Yes to Yummy

Pussy Grabs Back.

November 10, 2016 Leave your thoughts Print this page

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Last night, in Converse and cat ears, I — an eighteen year-old college student — marched with thousands of others from Union Square to Trump Tower. Dodging raindrops, taxi cabs and confused tourists, we wove our way up Fifth Avenue and Broadway, wildly swinging our signs in the air and chanting our fears, beliefs, hopes. To you, it may appear that I am just another overly-vocal, overly-liberal millennial who’s upset that she didn’t get what she wanted. But to me, it means a whole hell of a lot more than that.

I know my blog is dedicated to food — although I haven’t done a fantastic job keeping up with that lately — but it’s also a place to elaborate, reflect, discuss. I think all three are needed in times like this.

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I have always been (and always will be) a self-confessed nerd. Around age 5, I took a profound interest in U.S. history. It all started with a President’s Day party in my kindergarten class. Along with cupcakes and other snacks, one of the moms brought placemats with every United States president listed on the front. For some reason, this completely and utterly fascinated me. Who were these men? What was the world like when they were alive? What did they do to change our country?

I became immediately infatuated. Every time I ate a bowl of Cheerios or a plate of apple slices on that placemat, I meticulously analyzed each president, reading their descriptions over and over again. Soon, I could recite all of their names in order — both forwards and backwards — and whenever we’d go to a party, I’d show off my skill, flabbergasting adults with my knowledge. When I was in first grade, an eight-part documentary called “The Presidents” aired on The History Channel, further feeding the flames of my burning interest in politics. I can’t tell you how many times I watched those episodes on our TiVo. What other six year old hated Andrew Jackson, felt sympathy for Franklin Pierce, grew angry over the policies of Herbert Hoover? (For some reason, I also always skipped over the portion about our then-president, George W. Bush. I was a smart six year-old.) To this day, I still know all of the words to the series’ introduction.

My early years of elementary school were defined by American history. I’d watch Schoolhouse Rock songs on my DVD player during road trips, memorizing songs about women’s suffrage and the Revolutionary War. I read so much about the presidents, soaking in every factoid like a sponge. I even taught a lesson about them to the second grade class next door, the teacher of which got a huge kick out of my premature nerdiness. As I sat in Mrs. Casle’s rocking chair with a picture book about the presidents in hand, my seven year-old feet dangling far from the floor, I felt so alive, so inspired. Even though not one of those twenty other second graders likely gave a shit about a cabbage pelted at William Howard Taft, I knew that what I was learning meant something. Somewhere in that brain of mine, I knew that history was a lot more than learning about dead white guys — I knew that, somehow, it was important to today, too.

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Before I understood that being POTUS was an incredibly difficult job, I wanted to be president. (As evidenced by the two “Future President” t-shirts I owned!) My parents raised me to believe I could do anything, regardless of whether I was a girl or boy. Writer, astrophysicist, geneticist, chef — all of which I wanted to be at one point — I could do it in their eyes and our world. It didn’t matter that (then) forty three white guys had been in charge: if I wanted to run in the 2036 election, I could. (For the record, I would be 38: in the 2032 election, I would be 34, therefore too young to be president. 2036 would be the first time I would be eligible. Just saying.)

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Even though I was still too young to be interested in the real nitty-gritty of politics, I was excited when Barack Obama won in 2008. I remember sitting on the nasty navy blue carpet of my fifth grade class eating a cream cheese and jelly sandwich, watching the inauguration with my fellow mostly-clueless ten year-olds. A black man was our president, it was a big deal, and my mom was over the moon. That’s the extent to which I knew.

Throughout middle school, I took my interest in government to student council. There, I learned that politics isn’t about how smart, experienced, or well-meaning you are: it’s about who’s the hottest and most popular person running. I can’t tell you how salty I was when the charismatic new kid beat me out for vice president in the seventh grade election. I had been in student government for an entire year! I knew the club advisors, the principal and teachers loved me, I knew the ropes! My stump speech was well-written and a million times better in quality than all of the other bozo seventh graders! How could I lose?! Well, as I learned the hard way, it’s about how likable you are. Fuck likability. I couldn’t put two-and-two together that people wouldn’t like to have a motivated, passionate, intelligent girl in their student council. (As I write this, I’m starting to see an eerie familiarity with the present.)

After three years of hard work in student government with no success in securing a title — and losing the position of treasurer to another boy in the freshman class elections — I decided to take a break from public service and then history itself after a smattering of sub-par teachers. It was only when I took AP Government and Politics my senior year of high school — and witnessed the 2016 election unfold — that my interest was re-ignited.

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I am forever indebted to my amazing AP Gov teacher for inspiring me to love politics again. While senior year was not the best time in my life, a continual bright spot for me was having forty five minutes a day to discuss topics and issues that were actually relevant to our country today. I treasured all of that thinking, reading, discussing. I still do. It was amazing to be able to research court cases in women’s health, explore the loopholes and paradoxes of government, write a final paper about food policy in schools. As any young person should have been, I was also deeply invested in the election, which melded perfectly with what I was learning about in class.

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I was so pleased that, in Connecticut, you could vote in the primaries so long as you would be eighteen during the general election (I was seventeen at the time). On April 26, I skipped gym (sorry, politics is more important than suffering in a high school field house) and drove back to my old middle school, eagerly casting my ballot for Hillary Clinton, who I had gone to see with my mom a few days prior. Several of my former librarians were there, all of whom cheered me on as I excitedly jabbered about the possibility of having our first female president.

That day, I was so happy, so proud to be an American citizen, a female American citizen. I wish I could say the same about today.

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I was so hopeful when I sent out my absentee ballot a few weeks ago. In my first presidential election, I voted for our first female president, I thought. Everything about the situation was so incredible to me. Just a short 100 years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to vote…but this year, I could and did vote for a woman for president. Does it not hit you what an incredible privilege that is?! Women across the world are treated horribly and denied rights, but here in America, we had the opportunity to vote, the potential to put a woman in our most coveted position of power.

On election night, I sat on the bed of one of my roommates wearing one of my Hillary Clinton t-shirts, half doing my homework and half listening to the CNN results pouring in. At first, we were all optimistic. She was going to take the swing states! She was going to win! Donald Trump would be humiliated! This was around eight o’clock. Around ten, the mood began to grow more somber. She was slipping in Florida, slipping in Pennsylvania, not looking good in Wisconsin and Michigan. We bit our nails and waited. Around midnight, I FaceTimed with one of my best friends — who is half Mexican, half Filipino — and the panic started to set in. In the wee hours of the morning, I ate a handful of peanut butter-filled pretzels and knew things were not going as planned. At three in the morning, I hid beneath my covers, half asleep and silently crying as my girl Hill conceited and Donald Trump took his victory.

I woke up yesterday to a damp, dreary New York. I tied my hair up in two little buns — a quiet homage to young Abby sporting pigtails and her “Future President” t-shirt — put on my Birkenstocks, and went to my yoga studio. I have never seen the city so somber, so defeated before. The same people who grinned at my bright yellow “Yaaas, Hillary!” shirt the day before were looking down at the dirty sidewalks, disappointed and distressed. I walked into Laughing Lotus and burst into tears. How could this have happened?! What was our country going to look like now?! Why do good things never come to deserving, worthy women who want them?!

I’m still not thinking clearly, but community has helped tremendously. In my opinion, there is nothing more powerful than the support of your kula, or spiritual family, even in the darkest of times. That, my friends, is why I took to the streets last night: not to make anything happen, necessarily, but to be among people who love and care for each other, who refuse to be silent in the face of the loudest of (racist, sexist, xenophobic, homophobic, classist, bigoted) opposition.

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Look, I am an eternal optimist, and I can honestly say that I am outright afraid of what the future holds. I fear for myself and my friends as women when we have a president who condones and practices sexual assault, a vice president whose main mission is to make sure females have zero control over their bodies and their choices, a new Supreme Court justice who wants to overturn Roe v. Wade. I fear for my loved ones who are members of the LGBTQ+ community, who have worked so long and so hard to secure marriage equality only to have Mike Pence, a tried and true supporter of conversion therapy, in office. I fear for my peers and friends who are racial and ethnic minorities whose livelihood is now even more threatened by discrimination, whose families may be ripped apart by Donald Trump’s new immigration policies. I fear for our planet, for with a president who doesn’t believe in climate change or alternative forms of energy, we will only be further plummeted towards ecological changes we can’t reverse. I fear for everyone, because with a government heavily backed by the gun lobby, absolutely nothing will be done to make sure atrocities like Newtown don’t happen again. And I’m not even touching on how fearful I am of Donald Trump having access to nuclear weapons.

But fear doesn’t mean we move to Canada and hide underground for the next four years. Fear means we take action. The mature person recognizes that the world doesn’t always go in his or her favor, accepts what has happened, and moves forward. While our country may regress to a state I don’t want to think about, we can still progress in our neighborhoods, our families, our hearts. We can exercise our rights to protest and petition and see what we can do about the electoral college, a system meant to prevent inadequate, inexperienced candidates from becoming president. (Just gonna say that, like Al Gore, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote.) Although nothing might happen, we can still try. Americans don’t give up, do we? We can work our butts off to get out to vote in the 2018 midterm elections, campaigning to make Congress blue again and having more women and minorities in office. We can stick together through turmoil and tragedy and say we are strong, we will be strong, we will make America stronger. In the words of Alabama Shakes, you got to hold on. And we can hold on.

Oh, and by the way…America needs to fucking get out and vote. How is it that almost half our nation just glanced at our country’s future and said “Eh, I don’t care?” I mean, if you look at it, Donald Trump won (less than) half the votes of those who voted, and if only half the country voted, only a quarter of people actively said, I want this man in office. That’s an uncomfortable reality for me. Look, democracy is a privilege, and it’s our responsibility to be grateful and exercise it. Your vote does count, and it will count going forward. So if you didn’t vote this time — and even if you did — please try and go out next time. Register to vote right now. It’s really easy and all of the instructions can be found online. Set a date in your calendar for September 2018 to send out a request for an absentee ballot if you need. Find a representative or senator you can get behind. Encourage your friends to join you. No, your single vote may not change the world, but your community and your influence can. Don’t forget that.

This pussy will not let the next four years grab her. Instead, she will grab back by being resilient, being tolerant, being the same loving person she is, was, and always will be. I encourage you, pussycat, to do the same. It is meow or never.

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P.S. To those 11,000 of you who wrote in and voted for Harambe, fuck that. Harambe didn’t die for this.

NASTY WOMAN OUT.


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