reminders to those closest to me to vote always — not just in the general presidential election, but all types of elections. It’s not just your right but your civil duty. In the aftermath, it’s each to say or think things in hindsight. But it’s too late by then.

It wasn’t a typical election with two qualified candidates with different views. We had a clear choice last night, but somehow made the wrong decision. I knew the American electorate is ignorant, but perhaps I underestimated just how ignorant they truly are.

I read something last night which was all true — last night’s election was like working with a dysfunctional group for a school project. You do your part, but can only hope that the others don’t screw it up. Unfortunately, more than half of the nation screwed up big time. A project grade didn’t depend on it though, our future did.

I have never been more scared, or more unsure of the uncertain future than I am at this moment. Not for me, but for my young thirteen month old son. He is my life. What kind of tomorrow are we choosing for him today?

We are suppose to be the role models for our children. For the future generations. As parents, we are suppose to be unselfish and make decisions to create good futures for our children. Each thing we do daily, is about our kids. And today, we didn’t just disappoint them – we failed them.

In some ways I am glad my son is to young to realize or even ask questions. It doesn’t stop my worries or lessen what is. But because I can’t imagine what it was like to be one of the many parents, and teachers, across this nation who had to deal with tough questions and have some serious discussions with the young children in their lives.

As I was discussing with Faraz about my sentiments and thinking of what to title this post, he quoted to me the following from Batman:

Alfred: “Why do we fall sir?”

Bruce: “So we can pick ourselves up again.”

As a nation, we fell deep. Picking ourselves up won’t be easy, but it needs to be done.

As I close off my thought for now, something I wanted to share — I am a US citizen, but I am also a Canadian citizen. And the biggest difference? The day we had our naturalization ceremony in Canada many many years back, we were reminded to never forget who we are and where we came from: that Canada is so great because it’s so diverse. Here in the US? It’s about assimilating. It’s about being all the same. We don’t celebrate differences, we try to blend in and not stand out or be seen as different.

And today? It’s now socially acceptable to hate what is different.

Update: This can also be found hereMy first time on The Huffington Post.

Why I’m With Her

Not feasible, but by the off chance someone isn’t aware that Tuesday is election day– don’t forget to vote.

As FDR said: “Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves”.

It doesn’t matter what excuse you are thinking of, exercise your right to vote. I urge everyone I know to vote not just in presidential elections [primary or general], but every election… but this presidential election there is a lot at stake.

The usual expected reasons for why I hear someone isn’t voting has taken a further step this year… because let’s face with it: not everyone may be tossing around a #ImWithHer freely, but the opposing candidate is an unconventional, [not to mention a very questionable] candidate.

Like I posted some time back — we have taken the notion to teach our kids that “anyone can grow up to be a president” a step way too far. There needs to be some sort of prerequisites and qualifications. As the many funny jokes say, and rightfully so, I can’t find an entry-level job without them all requiring 5-7 years of experience [how is that entry level then anyways??] along with other requirements… but he can run for president??

Why vote, you ask, when neither candidate stands out to you? Why vote at all? Whatever excuse you are thinking in your head as justifying why you won’t vote please remember that at the end of the day, any vote against [or not made for Hillary Clinton] is a vote FOR Trump. Which isn’t acceptable. This time, things are different. There’s just too much at stake. This isn’t some reality TV that will just go away if the ratings drop too low. This isn’t one of his business projects that he can claim bankruptcy the moment he fails.

Trump’s slogan may be “Make America Great Again”, but he isn’t the person. The only thing he is consistent about is the fact that he equally discriminates against everyone. What group of people, if any exist, are out there that Trump hasn’t discriminated and/or insulted?

The people who don’t vote are typically the first people to be listing their endless complaints. Even if you don’t complain, voting is not just your civic duty but also your right.

Why am I with her? No, not just because she’s a woman. That’s just one of the perks. As a new mom, I can say honestly everything takes on a new perspective and everything means that much more and there is much more at stake– the future for our children. Trump isn’t qualified and he doesn’t have the temperament. It’s the most clear-cut decision. And I’m typically a pretty indecisive person.

As a nation we may be moving our clocks back an hour tonight, but let’s make sure we move our country forward on Tuesday.

Presidential Debates

With today being the start of the presidential debates for this election cycle, their validity and importance has been discussed recently.

I have heard, today in particular, that it’s nothing but a show of who can best present their prepared lines. [Aside: although I have to admit, that the Onion‘s article on it is hilarious.]

But you know what? These prepared lines HAVE to include their vision, their stances, and what sets them apart from the opposing candidate in some way or form.

And that’s what the undecided voters who are tuning in are looking for, aren’t they? The democrats are more likely than not going to vote democrat and likewise for the republicans. It’s the undecided voters that will ultimately decide the election.

It’s not like the rest of the campaign season where the candidates can just bash their opponent, or sideline from the questions asked about the real issues. I’d like to think that the moderator will hold them accountable during these debates.

Because you know what? The American public deserves answers.

Not just the undecided voters. I am know who I am voting for, but that doesn’t mean I know what the next four years will hold or that I don’t have questions.

Oh, one last thing. If this election really is going to be based off of the question “are you better off than you were four years ago?” as these news journalists keep emphasizing from the Romney campaign… then, I don’t even know what to say. I don’t think it takes much more than common sense to realize that four years ago we were dealing with the aftermath of a presidency that left the country in turmoil financially and otherwise. It’s not like Day 1 of the Barack Obama presidency is where all the issues started. They have built up over time.

And you what, I AM better off than I was four years ago.

I am still covered under my dad’s healthcare plan. Four years ago, without Obama’s healthcare plan, that wouldn’t be the case. And if it wasn’t, I can’t even imagine how much in debt I’d be because of the curve balls life has thrown my way this past year.

Now off to watch the first debate, one dealing with domestic issues. As you can imagine, healthcare and employment is on the top of my list of issues I care about.

Iowa Caucus & New Hampshire Primary

Being the political junkie that I am, I stayed up until 2:30 AM the night of the Iowa caucus until we FINALLY found out who the winner was after all of the confusion and back and forth… and probably one of the closest elections ever.

Eight votes separated the first (Romney) and second (Santorum) place last week, yet people still argue that they don’t bother voting because their ONE vote doesn’t count? Really? If I could earn a dollar for every time I hear that… I wouldn’t need to be looking for a job.

Here’s to hoping that the New Hampshire primary tonight is as exciting as the Iowa caucus was. I LOVE election season!

Election Day Reminder

Hopefully you are aware that tomorrow is Election Day!

If you know me personally, you have gotten an email reminder as well, but again this is just a friendly reminder (as always) for you to vote tomorrow.  I don’t care who you vote for, just don’t forget to vote and remind your friends and family to do the same.

I know many of you only vote in presidential elections, and others of you who don’t vote at all – but I urge you to exercise your right to vote tomorrow. Whether it is a presidential election, a primary, a local election, etc. – each election is just as important.

The ones who don’t vote are usually the first ones to complain about everything and when I ask them why they didn’t vote – they don’t usually have a reasonable answer. Have your opinion be counted tomorrow.

P.S. Don’t forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I’d love to hear from you.

Thoughts on NJ Governor’s Election… Two Weeks Late.

So it’s been two weeks since election day, but i didn’t get a chance to blog about it until now.
first, my personal opinion on the results:
saying i was disappointed would be quite an understatement. I’ve said it before and i’ll say it again: by no means am i a supporter of Corzine. However, i oppose many of the core things Christie sides with. Like i said before, healthcare and education are two of the big issues! I just can’t understand how anyone would be against mandating health insurance companies to cover mammograms when breast cancer is the number one cause of death for females in the United States. And then to the education aspect – Christie wants to cut funding for early education because he thinks preschool is “babysitting”. come on, people… seriously?
and now, comparing the results and our prediction for our class assignment for Somerset County. to refresh your memory, from an earlier post:
we predict a tight race between Christie and Corzine in Somerset County, with the following percentages:
Jon Corzine – 47%
Chris Christie – 45%
Chris Daggett – 8%
for the voter turnout aspect, we predict: around a 55% turnout rate of the REGISTERED voters (not voting age population). There are 193,345 registered voters right now in Somerset county, so 55% of that would be: 106,340.
we based our predictions, mainly, on past statistics and the trends. While Somerset County used to be the heart of the republican party in New Jersey, the margins had been decreasing tremendously each election cycle and had become quite competitive and close between the two major parties (in all sorts of races – governor, senatorial, presidential). With the Obama factor, democrats won in the county last year and we (wrongly) thought Corzine would be able to carry on the hype from the Obama factor
in reality, what happened in Somerset County was:
Jon Corzine – 34.29%
Chris Christie – 56.21% (so obviously Christie won. BIG TIME.)
Chris Daggett – 8.71% (extremely close to our prediction!!!!)
and for the voter turnout, 102,922 (approximately 53.23% of the registered voters casted a vote in the Governor’s election from Somerset County. our predictions were pretty accurate for the voter turnout aspect.
we attributed the Christie win to several factors – a low democratic turnout (incumbency bias, free-rider problem); the anger and frustration felt by many in the state with the politicians because of the corruption and scandals in the state and people just wanting a change; the national problems we are facing that trickle down to the states and how many attribute it to the party in office currently, not the one that was the root of the problem; let’s face it – most of us know at least one person who has lost their job; negative campaigning (omnipresent in EVERY election) – it’s a double negative because not only does it work, but it also works the other way because some people are totally against them and use that against the politician; and of course the notion that many were expecting a miraculous overnight turnaround in the problems the nation is facing with the election of Barack Obama and are quite displeased that none of the “changes” have seemed to occur. things don’t just happen overnight… they take time, but most of the general public doesn’t see that of course.

2009 NJ Governor’s Election Prediction

So as i said in my earlier post from this morning, my project for my ‘Elections and Participation’ course at Rutgers this semester was to predict the voter turnout rate and who will win in Somerset County (and with what proportion).

I just submitted our prediction, and we predict a tight race between Christie and Corzine in Somerset County, with the following percentages:

Jon Corzine – 47%
Chris Christie – 45%
Chris Daggett – 8%

for the voter turnout aspect, we predict: around a 55% turnout rate of the REGISTERED voters (not voting age population). There are 193,345 registered voters right now in Somerset county, so 55% of that would be: 106,340.

I’ll update later in the week with our explanation for the basis of our prediction as i’m still organizing all of our information. Or perhaps when i take a look at the actual results for comparison. I forgot to mention in the earlier post that that is also part of our assignment. When we present next week, we also have to include the actual results, and how much the actual results varied from our predictions and possible reasons and whatnot. So at this point, our assignment is only partly over.

This was (is) definitely a fun, interesting (and hard!) assignment, and I’m quite anxious to see the results tomorrow.

On a general state level prediction, i think Corzine will end up winning (but with a very small margin) the election.

again, a quick reminder : don’t forget to go out and vote tomorrow!

UPDATE (7:45 AM on 11/03/09): the grad student that teaches our course sent out the overall predictions from our class, summing up all the counties. Here’s the data:

The class expects to see approximately 2,643,282 votes tomorrow (51% of registered
voters) and the final tally to divide statewide:
Corzine: 45.95% of the vote
Christie: 41.65% of the vote
Daggett: 6.21% of the vote

It’ll be interesting to see how close we got as a class – as political science students!

Based on an anonymous class vote taken in class yesterday:
80% expect Corzine to win the election
20% expect Christie to win the election

65% would vote for Corzine
20% would vote for Christie
14% would vote for Daggett
1% would vote for Evgeni Malkin (i asked my brother who this was…. because i had no idea… and it’s apparently a hockey player).

Election Day is Tomorrow!

just a friendly reminder that TOMORROW is Election Day!

Don’t forget to vote and remind your friends and family to do the same. Just because it is not a presidential election does not mean it is not important for you to cast your votes!

I am definitely interested in what happens in the Governor’s election here in New Jersey, and it’s implications! To make things even more interesting, my project for my ‘Elections and Participation’ class is to actually predict the voter turnout and who will win in the governor’s election, and with what proportion. We were divided into groups, and our group has to predict for Somerset County, New Jersey.

I Met Two Presidents in Two Days

I don’t know how many people get to say that… or when i will ever get the chance to meet even ONE other president, but the last two days have been amazing for someone like me who LOVES politics and who is such a big fan of Barack Obama!

by the way, i’m going to throw in the past two days in one HUMONGOUS post because otherwise, one or the other would never get done… as i’ve been getting about one post done per month for the last few months. I have a post that i barely started two weeks ago still sitting in my drafts that i just haven’t had time to write out! 🙁 hopefully, soon… because i definitely want to get it done.

Anyhow, after being hesitant for a few days whether i was even going to attend the political rally where Bill Clinton was coming to rally for Corzine at my own school (Rutgers) because of a long and tiring day, i did end up going right after class… and i had a great time. The waiting line was decently long by the time we got there, and soon it had become much much longer! One thing that surprised me was there were no security checks (considering a former president was going to be present).

I know my brother Ayaz and i were discussing this, and many others feel the same way… but those rallying for Corzine seem to be doing a better job for him than Corzine is himself. and of course, Clinton is a great speaker as it is.

On a sidenote, after the event my brother and I met a reporter/fellow tweep (one uses twitter) Mike Memoli and it was so interesting to meet someone you communicate with online! We saw and talked with him at the Clinton/Corzine and the Obama/Corzine event (and met his sister and nephew there too).

Until attending the Clinton/Corzine rally, i was 100 percent sure that i was absolutely not going to be attending the Obama/Corzine rally the following day at FDU because of work, school work, and whatnot. But then, after the Clinton/Corzine rally…i realized no matter how much else was going… they could all take a back seat, because who knows when i would get such an amazing opportunity again in my life (or if i would ever!).

Luckily, i have no classes on Wednesday and was able to get someone to cover my shift at work on campus. I am SO SO SO glad i convinced myself to go!

Ayaz and I left home around 12ish (it was about 40 – 50 minute drive without traffic to get to Farleigh Dickinson University) and doors opened at 3 PM. We got there around 1:15ish i would say, and somehow, there were no real lines of any sorts and we were lucky enough to get to the front of the line!! To think that i wasn’t even going to go, and then i ended up in the front row!!! (Can you tell how great of a time i had? 🙂 )

One of the many speakers before we finally hear from Obama, was freeholder/reverend Vernon Walton (the first African-American to serve as a Bergen County Freeholder). He was a great speaker and he was amazing at getting the crowd going and was definitely a tough act to follow. he was probably my favorite speaker, aside from Obama of course, from last night.

Oh, and a last minute addition to the rally was Caroline Kennedy. most of the crowd had no idea she was also going to be one of the notable speakers that we would witness, but my brother and i got a heads-up from the reporter Mike Memoli that we follow on twitter. While Weinburg teased the unknowing audience about the “she” that was about to speak, we already knew all thanks to technology. 🙂

Caroline Kennedy received a much deserved standing ovation. Like so many others, I’ve had a natural interest in the Kennedy family and the tragedies that have struck their family. and no matter what your political philosophies are, Caroline Kennedy comes of as “real” and comes off to be just one of us. Furthermore, what Ted Kennedy did throughout his life for healthcare was amazing, and hopefully the fight will continue.

It’s scary/sad to think of how many people are not covered by health insurance… and how many of those people are little helpless kids! Education and Healthcare issues are two of the main ones that i am especially concerned with. It’s nice to hear the politicians hear about what “they are going to do”, but it’ll be even nicer to see some action being taken.

I’m no huge fan of Corzine (i haven’t researched him enough to be one) but some of the things Christie is against, is so hard to believe! I can’t believe anyone would be against things such as having a 2 day hospital stay for new mothers, having mandated mammograms, and funding for education. If we elect Christie, that’s taking some major steps backwards. Christie wants to make it not mandatory for healthcare insurance providers to cover mammograms!!!! can you believe that?? who could be against such things! especially when breast cancer is one of the leading causes of death for females!!! not only that, but Christie also wants to cut funding for early education… because he thinks preschool is “babysitting”. can you hear my frustration??

Anyways, getting back to the rally, talking about Caroline Kennedy reminds me of one of the funny moment as we waited for the “real” speeches. one of the secret service agents brought out a black portfolio to the podium that i am assuming was carrying Obama’s speech and the crowd was so anxious, that the secret service agent got a huge ovation from the crowd for simply bringing the portfolio out to the podium and walk back to the back area. the agent just smiled, shook his head, and headed back out. The pretty cool DJ promoted a second wave of cheers/applause from the crowd for him too. 🙂

here’s Caroline’s speech:

Loretta Weinberg spoke before Caroline Kennedy and Jon Corzine spoke after Caroline Kennedy. Weinberg’s speech was the same as the one from the night before at Rutgers. Corzine started off by saying he’ll keep his speech short because he knew the real reason we were all here was to listen to Obama. Obama, of course, spoke last. i think one of the best techniques Corzine has been doing lately is linking Christie to Palin – that’s ingenious right there and anyone with half a brain will negate them. the latest polls (from today) show Corzine leading by a three point margin (very small)… but this is the first time he’s been leading for a while. all of the powerful speakers this week have definitely helped Corzine, undoubtedly.

by the way, did you guys know Corzine’s mom is a registered republican?? i had no idea until Corzine mentioned that yesterday!

Obama came out to a loud and cheering audience, of course… and the atmosphere was amazing. and it only got better as Obama spoke. I’ve said it many times before – Obama is a great, inspirational, and eloquent speaker… and even more so in person! Ayaz and i were so lucky to meet him from so close up, and shake hands with him! I truly believe he has the potential to make a big difference for the country.

I’ve heard the “fired up” story many times before, but i heard it again last night live as Obama ended with the story (and i was wearing my ‘fired up’ shirt too!). it’s one of those things that never get old. Obama said the moral of the “fired up” story was that “one voice can change a room…and if can change a room it can change a city… and if it can change a city, it can change a state…and if it can change a state, then it can change a country…”. Obama, intelligently, connected this with urging each of us individually to go out there and knock on some doors, call some people, get our friends/family/neighbors out to vote, etc because we could make the difference.

this next image shows just how close we got:

also, during Obama’s speech… near the center in the front row alone we had three girls “faint” in the same general section. i found that really weird, but the secret service just came in and carried each of the girls out as it happened.

here’s obama’s speech btw:

I know i would have regretted it later had i not gone to either of the events (ESPECIALLY the Obama event)! This is a pretty long post as it is, but i’ll probably add more thoughts to this as i remember more things.

These past two days have been pretty amazing… and one of those things i’ll remember forever!

UPDATE: this post is as long as a 5 page essay! to think how productive i could have been school-wise today! 🙁 🙂