Conscience Voting

People are confused about my political views. They’re not the only ones. I’ve been in the middle of  a political identity crisis for a few years now.

I was a teenage anarchist, looking for a revolution.
I had the style, I had the ambition.
I read all the authors, I knew the right slogans.
There was no war but the class war.
I was ready to set the world on fire.
I was a teenage anarchist, looking for a revolution.

Do you remember when you were young and you wanted to set the world on fire?

Thank you, Laura Jane Grace,for providing lyrical narration to my very first political identity. That’s who I was. In my early twenties I went through this weird part of life I cringe thinking about. I became a Mama in my teen years (unrelated to anarchy but I can see why one might try to connect it). I was frustrated by “you don’t look old enough to be a mother” and all the criticism that gets heaped on teen moms without foundation so I did this awful thing and conformed to what a grown ass mother is supposed to be like. Ugh, yeah. I conformed. I wanted my motherhood to be respected and honored like mainstream women. I thought that if I looked like I had my shit together and acted like what was expected by socially accepted models, I’d get it. I know now that I totally had my shit together ,was kickass at the parenting gig, and didn’t need to look a certain way to prove it. I know that now. Thank the gods I got that figured out. Doctor, please get in the TARDIS and travel back to 21 year old me and explain that to her.Make her burn that Ms Suzy Creamcheese dress with the sunflowers on it that she wore all the time while you’re at it.

Part of conforming was registering to vote. My resistance to voting feels alien to me now and I’m glad that I’ve found people on the web who also feel anarchism and voting can be paired. I do still in part cling to Emma Goldman’s idea that “If voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal” but I’m also a autodidactic student of history and I know better than that. Which is not to say I’m not aware of the flaws and think voting should do more than it actually does. I am too aware. That’s a huge part of my struggle at the moment.

I do still love Emma Goldman. If I had the money right now I’d go get Emma Goldman’s face tattooed on my arm. Sadly I can’t find a tat parlor that accepts my EBT card as payment. If any fox news folks have any leads, hook me up. I would be extra delighted to pay for it with government money. I love irony (and sarcasm).

As I’m creeping into age, I’m feeling my anarchist roots more and more. I’m trying to come to terms with this while also recognizing that there’s this system in place that I hate and instead of fighting it, I need to find ways to work within it. I don’t know what that looks like for me right now.

I was raised in part by a patriarchal figure who was a Reaganite and passionate about politics. We did not agree on anything politically but I cried the other day thinking about how I wish he were still on earth to argue with about this election. Maybe we wouldn’t argue. Maybe we’d discuss things instead of yelling a lot like we used to.
I think he would be horrified by Trump being an actual candidate. He would never vote for Hillary either. Not in a million years. I imagine most of our fights would be because he said something sexist about Hillary and I’d have to jump on that. We’d agree on not wanting to vote for her though. In my ghostly imaginings, I’m glad he and I find common ground on this.

Hillary Clinton is not my candidate. I can leave that statement there without clarifying. I’m an educated and informed voter. I do not feel that Hillary Clinton is a candidate that represents me. These statements are not a request for one of her supporters to enlighten me. I understand what I’m saying. I’m not smarter or more moral than her supporters, nor are they smarter and have higher morality than I do. They have their reasons for wanted to declare they’re with her, I have my reasons for not. You do you, I do me.

There are plenty of people who aren’t really with her but they’re going to vote for her anyway. This is one part of voting that I just can’t even with right now. Because it really isn’t supposed to be this way.

That Reaganite who raised me? My grandfather. The first presidential election I voted in, it was no secret he and I were voting differently. That Election Day, we drove to our polling place together. Before we got out of the car he said, “Well, I guess here we go to cancel each other’s vote. It’s ok. You have to vote your conscience. That’s what you’re supposed to do.”

I know. I know. Here in America, most people aren’t afforded the luxury of actually voting their conscience. You have to vote for the person who is against the person you hate the most. I get it.I really do. In this election, it’s especially scary to think of Trump getting into The Oval Office. The other day I imagined a Trump presidency and felt ok for a minute realizing that he would screw up badly in the infancy of his term and be effortlessly impeached . Then I realized that Trump being impeached would mean Pence would take office and that is terrifying . Unlike Trump, Pence has actual experience legislating discrimination and public policy that harms people.

Some recent polls of Millennials reveal that more than half are interested in being third party voters.  The commentary on this is that it proves that Millennials are selfish little pricks who don’t give a shit. I’m the mother of three Millennials (wait,no….FIVE if I include my step kids) and I disagree. They are interested in third party candidates because they do give a shit. They see two candidates who aren’t ideal . They’re looking for an alternative.They want actual change.

The rest of registered voters are listening to the chant of the Democrats explaining that a vote for a third party is a vote for Voldemort. (Sorry. I hate typing that orange guy’s name. It makes me nauseous.) Some of these voters will definitely fall in line and become “Girl, guess I’m with her” voters.  A lot of those voters are not going to vote at all. They will stay home because they’ve been made to believe that voting any way other than Democrat or Republican is a wasted vote.

And I know. I know. This is a scary election. The uncertainty makes us unwilling to take the risk. It doesn’t help that the main third party candidates might not seem qualified to most or that thanks to media, we just don’t know enough about them. So, I get it. I’m not saying this is the election to shake things up by putting a third party candidate in office but let’s not rule it out for the future,ok? It has happened before. Lincoln was technically a third party candidate when he was elected.

I am currently an undecided voter. Maybe I’ll vote for Hillary. Maybe it’ll be a third party candidate. Maybe I’ll write in Emma Goldman. I have no idea.I don’t think I’m alone. I do know that no matter what the outcome, we’re all in this together and there will still be work that needs done.Maybe there’s an advantage in accepting the idea that no matter who is elected, it won’t be someone I want to be President. It keep me ready to fight , ready to stand up for things that need standing up for. People stay on their toes and become active pugilists in the heat of an election year only to fade into complacency once the election cycle comes to an end. Participation in democracy can’t be cyclical. It has to be a  never ending commitment with eyes wide open.



“I Want A Dyke For President” (1992) by Zoe Leonard, artist, activist, member of Fierce Pussy



If you haven’t already, go register to vote. Now.


Register to Vote


Voting this election is so important but it’s not all about the Presidential election. There are several states with crucial gubernatorial elections and of course state representatives to be seated. These are the policy makers. These are the people who can make or break it for people. They can create progressive change or set us back 50 years, for the whole country and in individual states. Those people on the ballot are too important to ignore right now.

Chop your way to a solid core


I absolutely just ripped that title from a men’s health mag but I’m seriously considering also making it the title of a Craiglist help wanted post.

People pay a lot of money for fitness programs and personal trainers,right? Why not save money and just come get a workout at my house splitting firewood? Plus, you get to leave feeling good that you’ve done something to help someone out.

I can spin this.

So far we have split and stacked about one face cord. I just want it all split and stacked so I can see how much wood we actually have. It’s hard to tell right now.

daily links: affordable veganism and other foodish things

The Economics of Veganism (+ Proof A Fine Vegan Meal Can Be Made Cheaply) – I promise even if you’re a skeptic of veganism ,you won’t hate this piece. Gena Hamshaw gives plenty of recognition to the high cost of produce and lack of accessibility for some while also showing some good idea of how it can be affordable. Gods love her for stating some of the flaws in SNAP challenges,too

In some of our leaner times, we’ve become what I termed “accidental vegans” and as a general rule we eat a lot of vegetarian meals because plant based proteins are so much more affordable. I feel like the disadvantage many might have making veganism work on a low budget is that time is a huge factor in preparation, and it does require a bit of food and cooking knowledge beyond the basic.

Fall Chili, Soups & Stew Recipes and Learn How to Make a Freezer to Slow Cooker Meal ~ Weekly Round-Up – 31 days of soups and stews. I say it all the time…soups and stews are some of the most inexpensive meals you can make and you can stretch a pot through the week . My other tips is to substitute beans if a recipe calls for meat you can’t afford.

21 Budget-Friendly Recipes Starring Rice — Recipes from The Kitchn – essential reading for me this week. Oh,boy.

33 Bowl Recipes to Keep Your Belly Full and Life Easy – I made one of these recently for myself to eat during the week for lunches. Really ideal if it’s just you or you and your partner and maybe one or 2 non-picky kids that can deal with their food not touching .

The Middle-Eastern Cookie That Caused a Panic in Pennsylvania– I’m glad the recipe is included in this article because I immediately knew I had to have some but didn’t want to create hysteria by having something written in Arabic hanging around my house.Heavens no..


I have an enormous bag of chickpea flour to use up, so I’ve been making things like this (basically pakora) . I might make this one this week but commit some pantry anarchy by using a buffalo wing sauce my local produce guy gave me as a free samples.

daily links::a food waste cookbook!, news on teen hunger, and more


There’s a cookbook called Amazing Waste with recipes entirely devoted to cooking with scraps,leftovers,etc. I haven’t had a chance to look through the entire thing yet but this looks like the kind of cookbook I would write. Am writing. These kinds of recipes are great for food pantry users (at least my food pantry) where you might end up with produce that is not the prettiest or freshest.

The entire cookbook is available for free RIGHT HERE.

Thanks to my local food waste reduction -anti hunger group Friendship Donations Network for passing along that info.

·:   Five Questions with JoAnne Berkenkamp, Food Waste Expert and Advocate  – there’s a lot of food waste going on but it’s getting better thanks to mainstream recognition and initiatives to reduce waste

:· some new research reveals some sad information about teenagers living in homes with food insecurity  . Even if teenagers do have access to programs that give them food,they’re too worried about what their peers will think to use them openly but also they are underserved by programs like The Backpack Program, which focuses on elementary aged kids. This is something touched on before here when one of our readers was trying to develop a program for older kids.

As a result, in households where hunger was most acute, teens reported engaging in all kinds of risky behavior to obtain food, including: shoplifting food directly, selling drugs for cash and/or engaging in “transactional dating,” i.e., engaging in sexual relationships with older adults in exchange for food and money. In a few communities, some teens even viewed going to jail as a viable option to ensure regular meals. The report also revealed the degree to which hungry teens look out for each other and for their younger siblings, often forgoing meals or sharing their food with those also in need.

Here’s a summary of the full report: Impossible Choices

My teenager’s high school made school lunch available for free to ALL students, regardless of income. If high schools did that widely, this would eliminate so much of these issues. Her school also has Free Food Friday where food donations picked up from a local rescue agency is available in the school lobby for anyone to take home. My daughter very rarely gets anything because it’s completely gone by the time she has a chance to check it out. Even when she is there on time, it’s difficult to get anything. No one is shy about taking food home. Now I have to wonder why these students have no reluctance to take free food. The school is a small charter school that focuses on sustainability and social justice (nope, don’t go off on me about how awful charter schools are) . Is it just that the culture of the school is centered on taking care or others and being stewards of the earth? A lot for me to think about there. I asked my daughter what she thinks and she says it’s because the school works hard to be a safe space for everyone and “no one judges people for things like that”.

Meanwhile in my community, the school district just expanded their Fresh Snack Program to include another school so that it now serves 1,200 elementary students. The Youth Farm Project (which one of my older kids worked at and let em tell you…that’s an AMAZING program) and other local farms provide a weekly snack to be served with the intention of expanding food horizons and food accessibility. It’s awesome.

My 6 year old was very critical of the yellow watermelon mentioned in the article linked above. He spent his summer growing his own watermelon, so he’s an expert now.

He’s a super proud watermelon farmer.  I think we actually have a couple left to harvest. I plan on making this watermelon pie. YESSSSSSSSS.

daily links: podcast recs,Conflict Kitchen

Just a few of my favorite things things from this week. None of them have a thing to do with Brad and Angelina getting divorced . Sorry not sorry.

·:    When Someone Tells You They Cannot Afford Something, Be Kind – It’s fantastic advice on it’s own but yes, let’s also talk about why preschool has to be so damn expensive? And exclusive.The issue with the expense goes without saying. We NEED more pre-school programming that’s affordable for lower income families. Something I noticed as someone who worked in both public and private pre-schools was that the private ones talked a lot about “celebrating diversity” but they were really exclusionary when it came to accepting students of diverse backgrounds into their program. Scholarships were rare for low income families. The programming was not any better (in my opinion, both as a early childhood educator and a parent) than anything that would be considered publicly funded. The kids in Head Start and UPK  were actually experiencing diversity and learning so much from each other about other cultures, languages, and just life in general.

This diverges a bit off Katy’s main point,though. Just MYOB about why people can’t afford something. Sheesh.

:· A new podcast about the spiritual sustenance of leaders in social justice movements, Fortification – Only 2 episodes so far but I’m feeling inspired and uplifted.

·: I’m in love with the idea of Conflict Kitchen. It’s a restaurant in Pittsburgh that only serves food from countries the U.S. is in conflict with. “Each iteration is augmented by events, performances, and discussions that seek to expand the engagement the public has with each country.”
The restaurant’s current focus is Haudenosaunee cuisine. I was so happy to see products from The Iroquois White Corn Project being used . If you’re ever in the Rochester, NY area, do go visit the  Ganondagan  center.

 The Black Girl Dangerous podcast is back for a new season with new host Raquel Willis. This episode discusses Colin Kaepernick’s protest of police violence against people of color is the U.S. and this was before the most recent shootings. The discussion highlights the importance of what Colin and others following the example are doing. I see poor people dismiss protest like Colin’s sometimes because of his position of privilege but THAT is exactly why it’s important . Any time someone with privilege speaks out for marginalized people ,even if it risks their own security and status – I think that’s noble and notable. 

And that’s that for now, unless you count some of the links I’ve shared on the Facebook page this week. Really should get into the habit of rounding them up here.

Oh,also! Happy Bisexuality Day! I don’t have a specifically bi-pride flag but my regular rainbow pride flag hasn’t been taken down since the Orlando Pulse shooting. I love how it looks like my dried up sunflowers are holding up the flag in this pic.