I want the election to be over. I'm tired of partisanship, attack ads and endless news cycles of pontificating pundits.
If my side needs more time to win the day, so be it. Take all the time you need.
Skin in the game
Every election cycle feels special. The stakes are always high. The choices game changing. The amount of campaign money spent on elections stupefyingly large.
If you are a conservative, you are convinced the moral fabric of the country is on the line. Our economic future is at risk.
If you are a liberal, you have seen the Ryan budget and the writing is on the wall for all the Progressive advances since Teddy Roosevelt. If you care about social inequality and women's rights, you are bewildered by the seemingly unending attacks that come from Republican candidates.
On Election Night this Tuesday, given the number of key battle ground states and the voting difficulties created by super storm Sandy, conclusive results might not be forthcoming until late in the evening or early morning.
2010 is a census year, in case you haven’t heard. As is constitutionally mandated, I’m sure that you all filled out your census form and mailed it back promptly upon receipt. Unfortunately, some of your colleagues, neighbors, and maybe even people that you call your friends might not have been so responsible. That’s where the enumerators come in – an army of 48,000 retirees, college students, and those ‘between jobs’ deployed to fight census apathy by knocking on doors and asking how many people you live with.
I enlisted for a few reasons. Yes, I currently fall into the ‘between jobs’ category, but my work experience ranges from NGO jobs in Israel and East Africa to running a canvassing office for Obama in southwest Virginia. So besides actually thinking that the census is important and wanting to be involved in such a massive federal undertaking, I am a pro at working with diverse populations and getting people to open their doors.
The application process begins with a 28-question test proving one’s knowledge of basic multiplication and alphabetizing skills. A passing grade is 10 out of 28, but I got a pretty 100%. After weeks of waiting, my crew leader, Debbie Friedman, called to offer me the census job and inform me that training began the next day. Not a problem, my dedication to the cause of tabulating the masses made it easy for me to cancel my plans and show up for hours of fingerprinting, document signing, and oath taking. Also, census training is paid at the census enumerator hourly rate of 17.00/hr. Anyway, the next three days were much more serious, consisting mostly of lectures detailing the process of filling out the census form and explanations of what constitutes a housing unit.
I predict there's another shoe that's going to drop (not sure where she bought this one, but it's coming).
Everything about Sarah Palin has been stunning and spectacular since John McCain announced her as his running mate -- to the "surprise" announcement that she was resigning, followed by the spectacular announcement by her attorney Thomas Van Flein, (full-text of legal letter posted by Sarah Palin on her Twitter account), that he was planning to explore immediate legal action against bloggers, specifically Shannyn Moore, who on HuffPo wrote that "for months the rumors have been swirling about a Federal Investigation." (Hey, Van Flein, did you miss the word "rumors"?) The Governor of the Great State of Alaska gets the Second Amendment, for sure, but maybe she was between schools when they taught the "First" one.
Sarah Palin brings a lot of this on herself, though. She's secretive and she plays by her own rules. She fuels the rumors. Even when she was in public office, she didn't think that her business was our business. (I think I speak for all women in America and their gynecologists when I say that none of us were allowed to fly during our last month of pregnancy, certainly not while we were in labor!)
Three years ago, I moved my family back to the east coast. No, that’s not totally accurate. Truth is, three years ago my family moved me back to the east coast.
When a play I’d co-written was scheduled to open on Broadway, Robin and the kids seized upon that as an excuse to return to the side of the country they longed to live on since we’d relocated to Los Angeles more than a decade earlier. I was dubious. The majority of my work and my friends were located out there and I’m now at an age where even the slightest deviation in routine is regarded as an upheaval. But my family’s happiness has always come first (plus they mounted a campaign that included not talking to me until I caved) so, the minute I caved, Robin got on a plane that landed in New Jersey, found a house she thought we’d be happy living in and, not unlike the European immigrants of my grandparents’ generation, sent for the rest of us when the time was right.
The town she chose was the bucolic enclave of Short Hills. Ancient trees, spacious homes set far back from roads with no sidewalks, a local movie house, quaint mom and pop stores on both sides of a sleepy Main Street – a Rockwellian wet dream just forty minutes from Manhattan.
Nashville, as you know, is the capitol city of Tennessee, which became a full fledged state in l796. Tennessee is a Cherokee word by which the native inhabitants referred to their big river. Ours is one of the pioneer states into which disgruntled settlers from the original thirteen pushed if they were not awarded land grants for heroic behavior during the Revolution. Those hardheaded people who struck out into Tennessee territories mythologized themselves in story and song as the first frontiersmen.
Checks and balances. Have you ever thought about how amazing those two words are? In the simplest sense, writing checks and figuring out how much money you have left after you’ve written them. In the larger sense, if something is depleted or out of whack, something comes along to reestablish order.
Which brings me to AANWR....
On the northern edge of our continent, stretching from the peaks of the Brooks Range across a vast expanse of tundra to the Beaufort Sea, lies Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. An American Serengeti, the Arctic Refuge continues to pulse with million-year-old ecological rhythms. It is the greatest living reminder that conserving nature in its wild state is a core American value.
(National Resources Defense Council)
It's a few hours before Barack's speech tonight and I am on a shuttle
to Invesco Stadium. The buzz around town is palpable, as people
anticipate a historic speech by the Democratic nominee. Close to 80,000
people will attend an evening that is going to be shown around the
world and around town it feels like tonight is all anyone is talking
Besides the excitement surrounding the speech, there is also an understanding of the gravity of the moment.
This morning I asked Cornell West what the most memorable moment of the week has been so far. He said that the tears of Michelle Obama's mother made him emotional. "There's a lot of struggle in those tears," Dr. West told me. He's absolutely right.
After spending years in the political closet (one of the dangers of a politically mixed marriage) I have emerged with a flourish, and a job as Press Person for a Michigan candidate for the United States House of Representatives. I have been working for Bob Alexander, a Democrat running in Michigan’s 8th Congressional District, against Mike Rogers, a four-term Republican incumbent. Bob is the kind of Democrat my parents are – a Joan Baez, “if you want peace, work for justice” kind of guy who spent years circulating petitions and working crowds “cold” to promote the value of a living wage for working people, and eventually persuaded the Michigan legislature to raise the minimum wage by 29 percent. He was not holding office at the time, mind you; it was just the right thing to do.
Today was our first full day at the Democratic National Convention, and we started out at a breakfast sponsored by The Michigan Democratic Party. On our way down to breakfast in the elevator we ran into Dan Mulhern, the husband of Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm. He was friendly, despite being hot and sweaty after his morning run, and Michael told him how much he enjoyed Dan’s newsletter, “Reading for Leading.” As a fitting start to a day when the buzz was all about Hillary Clinton’s speech, Bob ran into Granholm herself, Michigan’s own strong female leader, at the breakfast, and she spent some time talking with us.
My words would pale in comparison to Barack Obama's; the images I could
describe would not do justice to the images on television, or the sights of
those present. As I stood in the aisle at the end of the speech, I saw the
African American woman to my right crying--knowing that her country had
taken a giant step forward that she had maybe never imagined was
possible--and I saw the white woman to my right, the same tears in her eyes. I saw the older, white-haired man in a perfectly tailored gray suit and blue
tie standing on his chair applauding with the same gusto as the 15-year old
kid with braces who had volunteered, who promised to remember this day his
But today, the fireworks have stopped, the parties have ended, and the confetti has been swept up. The delegates are filing out of town, back to California and the Carolinas; to Washington state and Washington DC. But here in Colorado--like everywhere else across the country--the reality hits home, for we have only 67 days left to make sure that the convention will not be just a footnote in history, but the beginning of the Change that we need.