Just say no

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When I was a young child, the Reagans lived in the White House. It was an era of fluffy hair, enormous jewelry and shoulder pads the size of phonebooks. And phonebooks! In that time before Google people actually had to use those yellow-paged tomes to look up telephone numbers. Imagine that. Now, I just use our phonebook as a decorative statement. Like an artificial ficus tree.

In my memory, Nancy Reagan was a tiny person with wavy, stylish hair who told us schoolchildren to “Just Say No” to drugs.

Her shiny, elfin face was overly earnest and compelling. So it’s no surprise that we all proudly displayed a red “Hugs Not Drugs” ribbon on our backpacks. There’s nothing a kid loves more than a bandwagon to jump upon.

It didn’t matter that we were probably too young to understand the concept of drugs. We still loved all those free red ribbons, stickers, buttons and pencils they passed out like cheap Halloween candy. The anti-drug slogans of “Just Say No” and “Hugs Not Drugs” became a cultural mantra of our generation. I still think of it fondly—just like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

When I heard that Nancy Reagan passed away last week, it made me sad—as if a small part of my childhood had ended. The petite lady with the fancy, ruffled blouses was no longer here to give us cool red keychains and tell us not to snort heroin. What would we do without her?

When you are a kid, politics aren’t a part of the White House. The occupants living inside the stately mansion aren’t Democrats or Republicans, they are glossy figureheads with really nice teeth. Politics don’t matter as much as whether they are friendly, smiling and give you free stickers with pictures of huggable bears.

For the small kids of today, I’m certain that Michelle Obama will hold a similar place in their hearts as Nancy Reagan did in mine. Michelle will be the super cool lady that urged them to move, play and eat fresh fruits and veggies from a backyard garden.

The bickering campaign rhetoric happening today is exhausting and annoying. We have candidates calling each other losers, liars and idiots. This bluster can be entertaining and enticing—no doubt about it. But it’s easy to attack another’s efforts—to point out all the little things that you think they did “wrong.”

It’s far, far harder to take meaningful action yourself—putting yourself on the line for a cause or issue you believe in.

To all this political negatively, I can only quote the late Mrs. Reagan: “Just Say No.”

#elizabette2016

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After much thought and reflection, I’d like to take this opportunity to say that I’ve decided that I’m running for President of the United States of America. I’ve been watching the news lately, and there’s a lot of people who seem to think they are up to the job. So, why not me, too?

I was watching the Republican debate the other day and saw a whole fleet of candidates lined up on stage. You usually only see lines that long on Black Friday or when someone is giving away something for free—like a donut. It was rather remarkable.

While some of those people on the stage seem qualified, I think I’m the more ideal candidate. First of all, my name is really long—thus, it would probably take up more than half of the ballot. Folks wouldn’t be able to stop themselves from voting for me. Poor Jeb Bush with his short, tiny name should just give up now.

Secondly, I don’t have a secret email server hiding in my house, and my emails are so boring that no one would even want to read them anyway. And I never delete anything in my inbox—in fact, I still have expired Pottery Barn coupons from 2009. Take that, Hillary.

In all seriousness, it’s very important for a presidential candidate to have achievable and realistic goals. I have lots of goals—and not all of them are related to instituting a nationwide ban on the word “manscaping.”

For example, I believe that border security is essential to the safety of this nation. Any discussion of security must begin there.

That’s why I am advocating that we build a 10-foot wall along the Canadian border. That way once we finally deport Justin Bieber, he won’t be able to get back in.

Frankly, I don’t think being president really can be that difficult. Once you get over the fact that most folks will begin to hate your guts about four days after you take office, the rest is simple.

I could definitely handle traveling in a big plane, wearing tiny American flag lapel pins, and having people salute me like I’m Capt. Kirk from Star Trek.

As an added bonus, if I were elected, I don’t have a furry, dead animal residing on top of my head—unlike Donald Trump. I’m sure the Secret Service would be relieved by this since my hair couldn’t be so easily set ablaze by a would-be assassin. This would give the Secret Service more free time to search the perimeter of the White House lawn and cavort with prostitutes in Colombia.

I’ve only got 13 months to Election Day, so I really better get to work. In the meantime, maybe I’d better get rid of some of those emails. …

One for the ladies

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Now is a great time to be an American woman. This is nice to hear, especially since women have to live 4.8 years longer than men do. Just five years from now, we’ll mark the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment—the landmark legislation which gave women the right to vote.

In recognition, the Treasury Department recently announced that they are redesigning the $10 bill to include a yet-to-be-determined woman on the currency. While I appreciate the government’s gesture, I’m little bummed that they chose the $10 bill. It’s the one denomination that I can never find when I need it. And now I know why.

According to the Federal Reserve, $10 bills make up only 5.2 percent of the currency in circulation. The only bills less common are the $50 and the $2—the latter being the weirdest and most useless of all currency. After all, the only $2 bill I’ve ever encountered now resides in the junk drawer of my kitchen—the place I keep playing cards, half-used lip balms and pens that don’t work anymore.

While it would be nice to see a woman have a more prominent placement, like on the $100 bill, I know that will never happen. Benjamin Franklin is so entrenched on the $100 bill that it would take a feat of superhuman strength to rip that bespectacled man off the face of it.

That said, though, we women have another reason to celebrate; the Women’s National Soccer Team won the Women’s FIFA World Cup! While I know just as much about soccer as I do about astrophysics, this doesn’t take anything away from my joy.

Our team was given $2 million by FIFA for winning the tournament. I thought that was nice … until I decided to look into the amount the German men’s team received for their World Cup victory last year.

I gasped out loud when I saw the number—$35 million. Yes, you read that correctly. That’s 350,000 Ben Franklins. I also learned that each participating men’s team (regardless of performance) was given $1.5 million—the prize money rose dramatically if you managed to win a few games.

I instantly became livid. If a person of the male gender had walked into the room at that moment, I would have growled and seriously considered the benefits of castration. And I wouldn’t have even felt guilty about it. Frankly, I believe this earnings disparity to be an insult to women everywhere.

It’s like saying: “Oh, did you win the World Cup? Congrats. Here’s a brand new car!”

“Oh, and did you win the World Cup, too? Congrats. Here’s a pack of chewing gum.”

Women shouldn’t have to settle for less—like the humdrum $10 bill or mediocre prize money. But, in a world where American women only earn 78 cents on the dollar, I really shouldn’t be surprised when things like this happen. The question is: When will society finally do something about it?