Thursday, November 6, 2008

"I want you"...So?


Now that everyone's all done with the election and hopefully moving on, I want to say something about voting. While Uncle Sam might want me, he gives me no good reason to actually follow him. Everyone runs around yelling about the election...mostly yelling at me because I refuse to vote or register to vote or have anything to do with voting.

"But it's your sacred right as a citizen!"
"But you could cast the deciding vote!"
"But-but...that's just un-American!"
And so much more.

A person I knew once told me that I had the "yes, but syndrome": every fact someone tells me that I don't like, I respond by saying something to the effect of "yes, but...". For example, "You should drink less water." Response: "Yeah, but water is good for you," or something to that effect.
That's what you're doing when you say those things.

Think logically for a second. Logically as in the way you're SUPPOSED to think...the way political scientists assume you think (even though you apparently don't). Why take time (on a weekday, no less), gas money and the possibility of getting caught in the rain to go stand in line for a couple of hours to become one of the millions of people who are, at that very moment, casting the deciding vote in a system that's so skewed even if you were destined to cast the deciding vote, it wouldn't matter because someone like Bush would come along and bring politics into the equation? Funny, how that works out, isn't it?

So I hope you really enjoyed voting on Tuesday. I was taking a nap.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Nothing comes for free, not even candy!

Remember those days when you would dress up in scary/adorable costumes (gender dependent) and go trick-or-treating with your friends in groups of 10 or 20 to beg neighbors for free candy? And it was actually acceptable? Well, not any more.

Granted I'm probably a little old for trick-or-treating and my constant diet implies I'm not going to eat the candy anyway, but the idea of getting to knock on strangers doors, mutter some construed rhyme, receive a handful of free candy, and have all of that be socially acceptable is just too enticing to pass up. So I use my ten-year-old brother as an excuse to continue the tradition. Usually, we get a couple pieces of candy from each house, some better quality than most (there's always those stingy people, right?). Then there's the people whose dogs run out and sniff your butt, which is always uncomfortable. All in all, the free candy makes everything worth it, kind of like old-age hospitality in the new century (think along the lines of baking cookies for the new neighbors).

But not this year. Safety issues aside, poor trick-or-treating yield is yet another hidden consequence of the economic crisis, which is quickly turning into a social crisis as the presidential candidates race to the finish line with polar ideas on who deserves the tax cuts and who deserves the increase. Could the simple, all-american tradition of begging for candy be yet another perk of US culture removed by the recent market crashes? A microcosm of what's to come perhaps?

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Practice what you preach

Here's an email I received a few days ago supposedly directly from Joe Biden. And he even knows my name! *fake sarcastic gasp*
Mehak -- 

The McCain campaign is on the ropes, and sadly it's no surprise they're responding with attacks and outright lies.

I've heard some pretty unspeakable things in the past few days -- deeply offensive smears that we'll hear over and over again until Election Day.

John McCain and Governor Palin are setting a new low in presidential politics with their dishonorable campaign.

Barack and I are out there every day fighting back. But we need your help.

Make a donation of $5 or more right now to show John McCain and Governor Palin that when they attack us with lies and smears, it literally makes our campaign stronger.

After last night's debate, it's clear why John McCain doesn't want to talk about the issues facing ordinary Americans -- especially the economy, which his own advisers admit he can't talk about without losing.

Barack won last night by offering clear plans to rebuild our economy from the bottom up, lower healthcare costs, and end the war in Iraq responsibly.

McCain tried to push more of the same disastrous Bush administration policies -- more tax cuts for the wealthy and giant corporations, deregulating the healthcare industry and taxing employer-based healthcare plans, and continuing to spend $10 billion a month in Iraq.

So what's left for the McCain campaign? Negative attacks and lies.

And it's even worse from some of the well-funded outside groups supporting McCain, whose sole purpose is tearing Barack down with smears.

Instead of focusing on the issues that really matter, our opponents are doing everything they can to encourage this toxic atmosphere.

We cannot stand by and let them get away with it.

We need to increase the cost of these desperate tactics for McCain's campaign. Please make a donation of $5 or more right now:

Thanks for your support,
So, let me get this straight. Joe Biden, Obama's running mate, is emailing me smears, slurs and accusations against McCain with a FORM letter asking me to give them money to stop McCain from using smears and slurs.
What happened to the American dream?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Screw college, I want to learn something

There's this place at the corner of my mind where I want to care about what's going on around me. Where I want to understand what that funny haired man is blabbering about. I haven't felt that tug in a long time and I don't know what to do with it anymore.
I thought, ever since I graduated, that there was nothing left to learn, in the academic sphere anyway. Or, rather, nothing left worth learning. Now, I find myself wanting to learn, just for the sake of knowing more, but there's nothing. I want these people to teach me something new, tell me something I don't already know, but they don't. They tell me everything I've heard before. 

They give me long sets of numbers to memorize --the value of this, the rate of that--but they never tell me what the numbers mean, where they come from, why they are what they are. Isn't that what matters in the end? Knowing WHY rather than WHAT? But, in this world, it's all about the whats, isn't it? Who has the highest pay, who has the highest grade, who accomplishes the most, weighs the least...

And so my mind wanders. I go to class for the physical exercise I get walking there. I take the tests like a robot. Is that what our universities are producing? Breathing robots, number spewers that can't make educated decisions about the things that really matter to them? Is that really what I'm paying for? It doesn't seem right.  

And people on the street complain when people in the big house screw up. What else are they supposed to do going to institutes of higher education that don't even educate them? Don't teach them applications, only numbers. Lots of numbers.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

It's a bird, it's a! It's Superbama!

At least that's what it felt like when  I went to go see Obama at Michigan State today. Don't ask me why I went. It was mainly because I felt I needed the exercise (that is, after all, why I go to class) and there's no exercise like walking straight down Grand River in the rain and getting splashed on by cars. In all seriousness, though, I went because I had heard he was a great orator and...I wanted to judge for myself. What I found was a little more than I had bargained for. 

The line, I expected. The hustle and bustle, I expected. The $2.00 bottles of, chalk it up to capitalism. But what was with the metal detectors? And the frisking. Isn't that a little extreme? Plus they stole my water bottle. They didn't even steal the bottle on the plane (just made me dump out the liquid). But, for Mr. Obama, the whole bottle's gotta go. So much for his environmental initiatives. 

Those are still individualized complaints though. Specific to me. What really got to me was the way the whole thing was set up. It was a "get more voters" fest with undertones of a party. With "change" signs everywhere. There was music. And dancing. Like a "pre-show". Want to know what the "during-show" was? People were climbing on the porter potties to catch a glimpse of him. And one fell down (a potty, not a person). While someone was in it. Needless to say, I didn't stick around for the "post-show". 

I don't think people would have been more rowdy if Obama were 50-cent rapping away on that platform. When did presidential campaigning turn into a concert with the singer's lyrics focusing on issues he doesn't even support in reality (see bottle rant above)? I guess it was around the same time people started caring more about the VP's daughter's pregnancy status than the VP's leadership abilities...

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

"Public university" doesn't mean publicly aware

It's a little (if not extremely) sad that I'm in a university where I'm bombarded by people asking me to register to vote (some guy came by my Journalism class today and gave us a 20 minute spiel about it) but I still have to get my news from Time Magazine/the internet/my dad (recently). Why is no one talking about the financial crisis?! 

I wonder if all universities are like this. Or is it just Michigan State? *waves to college readers out there* If you're reading, comment and tell me whether or not your campus is buzzing with morbidity over the onset of the next Great Depression. 

Now I'm being morbid!

So why aren't we talking about it? Is it because we're scared? Isolated? Or do we have better things to worry about? If it's option c, that's scary: the future of this country lies in the hands of 30,000 students more concerned about this weekend's football game than the economy's meltdown.