this election is my division

S.T.I.L.E.S Model #AIISS001

“I was considered the best in my entire division. My former Naut was elected squadron leader within three years thanks to working together with me. My ability to process information and deliver instructions is second-to-none. My only question is, what makes you think you're qualified enough to work with me?”

My new wonderful friend duckhymn accepted a commission from me for an art work, and I requested an image to accompany my upcoming Sterek fic S.T.I.L.E.S.

Thank you once again, Ducky!! I love love love how it came out!! It’s so beautiful and pretty and glorious and perfect! <3

PLEASE NOTE: This is NOT my artwork, it belongs to Ducky, please give credit where it’s due!

Some Free Thoughts on this Fourth of July

Last night, as to be expected for a (pre-)Fourth of July celebration, the local baseball team ended their game with fireworks and patriotic music. As someone who was 12 years old when the Twin Towers came down, I came of age to the same fireworks and music, and on a Fourth of July even five years ago, I might have been moved.

Frankly, as a middle-class white person, this country has given me a lot that I can claim to be proud of. On a personal note, one of those things is my brother, a captain in the US Marines who is about to deploy in a few days’ time in service of this country. I am proud in unspeakable terms of the sacrifice he would unhesitatingly make on behalf of my freedom and the freedom of every other Americans.

But despite this source of pride, and the many others my class and race have granted me, last night, as they played Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA”, there was a truth that I had to acknowledge, as out of place as it was in a patriotic celebration in small town America.

Because on this Fourth of July, I have to tell the truth – I am not proud to be an American.

The words in that song have never rang more hollowly to me than they did last night. Truthfully, the shame I have for my country predates the most recent presidential election and its subsequent divisive political atmosphere, though the election and its aftermath has certainly thrown it into sharp relief. My shame finds its roots in our treatment as a nation, both historically and contemporary, of our black and brown citizens, of a justice system that is anything but just, of an American in which so many continue to live in fear. It finds its roots in the continued dismissal of the tremendous value that women have brought our country from the beginning and continue to bring today, of the rights for which we continue to fight. It finds its roots in our disdain towards our impoverished, in our eagerness to deny those most in need, including children, of anything we deign to judge them as having not earned. It finds it roots in the hateful rhetoric and action against our immigrants, our Muslims, or LGBTQ+ people, against all those who believed the promise of America spoken to them and who have instead had an American flag shoved in their face as they are told time and time again that they do not belong. My shame knows that the promises our Founding Fathers made were in the end no more than mere platitudes, that we have yet to begin to achieve the promises of our nation.

But we still could.

As much as it is difficult for me to find faith in anything, I find faith in that. Make America great again? No – make America great for all for the first time in our history. Period, end of conversation.

This is the America I believe is still possible.

This is the America that I unironically and proudly say that I would gladly stand up and defend – because I would, with no hesitation. Because I do, or at the very least try to, in word and deed and work and life.

There ain’t no doubt, I love this land – I love most of all what if could be, what is should be. And if it takes the rest of my life, I will work tirelessly, I will work endlessly so that I can indeed say, one day, without a hint of irony, God bless the USA.

Happy Fourth. Remember those who died serving our country and remember especially that they died serving an idea of our country that we have yet to realize but that together, we can still achieve. God bless America, and God grant us the strength and wisdom to find a way forward together so that we can all, regardless of color, creed, or any other attempt to divide, reach the goals so loftily declared on July 4, 1776.

4. If you were a leader what kind of a leader would you be?

Fourth response to @iceintheattic

My country has elected a leader so divisive that people can’t comment about the devastation from a hurricane without falling into some kind of politically fraught wormhole. A good leader should be capable of holding disparate peoples together in times of crisis, let me be that kind of leader.

My country has elected a leader who thinks erecting a wall will keep immigrants out. A good leader would see that this country was built by immigrants. That our diversity is what makes our country powerful, let me be that kind of leader.

My country has elected a leader who insists he will make us great again while rolling back every small step we’ve taken. A good leader knows that being great is a byproduct of progress and forward momentum not regression into previous ideologies, let me be that kind of leader.

- Audi Phillips

anonymous asked:

This year is the first time I'm old enough to vote in the upcoming federal election. What are some things I need to know before voting?

OK! THIS IS SUPER IMPORTANT THANKS FOR ASKING! 

The election will be JULY 2nd! So time to GET PREPARED!

First off: are you enrolled to vote? If not head on over to the Australian Electoral Commission’s (AEC) website here to enrol online! You can do this at age 16 onward so if you’re under age you can get it over and done with before it even becomes an issue you need to worry about! How convenient!

Second: Research! Who are you aligned with politically? You only get to vote for the senate every 6 years and house of reps every 3 so you need to know who you’re voting for and why! I had a friend who voted #1 preference to The Greens then #2 to One Nation because he thought One Nation sounded like a good name… not realising they were the literal opposite of his political stances! What a dunderhead! He was 18 at the time though so was unprepared.

There are more than 2 parties. There’s the most well known ones Liberal (right wing or conservative) and Labor (centre-left). But then you can go either way in different directions until you get things like The Greens (left wing) or Family First (far right wing) or Liberal Democrats (libertarian). If you’re completely unsure where to begin figuring out which of these parties you agree with or whether or not you even are left wing or right wing but actually very central you can find online political quizzes like this one: 

https://australia.isidewith.com/political-quiz

or this one:

http://australia.votecompass.com/home

I got kinda different results for these quizzes as they are structured differently but there is a preference for The Greens with Labor then ranking below and Liberals on the bottom. I knew it would be in that order so no surprises there.

(votecompass seems to be slightly out of date as it says the leaders are Abbott, Rudd, and Milne, all of whom have been replaced). Vote Compass also seems to be handier in mapping if you’re right/left on social vs economic issues. You may be socially conservative but economically liberal! (a confusing term as Liberals the party are right wing whereas Liberalism in this case means left wing).

It’s also handy to check out their personal websites. As or writing this the LNP hasn’t updated their policy page since 2013. Labor’s is here and The Greens organise theirs by category

We of course don’t just have 3 parties so its always good to look outside those 3 parties to see if there’s something else that aligns better with your personal views! There’s The Sex Party, Family First, the Nick Xenophon Team, The Pirate Party (it’s about copyright law not sailing the seas for booty… unfortunately), Shooters and Fishers Party, Socialist Alliance, and a WHOLE LOT MORE! The thing about some of these parties is that they want to get a voice for specific issues that aren’t priorities for larger parties. Some of these parties have more multi-faceted policy ideas but are still very different from the current main party ideas. 

These smaller parties can have very real effects on our government. Tony Abbott called the Senate “feral” because it wouldn’t budge on many issues and was often trying to win over the favour of the smaller parties like Palmer United or Ricky Muir (from the Motoring Enthusiasts Party) to get things through. This is also the reason why we’re having a double dissolution. The House of Reps comes up with legislation but needs to pass it through the Senate to get it ratified. When a certain piece of legislation gets rejected multiple times with a 3 month gap between rejections (in this instance the Senate refused to pass legislation regarding bringing back the ABCC) that’s a trigger for a double dissolution. This is a tool to work around political deadlocks and there have been triggers over the past few years that haven’t been taken because it wasn’t as politically advantageous as it is now to take the opportunity. Sometimes the Senate rejects something, Reps make some adjustments, then the Senate passes it. A lot of the time the Senate just passes things.

Your political opinions are your own. Politics is a very complicated thing that covers all sorts of issues and so it is completely understandable that yours will differ from those around you. That’s an important thing to remember because in turn you’re going to disagree with a shit ton of people but the important thing is you can justify your beliefs. They will change and evolve over time as you learn new things. Some people will have opinions shaped by their our personal experiences and privileges (or lack thereof) that differ from yours and that’s an important thing to keep in mind when discussing things with people. You might end up being educated on an issue. They might be the one being educated. There might be no clear reason why either of you should change your different stances. Have fun with that!

There is also a super handy website called TheyVoteForYou.org.au! Ever wondered if a politician is actually doing their job? Want a more in depth breakdown of how parties vote on certain issues? Do individuals always vote in line with official party policy or do they vote differently on issues the majority of their party agree upon? Want to know if they even show up? Search an issue or name! For instance Scott Ludlam (WA, Greens) has a 97% attendance rate and votes in line with party values. Cory Bernardi (SA, Liberals) attends 78% of the time and has “rebelled” (as the website refers to it) 0.31% of the time so that’s such a small difference from LNP values you could basically assume he’s going to vote in line with the party. Clive Palmer has a 7.2% attendance rate but at least he never rebels against his own party that he leads. There are of course many reasons why someone might not attend a session of Parliament so I don’t think that attacking someone for not being present 100% of the time is the best thing to base an argument off… though Clive Palmer… what are you doing. Why… what… You can compare party leaders like Bill ShortenMalcolm Turnbull, and Richard Di Natale to see how they all voted on issues like the NBN, Indigenous issues, marriage equality, etc. What matters to you? You decide and act accordingly.

Thirdly: how to vote.

The AEC website has a break down on how to vote for The Senate and The House of Representatives. It also has a voting FAQ. Voting is compulsory because this isn’t America.

Basically you vote for half of the Senate once every 3 years (the terms last 6 years) and House of Reps every 3 (terms last 3 years). Malcolm Turnbull is a Rep, Scott Ludlam is a Senator. Thanks to it being a Double Dissolution, Turnbull is hoping to wipe the Senate clean and replace it with a balance of power that better favours him so it is easier for the HOR to pass things through it. Right now it isn’t very friendly for the Liberals. So you get to vote for both!

Voting for the Senate: you can vote above the line or below the line. Above you have to number at least 6. Below the line you have to number at least 12. But not all of them for the Senate if you don’t want to. You can if you wish. From memory before recent voting reform you had to number all of the boxes and it took me bloody forever to vote below the line last time. You pick which option (above or below) you wish to do. Voting below the line takes longer but is more specific about who gets your vote. Before recent reform the preferential voting system worked slightly differently but basically you would put HappyFunTimeParty as #1 and CoolDawgs22Party as #2 etc and SadHateEveryoneParty #6 in order of how much you like them. HappyFunTimeParty doesn’t get elected (because too many people in your state hate fun) so then your preference for #2 is then taken into account. So if you preference a small party as #1 and #2 and neither of them get elected your vote for #3 can still be taken into account and contribute to someone getting elected as opposed to going “I like THIS party!” and they don’t get elected and you’re sad because you had one vote and it went nowhere… *sad face*

Beforehand there was a system where a party could take your vote for it and if they personally didn’t get elected that would become a preference to a different party of their choosing. Like for instance The Sex Party doesn’t like The Greens so if they don’t get elected preferences would then get redirected to One Nation because The Sex Party believes One Nation won’t get elected and doesn’t want to contribute to Labor/Greens getting elected by preferencing them. Ricky Muir was elected thanks to preferences as opposed to being voted in directly from #1 votes. That’s been altered so your choices are more direct in where they go. Smaller parties can still get elected this way so don’t worry.

The Senate gets 12 people per state and 2 per territory.

Voting for the House of Reps:  You get a green piece of paper like this:

You have to number every single box in order. Mark your choices clearly and remember: this isn’t a test at school so you don’t put a name on it! If you put your name on it it’s deemed informal and not counted. Preferences! What a great thing to have!

You need to be in a person’s electorate to vote for them. For instance: I am in the Division of Moore and my currently elected candidate is Ian Goodenough for the LNP. Yes… that’s his name. It entertains me every time I walk past his office in Joondalup. Moore is a pretty safe Liberal seat so I guess people think Ian Goodenough is you know… decent. As I’m not a Liberal voter I would want to vote for an individual who isn’t Goodenough… like Steve Aboveaverage or whatever. If you live in Warringah for example you get to vote for Tony Abbott or his competition. If he wanted to run he could. Be booted out of being PM doesn’t mean his political career has to end and his electorate might still like him.

John Howard lost his seat at the same time he lost the federal election to Labor in 2007. Prime Ministers generally are from safe seats because it’d be really weird for a party to win an election but have their chosen leader voted out… very peculiar but hypothetically possible.

Are you unsure what electorate you’re in? Find out at our HANDY FRIEND THE AEC WEBSITE: http://apps.aec.gov.au/esearch/ (this thing is your friend).

(then you can see if that person representing you has voted for things you agree upon at TheyVoteForYou.org.au)

Four: Where? You will need to find a polling station near you! They are often at things like schools or churches. You will need to find one in your area, go there, (there will lots of people trying to give you flyers to encourage you last minute to vote for their party), wait in line, then have your name ticked off so the Government knows you voted and you don’t get in trouble, and then do your voting thing. Also very important: there might be a sausage sizzle.

There is (of course) a website to find out if there’s a polling place near you that has a sausage sizzle: electionsausagesizzle. How Aussie. It has yet to be updated for the 2016 election so STAY TUNED! I can’t remember if it also has details for vegetarian options or not but I think that exists somewhere.

Fifth: OK so now you know who, how, when, and where! But why? Well simply put: silence isn’t apolitical. 

Some people wish to note vote as they find it a form of protest against a system that they don’t wish to be partake in. I personally see not voting as a passive acceptance of the system. You don’t get to choose to ignore the law but you get to choose people who will make laws you respect. If you don’t vote you don’t voice any dissenting opinion against those who are currently in power and they take that as a reason to continue to do what they are doing. If enough people vote for parties outside of the Labor and Liberals they’ll see that there are a lot of different opinions that they’re ignoring and if they want to keep power they need to adjust and bring new ideas on board. Either party could shift more right or left to remain popular. That only works if you engage in voicing your opinion. Voting is a right. Voting is a power given to you to change the country you live in.

You as an individual cannot change things by yourself but neither can a single rain drop yet as a group we get a storm. If everyone is apathetic then nothing gets done. Your peers, your friends, and like minded people you’ve never met are all capable of making change if you band together. The way I see it I can’t solve the problem by myself but that doesn’t mean I need to contribute to that problem through inaction. If I don’t like the government I will work to change it and with the combined efforts of others it is achievable.

And remember: election day is the time when you get to have your voice heard the loudest but your voice does not end there. Once someone is elected you can still influence them. You can contact politicians if they’re ignoring issues you think are important (because they’re going to have to deal with issues they didn’t run for election thinking about). You can take part in rallies if you wish. You can get out and have political discussions with those around you and maybe have a positive influence on one of your peers who will then vote for better policies in the future. You can do all of these as much or as little as you want. It’s up to you. I find rallies very intimidating environments as an introvert but encourage others to attend them. Engage in politics as you wish but always remember that your voice can be heard through many different avenues.

Good luck!