i’m free and i love to be free

“You Don’t Own Me” PSA from You Don’t Own Me on Vimeo.

I’ve been watching the recent presidential debates on Twitter. Well, I’ve been watching them on my TV, but following along on Twitter. The majority of folks I follow usually tweet about food. That changes for those few hours when the debate is taking place and suddenly everyone is talking politics. It is an odd phenomenon. It becomes especially odd when, during the debate, someone tweets about something not related to politics. During one of the debates, Chicago chef Rick Bayless tweeted:

A Genius Mix on my iPhone: Black Eyed Peas, Justin Timberlake, Sound of Music & R Kelly from his Christmas album.Called Urban Crossover

Which became unintentionally hilarious (though maybe that phrase is inherently funny?) in the middle of an impassioned series of tweets about election issues. Ruth Bourdain responded to Bayless with what everyone may have been thinking:


It’s interesting, in part, because in the middle of a discussion about women’s rights, gay rights (well, sort of), war and the economy, tweets about food, music, or your crappy day seem particularly trite. It is also strange that these public discussions are relegated to two hour blocks of time every four years or so. There isn’t much integration. A similar, but opposite, phenomenon occurs when I write about something political in the middle of posts about food and entertaining, as I’ve been known to do. It seems somehow too serious, or like I’m a spoilsport.

There is an expectation that these things remain separate, the political and the private. That doesn’t seem possible to me. How can I write about my wedding without it being political? I wish I could. Our kitchens are not free from politics and this blog never will be. My rights and the rights of millions of people are jeopardized or restricted by politicians and fellow citizens every day and those threats do not disappear when I enter my home or cook dinner or write these words.

Here is the thing, I am able to enjoy cooking and keeping a home and writing about it because I currently feel somewhat secure in my role as citizen (as tenuous and unequal as that role may be). It is all connected. My investment in the current political moment is, in part, because my rights and the rights of others may be jeopardized by the Republican party. They (and other conservatives) have repeatedly demonstrated to me that they do not understand women, gay people, sick people, poor people, immigrants, or the environment—and it freaks me out. I alternate between feeling invisible and attacked. It doesn’t feel good.

The video above is a lighthearted response to some extremely serious issues that are important to me. It features many of my favorite women, including some friends of L +D. It will fit awkwardly into this website, but not into my life; in the same way that politics sometimes fits awkwardly into dinner conversation, but is important.

I stand with these women and with everyone else interested in progress.

Go vote, friends.


51 comments to “i’m free and i love to be free”

  1. I shared this video on my Facebook timeline when it first appeared. I’m old enough to remember the original Leslie Gore song and it is so appropriate in this instance. Voting is like driving: if you want to go backward, choose R, and if you want to move forward choose D :)

  2. thanks for this, tim. I think the time when politics doesn’t fit neatly into the rest of our lives is when the discussion becomes strident and unsympathetic. your words here manage to show both strength and compassion–something we need more of in our political discourse.

  3. Soooooo well said, Tim!!

  4. “I alternate between feeling invisible and attacked.” Thank you for putting into words what I have been trying to say.

  5. Word up. I was just thinking about this topic this morning. The majority of people are turned off by politics and prefer that it doesn’t “invade” their homes/lives. Ludicrous when our lives are direct results of politics. When someone v political was hired, finally, in our writing department, people complained that “He’s too political.” This is redundant – a writer must be political, there’s hardly a way around it. Doesn’t being political just mean: I give a shit about my life and the rights of people? I like this post, ps. :) Love ya.

  6. That made me cry. Dear lord, please don’t ever stop blurring the lines.

  7. You said it, Tim. Thanks for this.

    I always think about something you wrote—not sure if it’s still there–in the ‘about me’ section of this blog, about how you became interested in the kitchen as revolutionary space. This makes so much sense to me. And look—here you are, doing it.

    Keep it up. xo–S

  8. I was literally thinking this same thing the other day! Thanks for putting out there what so many either feel or need to know, you’re awesome.

  9. What a lovely post. You and this blog are definitely classy enough to be able to engage in a bit of political discussion without causing awkward silence to pass over the dinner table. Love everything you do here. Thanks.

  10. I love that I was there with you on twitter witnessing that wtf moment, stepping out of the conventions of food blogging, and thinking about and expressing shit that matters. And I love that that stayed with you and informed this. This is awesome. And so eloquently put. And it rules.

  11. “They (and other conservatives) have repeatedly demonstrated to me that they do not understand women, gay people, sick people, poor people, immigrants, or the environment—and it freaks me out.” SO WELL SAID on every point, Tim — it totally freaks me out too. We absolutely must win on 11/6… vote, people! Thanks for posting this and I love the way you included it.

  12. What a beautifully eloquent post! I’m English and on the other side of the pond, but this really sums up how I feel about politics and our leaders too. It is quite dispiriting and although I often feel thoroughly disenfranchised I always remember my mother saying to me when I was in my early 20s “remember people die to get a vote” . . . you always have to vote even if you don’t like your politicians. It is the only way to effect change.

    On a similar note about politics in the kitchen – I went to a high achieving all girls school way back when (early 80s) and denied myself my love of cooking because it wasn’t seen as high achieving enough. As if some how I was letting the side down . . . it has taken me 25 years to realise and admit that what fulfills me is food, cooking, creating and talking about it! Yayyy me!

  13. This week I’ve been alternating between gut-wrenching fear and blood-boiling, angry frustration. This post was *exactly* what I needed today. Thank you!

  14. I stand with you all the way…let’s never give up on equality for all.

  15. Tim, thank you for giving voice to this. Maybe bringing up politics at the dinner table is awkward, but that’s okay. Sometimes that sort of disruption is exactly what’s called for. It’s a disruption of a comfort, an ease, that we shouldn’t be in the habit of sinking into when the basic rights of people at this very table are under threat. I can’t vote in this election, but my fingers are crossed.

  16. Wow, I really loved this post. I think it’s great that you incorporate all aspects of your life into your blog– something that I intended to do when I started mine but have as yet to implement. Thanks for being honest about how you feel and for being so supportive of those around you who feel the same. Everyone who reads Lottie + Doof totally accepts and respects you :)

  17. Brilliant. Women haven’t even had the right to vote for 100 years. Blows my mind that it’s still so “new” for us. Thanks for sharing the video and including your own thoughtful words.

  18. Terrific post, L+D!! Well said.

  19. All, thanks for these supportive comments and notes. It is really encouraging. Y’all are the best. xo

  20. This post is why we love L+D. It’s so well written and thought out. I totally believe in what you said. Thanks so much. It’s certainly appropriate for the time.

  21. With a storm as a distraction from the usual campaign machine, it is We Who Say We Care who must become the machine in the last days of this battle. Thanks, Tim, for leading this little band of soldiers for this little skirmish. There’s more to do and to say and time is short.

    In the meantime, I am always thrilled/confused/amused/troubled by all the various points of view that show up within my inner circle of life. I try to remember that we are all in process, and that hateful words and displays of intolerance on any side of an issue rarely win others over. I used to believe a bunch of sh*t, too, and as hard as I work at it, probably still do. I won’t come to my senses until I just do.

  22. Thanks for a gracious point of view. It lifts the spirit. Now get back in the kitchen! :D

  23. Loved, loved, loved this video! Thank you for sharing that and your thoughts on this most critical election. I feel that equality for all is at the root of why we all need to get out and vote. I have faith…

  24. while i respect your right to vote/do/say in whichever way you choose, i feel like i need to stand up for the ‘other side’ that says republicans are not the demons everyone is making them out to be. the best thing you can do in life to be informed – honestly, factually informed – because only then will you be able to make the best decisions. red or blue, dont’ drink the koolaid from either side. be informed. republicans DO care about all those issues, we just disagree in the best way to handle it.

    thank you.

  25. Bravo. Well expressed. Adding to that – everyone would do well to familiarize themselves with candidates, party platforms, etc. as the debates are a media event more than informative, unfortunately, these days. (First debate I watched was Kennedy/Nixon). Cooking and meals are more enjoyable during election season if you vote absentee.
    I hope all these thoughtful, sometimes outraged, comments reflect the majority-mind in this country.

  26. Hear, hear, Tim! This is why your site is my favorite of all: it’s totally courageous, and even if you think it might seem like an awkward fit, these posts and related thoughts are half of what bring me back every week. Thank you!

  27. I’m behind you 100% and that video is fantastic! Thanks for speaking up about this.

  28. Thank you, Tim. I could not agree more — and although it’s been said already, it cannot be said enough. VOTE! VOTE! VOTE!

    I voted yesterday at my local election board office. It was full of diverse people with diverse ideas — but all patiently waiting in the growing line to do their civic duty. I was actually really moved to see the democratic process at work; to see these everyday people doing something so extraordinary and important!


  29. So glad you posted this. Way to use your power for good.

  30. Loved this post and the video! I’m right there with you. Any special meal you’ll be serving up next Tuesday?

  31. Tim! I love you for posting this. You rule. Your bravery for speaking politically is appreciated!! And also, Bayliss shouted out R Kelly!

  32. Love this, love to be free and love to read you talking about Freedom.

  33. “Our kitchens are not free from politics and this blog never will be.”

    I also write a lot about gender/politics in my food blog, and I often feel awkward, too. However, for every one of us there seem to be ten bloggers promoting “traditional values” and “meat and potatoes kind of guy husband” and this whole idea that we’re all meant to be straight, middle-class, married-with-children. Keep the food politics and politics coming, and thank you for standing with women on this issue.

  34. I am on the other side of the world from you but I am following your blog and politics and have watched the debates on my laptop. Your thoughts are considered and well expressed. All the best.

  35. Just brilliant! Thanks for this post.

  36. Maybe it’s because I’m sleep-deprived thanks to my little man’s antics last night, but that video made me cry. Thank you for posting it and for being political and true – how is the personal not political, anyway? A huge hug. xox

  37. Thanks, everyone, for continuing to share your thoughts.
    Luisa- I cried too! We can’t blame Hugo. ; )
    Remy- R. Kelly! Don’t get me started. ; )

  38. I’m with the above commenters, so pleased that you posted this. The things that matter to us are all connected; it’s impossible for it not to be so. Food and politics and dinner parties and the stuff of our lives cannot be parceled out in the ways we communicate about them. You put it perfectly — like politics in dinner conversation, this interjection may feel slightly awkward, but it’s important, and right.

  39. I love this so much, thanks so much for sharing and for voicing you opinion. YOU’RE SPOT ON. it’s so important that the american people vote!! especially the younger generations, it’s sad that only half of people 30 and under get to the polls every presidential election. take interest, it’s your life!!

  40. Amazing post!

    My father always said, ‘Politics starts in the bedroom…’

  41. I sent in my absentee ballot a few weeks ago from Toronto and have my fingers and everything else crossed so that we can remain free and in control of our own lives, bodies, etc. I’m stressed now more than ever because I can’t even fathom the changes the other side is proposing. Thanks so much for posting this PSA.

  42. yes–I love this, thank you for saying it. have been thinking of this a great deal lately as we explain to our friends the rigamarole that my partner and I will have to go through to adopt our son. grateful that I live in a time when we CAN adopt him, frustrated that at the end of it, we will be legally related to him but not to each other. and it’s frustrating to feel afraid to say all of this because you’re going to come off a certain way–all of this, yes.

  43. It should not matter whatever our gender, sexual preference, age, state of health, financial situation, where we come from or any of the other things that republicans seem so set against. What matters is that we we are all human, share this world and need to help one another out, no matter what. Our differences are what make this world interesting, our tolerance and compassion for one another are what should make this world a place where we can all coexist peacefully.

    You’re the bomb lottie and doof. Now let’s all go vote and make the only choice we can!

  44. I applaud all you people who go out to vote and also cast absentee votes. I just listened to an interview here in New Zealand with an American woman who asserts that voting is rigged generally in favour of the Republican Party and has been for many year. She said that the voting machines are owned by huge corporations and that they do not allow any inspection because it is their property and that the Democrats got in last time because the two Republican candidates were just not acceptable generally. She is worried that votes can be tampered with because if, for instance, you vote by mail, that mail goes through so many hands that you cannot be certain it gets to the proper place. Here comments were certainly food for thought. She said the only “honest” way is to count votes manually which, given the size of your population, would be extremely difficult. Food for thought!

  45. FIRST OF ALL, it was absolutely wonderful to see you at the farmer’s market this morning. But if that was not enough, this post made me shout from the rooftops, jump and dance, rallying anyone who has not voted yet to get their act together! Thank you (and I cannot wait to see you again in a couple weeks!) Now I am off to make some pie with my farmer’s market apples…

  46. Thank you so much, Tim. As a gay woman whose oldest child is gay and middle one is bisexual, I’m surrounded by people who somehow feel that their religion should supersede our basic civil rights. They downplay the issues with a flippant, “Well, you can have a civil union!” but if it’s no big deal, why vote against it?”

    Thank you for speaking up in favor of people everywhere who deserve the same rights as anyone else.

  47. this is a wonderful post! you are absolutely right — and thank you for standing with us and sharing this video. let’s hope we succeed on tuesday.

  48. Great post. Thanks for including Lesly Gore and her song. I fought for Roe v. Wade. I believe in contraception (who can believe that we are even questioning this) and in Planned Parenthood, an organization that supports women medically, emotionally, and educationally. Planned Parenthood teamed up with our GEAR UP grant project to help create structures for women in our Los Angeles community to become informed and to find pathways to college for their children and themselves. Vote for Obama/Biden. Let’s go forward, not back to failed policies, voter suppression, trickle-down economics, and racist policies. Preserve everyone’s civil rights.

  49. Thank You … I voted & I hope my one vote makes a differnce!

  50. YES. I grew up in a conservative, white, Catholic household… in a conservative, mostly white, southwestern state. Now I’m the proud, “liberal” black sheep of the family, happy to be living in a state where political debate is alive and well. As a woman and mother, I simply cannot support any political candidate who is opposed to a woman’s right to choose, equal pay for equal work, and equal rights for ALL Americans. I will be voting to re-elect President Obama.

  51. beautiful post timber.

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