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Conservatively, I speak

Some people are comfortable on the floor, be it a dance or a debate. Some like picking fights. Some simply aren’t afraid of being heard.

Then there are the rest of us. Those who, no matter how comfortable they might feel in their own skin, would rather die than have a spotlight on them. We’re the ones who would forget how to spell “the” at a spelling bee, the self-conscious stutterers, the stage-frightened, the wusses.

“Hi, I’m Julie, and I’m a chickenlittleshit.”

I fool some people, sometimes. Maybe even most people most of the time. For instance, I stutter sometimes. Not often, but enough to be self-conscious of it, enough that I hear it and know to take my time speaking to avoid it; I don’t think even my husband or mother has picked up on that. Also, I do pretty well at poetry readings. If I know and am comfortable with my material, I can “comfortably” speak in front of a crowd of thousands. I’ve done it. I was shaking, but my voice was steady.

However, I still avoid jumping into shark infested waters of public political or religious debate. Which is a shame. On some levels at least. No matter how adamantly I might oppose an opinion, I am more likely passively volunteer to be the attacked straw man than to be the vocal minority. Heck, I’m not even likely to be a member of the vocal majority.

So while I applaud and encourage the freedom of expression, I self-censor. I don’t bring up the fact that I don’t think Obama is a god, or that even though a close family member once admitted to thinking Hillary might be the Antichrist and another very Republican family member voted for Obama to thwart Hillary, I would rather have had Hillary as the democratic nominee than Obama. Nor do I mention that, given the options, I’ll vote for McCain when the time comes.

But then I think about how much of elections is about name recognition and general publicity. And I wonder what Jane Undecided might think as she surfs through cyberspace. The “Yes McCain Can” posts are a little less visible than those on the other guy. Mostly because new things, new people, changes are exciting. So people will talk and write about the new thing more, with more passion. What happens to the old guy? What about those who just might vote for him?

I’m asking these questions of myself as much as they’re rhetorical. A lot of this has to do with reconciling my own largely conservative — though not necessarily “Republican”– beliefs with the ballot I’ll cast in November. And with each ballot thereafter. I do this in hopes that maybe once I know better what I believe and how those beliefs translate into political ideology, maybe then I’ll be ready to voice them more freely, without fear of the inevitable cyber-smackdown.

*****

In other news, I wrote a poem today as promised; “Happen” (which may be retitled) can be read by logging into shakespearesmonkeys.com.

12 Comments

  1. Bree Bree
    June 7, 2008    

    You’ll never get it from me, Julie. I am so sick of people telling me who I should support. I remember watching the 2004 elections and saying to my friend “this Obama guy, he’s going to run next time” and my friend saying “Obama? Who is he?” I’ve got a knack for recognizing and predicting political trajectories. I probably will end up either voting third party (just to try to get a 5% to get them recognized) or write in Bill Pullman on the ballot. Or maybe Christopher Walken.

    Because America needs more cowbell. 😀

  2. Chucka Stone Designs Chucka Stone Designs
    June 7, 2008    

    I am a big Obama supporter, I feel that his voice resonates with me and I actually enjoy listening to him, I think it would be enjoyable to hear speeches given by him and all that other “in the public eye” Presidential stuff he would have to do. But does that mean I will tell you that is who you should vote for? Not a chance.

    In fact I may not even vote. Talk about being flamed! Try to be a non-registered person sometime and see the looks of shame that are cast upon you when people want you to sign their petition outside Trader Joe’s and you say “sorry, I’m not registered”. Just like it is every American’s right to vote for the candidate they want, it is also every American’s right not to vote if they don’t want to.

    You are voicing your opinion right now & that is what matters. You don’t have to be in a room full of thousands to do that, I would never say you are a wuss because you definitely put it out there with no apologies. Right on!

    Left you comments on SMR, beautiful!!

  3. Ginger Ginger
    June 7, 2008    

    i support you exercising your freedom to vote for whom you see fit….even if i think mccain is a tool who will continue to drag this country into to the spiral of shame and poverty it’s already caught in. no shame in having an opinion or independent thought.

    i do feel compelled to point out that if someone is going to go through all of the trouble to vote, wasting their vote on a 3rd party or write in candidate you know won’t win is simply that, a wasted vote. think about it, if all of those people that voted for the green party a couple of elections ago had voted for the candidate they wanted to be in office…that had a chance of actually winning….then the election wouldn’t have been so easily fixed by a certain someone that i maintain didn’t actually win the election.

    i like the cowbell though, that’s good bree. 🙂

  4. Bree Bree
    June 7, 2008    

    Ok, so the Bill Pullman thing was a shout-out to a past entry I did on my own blog. And Christopher Walken is just about my favorite thing ever. Have you ever seen Balls of Fury? It’s terrible, but Walken is so funny in it. 🙂

    The third party vote comment, however, was not a joke. It was my way of commenting on the current bipartisan system. The people of this country are not on a continuum with only two ends, but rather a wholly 3D axis with as many variations as there are stars in the sky. Why can’t there be a progressive party, a bull-moose party, a federalist party, a green party? Shouldn’t there be a voice for those who refuse to be placed in the “or” category? The majority of people I know say that they vote independent, not along party lines. This is a wonderful trend! A third, fourth, fifth party would be a positive step in this spirit of democracy…to support whomever we think will be best in the position. I guess in the end, I don’t believe that the choice is only between two people/two platforms/two ways of thinking, when there are so many that could do such positive things.

    I don’t say this to be obstinate or argumentative. You all know how much I respect your thoughtfulness about this political process and life around you. I wanted to respond, so it does not appear that I am disregarding what has been written here. I just don’t believe that a vote cast for the right reasons is ever wasted, regardless of who and what that vote supports. As long as we vote with our minds, stay true to what we believe, and try to build something positive with our candidate instead of pulling down someone who disagrees, the process could turn into something that brings us together.

  5. artjewl artjewl
    June 8, 2008    

    First of all, I appreciate this dialogue. I agree Obama is pretty enthralling, an excellent orator. But I’m not convinced.

    Bree & Ginger, you both raise valid points. Ultimately, I think the independent vote is an idealistic, future-focused approach. In the long, long run it could change things. Meanwhile, we need to work with what we’ve got, all but forced to vote for the lesser of two evils. Of course, when evils are equal, vote for Christopher Walken.

    Or don’t vote. We’ve got that right too as Jenn pointed out. And, fortunately we also still have the first ammendment right to gripe and complain, even if we don’t cast a ballot.
    •••

    PS – good to see you on SM, Jenn!

  6. Ginger Ginger
    June 8, 2008    

    oh, i like this!…and i got the bill pullman comment bree, i remember that post. 🙂 i haven’t seen balls of fury, but it’s on my netflix list specifically because of christopher walken. he’s a genius and i love him too.

    i also agree with your ideals and i don’t like the current limitations in the system. i would vote for another party member if i liked them and thought they had a chance of getting elected…i’m registered independent because i don’t like choosing sides in that manner. i just personally couldn’t vote for someone knowing they’d get a max of 5% of the vote. if gore had those votes 8 years ago the election may have turned out different….can you tell i still need to let that go? hah!

    so i guess it’s all about perception here and that’s part of why we’re so lucky to have this kind of freedom….because we don’t have to do what anyone tells us, but we can still talk about it and respect that we don’t all have the same opinion.

    and for the record; even though i’ve always liked obama and will vote for him, i would have liked to have clinton in office.

    i think you hit a home run with this post julie….thank you.

  7. Stephan Anstey Stephan Anstey
    June 8, 2008    

    i know you know.. but UGH. I hate these candidates. They disgust me so much. Obama is probablyt he least qualified candidate in the history of the presidency… and McCain is ridiculous. *albeit a heroic one

  8. Chucka Stone Designs Chucka Stone Designs
    June 9, 2008    

    Bree I remember your Bill Pullman post too, thinking about that and reading all of these comments really got me pondering the fate of our nation when it comes to this fall’s election and the years after that election with whoever the new president will be.

    It is widely speculated that in 2000 the actual Presidency should have gone to Gore, not Bush. With his concession to Bush, Gore caused 2 things to happen: 1. EVERYONE in the country would remember him and 2. By doing so he helped to stir up one of the largest divides this nation has ever seen.

    With less focus on politics in general and more focus on the Earth Gore could actually bridge the gap between every single possible either/or situation (democrat or republican, male or female, etc) prioritizing everyone as a human first. For that I respect him and admire what he is doing to spread the word about protecting our planet. The truly sad thing there is that when people hear him speak now there are always comments associated like “he really should have been the president” or “how come he just didn’t win”. I am all for support but these kinds of statements shift that support away from our current President.

    Am saying I am a fan of Bush? Not a chance. I fully disagree with his stance on immigration, abortion, inability to push gun restriction and his ideas to create a committee to investigate what is happening with social security (not to mention about a billion others) but the fact remains that he is the leader of our nation.

    This time around I would love if everyone could just vote the way they want but no matter what the final outcome is, support the person appointed. McCain is not the candidate for me. Even Nader would get my non-existent vote before him so in that respect I agree that we should support whoever we personally feel will do the best job. That is our right and we should do so with gusto and pride but in the end, when the chads are all accounted for (hopefully), I would love to see our nation come together as Americans and support our elected President no matter who it is.

  9. Ginger Ginger
    June 10, 2008    

    sorry everyone, i didn’t mean to be argumentative or divisive, i was just chiming in and was apparently the odd man out…i’ll shut up now because anything else i say will just sound ugly and unsupportive of the commander in chief and i don’t want to do that on julie’s blog.

    xoxoxo

  10. artjewl artjewl
    June 10, 2008    

    <crazyidea>I wonder, what would happen if a general poll-like vote was held to evaluate where the masses stand on key issues? Because, really, what we all want is someone who would do what we think is right. But when are we ever asked what we think is right? I guess we’re supposed to vote for the people whom we think would do what we would, and/or write those politicians and tell them, but let’s be serious, who has the time or energy, or believes those letters are even read? Now I’m not saying we should vote on every issue or that our votes should determine policy. We have a representational government so that we don’t have to mess with that. But by voicing our vote on the issues someone might actually get an idea of what the American public actually wants and stand for that. I know that bit would never happen, but it was just a random thought. I know it’s sort of informally done through polls, but something formal might actually pave the way for more independent candidates.</crazyidea>

    Jenn, I’m glad you brought up the support issue. One thing that disappoints me is the general disintegration of respect for the office of the President. Disagree with the man, but respect the office. But, Ginger, don’t sweat it — let’s be honest, we all know Bush’s approval rating.

    I guess this goes back to the “vote on the issues” thought, but how often do we agree with a person on principle, but disagree in the response/execution? Personally, a lot. Heh. Not that I would ever want to be president. 😉

  11. Chucka Stone Designs Chucka Stone Designs
    June 10, 2008    

    But, Ginger, don’t sweat it — let’s be honest, we all know Bush’s approval rating.

    I completely agree with Julie! I definitely did not mean to make you think I was being combative ginger, or that you shouldn’t continue to speak your mind because you should! Please know that I probbaly feel exactly the same as you about W and how he became our president. All I am saying is for the next one no matter who it is we should try to let go of caring about the label placed on him (dem or repub, smart or an idiot) and strive to come together as a nation (no matter how we feel about the policies or person in a larger sense, I guess is what I’m trying to say).

    Like Julie said here how often do we agree with a person on principle, but disagree in the response/execution. This does not only apply to the president but ALL of us! It is fun to debate & nice to hear everyone’s thoughts on topics. hot button topics like politics just add to the fun.

    You know I ♥ you to death Ginger, you ARE opinionated and that’s what rocks about you! Now come on and bring it on, this conversation is too fun to let go lol

  12. Ginger Ginger
    June 14, 2008    

    i didn’t get e-mail alerts on those last two comments…i only checked because of the voice in my head. yes, there’s only one other voice besides mine, surprisingly. 🙂

    thanks ladies, i heart you too…totally!

    “Disagree with the man, but respect the office.” ~ i like that a lot. i remember after the gore/bush election, i was so incredibly pissed off at the whole sham that i felt (feel) had been played on the american people that i’m still a little jaded about the system as a whole. i’ve never liked the bipartisan system, but my distaste has recently gone deeper than that. the other side of that coin is that if the election had gone the way i wanted it to then i’d be happy as a pig in an animal sanctuary. so i guess i’m saying that i know the system isn’t perfect, but it works a lot better than some of the alternatives. i think we should find a way to lose the political party labels so we can just vote for people though.

    ~ mraz/rivera 08! ~

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torch bearing quietly

I will not act out, will not
yell or curse or slam doors,
will not make a scene -- you
do not deserve such a chance
to make an example out of me
to be proven right since you
are not. Instead, I'll stand
at this street corner, raise
my hand high and clench that
light which yet remains. It
will burn brightly, quietly,
fiercely before fading as I.

Then I'll be gone but found.

©JAC 2005

Poetry by Julie Ann Cook!

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Love Like Weeds
by Julie Ann Cook
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