I read an article this morning that detailed Mike Rowe’s response to one of his fans who wrote to him requesting that Rowe encourage his fans to go out and vote.
Can you please encourage your huge following to go out and vote this election? I would never impose on you by asking you to advocate one politician over another, but I do feel this election could really use your help. I know that there are many people out there who feel like there is nothing they can do. Please try to use your gifts to make them see that they can do something – that their vote counts.”
Mike Rowe’s response was unusual – and one with which I agree 100 percent. Anyone who has read my rants about Generation Stupid and political ignorance knows I am a big advocate of being informed, doing one’s research, and analyzing the information one receives.
Voting is not a “civic duty,” although some have tried to couch it as such. You have no duty to cast a vote for someone whose positions you may know nothing about, or whom you wouldn’t trust to lead this country, merely because that’s whom the major political parties of this nation have put forth. You have no obligation to help elect someone to lead this nation, in whom you have no confidence, but whom some celebrity, who has no understanding of economics, foreign policy, national security, or the military, has encouraged you to oppose or support.
Your only obligation is to exercise your rights responsibly, because your vote does matter, and it does affect everyone around you.
A few weeks ago, during the first presidential debate, I lost my shit on social media after hearing one of the candidates claim that we pay 73 percent of NATO.
WE. DO. NOT. PAY. 73. PERCENT. OF. FUCKING. NATO. If you don’t know how NATO fucking works, shut your stupid fucking face up! OMG!!!
I can’t watch this. Seriously. It’s making my head explode.
Now, I didn’t watch the rest of the debate. I merely walked in from dinner and heard that portion. However, several of my friends tried to justify the comment – one with “But… but… but… Hillary lies more,” and the other with a graphic that details our total defense spending compared to that of the other NATO allies combined.
I had to patiently explain that this has nothing to do with our contribution to the alliance. This is a comparison of our own defense budget compared to the other NATO nations. It’s what we spend on our OWN defense, and it should be a lot. We’re much bigger than our NATO allies.
Now, there is a NATO defense spending benchmark that the alliance encourages each member to reach – that’s 2 percent of their Gross National Product. Most members don’t come close to spending that much on their own defenses, and ostensibly it’s correct that they would rely on the strongest, biggest alliance member – the United States – to defend them should the shit hit the fan. That’s a valid concern, given that we are under an obligation to abide by the treaty and the collective security guarantee. But to claim we contribute 73 percent to NATO is ludicrous!
It’s an indication of just how ignorant the candidate is on issues pertaining to our most significant alliance, but it’s also an indication of just how ignorant some voters are about those same issues. A simple Google search isn’t enough. The Internet doesn’t always provide the correct answer to your question. Further research is needed.
And in a world made up of memes, the commitment to doing that research and being fully informed on issues of importance in this election is critical.
That was essentially Mike Rowe’s reply.
I also share your concern for our country, and agree wholeheartedly that every vote counts. However, I’m afraid I can’t encourage millions of people whom I’ve never met to just run out and cast a ballot, simply because they have the right to vote. That would be like encouraging everyone to buy an AR-15, simply because they have the right to bear arms. I would need to know a few things about them before offering that kind of encouragement. For instance, do they know how to care for a weapon? Can they afford the cost of the weapon? Do they have a history of violence? Are they mentally stable? In short, are they responsible citizens?
Casting a ballot is not so different. It’s an important right that we all share, and one that impacts our society in dramatic fashion. But it’s one thing to respect and acknowledge our collective rights, and quite another thing to affirmatively encourage people I’ve never met to exercise them. And yet, my friends in Hollywood do that very thing, and they’re at it again.
Every four years, celebrities and movie stars look earnestly into the camera and tell the country to “get out and vote.” They tell us it’s our “most important civic duty,” and they speak as if the very act of casting a ballot is more important than the outcome of the election. This strikes me as somewhat hysterical. Does anyone actually believe that Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen DeGeneres, and Ed Norton would encourage the “masses” to vote, if they believed the “masses” would elect Donald Trump?
Regardless of their political agenda, my celebrity pals are fundamentally mistaken about our “civic duty” to vote. There is simply no such thing. Voting is a right, not a duty, and not a moral obligation. Like all rights, the right to vote comes with some responsibilities, but lets face it – the bar is not set very high. If you believe aliens from another planet walk among us, you are welcome at the polls. If you believe the world is flat, and the moon landing was completely staged, you are invited to cast a ballot. Astrologists, racists, ghost-hunters, sexists, and people who rely upon a Magic 8 Ball to determine their daily wardrobe are all allowed to participate. In fact, and to your point, they’re encouraged.
Some of my friends took issue with some of what Mike Rowe said. According to my friend, the idea of not encouraging everyone to vote because they aren’t smart or informed enough is elitist snobbery at its finest. This friend, then, somehow decided from Rowe’s words that it’s a Republican versus Democrat issue, and pointed to the fact that Republican celebrities are also engaged in “get out the vote” campaigns as well.
My friend also agrees with the responsibly exercising one’s gun rights idea, but claims that this contradicts Mike Rowe’s logical, principled stance of not encouraging those who are ignorant about guns to own one without training to refusing to encourage more liberals to vote. I find that, in and of itself, to be interesting projection. Rowe didn’t mention anything about not encouraging liberals to vote. My friend merely took it as such.
Fact is that Mike Rowe didn’t mention for whom he was voting, didn’t focus on the liberal/Democrat side as being more guilty than the Republican/conservative side (although, he mentioned more liberal celebrities, probably because there is a much greater number of liberals in Hollywood than there is conservatives), and didn’t advocate depriving ignorant people of their rights.
He merely said that he refuses to encourage people who barely know how our government functions to cast uninformed ballots, because everyone’s vote counts. Everyone’s. Republican, Democrat, informed, and barely intellectually functioning.
Rowe doesn’t encourage one side of the political aisle over another, but rather advocates that every single voter get informed by reading a variety of sources to inform their worldview.
“Spend a few hours every week studying American history, human nature, and economic theory. Start with “Economics in One Lesson.” Then try Keynes. Then Hayek. Then Marx. Then Hegel. Develop a worldview that you can articulate as well as defend. Test your theory with people who disagree with you. Debate. Argue. Adjust your philosophy as necessary. Then, when the next election comes around, cast a vote for the candidate whose worldview seems most in line with your own.”
Since when is being informed about something as important as deciding the future of our country “elitist snobbery?”
Since when is encouraging a well-rounded education and responsible exercise of a right a “personal intelligence test?”
No. Voting is a right, and every right needs to be practiced in a responsible manner. Rowe does compare such responsibility to gun ownership. He doesn’t advocate depriving people of their right to keep and bear arms if they’re not well versed in firearms and their safe usage, but he rightfully says that he refuses to encourage such behavior.
We all should.
Voting is similar. Encouraging people who can’t name the current Vice President of the United States to cast a vote for the future President is ridiculous.
The future of our nation is too important to trust to people who will vote for a candidate because it’s a vaginal American’s turn in the White House, or because “LOCK HER UP!” or because “THIS IS MY PROTEST VOTE!” This is how we wound up with the current crop of candidates whom very few Americans like, but are too afraid to shun, because the other person might win.
Steer clear of those who encourage you to cast an uninformed vote. Chances are they’re hoping to scare you into voting for their choice, because they’re a celebrity… because they made a glossy, inventive PSA… because they have a neat slogan. Unless they’re also encouraging you to get informed about the issues, instead of just trying to scare you because “that evil, murdering bitch” or that “boorish, racist, misogynist swine” could get into the White House, back away. Slowly.
So, no. I don’t encourage everyone to vote. I refuse to scare people into casting a ballot without understanding the issues at hand, because SHE might win.
Voting is too important a right to be practiced without personal responsibility.
Your ballot is your vote of confidence that the person you choose to lead this country will do his or her job, will respect the Constitution and faithfully execute the laws of this land, and understands his or her role in the leadership of the biggest, most significant, most powerful country in the world.
If you cannot or will not understand the issues at stake and are merely planning to cast your vote because some celebutard scared you into irrational terror of the other side winning, I would encourage you to get informed via something other than Internet memes and two-minute TV commercials, or stay the hell home!
You know, I’m not a fan of Donald Trump. Yeah, I know, you’re all shocked by this. But while I find the Hairy Hemorrhoid™ about as appealing a presidential candidate as the hobo who hangs out at the bus stop near my house and mutters incoherently to himself, there’s a part of me that’s pretty appalled at the level of discourse regarding this year’s elections. The hysterical rhetoric, the violent protests, the threats… what the hell?
I’ve generally kept my criticisms of all the candidates to the issues. Yes, I have my favorite moniker for Trump, but again, for me it’s about the issues. I don’t engage in emotionalist dumbshittery that’s not based in any kind of fact. That’s not the way I operate.
Not so with certain celebutards who are trying to claw their way out of irrelevancy. Not satisfied with the first time their career swirled the shitter after they insulted the President of the United States during what is supposed to be a fun event – a concert – the Dixie Chicks are at it again.
This was apparently on the screen during their song “Goodbye Earl.”
No, really. A song about a victim of domestic violence who, along with her best friend, finally kills her abusive husband after he “walked right through that restraining order and put her in intensive care,” had a photo of the presumptive GOP presidential nominee with childish horns drawn on it while they played said song at a concert.
This is the height of stupid. Trump may be a boor, a narcissist, a clueless demagogue who would embarrass this country on the national stage, and a complete ignorant when it comes to policy, but a violent wife abuser? Is that what the accusation is supposed to mean?
No, in a classless attempt at reviving their hasbeenery and shining the spotlight on themselves, the Dixie Chicks poked their pointy little heads out of the trash bin of life to which they had been relegated the last time they tried to make a political statement irrelevant to anything having to do with their music, and stuck their feet right back into their mouths.
They just can’t help themselves. They apparently needed the attention, and thought the quickest, most effective way to get it would be to capitalize on the blazing dumpster fire that is this year’s election season.
I think what they are going to accomplish more than anything is drive more angry voters to Trump. We, as a country, aren’t known for our calm rationality when it comes to our elections. We get angry and sometimes fling poo like angry chimps. In this case, the poo is one Donald J. Trump, and the angry chimps are the voters who are so sick and tired of celebutards and establishment hacks telling them what to do and deciding for them what this country’s political landscape will look like, that they will fling that turd all the way to the voting booth.
I’m embarrassed to admit I actually liked some of the Dixie Chicks’ earlier music. As an AFN disc jockey, I did the country music show, which broadcast Europe-wide and beyond. After I left the Army, I worked for a country music station. It grew on me. But much like with any other celebrity, I’m there for the art, not the witless political commentary.
You want a Trump presidency? This is how you get a Trump presidency! You block the roads to his rallies. You physically assault his supporters, get physically assaulted in retaliation, and draw media attention once again to the Trumpster fire. Instead of a discussion of policy, you stamp your little feet and hurl ad hominems. You irrationally compare Trump to Satan, and childishly draw horns on his photograph at a concert. You piss off an already angry electorate and send them to the polls in droves to vote for the very candidate you’re trying to demonize, because that’s how they roll.
You want to make Trump look more sympathetic? This is how you make Trump look more sympathetic!
Now, back in the bin with you bimbos!
Yesterday’s New York Times had this feature article on David Petraeus’ former piece of ass Paula Broadwell. If you don’t remember her name, no one can blame you. This is the woman who was discovered to have been giving up the poonanie to the now-former CIA Director and rock star General widely credited with turning the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan around in our favor.
Reading the wailing sob story about how poor Paula’s stellar career has come to a screeching halt, one gets the feeling the NYT is trying to drum up sympathy for the woman who has received much harsher treatment at the hands of society than a man. A buddy of mine pointed out “gender bias” as being behind Broadwell’s lack of success while Petraeus recovered and landed on his feet after having pled guilty to mishandling classified information and sentenced to two years probation and a $100,000 fine.
Nearly four years later, Mr. Petraeus is now a partner in a New York private equity firm, and has advised the White House on the war against the Islamic State. He publishes oped articles, speaks publicly and has affiliations with three universities, including Harvard.
Ms. Broadwell has struggled to find her footing. For weeks, reporters camped outside her home in Charlotte, N.C., where she was trying to restore her marriage. Friends sent over groceries and hot meals for her family — her husband, Scott, and sons, 8 and 10 — and staged interference so Ms. Broadwell could cut across her neighbors’ lawns, climbing over fences, to escape for a morning run.
She lost her military security clearance; her promotion from major to lieutenant colonel was revoked when the news broke. The F.B.I. still has her computers — including her dissertation research — and she withdrew from her Ph.D. program. She said she was told in more than one job interview that, while she was qualified, hiring her would be a public relations nightmare.
Well, what the hell did she expect, accolades? Pats on the back and “attagirls” for bagging the General?
Yes, she lost her clearance. I’m fairly sure Petraeus doesn’t have his either. That’s what happens when you take classified information home and share it with someone who has no need to know. Yes, she lost her promotion. It happens all the time to male troops who are caught in flagrante delicto. BG Jeffrey Sinclair was dropped two ranks for sticking his dick into a subordinate officer. MAJ Jim Gant admitted to an affair with a Washington Post correspondent, busted down to Captain and forced to retire, despite an illustrious career as a Green Beret.
Did little Paula expect special treatment?
At least she wasn’t charged, fined, and put on probation like Petraeus was.
But that hasn’t stopped some from implying that double standards are keeping poor Paula down.
I disagreed. Strongly.
Fact is Broadwell’s ego was being stroked like a Roman cock at an orgy, being flown to Petraeus for weeks at a time, being on the receiving end of his thoughts, and hopping around in his bed.
She bagged Petraeus. THE Petraeus. She was writing his biography. He became her mentor. That must have been quite the boost to her overachieving ego.
But fact was she was his subordinate. She didn’t have even an ounce of the star power he had, and in the end, she didn’t have the illustrious career that he had either. Sure she had the degrees, was a research associate at Harvard, was the deputy director of the counterterrorism center at Tufts, but he was the one widely credited with turning around two difficult wars, and he was the one who was the Director of the CIA. His was the household name, and she was the lackey.
No, she didn’t get the dream career she thought she so richly deserved, but arguably neither did he. Despite grumblings from some Republicans that he should be drafted to run for President, fact is he intentionally mishandled classified information, much of which was found in his house, lying around in an unsecured drawer. Kind of sounds like another candidate currently running for president, hmmmmmm? I’m sure he could have had a successful political career, but despite writing op eds and advising the White House, he’s working at an equity firm. Let’s get some perspective, eh?
Bill Clinton landed on his feet too, while Monica Lewinsky faded into obscurity, but again, it wasn’t because there was some kind of double standard discrepancy between men and women, but because Clinton was the President of the United States, and Lewinsky was a nobody – an intern kid, who was an unknown then, especially compared to the leader of the free world! Arguably, even Lewinsky landed on her feet. Media appearances, social scene invitations, commercials, talk shows and reality TV, a degree from the London School of Economics, and fashion design. I’d say she landed on her feet, although it took some time.
Plenty of rich and powerful women have affairs and land on their feet. Hell, Madonna has made an entire career out of it!
So let’s not pretend that Broadwell’s lack of success is somehow related to her plumbing. We don’t know how far she would have climbed in her career had she not hopped in the sack with Petraeus, but nothing is guaranteed in life, and the decisions we make dictate the lives we live.
So, no. I have no sympathy for Broadwell. What I find really galling is that she somehow blames the media for her plight, and has founded a non-profit combating gender bias in the language the media uses to report its stories.
With a friend, Kyleanne Hunter — a former Marine attack helicopter pilot — she has founded a nonprofit, Think Broader, focused on combating gender bias in the news media. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the sliver of bias that bothers her the most is “mistress.”
She recently presented on the topic to a roomful of editors at The Huffington Post, as well as to a team at Yahoo and the United Nations. She is working with a professor at Harvard to try to come up with a system for tracking biased language, she said — from unnecessary words (“female fighter pilot”) to journalists primarily relying on male sources to the subtle ways language can affect the way an article is framed.
She has also, quietly, reached out to female journalists she thought would be sympathetic, asking them to stop using the word “mistress”: Christiane Amanpour at CNN; Norah O’Donnell at CBS; Susan Glasser at Politico, who advised her staff to refrain from using the word.
For the record, I don’t think it’s the word “mistress” that is so unappealing. It’s the act of keeping a side piece that’s distasteful. No matter what word you use, lover, whore, etc., it doesn’t change the nature of the thing, no matter how much you pressure the media to use alternate language.
Maybe Broadwell should try and understand that, instead of trying to push the onus onto others to somehow heal her wounded character.
There’s a reason I haven’t blogged about the Ashley Madison hack. There’s a weirdly angry part of me that is gratified to see the hypocrisy of such social conservatives as Josh Duggar, who screech “family values” and work to impose their religious mores on the rest of us, while engaging in acts ranging from adultery, to kiddie diddling, to porn, revealed for the world to see. But that’s just my own sense of justice talking. I hate hypocrisy. Add to this Duggar’s sexual abuse against little girls when he was a teenager, and his family’s disgusting failure to seek justice, while oozing the cloying, “perfect family” illusion to the rest of the world, and the side of me that revels in the pain of bigots, charlatans, and phonies rejoices.
The Ashley Madison hack revealed the baser side of quite a few people. Duggar was just tip of the sewage heap. Politicians… celebrities… sports stars… quite a few of them were exposed as paying customers looking for side nookie.
Know what? None of my business. The libertarian in me says, “this is between them and their spouses.” That other me says, “how dare they invade people’s privacy in such a way?” That me says, “what people do in their bedrooms, what they do outside their marriages, and with whom they do it is not and should not be anyone’s concern.
But yeah, there’s that devilish me that says, if you’re a politician who has spent his life trying to use government force to impose your religious values on everyone else, “FUCK YOU! YOU DESERVE IT!”
So I’m torn. Recently a pastor who was outed on the Ashley Madison site as trolling for an affair committed suicide. This is awful. This is sad. This is tragic. His wife came home to find his body and then had to tell her kids that their dad took his own life. The man apparently struggled with depression and addiction in the past, and in the end he just couldn’t live with himself because of what he had done.
No, it’s not up to us to forgive him. I certainly won’t justify his actions in any way. He hurt his family. He hurt his children. He hurt his friends. But in the end, they are the only ones who can forgive him. And even though, that snide part of me is pleased that these people were exposed for the sleazy degenerates that they are, overall, I’m disgusted that their privacy was destroyed in such a slimy manner.
In the end, it’s not up to me to judge them. That’s between them and whatever deity they happen to worship. That’s between them and their families and friends.
In the end, the people on that list have to face what they did all by themselves. Their only victims are their spouses and their children. Their only victims are their consciences. That’s where they need to seek forgiveness.
Me… I’ll just continue to be disgusted with the heinous breech of trust and privacy that led to this burning car wreck in the first place.