Welcome to Earth: A Supergirl Recap

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This episode feels very “ripped from the headlines,” as it addresses the current refugee crisis using aliens as a metaphor. Lynda Carter guest stars as the President of the United States. Kara interviews the anti-alien Lena Luthor as well as the mysterious Kryptonian who escaped from the DEO who turns out to be a Daxamite, a sister planet to Krypton.

Kara weighs over her pro-alien views with her prejudice against Mon-El, the Daxamite. Most of the time, Supergirl would act on the idea that people are innocent until proven guilty. However, she assumes that Mon-El attempted to kill the President. She learns, from working on her interview with Lena and getting feedback from Snapper Carr, that she has to be neutral when reporting, regardless of how she feels about the issue. She also learns that she was wrong to assume the worst about Mon-El because the real villain was a red-headed firestarter alien who saw the Alien Amnesty Act as a backdoor for alien registration.

Since Lynda Carter is guest starring in this episode, there were a couple shout-outs to Wonder Woman. Supergirl does the iconic spinning that Lynda Carter’s Wonder Woman was famous for. There’s also a reference to Wonder Woman’s invisible jet towards the end.

However, the biggest surprise in this episode was at the stinger, when one of the bartenders at the pro-alien bar is revealed to be a young female Martian. “Hello, Megan!” or so my brother and I would say. (#onlyYoungJusticefanswillgetthis)

One interesting thing to note in this episode is that it introduces Maggie Sawyer, a local cop who embraced a pro-alien lifestyle. She’s also a lesbian and it’s heavily hinted that Alex is very interested in her. I won’t even bother to give my opinion because Tumblr’s already shipping them.

There are two major drawbacks to this episode. One was that the actual villain of the show wasn’t even given a name on-screen. Given that the redheaded lady was a firestarter, I initially thought she was Volcana, a well-known Superman femme fatale. However, the guide on TV Tropes lists her as Scorcher, a DC villain with no ties to the Superman universe whatsoever.

It’s also clear that Mon-El is intended to be Supergirl’s love interest. Coming from two different planets that used to be sworn enemies? The two of them having prejudices about each other that they have to overcome? Dealing with the loss of their respective home planets? You’re basically asking me to ship them.

Except I don’t. Not yet anyway. If the show intends for Mon-El and Kara to be a couple, I need to see Mon-El as a person first and not just as a representative of an alien species that Kara and the other Kryptonians looked down upon.

I’m really glad that this episode is making fans aware of the issues, but I hope the rest of the season has less ripped-from-the-headlines episodes. Next episode proves to be promising as it’s not only a cool Halloween special, with characters in masks, but Dichen Lachman is guest starring as the villain! As a Dollhouse fan, I’m already hyped!

In Defense of the "Strong Independent Woman"

 

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I never thought there would come the day where I would disagree with Bishop Robert Barron on anything, but his latest article about the “You Go Girl” culture made me uneasy.

While I agree that parents in television, particularly dads, are usually portrayed as stupid at best and abusive at worst, I don’t agree with Bishop Robert Barron’s perspective that males are being made to appear weak in order to make women look stronger.

My friend Emily A. said

Men write these characters. In fact, I would claim that these are not elevations of women so much as parodies of both the male AND female characters.
These women aren’t smart, they are smart-asses. They are insufferably naggy women with impossible standards who don’t trust their spouse. And time and time again, the husband seems to prove them right.
The buffoon father is actually a stereotype perpetuated *by men* who want less responsibility.

Additionally, there is something to be said for stereotypes/archetypes: they exist because they *resonate* with people. Stereotypes are merely a compilation of common factors within a certain group. While they fail as a blanket statement, they are not altogether fictitious.
I think Father Barron is mixing up the concept of a caricature and a stereotype. They aren’t equivalent.

At the end of the day, though, we are all humans with failures, husband and wife alike. And we tolerate the worst on the bad days and sometimes have trouble recognizing and celebrating the best on good days. That’s human nature. It’s easier to laugh at those failings embodied in a character than dwell on them and get depressed.

I believe that when Bishop Robert Barron describes the “all conquering female,”  he is thinking of the “Mary Sue.” The best definition I can give of a “Mary Sue” is one I got from video blogger Tommy Oliver (no relation to the Power Rangers): “A character so perfect that they are never challenged by the events of the narrative.” Bella Swan from Twilight is a perfect example of a Mary Sue because the worst problem she ever had to deal with, according to her perspective, is when Edward Cullen dumped her in New Moon. She deals with having a baby and taking down an evil band of vampires way too easily and she gets rewarded for essentially doing nothing of substance. She gets the boyfriend she wanted, the perfect baby, a lavish lifestyle, and immortality, but she never earned or overcame anything in order to get those things.

Rey from The Force Awakens was cited as an example of the “all conquering female,” but she’s not a good example of what Bishop Barron is thinking about. It’s true that Rey is often mistaken for a Mary Sue because of how she was able to use the Force so easily. However, it’s shown throughout the movie that she has her own challenges and weaknesses to overcome. She fights toe-to-toe with Kylo Ren and also has to overcome her fears of abandoning her life in Jakku to become a Jedi. The male characters in The Force Awakens stand on equal ground with Rey. Finn especially is considered a deuteragonist because the movie focuses just as much on his character growth as it does Rey’s.

I think Bishop Robert Barron is trying to advocate for better role models for men in the movies and TV shows we watch. I think that the potential for good role models expands beyond Sully and Deepwater Horizon. Captain America, while not perfect, is a role model for any man because he’s willing to do anything for the ones that he loves.  The Flash has a few good male role models as well, including three characters who are fathers: Joe West, Henry Allen, and Harrison Wells from Earth 2. Barry Allen is also a good role model for young men because while he makes his share of mistakes, he does his best to learn from them in order to become a better person.

While I agree that women have been portrayed as weak in the past, the task of trying to make women strong and independent have led to a whole new kind of female stereotype: The Broken Bird. To quote the Nostalgia Critic:

“Women in the media for so long were always the emotional support, the damsels, the smiling pretty faces, so in the 90’s, there was a desperate need to change that. Oh, not by making them unpretty, we wouldn’t do that, but we suddenly made them cold, bitter, confrontational, and overly strong, to go out of their way to show that they’re not those old emotional stereotypes, and instead make way for new emotional stereotypes. For you see, in every 90’s film, the woman behind this strong independent wall that won’t let everybody in,  is a sad little bunny rabbit that will eventually let down her defences and reveal a tragic backstory. So you see, she wasn’t a strong, confident worker just because she was a strong, confident worker. Deep down she just wants to be held like any other fragile woman. Oh, I don’t want to think! I just want to be loved!”

In other words, the “strong, independent woman” in a lot of movies and TV still needs all her problems solved by having a man in her life. To quote my friend Mary: “Closed off? Man will open you up. Insecure? Man will make you feel better. Lonely? Man got you covered.”

There’s one example in my life of a wonderful, strong, female heroine that doesn’t sacrifice her femininity in order to be badass. And the men in her life aren’t made weaker in order for her to be stronger. Ironically, she was created by someone who loved the atheist philosophers Sartre and Nietzsche.

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I can’t imagine my life without Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The overall theme of the show is dealing with things that come with growing up and becoming an adult. While Buffy, may appear to be a good example of what Bishop Robert Barron is talking about, she is actually a great example of a well written strong female character. She is strong, but she has her moments of vulnerability. She defeats evil on a weekly basis, but she also has friends and family that she loves unconditionally. She’s a force for good, but she also makes some mistakes that she has to learn from. And no male character is made weaker so that she can be stronger. All of Buffy’s male enemies were formidable opponents. Giles, Buffy’s mentor and father figure, contributed his intellect and wisdom. Xander, in spite of his flaws, was a young man with a good heart and has saved the day a couple times. And Spike goes through a lot of changes that kept his character interesting and complex without sacrificing his own strength and charisma.

I think that strong, female characters can be created without the women needing a man or without a man becoming weak at her expense. Men and women, fictional or nonfictional, need to be treated as equals. To quote my friend Jillian:

Male characters, particularly father types, shoud not be dumbed down to make way for “strong independent female”? But should female characters be written to be the worst qualities of men in order to be strong/independent (unless it’s some kind of well fleshed out redemption arc)? Heck no. Is it possible to have a realistic strong female character alongside a realistic non-dumbed-down male character? Yes, and there are a plethora of examples. Should we stop fighting for fair treatment of and well written female characters in movies/comics/tv because some male characters are written poorly? No, because the former does not cause the latter.

Tl;dr: Strong female characters are not the cause of the bumbling dad/emasculated male character.

The Last Children of Krypton: Supergirl Recap

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Superman has arrived on the scene in National City and Kara is enjoying working together with her cousin. To my surprise, the people who aren’t enjoying this are Hank and Alex.  Hank isn’t enjoying it due to the fallout he had with Superman and they don’t agree with what to do with the mysterious Kryptonian who causes periodical outages throughout the building.

Thanks to Cadmus, John Corben has been recreated into Metallo. He shows up again on the bridge, luring the SuperCousins into a trap. After getting defeated by Metallo, the two head back to the DEO and find out about a shipment of kryptonite that went missing. Cadmus reveals themselves to the world in a hijacked message. Winn gets to work on creating anti-kyptonite armor.

Meanwhile, Kara is excited about her new job as a reporter. Unfortunately, her new boss is not exactly as perky as she is. Snapper Carr is not as young or as happy-go-lucky as his comic book counterpart, but he does make angry snap judgments. He wants Kara to prove herself as a reporter, telling her to earn her job. Cat Grant, of course, won’t take any of Kara’s whining, either, telling her that she’s taking a leave of absence. Kara admits that she doesn’t do well with change, which is something I can totally relate to. The two of them share a heartfelt hug and I realize that it’s for the best that Cat leaves because, as I stated before, Kara needs to learn how to stand on her own as Kara Danvers as well as when she’s Supergirl.

Kara goes home with her sister and contemplates moving to Metropolis to be Clark’s sidekick. Alex calls Kara out on the idea of running away from her problems. Alex points out that she made a lot of sacrifices to protect Kara, including giving up medical school. Kara gets a call from Clark who identified the metal skeleton as being made of Prometheum. The SuperCousins finds Metallo under a bridge, but it turns out to be a trap, as there is another Metallo in Metropolis, attacking Krypton Park.

Alex complains to Winn about her anger towards Kara, but Winn, as a former foster child, reminds Alex that she shouldn’t act so entitled towards Kara. The two of them then realize that Kryptonite leaves a radioactive residue and quickly figure out who gave the Kryptonite to Cadmus. Supergirl returns, only to find out that Alex set the mole up…only to get ambushed by Cadmus. Alex stands up to Cadmus, pointing out that she managed to kill a Kryptonian, but isn’t blinded by their extreme prejudice against aliens. Supergirl rescues her sister and the two apologize to each other. The two of them then get the idea to team up. And thankfully, Winn’s armor is ready to go.

Alex and Kara team up to take down John in National city while Martian Manhunter and Superman take down the other Metallo in Metropolis. I also love that Alex is wearing the armor she originally used to fight Supergirl from last season. The fight scenes are awesomesauce with both Metallos keeping the Supercousins on the ropes. Thankfully, Martian Manhunter and Alex are able to take the Metallos down. Supergirl sends a message to Cadmus that she is ready for them while the lead scientist is all “Bring it on.”

Supergirl goes to CatCo to wish Cat all the best for her leave of absence. She tells Cat to visit sometimes and then changes back to Kara to return to her job. James Olsen takes over Cat’s old job as CEO of CatCo and Kara submits a report about the Metallo attacks to Snapper, putting on her best tough face. It’s left to be seen if Snapper has a heart of gold underneath his jerk exterior, but I like him so far.

Hank hands over the kryptonite to Superman. Winn gets to hug his idol and Supergirl hopes that they can team up again soon. Clark lands safely in Metropolis and gets a call from Perry White. Meanwhile, Kara sits at the side of the mysterious Kryptonian who wakes up and grabs her by the throat, ending the episode.

This episode pushes things forward. I’m glad that Kara doesn’t have to worry about standing in Superman’s shadow. And thankfully, Superman doesn’t outshine our leading lady at all. It’s sad to see Cat go due to Calista’s refusal to work outside of LA, but Snapper Carr will be a good character to get to know, especially since he’s different from his comic book counterpart. I just hope that the mysterious Kryptonian won’t be some stupid love interest for Kara because SuperFlash ship aside, it feels very, very contrived and way too convenient.

Seven Quick Takes: Find The Fun Friday Edition

Amidst all the drama going on the current political sphere, I want to share some hope for humanity and also fill your news feed with some fun things that will make your October a lot more fun.

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Since October is the month of the Rosary, I want to take advantage of this time to promote Heart of Mary Women Fellowship’s Bible study on the Rosary. Each of the Mysteries comes with a free study journal. I’m also sharing a wonderful image from The Catholic Rose. I encourage everyone that no matter what your feelings are or who you plan on voting for this election, pray the Rosary for peace in this world. God knows we all need it. We may not get the results we expect when we pray, but prayer can help change us in ways we never expected.

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I had no idea that Who Wants to be a Millionaire is still going on, but I’m so glad it is because ChurchPOP shared this awesome article about a priest who competed on the show and walked away with $250,000 that will be donated to a Catholic elementary school!

It reminds me of when I was watching Sister Alicia Torres compete on Chopped. Catholic religious need to compete on shows more often.

— 3 —

As someone who loves music, I highly respect Bob Dylan for his contributions to the industry. It’s no surprise to me, then, that he won the Nobel Prize for literature.  Bishop Robert Barron is a huge Bob Dylan fan. He did a podcast about Bob Dylan in August. I can’t wait to hear what Bishop Barron will say about Dylan winning the Nobel Prize. Dylan’s version of “All Along the Watchtower” is my personal favorite.

— 4 —

In the mood for a good murder mystery? Wanna get into the Halloween spirit? Fan of authors such as Edgar Allan Poe, Oscar Wilde, Charlotte Bronte, HG Wells, and Emily Dickinson? Check out Edgar Allan Poe’s Murder Mystery Dinner Party, a  wonderful wacky murder mystery comedy that will keep you guessing! Warning: One episode includes a seance, but thankfully, there’s no overtly occult things going on here.

— 5 —

If you want something more along the lines of high fantasy and/or if you’re a fan of Once Upon a Time or Grimm, check out the Rooster Teeth web series RWBY. The fourth season will premiere on October 22nd. If you haven’t watched the series yet, feel free to catch up on it here.

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Today is #NationalDessertDay according to Twitter. If you wanna treat yourself, check out this cool new brand of modern baking kits called Foodstirs, co-founded by Sarah Michelle Gellar (AKA Buffy) and Galit Laibow. It’s family friendly and they have awesome Halloween-themed treats that your kids are sure to love!

Photo courtesy of People Magazine and used for editorial purposes only.

— 7 —

In case you or someone you know has food allergies like I do, Food Allergy Research and Education is launching the Teal Pumpkin Project. It promotes giving out non-food “treats” to trick-or-treaters who have food allergies. Ideas for fun non-candy treats include glow bracelets, stickers, Halloween-themed pencils or erasers, small toys. You can easily find stuff at a local dollar store or at a craft store.

As someone who has a ton of food allergies, I also recommend looking for candy or treats that are safe for any kid. It doesn’t hurt to ask the kid about his or her allergies as well. Bubblegum such as Dubble Bubble has always been safe for me as well as Charms Blow Pops and Dum-Dum lollipops. My favorite candy, however, is soft peppermint sticks.

Have a wonderful Halloween! Watch out for killer clowns and vampires!

The Adventures of Supergirl: A Recap

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The beginning of the second season picks up where the first season left off, with Supergirl and Martian Manhunter discovering a mysterious pod from Krypton. Supergirl looks inside and discovers a Kryptonian man inside. After discovering this mysterious Kryptonian, J’onn takes Supergirl to a new DEO facility, with some jokes at the old base from the first season. This is the first indicator of the network jump. Since the show films in Vancouver as opposed to Los Angeles, it makes sense that some locations would change as well. It also explains why Lucy Lane, who joined up with the DEO last season, is nowhere to be seen in this episode.

Kara returns to work the following morning and discusses her new promotion with her boss, Cat Grant. At first, Kara thinks her ideal career would be marketing because she got that result from an online quiz. Cat, of course, ain’t buying it.

Kara is given some time off (48 hours to be exact) to figure out what career she wants, but she spends some of that time on her first date with James Olsen. However, the date gets interrupted by breaking news of a spacecraft called the Venture crashing into Earth. Supergirl goes to save it, but this time, she’s not alone. Her cousin, Superman (played by Tyler Hoechlin), also arrives to help. Once they land the Venture on the ground, the two of them revel in the moment of working together for the first time. Supergirl then proceeds to tease her cousin in front of a few civilians who were biking along the way.

When the SuperCousins arrive at the DEO, everyone reacts as if, to quote my brother, “the President just came in.” Winn goes into total fanboy mode. The only one who greeted Superman in a less than friendly demeanor is J’onn and Alex takes notice. The SuperCousins examine the mysterious Kryptonian, but not much information is given aside from the fact that he’s around their age. Then they decide, along with Martian Manhunter, to investigate why the Venture almost crash-landed, starting with Clark doing some work at CatCo.

It is hilarious to see the usually unflappable Cat Grant falling all over herself for Clark. What’s even more hilarious is how Clark is totally aware of said crush. Thankfully, he’s perfectly happy with Lois Lane. Kara gets a call and tells Clark that one of the passengers who was supposed to be on the Venture was Lena Luthor, Lex Luthor’s sister.

We cut to a mysterious underground lair where a man named Corben tests out a drone weapon. He kills the man selling him the drone and gets a call from someone who works for the Luthors. Meanwhile, the SuperCousins investigate Lena Luthor (played by Katie McGrath aka Morgana LeFay from Merlin). She tells them that she’s planning on renaming the company to try and restore the company’s reputation and get it out of Luthor’s menacing shadow. She gives them information on the part of the Venture that exploded since it was created by a subsidiary of LutherCorp.

After investigating LutherCorp, Clark and Kara take a walk out on the street. Kara asks him for advice because her life feels out of balance while Clark seems to have it all. He tells her that she’ll figure things out eventually.

Back at the DEO, Alex finds out that J’onn and Superman had a falling out after they found a meteor made entirely out of Kryptonite. J’onn made the decision to keep it. Superman did not agree with it. Winn gets information that indicates Lena was targeted in the Venture crash. The show cuts to Lena on a helicopter, surrounded by attack drones.

Corben, speaking through the drones, gives the SuperCousins an ultimatum of either letting him kill Lena or have his attack drones let loose on the city. Thankfully, the two of them are able to work together. Supergirl saves Lena from the helicopter while Superman took care of the drones that were let loose onto the city.

Kara returns to work and has another talk with Cat, who tells her that starting a new chapter in life means becoming a new version of yourself. She tells Kara to keep taking risks, to take the plunge, so to speak.

At the DEO, Winn examines the drone and forensics links the drone to Corben. Martian Manhunter and Superman have a talk after Alex’s prompting. They discuss J’onn keeping the Kryptonite.

Kara walks with Lena to the press conference announcing the LuthorCorp rebranding. Alex and James are in the crowd, keeping an eye on things. Suddenly, the whole plaza is riddled with explosions, including one at the LutherCorp building. The SuperCousins keep the building from falling while Alex fights off Corben, who is dressed as a police officer. Supergirl goes to fix the building, with some information that J’onn and Winn provide her.

The action in this scene is top notch, with Alex fighting off Corben and Supergirl using her laser vision to weld some I-beams onto a broken column. Once that’s done, she comes to her sister’s rescue, only for Lena to shoot Corben.

Things settle down at the newly made L-Corp with Lena congratulating Clark on his article and complimenting Kara on her investigative skills. This prompts Kara to return to CatCorp with her decision as to what she wants to do: she decides to be a field reporter. Cat congratulates Kara on her decision and then shows Kara the resume she submitted. Cat had a feeling that Kara would eventually become a reporter because of the kind of person Kara is.

There’s also some foreshadowing in this scene that implies that Cat might retire or change her job somehow. This is because Calista Flockhart is now a recurring cast member as opposed to a member of the main cast due to her refusal to move away from Los Angeles. I’m glad that she still wants to be a part of this show in spite of the distance between LA and Vancouver, and I hope I can still see as much of Cat as possible in this season.

Meanwhile, Winn joins up with the DEO since he can do more than just IT work there. Kara and Clark have another rapport where Clark decides on staying in National City for a little longer to help Kara out and reconnect with the stuff he misses about Krypton. Then they go on to save the day, up, up, and away.

The episode ends with Corben in some kind of dark laboratory in Cadmus with a woman injecting him with something that turns him into Metallo. It’s clear that Cadmus Labs, or whatever they’re called here, will be the Big Bad for this season.

This episode centers on Kara trying to figure out what she wants to do with her civilian life, given that she has finally hit her stride as Supergirl. Cat advises her that she needs to figure out her career beyond an internet search. I know that Cat’s speeches can be a bit overbearing at times, but I related to what she told Kara in this instance. Like Kara, I feel stuck in life and there are times in life when I don’t really know what I want. Trying new things, such as going to cons, and meeting new people helped me with understanding my vocation.

Clark Kent’s establishing scene was pitch-perfect, showing Clark as the mild-mannered reporter who answers to a very demanding Perry White. They cast a wonderful actor for the role because he’s able to carry that mild-mannered demeanor while having a totally different air when he becomes Superman. It’s so weird for me to say this, but I like Tyler when he’s Clark rather than as Superman. He’s way cuter being the clumsy adorkable reporter. I just hope that he doesn’t stay for the whole season. I want the season to focus on Kara standing on her own as Supergirl and it’ll be hard to do that when she finds herself under Superman’s shadow.

Another subplot in this episode focused Kara’s relationship with James Olsen. I know that I was really rooting for them last season, but I only wanted James to be with Kara because my first priority was that Kara would be happy. (Translation: I shipped them, but they were not my OTP.) I was essentially happy with any guy she wanted to be with, which was why I never shipped her with Winn. I still think that while Kara and James could’ve taken things slow while Kara got used to her new job, I’m glad they broke things off amicably. Mostly because the guy I really ship her with exists in another show. You might know him. He’s the fastest man alive, totally adorkable, and perfect for Kara given how they teamed up before.

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Yeah, I ship Superflash. Save the hate for tumblr. I don’t care!

This episode gets a 9/10. Season 2 is off to a great start!

Do You Really HAVE TO Vote?

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I’ve been quiet about the election because I don’t like politics. I’m what you would call a swing voter. Back when I was in college, I voted for Obama because I blindly believed in what he was promising the American people. Four years later, voted Republican because I didn’t agree with Obama’s policies.

Now here I am again four years later at another Presidential election. Voting for the lesser of two evils is sadly not an option for me anymore.

I don’t support Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. I never have and I never will.

Something I’ve been noticing since middle school is that whenever the current political sphere is undesirable, people from Hollywood start doing public service announcements that compel people to vote. You might remember the Vote or Die campaign during the 2004 elections or Lena Dunham’s infamous viral video during the 2012 presidential election.

Joss Whedon has now contributed to the current zeitgeist with this anti-Trump video:

Even the cast of Hamilton is getting on this:

It’s just too bad that Whedon and Lin-Manuel Miranda have also thrown their hats into Clinton’s ring. Bless your hearts, both of you. I love you, but I have to disagree here.

It’s gotten to the point that Blimey Cow has parodied the pro-voting bandwagon:

The problem with all the appeals to get people to vote is that it comes off sounding like voting is mandatory. I understand that voting is a necessity, but I also believe in preserving the right to opt out of voting for a few reasons, most of which are talked about in this awesome video:

So what’s my solution? If you really want to vote, do research on third parties. Look into the Libertarian Party or the American Solidarity Party. Look into any other party that’s not covered by the mainstream media. Inform yourself so that you don’t just vote blindly.

And before you start telling me that voting for a third party will just be a wasted vote, there are a couple of articles that say otherwise. There’s also a history of third party presidential nominees who were able to capture a considerable amount of votes. Not to mention that Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt represented what were considered third parties during the time of their elections. Lincoln can be considered the first Republican and Roosevelt was from the Bull Moose party.

If you really don’t want to vote, you don’t have to, at least when it comes to choosing the next President. We live in a country where we have the right to refuse things as a form of protest. When this election is over, the people will end up complaining about the President no matter who wins. You can rest easy knowing you refused to give your vote to them. You can still vote for candidates you feel would be acceptable, such as Senators, Representatives, and people who will run your state and city. Keep up with local issues as well. Something I learned in my sociology class is that we can’t expect the President to fix our problems. Voting local (on a state-wide and city level) has a better impact on changing our everyday lives than who we pick to run our country.

In the end, I hope that no matter what you do, your decision will be an informed and wise one.

Pray to St. Jude, St. Rita, and Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception for our country.