Friday, December 28, 2007

"Ready to go! "Fire it up!"

This morning, I entered a grocery store in Council Bluffs, Iowa feeling a little unsure and out of place. My rainbow stripy bag from Santiago felt like it was made out of carpet. Then I stood with other Americans and watched CNN coverage of Pakistan. The world felt very small, and I felt like I was just where I needed to be.

At training today, the campaign asked us not to blog about our experiences, so I'll try to send out a couple of group emails to those of you who are interested. Send me a message at my yahoo account if you want updates.

I will defy the campaign's request to say only this one little thing. Already today, on day one, I had one outstanding interaction which made it worth coming. If the rest of the week is a total disaster, I'll still feel like I had an impact.

One week until the caucus. Lots of work to be done . . .

Thursday, December 27, 2007

on the way to iowa . . .

I said goodbye to my parents at the curb at the Hartford airport, suitcases packed full of presents and leftover goodies.

Mom said, "Tell Barack he'd better win because he's taking you away from me."

Dad said, "As far as I can tell, he's taking the cookies away from me."

Lesson 1 in the American electorate--don't take away people's children or their chocolate without good cause.


I had a layover in Minneapolis, and my friend Sarah took me out to a yummy dinner. It was a wonderful visit, but it meant I didn't have time to snoop around and find Senator Craig's famous stomping grounds. When I got back to the airport, I made it a point to use a bathroom while assuming a wide stance. Nobody arrested me or offered me sexual favors.

Omaha for Obama

I arrived in Omaha, Nebraska late tonight. Rebecca and Dave met me at the airport, and we made our way to our new home--a place we have rented from a family that summers in Arizona. It's beautiful and cozy. Fortunately, it has wireless DSL, so I'll be able to record our adventures here. Tomorrow morning we will cross the Missouri River and go to Council Bluffs, Iowa to report for duty!

Rebecca's knee is giving her some trouble, but she looks so cute in a wheelchair that maybe it could help win some votes . . .

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Why Barack Obama?

There are a lot of reasons why I support Barack Obama for president, but the main reason is because the first time I heard him speak, I was inspired. Like many Americans, I met Barack Obama when he gave this speech in the summer of 2004, part 1 and part 2. At the time, I was feeling pretty hopeless about my own life and about my country. Obama was introducing Democratic candidate John Kerry to the Democratic convention, but when he finished his speech, I was crying, and I uttered aloud, "I want him for president."

I still feel that way.

That's why I'm going to spend the end of this year and the beginning of next year in Council Bluffs, Iowa encouraging voters to caucus for Senator Barack Obama. It seems like a ridiculous endeavor, even to me, but it also feels important. Bush has brought so much negativity to the country. Barack Obama is the first political candidate I can ever remember being excited about. After spending so much time being angry and ashamed of my country for the past 8 years, I want to be feel like I am a part of the movement to restore hope.

I realize I sound like one of those canned campaign commercials. So be it. I've never been to Iowa; I expect it will be a fantastic adventure. It can't be any odder than walking across a country, can it?

Saturday, December 15, 2007

a LOST cause

Where's Joseph McCarthy when you need him? I want somebody to call those damn Hollywood people over here to this coast and scare some sense into them. I cannot abide this kind of suffering.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Dear World

I just signed a petition that reads in its entirety:

Dear world,
Please ignore President Bush. He doesn't represent us.

How many times am I allowed to sign?

Sunday, December 9, 2007

God is still speaking . . .

My colleagues and I have a list of banned topics for research papers, topics we just can't bear to deal with for one reason or another. Abortion tops the list as it seems there are very few folks able to make a nuanced legal argument regarding abortion rights. I've recently added another one to my list: same-sex marriage. I just can't take it. I'm willing to talk about all kinds of controversial issues in my classes, but I am intolerant of the intolerance of homosexuality. On a good day, I find opposition to homosexuality preposterous. It makes me laugh because it is so illogical to want to allow legal limitations on relationships. Who the hell cares who anybody else sleeps with? On a bad day, though. Whoo boy. Well, bad days are another matter because I find myself so blood vessel poppingly furious that it is remotely socially acceptable to express vile hatred. I don't know what it is about this one issue that makes me incapable of listening to other views, but it gets me every single time.

So I wasn't looking forward to reading the stack of papers about same sex marriage. I made it through most of them and got to the very last one. She was supporting gay marriage, so I thought it would be less painful than reading the homophobic screeds. This student had researched Barack Obama's position on same-sex marriage. She quoted him: "In an interview with the Chicago Daily Tribune, Obama said, 'I'm a Christian. And so, although I try not to have my religious beliefs dominate or determine my political views on this issue, I do believe that tradition, and my religious beliefs say that marriage is something sanctified between a man and a woman.'"

I assumed my student got her research wrong; I hoped my student got her research wrong . . .

Oh Barack.

I can manage to overlook a stated opposition to legalizing gay marriage. It doesn't make me happy, but I can accept that as a necessary political platform for a presidential candidate. As for using a justification of Christianity for the reason to limit marriage to heterosexual relationships? Well, in most cases, I could manage to shrug it off. People twist Jesus Christ's message in a lot of ways. I don't pretend to understand all of the confusing Protestant interpretations of the Bible. If I read that quote from a Methodist or a Baptist, I would probably just shake my head and mutter something about the true meaning of Christianity.

Senator Obama, however, is not just any kind of Christian. Senator Obama doesn't belong to one of those other churches whose missions I don't understand. Nope. He is my kind of Christian, a Congregationalist. He belongs to the UCC, the same denomination that I was raised in. He belongs to a church that made a nationwide effort to support the rights of homosexuals to marry. Not only does the UCC encourage same-sex marriage within their church, but they have issued actual literature that encourages legalizing same-sex marriage at the federal level.

Unlike many people, Senator Obama didn't stumble into just any church that would take him. He searched and pondered. He chose. I've read some of his views on religion that have spoken to me personally. His thoughtful approach to religion has been one of the things I admire about him. This is reprehensible. Disagree with the legal platform if you must, Senator, but don't blame your endorsement of discrimination on the Jesus Christ my family worships. Shame on you.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

everything i needed to know

Okay. I've been trying hard not to dislike Senator Hillary Clinton during these primary months. If she wins the Democratic nomination, I will vote for her, and I will encourage other Americans to vote for her.

But this. I just can't take it.

The woman is easily the most recognized presidential candidate in the entire country. She has been in the national spotlight since I was in high school. She has served as a United States Senator. She has actually lived in the White House. She has an enormous base of supporters, many of whom donate lots of money to try to get her into office. I admire and support Barack Obama, but if Hillary Clinton keeps her nose clean, she has a really good shot.


I received a message from the Obama campaign saying that Clinton had released an expose on him for something he did in kindergarten. I rolled my eyes. "Yeah, right. No way she's that stupid. Quit exaggerating."

This thing from the Clinton website is so ridiculous. It's just low hanging fruit. The potential wisecracks overwhelm me. If I had given one dime to that campaign, I would be down at the headquarters asking for it back. To think, Barack Obama had the audacity to want to be president of the United States while he was in kindergarten! Imagine! Well. When I'm president, I will pass a Constitutional amendment barring children from having such aspirations.

So, all you Dems out there who are sitting back shaking your heads, hoping it isn't her. Allow me to tell you a secret. The winner of the U.S. presidency will not only be determined by the number of people who cast ballots next November. It will be determined by the number of people who give money. We have a democracy, a capitalist democracy. If I had my way, you'd click here and enter your credit card info. If that's not the right choice for you, then I recommend clicking here for another fine option. I was fortunate to shake both of their hands last week. Support them now.