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Tuesday
Nov042008

I Voted. And I'm A Republican. Sort of.

And let us hope with this post that the rabidly partisan, liberal left wing nut job that has become Faiqa will go into hibernation for at least the next four years, if not the next eight.

In honor of this historic election day, I have a startling admission to make.  I hope you're sitting down for this.

I, Faiqa, am a registered Republican.

Oh, yessssss.  I am.  And here's how it happened:

Once upon a time, about five years ago, I was walking to class on the UCF campus when a clean cut young man approached me with a clipboard in his hand, "Ma'am, can I have a minute of your time?"

I was twenty minutes early for my class, being the nerd queen that I am, so I said, "Yeah, sure."

"Well, ma'am, I've been collecting signatures for new legislation that would provide stiffer penalties for child molesters.  Would you be interested in signing this petition?"

Who doesn't want stiffer penalties for child molesters?  I think that's something everyone can agree on.  So, I agreed.

Now, you have to keep in mind as you read the following that I had never, ever been asked to sign a petition before that day.  So, there is some reasonable excuse for the utter stupidity that ensued.

I signed the petition after reading it because I am not a total moron.

"Oh, Ma'am, one more thing, I just need your driver's license number."

"Huh? Why do you need that?"

"We need to verify that you're a voter in order to prove that the signature is legitmate."

"Oh... O.K." And this was the stupidest thing I have ever done.  Ever.  Never give someone your driver's license number when signing a petition.  It is absolutely NOT required.

Three weeks later I received a letter in the mail from the Supervisor of Elections in my county.  Hmmm.  I wonder what this is?

It was a brand new voter registration card with the party affiliation now reading "REP."  For Republican.

Mr. Clean-Cut-Who-Also-Hates-Child-Molesters had duped over a dozen other morons like myself into handing over their driver's license numbers along with their signatures and had changed their party affiliations, as well.  This was verified by campus security who sent out an e-mail several weeks later.  I did not report this incident to the Supervisor of Elections because it was about two weeks before voting day, and I didn't want my ability to vote to be compromised by this incident.

I'm still not clear on Mr. Clean-Cut's motives.  The primaries were over, so it wasn't like he was keeping Democrats from voting in their primary. And, for someone like me who was registered as an Independent, it made no difference whatsoever.

I still haven't changed it.  Because, as I said, I'm an Independent and wouldn't have been able to vote in my state's primaries, anyway. And now, I suppose I could change it, but why?  I like it, it adds to the paradox that is me.  It's my own little private joke about the fallibility of our system, I guess.  And about the fallibility of me.

It's also a reminder of how wrong acting some people are for no good reason whatsoever.

That said, I'm ending this post with a meme RW posted a few days (weeks?) ago:

Who did you vote for and Why?

1996 - Bill Clinton.  Do I really have to tell you why?  OK, he wasn't Bob Dole.  How's that for a reason?

2000- George W. Bush.  First, because I was an idiot.  Second, this was the year that a group of Muslim Americans decided to "block vote" and they picked Dubya as their candidate.  Understandably, this was the year that I learned that voting the same as someone else because they are the same religion or ethnicity as you is not only asinine, but very unpatriotic.  You'll be happy to know that from that election onward, I have always been an American first in the voting booth.  To my defense, I also had a bad feeling about Joe Lieberman.  And, now, we all know why.

2004 - John Kerry: Penance?  Penance for being a complete moron in 2000?  Let me say, however, that my vote for Kerry was, in fact, a vote against George W.  I still think Kerry was probably one of the least inspiring candidates in that election, if not in the history of the United States.

2008 - Barack, baby, Barack,  Because, yes we can.  Thanks to this meme, I've realized that this is the first election in which I have voted where I am actually voting for a politician instead of against one.

So, see, I'm not as monochromatic as some might think when it comes to politics.  In fact, some could reasonably argue that I have been, on at least two occasions, completely moronic.
Monday
Nov032008

Awesome.  Party.

I've been asleep since  Sunday morning around 5:00 A.M.  And I'm still tired.  Avi's party was nothing less than spectacular. My only regret is that Sybil might have missed her flight because of me.  I owe you a ride to the airport, my dear.  So, you'll have to come back really soon so I can alleviate my guilty conscious.

Anyway, even though I slept through most of Sunday, I do, in fact, have a Resolution Sunday.  So here it goes: I hereby declare this week "CASH ONLY" week.  With the exception of fuel, I will pay for everything in cash this week.  Why?  Because I have a feeling that I'm swiping away my sense of how much things cost by using the Check Card instead.

As for last week's resolution to drink at leat 90ozs of water, that was actually really easy.  I drank an average of 120 ozs every day.  Well, I'm not counting Sunday.
Saturday
Nov012008

Happy Make Candy Manufacturers Rich Day

It's Halloween.  So, Happy Halloween to you.

From iswhatido.org Halloween from iswhatido.org

I'm too buys getting ready to attend the coolest Halloween party EVER, so I'm going to link up to B.E. Earl, who has painstakingly compiled a lists of scary movies by genre.  Earl's got great taste in everything movies, so, just in case, you're not going to the coolest Halloween party EVER, head on over to Blockbuster with a printout of his post.

You won't be dissappointed.
Friday
Oct312008

The Inside Story: Bloggers Infiltrate the Media

The Three Most Important Things I Learned While Faking Press Credentials




Who's totally cool and awesome?  Me. My Press Pass



1.  I'm "the Biased Media"

Remember Zayna, the Egyptian-Syrian hijab wearing woman standing in line?  Well, what I left out of yesterday's post was that as I "interviewed" her, I asked, "What are your thoughts about the allegation that Obama has tried to distance himself from Islam by having women with their heads covered moved from camera sight lines and the staging area?"

She blankly stared at me.  "What?  I hadn't heard that."

"Really?"  I suppose she was too busy participating in voter outreach programs to watch manufactured rumors on television.  Luckily, she had me to offer her this breaking news.

"That would be very disturbing to me if that's true."  Note, not just disturbing, very disturbing.

And here's where I lost all credibility as being remotely connected to the media.  "Oh, well, no, I mean, it's just a rumor, I don't think it's true... I'm pretty sure it was manufactured by rabid conservatives... don't worry about it."

Wow.  Way to ask the hard hitting questions and let the chips fall where they may.  I just couldn't get my brain to stop screaming, What kind of liberal goes to an Obama election and talks people out of voting for him...what the $%#@ is wrong with you?!!

Don't worry, she voted early.  For Obama.  Despite my media alter ego attempting to talk her out of it.

By the way, I don't think that rumor is true.  Just in case, you haven't voted yet.

2.  If You Ever Want to Go Backstage at an Aerosmith Concert (or band of your choice), Take Britt with You.

Miss Britt is an opiate for security guards.  When we got to the event, security all but carried her to the media section in a palanquin.  Don't get me wrong, she's fabulous and good looking, even a calendar girl, but the reaction of these men was downright supernatural.

Take our earliest interaction into consideration, for example.  We drove into the parking area for Osceola Heritage and started looking around for a sign that said "media entrance" to no avail.  Then, for reasons of our own, we started panicking.  I panicked because I figured that if, for some reason, security barred us from the media section, we might have to actually get in the "real" line.  The line people had been standing in since 3p.m.  The line whose end might contain people who were not going to get in, at all. (As far as I know, everyone got in, though).

I have no idea why Britt was panicked.  She had a letter from the Huffington Post, a black trench coat on, a big camera bag and was sporting very intellectual looking glasses.  She embodied the media.  I, on the other hand, looked like a liberal elite commie blogger wannabee without a Huffington Post letter.

Anyway, panic permeated the car as we pulled up to a group of mounted police officers and a guy that looked like a Secret Service Agent.  Britt rolled down the window, "Hey, where is the media parking?"

At that exact moment, her GPS device fell off the window and hit an empty Burger King cup, we both yelped and scrambled to catch them, and I think the secret service guy rolled his eyes.  "Do you have credentials?"

She whipped out her Huffington Post letter and handed it to him.  He looked it over a little suspiciously, looked back at me as I awkwardly tried to suppress downright girlish giggling, and then said to her "Do you have any ID?"

"Oh, yeah, yeah," she fumbled for her wallet, opened it up and handed him her Visa card.  Yes, her Visa card.  As he took the card from her, he looked a little taken aback.

I thought, Oh, man, we are so busted.  Maybe, if I hit the gas right now and drive off we can save face. The only thing that stopped me from doing this was the vision of Britt strangling me when she got her monthly Visa statement laden with charges for 42 pairs of black shades and 25 really boring ties courtesy of the Secret Service agent guy.

"Ummm," he started to say something but she quickly realized her mistake.

"Oh, that's not going to do you any good," she laughed.

And then, something interesting happened as she handed him her driver's license.  He smiled, his eyes got this funny little look, and he mumbled, "Yeah, okay... that's better.  I think you need to drive down that road," he motioned.  Then, he spoke into his little earpiece thing, confirmed exactly where we were supposed to go and let the guy down the road know that we were coming.

Now, I'm pretty sure that the last act was in the form of a warning, and I know it doesn't sound like a big deal.  You just had to be there.  He could have said, "This is a driver's license.  Don't you have one of those laminated thingys that the real press people have hanging around their necks?"

Look, I'm just not accustomed to getting the benefit of the doubt from security persons, so, for me, it was like ... magic.

3.  Everybody should try this at least once in their lives.

I am not going to even try to write it better than my fellow infiltrator did in her post yesterday:
This is my Constitutional Right. Our constitutional right. To have open access to the political process based on little more than an honest desire to document it. At a time when the media is constantly berated for it’s bias and lack of objectivity, I am reminded that our access to The Truth is only limited by our willingness to seek it.
Thursday
Oct302008

Barack Obama and Bill Clinton in Kissimmee




"not knowing where to go
not knowing where to be
i choose to be a follower
in search for the leader in me

i know it won’t be easy
and as crazy as it seems
i choose to be a follower
a follower of my dreams"


-- Adnan, "follower"



Around 11p.m. the night before the rally I got an e-mail from Britt telling me that we could get press passes at the Obama site via our blogs.  How amazingly awesome and very cool is that?  I went to the site, put in Native-Born.com as my organization, and, voila, I was officially a member of "the media."

We arrived at the Osceola Heritage Center around 6:30 and waited with the rest of "the media" (yeah, I'm going to be putting that in quotes for the rest of the post) for security checks that were scheduled to start at 8:30p.m.  Something that didn't escape our notice was the fact that nobody from "the media" seemed to be talking to the people who were standing in line waiting to see Clinton and Obama speak.  So, of course, salt of the earth that we are, Britt and I made the rounds of the lines and started talking to people.

The campaign hasn't exactly been subtle about the fact that hispanic votes prove critical in Obama's courtship of Florida, and the enormously long line of people reflected the efforts of that agenda.  I spoke with a hispanic woman and her daughter, both sporting Obama T-Shirts, who had been in line since 3p.m. that afternoon.  "I'm here because we need change," and then she called over her three sons, ranging somewhere between the ages of seven and seventeen, and said, "I'm here for them."

Among the throes of a people, I spotted a young woman wearing a hijab, and decided she was someone I wanted to speak with, as well.  Zayna, a nineteen year old American of Syrian-Egyptian descent, voted for Barack Obama. Zayna's participation in the political process didn't end with just voting, though.  She also participated in non-partisan voter outreach, and was part of an early voting initiative among Central Floridian Muslims.  I had to keep my cool "media" exterior and act nonplussed, but I found this young woman's level of service and committment to our political process very impressive.

Around 8:30, we herded through security, got our media badges, found a table, and pulled out our laptops only to find that there wasn't a WiFi network available.  So, I twittered.  And twittered.  Then, I got bored with that and decided to go talk to the only other "desi" looking person in the media section.  It ended up that this gentleman, did not just look Indian.  He was, in fact, an Indian.  K.S. Chakrabarati, is the assistant editor of a Calcutta based Bengali newspaper and has been following the Obama campaign for about four weeks.  (I think.  Between both of our heavily accented Hindi dialects, it was impossible to verify).

One of the major differences between American political campaigns and Indian campaigns, he noted, was that Americans were much more "festive" at rallys.  He also noted that we are more public about our party affiliations and who we plan to (or have already voted) for than voters in India.  Given how U2 and "Life is a Highway" were alternatively blaring around us and people were screaming, "OH-BAH-MAH," I can see how he came to that conclusion.

And when I ran out of interesting and credible questions to ask Mr. Chakrabarti, I twittered, listened to Britt's impersonation of a person dying of frostbite, and laughed at the guy sitting in front of me who answered with complete seriousness, "Irish" to my question of, "Which network (WiFi) are you using?"

Around 10 p.m., the show got started.  Congresswoman Corrine Brown started off the rally with a speech that had strong references to the 2000 election.  "In 1992," she said (no, actually, yelled) "Florida voted Democratic.  In 1996, Florida voted for the Democrats.  And in 2000, Florida voted for Democratic."  This theme reappeared in the talks of the next few local speakers, too.  I'm still trying to figure out the exact point of that reference.  Given Obama's focus on national unity, I felt that suggesting that the Republicans had stolen Florida's electoral votes in 2000, was just a little violently partisan.  (Of course, I think Al Gore took Florida, too, but if Al Gore wasn't going to fight for Al Gore...let's just suffer for four years, oops, eight, and move on.)

A highlight of the evening for me, besides the obvious, was actor Jimmy Smits.  I have had a crush on Jimmy Smits since he was on L.A. Law, which was about a million years ago.  Anyway, Smits spoke directly to the hispanic population in Florida.  "I want to hold my head up high and say it was our vote that made the difference."  And then, I had to snicker when he mentioned that the character he played on the West Wing, President Anthony Santos, was actually modeled on Senator Obama.  I don't know why I thought it was funny.  Maybe because I pictured some undecided voter in the mass of people there thinking, "Really?  I did not know that.  Hmm. I loved that character.  I think I will vote for Obama."

And then Senator Bill Nelson, who was an astronaut, introduced Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.  Together.  The air was, to be completely trite, electric.  I'm sorry, there's just no other word to describe it.  Bill Clinton spoke first and he was magnificent.  I'd forgotten how endearing it could be when he drops the last consanant of some of his words.  You know, how he says, "givin'" instead of "giving"?

The most outstanding part of his speech, IMHO, was when he told the crowd about how Senator Obama had called him, Senator Clinton, Warren Buffett, and several other key people before taking a stance on our current economic situation.  "He knew it was complicated," President Clinton said,"and we need a President who understands...who can understand..."  Gosh, I actually felt bad for George W. when he said that.  Having fifty percent of the population call you stupid, that's one thing, but having Bill Clinton call you stupid?  Ouch.

And then, Senator Obama spoke.  Much of what he said has been said before, at debates, at the DNC, and on infomercials.  He addressed the charge that he's a socialist, though.  "Now, they're saying I'm a socialist because, years ago, when I was in kindergarten, I wanted to share my toys..."

I know that there are a lot of people who beleive that Barack Obama wants to coddle the supposedly "undeserving poor" of this country.  I suppose that's why they're deeming him a socialist.  I know, academically, what a socialist is, and I don't think he quite fits that description.  Then, again, I'm quite clear on what a Republican is supposed to be in the academic sense of the word, and I'm pretty sure most of them don't fit that description anymore either.  I say, either we all have a big meeting about creating "working defintions" of these terms, or people should just stop using them.

This I am sure of, though, Barack Obama was very clear that the people in that stadium tonight would have obligations to this country when he is President.  He made promises about higher standards of education, for example, but ended with “parents, you have the responsibility to turn off the TV set and make sure that your kids are doing their homework.”  This message came across several times: the restoration of America would not be his job alone, that it would be our job.  He openly stated that government cannot do everything for us, and that there is much that we have to do for ourselves.

I'm voting for Barack Obama.  Socialist or not, he represents the type of politics and values that I would like to see prevalent in this nation: clear headedness, intellect, tolerance, integrity, respect, self reliance and a general regard for the dignity of all people.  I don't have a problem that people in this country are wealthy, hell, some people might even consider me, at least, moderately wealthy.

I do have a problem with disparity and lack of access.  And, frankly, I'm just a little fed up with people implying that if I am generous with my wealth, I will somehow lose it.  I assure you, there's enough prosperity in this nation to go around so that you can still be rich someday and less fortunate people can also afford healthcare, keep their homes, and educate their children.

OK.  That's it.  Almost.  Tomorrow's post is going to cover the more humorous side of two pseudo-"media" blogger wannabees as they fake it until they make it at the Obama rally.

P.S. I'm so tired.  I just couldn't edit this post.  Sorry.

P.P.S. If you want to take a look at my play by play of the rally.  Go here.