please don't stop the music

random netizens seem to be on the scent of the peptides music project, modest though it is. this review of 'stereo stereo' popped up and holy shit, it's pretty positive. then this writer singled me out and posted my aimee mann cover on a track list. oh god!

also, the host of CHUO's 'do you hear what i hear' played a couple of tracks on his show last week and announced that he'll be spinning the whole album tomorrow night. eeps.

lord knows music is one of the only things that makes me feel better. that's why i'm glad to be back to guitar lessons and mediocre songwriting, why i've accepted to sing a couple of soul tunes at a friend's wedding next weekend, why i'm hopeful about the acoustic set we're planning to perform at the mercury lounge next month, and probably why i've been downloading the likes of otis redding and martha redbone at itunes today.

neat how things curiously percolate out there as i'm holed up in the house, fretting about whether or not to get a real job and how the hell to kick my own writing ass to let loose all the seemingly important things my gut wants to purge. oh but i've got big plans for enforcing a new (and strict) schedule wherein despite the absence of a benefactor to bankroll my stupid dreams, writing will be more disciplined than ever. it may be the same plan i announce to myself at the top of each month, but this time will be different godammit.

on the health front, i'm in no hurry to ascertain why my body has downshifted so drastically. the coma quest continues, too. i found myself formulating kiddie rhymes in my hazy head this morning in an attempt to justify another day and night of unwellness: "maybe it's the pillows, maybe it's the bed, maybe it's cuz mine is such a messed up head..."

late yesterday, the snow finally decided to come. and stay. i find myself relieved. there is something comforting about the world chilling down beneath a layer of frosting, if only for a few months. i'm charmed by the prettiness of this season, sure. but winter makes people run inside and curl up under things, slow down, hide out. so i guess it's the season when my habits are less peculiar. yeah, that's it.


old news and catchup

a couple of webby things came and went -- never too late to share.

my friend and fellow communicator robin phoned me in columbus on october 30th to interview me about vote today ohio for his social media podcast. the interview appears halfway through this episode, posted november 3rd. i sound a bit rhaspy and out of it, but reasonably intelligible, thank god.

and an update on the peptides: popular music blogger 'cover lay down' reviewed our covers at the bottom of this post. other than his reference to us as a 'musical theatre troupe', i don't disagree with anything he had to say. relief. in related news, we launched 'stereo stereo' at the mercury lounge's 12th anniversary party last weekend, and i took a small handful of photos to mark the occasion.

me? 1.5 weeks home from the ohio experience and not much less discombobulated than when i unlocked my door and crossed back over the threshold. i'm working on it, though. the gloomy weather ain't helping. there hasn't yet been a solid snow, but it is going to land and stay any minute. til then, the days are dark, damp, and short, which makes me want to curl up and read more than clamor back to sustainable routines.

the emotionality and fear of post-ohio processing are less intense, but i still haven't managed to jumpstart the writing-down-of-it-all, which needs to happen soon in order, i think, for me to get repositioned and forwardly postured. i have, at least, decided on an approach -- one that seems less overwhelming than 'omg write down Everything. NOW'. i'm taking it one anecdote at a time: blurbs about voters and funny or edifying moments and places and instances. i figure they will serve well enough on their own or somehow weave together to reveal macro level conclusions. doesn't really matter, i just need to download the stuff, run my fingers over it, and move on.

meanwhile, i've been laying low. not quite ready to socialize yet, at least not in that energetic, enthusiastic kind of way. i've spent some time with a couple of VIPs, but that's it. and i'm ok with that. being away so long under such intense circumstances can't help but force you to think about who you missed or didn't, and why.

i shan't linger in this limbo too much longer. but lord knows i'm less than sure about what's next.


this is it

i can report that a few minutes ago, the last phoner was talking to the last identified voter and as soon as he said 'but no sir, there's still time, here's the address where you should run to get in line to vote' we all started yelling into the phone GO GO GO GO GO like bona fide lunatics. then we piled on for a weird group hug. and that pretty much sums up many things.

i can report that i am presently nursing a mix of nausea and excitement. not bad, considering i've spent most of the day wondering what to feel at all. auto pilot. numb. numb.

i can report that our voter taxi operation today surpassed even my wildest expectations. whereas last night erik and i were speculating we'd field maybe 20 ride requests, our final number as of ten minutes ago was somewhere near 60 happy, chauffeured obama voters. it was nutty at times, lulled at times, but so profoundly satisfying to transport those people - THOSE VOTES - when they almost mattered the most.

i can report that no one here in this coalition staging site is feeling SURE of anything, but that HOPE is in every air molecule i smell and breathe right now. in moments, i will pack my car and hurtle up the highway to columbus where i will meet the 'family' with whom i've lived and worked for damn near seven weeks and no matter what the historic results are tonight, there will be cocktails to consume and comas to slip into. and when i wake up, i will wend my way up interstates in a haze of relief to wrap myself up in my home and friends and delicious, amazing memories.


campaigning in ohio - dispatch #6

this november 3rd has been as balmy as any warm summer's day here in cincinnati. the line-up at the early voting center is already challenging the lengths it achieved on saturday. twas apparently wrapped around a downtown city block by 7.30 this morning, and by all accounts, will be that long when the sheriff makes an arbitrary cut-off at 4 pm.

i have been staffing our voter taxi dispatch line since 8 am. i'm in the america votes election staging office in a cute office with a cute view of cincy's west side on a very cute E-minus-1. i share this office with the lively jessie jenkins of the naacp voter fund, who has kept me pretty much in stitches with his punchy mouth. beyond the thin walls, we are surrounded by the determined voices of telephone canvassers leaning in for the final push of confirmed or almost confirmed progressive voters. it is so cool to overhear them giving voters the toll free number that would lead straight to my ride line. i've been making canvass calls too, in the spaces in between, and am actually enjoying that contact, however limited, with the very people who could bring this thing home. as the day plods on, logistics people are keeping us watered and fed and coffeed here as members of my intrepid cincy voter shuttle team flit around this buzzing town to drive ohioans to the early voting center.

well now here it is: today is the last chance for early voters to get it done. the crowd is evidently thick, mostly enthusiastic. you really get the sense that people are doing more than show up to vote -- they're taking some sort of stand. i've managed to grab a few interviews and am always heartened to hear about the motivations of folks: 'a black man is so close to the white house you can almost taste it', 'i ain't never done anything that felt this important'. oh sure, people are cranky pants in those lines, but generally, the atmosphere i've seen is festive. there is music and dancing and whooping among the groans of pained feet. volunteers from any number of campaigns are doing their best to distribute water and snacks and folding chairs to the waiting voters; others are just helping keep spirits up with comedy and chants. the critical task is to keep people from defecting. we're just so aware of the unlikelihood of dropouts ever coming back -- even on election day. speaking of which, none of us is sure what tomorrow will bring. as for my organization, we hardly know whether to expect 20 or 200 ride requests. of greater concern is what trouble of a macro kind we might face. ohio voters know damn well the kind of problems that possibly await them at regular polling places tomorrow. that's why the early voting period has yielded such tremendous turn-out. and that's why it's been easy to feel fulfilled about the kind of work we have been able to do. meaningful.

bitter am i that i missed the mary j blige/jay-z event today. would have been uplifting, i think, if only for some tension relief. that tension would have either been aided or exacerbated had i attended the big barack/michelle rally in cincy last night -- i just wasn't sure how my crowd tolerance would hold up, not to mention the work erik and i knew was priority: oh driver-map-making and leaflet-dropping, you time suckers.

(i've been amused by the extent to which corporations seem to have climbed aboard the democracy express: starbucks is offering big coffees for anyone who claims to have voted; those same people can exchange their proud votership for a krispy kreme, too. jesus.)

most difficult to grasp, i think, is the notion that the end is finally here. the polls say things i should like, as does the pulse of the situation on which my finger has been firmly placed all this time. but i refuse to celebrate until it is time to celebrate. this night four years ago in a decorated madison ballroom was absolutely the saddest night of my entire life -- and we didn't even like john kerry that much.

i think i've been surprised by the range of emotions this roller coaster has been. what was first fatigue has given way to homesickness that is thick. every single feeling is amplified by the fatigue and intensity of it all. i miss my bed and routine and the easy silence of close friendship. i've come to realize just how deeply i appreciate things like the fidelice bakery, prolific middle eastern cuisine, and the daily presence of the french language.

on the one hand, my ohio stint has flown by, but on the other, it is a lifetime. there just winds up being such an attachment to a place the longer you work in its roots, you know? i'm glad i chose to spend the duration in ohio, not play political tourist as i once thought i might. there are pros and cons to either choice, i suppose, but i'm sure content with mine. i have learned things yet to sink it and felt things never to be forgotten. i'm wobbling over all that i've built here, and all that i'll have to leave behind in just a few fleeting days. including people. if this whole nutty edifying draining thing hasn't been all about the people, nothing ever will be.


campaigning in ohio - dispatch #5

i/we crafted an op-ed that just went up at alternet.org. BEHOLD AN EXCERPT:

"I've thought of more excuses why not to vote, why not to do this," Bobby told us. "And each time, it has cost me more than it would have cost me to get up off my a** -- excuse my French -- and try to make a change."

So said Bobby Johnson in the back of one of our Vote Today Ohio shuttles. When he spotted our van at the Bishop Cosgrove Centre, a food pantry in Cleveland, he climbed right on in. He hadn't voted in years, but on October 4th, 2008, Bobby became one of the 67,408 Ohioans who cast a ballot during the first week of Ohio's new Early Voting period.

We have seen and heard Bobby's story repeated from Cincinnati to Youngstown, from Athens to Toledo. So many unlikely voters we drove to Ohio Early Voting Centers represent this truth: elections are changing. You might even say democracy itself, in fact, is changing. For the better.

Ohio no longer has an Election Day. Innovative updating of the process has now yielded an Election Month. And we've seen the embracing of this change in the faces of the very voters most positively impacted by it.

This year, an estimated 1 out of 3 Americans will cast their ballot either through absentee or early voting. Colorado is even expected to see half its turnout amongst early voters. Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner opened Early Voting Centers in every county on September 30 and will keep them open through November 3. She has gone openly and vehemently on the record as supporting Early Voting as a means of broadening access, and estimates that "25 percent of Ohio's registered voters, or the number of voters voting, will have voted before Election Day."


Our vans have transported all manner of Ohioans -- of Bobby Johnsons -- who are unlikely to have voted otherwise. Nick drove an elderly Dayton man to vote early who figured his absentee ballot would be lost at the housing project where he lives. Caty drove Columbus college students who were too excited to wait until November 4. Erik drove a transient Cincinnati woman who for forty years, has abstained from elections, thinking her vote didn't matter. Rafiq has driven countless young Cleveland men who most people fear or overlook as part of the urban scenery.

Moving nearly 3500 Ohioans to Early Voting Centers has helped us understand all too well why opponents would devote precious time and resources to convincing the public that early voting is trouble: because it helps bring marginalized people in from the margins. And that must threaten them to the bone. Challenging democracy, indeed.

Vote Today Ohio is eagerly calling any and all volunteers to help with the final push.


5th saturday in ohio

whatever was i thinking that a day unplugged from this campaign wouldn't risk peeling back the glorious distraction from my shit that this trip has so far been. back at the headquarters after my afternoon excursion to the movies, i am enveloped now by the sheer chaos that is homecoming -- the buckeyes' big game against penn state -- with this neighbourhood and surrounding streets ablaze with the fervor of team spirit, of misspent youth, of obnoxia nervosa. it is amidst this jarring, surreal soundtrack that i attempt to shove back under the folds the coils and batting that anxiously poked through today. where've i been, they wonder - almost audibly - and who do i think i am leaving them untended this damn long. and i well know the answer: i am as deserving as anyone of a fresh break from old pain, thank you very much, and so i have managed to find myself as sublimely immersed in political passions as anyone could wish.

but handy they are, my neglected bits, or i might not have been so rocked - gutted, even - by the poem caty read me just now:

What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why,
I have forgotten, and what arms have lain
Under my head till morning; but the rain
Is full of ghosts tonight, that tap and sigh
Upon the glass and listen for reply,

And in my heart there stirs a quiet pain
For unremembered lads that not again
Will turn to me at midnight with a cry.
Thus in winter stands the lonely tree,
Nor knows what birds have vanished one by one,
Yet knows its boughs more silent than before:
I cannot say what loves have come and gone,
I only know that summer sang in me
A little while, that in me sings no more.

- Edna St. Vincent Millay


campaigning in ohio - dispatch #4

it sort of feels like i've actually re-located to columbus, not just popped by as a political tourist in search of a hot campaign. i mean, today i did such 'i live here' things as shop at Target for scouring pads and a brita, get a massage, and visit the market for produce. i'm currently preparing a sweet potato chipotle soup. feeling harassed by that bandwagon, i picked up a copy of 'the secret life of bees' which i shall curl up and read on the porch tonight instead of seeing margaret cho at the palace theatre - an expense i really couldn't justify.

after our 'golden week' grand finale on monday, the campaign has temporarily suspended. tate, the director, drove back to brooklyn for a few days to stroke shawna's baby bump; plus he's up to his eyeballs in FEC paperwork. other members of the core team have scattered away for a few days of rest/play. and here i remain in columbus, holding down the fort while tending to neglected contract work for clients from home.

and of course, i saw OBAMA yesterday at genoa park, downtown. it was all that. i'm so glad i came down here to this intensely heated battleground state. what a freaking historic election.

i've had occasion to weigh options and consider other points of interest in these here united states. i thought about checking out philly, looking for campaign work in florida, or even heading to colorado where the race is tight and fascinating. then amy, our field director - who is now home in new york state with her ducks and congressional races - suggested my role in the next phase of our project could be that of more press officer duties while continuing my regional oversight of cincinnati. that suits me fine. i feel invested in ohio now, especially after these two weeks of fervor. and i like the idea of staying with this team and seeing something really cool to it's end.

what exactly are we going to do? well now that 'golden week' is over, we are planning some variation on the same theme: mobilize registered voters to continue to take advantage of the early vote scheme. it all returns to full swing in this makeshift HQ on monday morning.

here's what we/i posted just the other day to the Vote Today Ohio website:


Monday was the final day of Golden Week here in Ohio, and we ROCKED IT!

That was the day we banked just over 800 Obama votes (exact tallies to be confirmed).

That was the day we hit our single biggest total.

That was the day when all our advance work and publicity paid off. It shows the cumulative power of our relentless organizers, drivers, team leaders, and supporters. We built a great organization together, and no matter what curveballs came our way, we persevered with our mission.

That perseverance touched people. As corny as it sounds, our work here hasn't just added votes to Obama's column. It has changed lives. Original volunteers have decided to stay longer to keep driving early voters. New recruits found over the course of our activities have thrown themselves into the cause. One of our team leaders in Cincinnati called on Tuesday to announce "The amazing volunteers here just won't be stopped!"

Deep down, I think he's why all of us do this work -- to make our democracy work for the people that need it most. That's justice.

Also, of course, we do this work to WIN. So, how does it all add up? What do we have to show for our blood, sweat and tears?

During Golden Week, Vote Today Ohio banked ~3300 Obama votes and 621 voter registrations. Did we make a critical contribution in America's #1 battleground state? Absolutely!

Our 3300 votes were far more than just a drop in the bucket. Consider this: In Franklin County (home to Columbus), 9264 people voted early during Golden Week. Vote Today Ohio vans (and cars and marches) moved 1369 of them to the polls. Yes, we directly moved 14.8 percent of the early vote in Franklin County. It's safe to assume that thousands more heard about Golden Week directly from our work. That's powerful. We were THE game in town.

Plus, we broke new ground. We asked ourselves a risky question -- could a hard-working and intrepid group of volunteers actually make good on an untested Golden Week voter mobilization program? Would voters respond? Could we pull it off in just three wee weeks? The answers are a resounding YES. Sure, we learned some tough lessons. But we learned them well, and by the end of the week, we had the kind of smooth, professional operation that any campaign would die for. With some strategic tweaks, our Golden Week program will now become a powerful tool in the progressive arsenal.

Now for an important announcement: Over the next few days, our core team will be processing and analyzing this amazing experiment. We're already planning our next steps. We've built something strong and effective, and are compelled to keep it moving. So please stay tuned for our next phase, and don't be surprised if we invite you back!

We should all feel immensely proud of the work we did -- from driving voters to the polls to engaging with them directly, from supporting us with donations to housing our volunteers, to a zillion other things. We've accomplished an historic feat this week. Go ahead. Pat yourself on the back. Celebrate our success. And when Obama wins in November, you'll be able to say, "That's MY victory!"

With deep, deep respect for all you've done this week,
the Vote Today Ohio team


campaigning in ohio - dispatch #3

for starters: i finally got some photos of this nutty ohio TRIP up onto flickr. a photographer i am surely not, but hey. everyone has gone to bed and the house is quiet. i can't sleep. not because i'm wired up but more because i'm wired down. oddly. tomorrow is our Grand Finale -- the last day for one-stop early voting. and unlike my counterparts who are each, in their own way, nursing pangs of anticipation and anxiety about it all, i feel fine. plans have been laid, teams prepped, assignments assigned. in a way, it's all out of our hands now. yet in another, we carry it all.

so how has the week gone for
our humble project? the numbers tell part of the story: several hundred the first day to almost a thousand on friday. the weekend stats are weird, given that so many EVCs (early voting centers) were closed half or all day. our teams did lots of visibility work when EVCs were closed, like flyering cars and postering shelters and what my team dubbed 'the dorm storms' -- targeting students with sign-ups for monday rides.

the trajectory of numbers has been promising, to be sure, though not necessarily what we'd projected. the exercise of identifying any numeric targets had been arbitrary, at best. that's the trick about inventing a brand new thing -- you have nothing to compare it to, no lessons to correct, and everything to gain. early voting is a new concept in and of itself, never mind the fact that this 'golden week' portion of it was the first time (ever? anywhere?) voters could register and vote at the same time. so when
tate conceived of and initiated this idea, he also took on the task of making everything up. from scratch. sure, he assembled a dynamo team to do it with, but still, no one knew what to shoot for... at least not in comparative terms. that's not to sound defensive. i'm just sharing those realities of field organizing that anyone who's done it can relate to.

in spite of those deeper matters, our teams and activities have been rocking. it took a couple of days to hit our stride, but once we did, that shit got HOT. from allied groups to average voters, everyone can feel it. and they're buzzing about it. reports from the field have all ended the same way: "this thing is gaining momentum, and tomorrow, we're gonna do even better!"

in addition to my regional director role, i've been put on a bit of press officer duty -- and
we've been getting covered! -- so i've had lots of occasion to think and talk about this project. the thing i keep reminding folks is that we can only track numbers of voters we physically take to the polls. but those don't reflect the thousands of ohioans who learned about early voting thanks to our visibility, materials, media, and people, then took themselves to vote. there's no telling how many voters hurried up and registered because Our Work reminded them that tomorrow is the last day. that's not spin, that's fact.

so we're feeling stoked and proud and energized about it all. the whole concept of early voting still blows my mind. and you just know it came at too crucial a political moment in too tense a place because those other guys
tried to shut it down. unsuccessfully. but it still makes folks nervous that this could be the only year for early voting because some people are too antsy about it -- likely because it favours the types of folks whose voices are mostly unheard.

meanwhile, it has been tremendously rewarding to help mobilize the very people whose belief in democracy will most benefit from this early voting scheme. amy, our field director, has been comparing our one week initiative to a single election day -- which means tomorrow (last day) is like the final hour of a typical e-day. no holds barred blitz, baby. overdrive. full steam. home run. analogy-palooza, basically. we're gunning for some SERIOUS VOTES.

the teams i've been overseeing couldn't be more ready for tomorrow. they've pimped up the vans like nobody's business, and even rented a major megaphone system for one of them to be blaring loud and clear "last chance to register and vote early". people here at headquarters have been teasing me about the crushes i seem to have developed on my team leaders out there, but with them turning out such kick-ass organizing skills and energy day in and day out, who the eff can blame me?

btw, saw springsteen (again) today -- he stopped in columbus as part of a
special tour for obama. it was an incredible acoustic set under a beautiful, warm, fall sky. granted, we worked the crowds for van sign-ups and whatnot, but still, it sure felt nice to take a break from the frenzy to enjoy a simple outdoor concert. i may not be his biggest fan, but it has to be said The Boss has never sounded better. more importantly, he gave what has to be one of the best (albeit inadvertent) political speech i have maybe ever heard. no speechwriters, no tele-prompter, no spin. just a poet with heart, movingly imploring ohioans to grab hold of the early voting advantage as a way to get obama elected because "i want my america back. i want my country back."


campaigning in ohio - dispatch #2

as i unwound on the porch in the dark rain late monday night, my mood could best be described as misty. the day spent doing our volunteer training session both exhausted and inspired me. our compact core team shuffled back to headquarters in the late evening as aching zombies. we had successfully briefed, papered, and assuaged the 100+ volunteers and deployed them out to various parts of the state. we were feeling confident and hopeful about the project kicking off with a bang. as pretty much the sole operation in ohio focused solely on mobilizing targeted populations to take advantage of the early voting scheme, we had all the sense in the world that what we're doing is profoundly worthwhile and electorally important.

yesterday, we awoke nervously to sit all day on pins and needles, waiting to get word from our team leaders in the field about how things are looking and feeling. as it turns out, it was a day full of highs and lows. in some locales, our vans were filling up like gangbusters while at others, the same work yielded smaller results. in some instances, team leaders came up against campus administrators, security guards, and feisty republicans. in better news, there were no hiccups at the actual early voting centers (EVC). frankly, this stunned us. by all accounts, the staff and process at all of the EVCs are smooth as silk. this, of course, would have been the side of things on which we would have expected trouble to reside. BUT HELLS NO. the secretary of state for elections here in ohio is apparently progressive and helpful and openly devoted to making voting easy for EVERYONE (hunh, imagine). we had one incident at a campus in cleveland where a volunteer of ours – a middle-aged former cop, no less – was handcuffed by a campus security guard for calmly asking a student if she knew she could vote early, but it all got sorted out and we're certain today will go smoother. since operations at voting centers seem to be relatively free of kinks, the crack legal minds of the ACLU, America Votes, and AFL-CIO who had been put on stand-by for initiatives like ours are languishing with little to do, which means they've descended upon our handcuffing situation with gusto. they're re-confirming campus access issues and hopefully issuing a memo to all colleges and universities state-wide instructing them to let our people do their THING.

by the way, even the least significant story of voter access problems left me rather teary. ok, the fatigue makes for a lower weepiness threshold, but still - i don't think i'll ever get over the complete insanity of how in canada we get a piece of paper in the mail and choose to walk over to a polling place (or not) to cast a ballot. yes, i know, there are still problems with the census and Elections Canada tracking and some voting procedures and of course that whole proportional representation thing. but in general, it is not hard or complicated or discriminatorily unjust for us like it continues to be down here. that makes me feel a great many things, the overriding of which is SAD. but never mind that for now.

i've pretty much averaged an 8 am to 1 am workday since arriving, and last night went way later than that. it was the first round of nightly check-ins between me and my team leaders, and all the reporting forms and notes that go along with that. i'm sure tonight's calls will be shorter, but it took awhile to debrief day one, then turn around and brief the field director on what i'd learned. i cannot possibly put into words how amazing my team leaders are -- four bright, young, committed guys whose dedication to what this is about really rocks. they move me. seems like every time i hang up the phone after a question or update or alert, i need to take a couple of deep breaths to let it soak in just how amazing i think they are, this is. and how glad i got over my last-minute cold feet and decided to come here to support, advise, and motivate them.

i am jotting down drafty bits about upper level strategy and analysis and progressive numbers later, but the past couple of days have really just been about people. the american friends i've made over the years prove it to me over and over again that there are indeed pockets and movements of amazing progressive work happening down here, but it's super easy for us to stay caught up in our (mostly justified) frustration about americans – or more to the point, the american electorate (as if our own is any less confounding). what a world of good to be in the company of such committed, progressive AMERICAN activists – spanning the range of ages and backgrounds and geographies – all of whom are devoting every ounce of intellect and energy to changing this country. i think every once in awhile, it's important for canadian progressives to be among these people... in person, in real time. i mean, it's not like we don't know 'these' americans are down here, fighting the good fight and feeling the way we do. but at times like this, i love getting to KNOW them.

IN (PSEUDO) CELEB NEWS: i was giddy to meet mrs. andree dean, mother of howard, who is one of my team members in youngstown. she'll be moving her adorable, 83 year-old self around communities of colour this week and even agreed to be exploited as we need her to be. she found me funny, and i found her tiny. also, this guy who I TOTALLY recognized from various secondary character roles is one of our columbus volunteers, is deliciously sarcastic, and eager to talk up early voting whenever he's promoting his new movie "W" (a bio-pic about Dubya).

also, here's my new friend cristina moon narrating a promo video we (VTO) put out last week. oh, the cuteness.


campaigning in ohio - dispatch #1

the Vote Today Ohio office is on a hectic columus street on the periphery of Ohio State University. we are in what was formerly a frat house, so indicated by the giant team mascot and logo painted on the kitchen wall, the air hockey table in the living room, and the faint lingering smell of beer.

after a very long drive on friday night (thank you NPR, cigs, ipod, and bad coffee) – hurtling through black space across the interstates of America – i arrived in columbus at 3.30 in the morning, quietly let myself into this house, and dropped onto an uncomfortably small couch at the back of the main floor. i'd barely napped for four hours until the morning rustling of housemates woke me up. by 8.20, i was rocking a wild afro and black eyes while sipping desperate espressos and engaging in fatigued small talk with lively strangers. by 9 am, i was meeting with the field director – amy little, a political operative from new york – and by 9.30, i was appointed regional director (RD) for the cincinnati area.

since then, i have pretty much been ensconced in writing organizing materials and attending meetings. we are pursuing three primary objectives: information saturation; voter recruitment; volunteer recruitment. the main push of this effort focuses on 'Golden Week', during which we want to turn out more than 10,000 new or unlikely voters. the team is fairly impressive – organizers from california to new england who are young, smart, and pumped. i so far feel my experience and skills are being put to excellent use.

seriously, this is the most cush political campaign i have ever worked on. we are pimped out with wi-fi, office supplies, and strong, endless coffee. whereas in 2004, the modest little office of the Young Voter Alliance in madison had a lone cupboard stuffed with raman noodles, here is another freaking story. thanks to the generosity of donors, the kitchen of this frat house is overflowing with so much deliciousness. the project director's partner shopped til she dropped yesterday and began cooking up what will be a week's worth of meals for this bustling house. the fridge contains such shockingly non-campaign items as sunflower seed butter, Sriracha, and wine. we are spoiled. oh, and i've been moved into my own room upstairs, replete with air mattress and rusty windows. like i said: cush.

so this morning, i'm studying the site analysis and DPI (Democratic performance index) of my region, and the maps. tonight, our 20 state-wide 'Team Leaders' (TLs) descend onto this HQ House for their training. after their special session tonight, drinks are on tap at a place called the surly gurl saloon, then ready ourselves for tomorrow's big training. by tuesday morning, our keener pods will be on the ground doing their kicking-ass thing, and i'll be able to report on how the whole thing is playing out.

the VTO operation is working in concert with other initiatives like america votes, league of young voters, rock the vote, and swing semester. tomorrow morning, i'm going to try to hit a concert before the training: john legend will be performing on campus to kick off the early voting drive. i love him.


more mat leave for me - hooray!

harper’s gift to self-employed women of extended parental leave shows he cares. we apparently shouldn’t have to “choose between starting a family and starting a business” - aww.

from the sanctimonious tone of the announcement, you’d think harper has decided to bestow onto self-employeds all the benefits afforded other working moms … at least the ones fortunate enough to work in settings where a full-time/secure status gets them access to health plans, dental benefits, sick leave, paid vacation, A Pension, even THE WEEKEND.

the media has hyped the announcement as an election gimmick, and they sure got it right.

um, thanks, harper, for taking notice of the one million or so women you want to lure with this extended mat leave idea. those of us still on the fence about you will now surely belly up to your kool-aid. gosh, you really ‘get’ us!

puh-leez. throwing this bone to the small constituency of women who could benefit from the proposal after having mocked/decimated/overlooked so many policies that would advance women’s equality is akin to tossing out a couple of life preservers while denying the ship is even sinking. if canadian voters are so gullible as to think this makes you progressive or clued-up, then we surely deserve you as our PM.

anyone in touch with the realities facing women in canada - self-employed or otherwise - would rather harper (or any federal leader) put his suddenly-gender-inequality-addressing money where his mouth is by:

  • putting ‘equality’ back into status of women canada and augmenting funding to equality-seeking groups
  • incentivizing health plan providers to serve the increasingly non-traditional workforce of which a majority are women, including self-employeds, consultants, freelancers
  • conceding that fewer than 20% of children in canada have access to a regulated childcare space and heeding the calls for a universal childcare system
  • including self-employment within areas covered by the EI program - you seem to know that one in 10 employed women is now self-employed, so why allow 10% of employed women to be automatically excluded from EI?
  • increasing the amounts and categories of what we self-employeds can write off as business-related expenses, including more related to parenthood

harper seems incapable of recognizing - let alone comprehending - matters related to work/life/familiy balance that women of all sorts of employment status in canada face. maternity leave is but one modest piece of a far more nuanced, complex puzzle than harper could ever handle.


may will get to play - so what?

careful boys - it’s been awhile, but a woman is coming to debate you. a smart and sassy one, at that.

elizabeth may being allowed into the debate is a communicator’s dream. but it may be a sort of hell for the comms strategists in the various party war rooms. no sooner were they in damage control mode for having shunned her in the first place, now they’re brainstorming about how to use her inclusion to their party’s advantage.

even before her foray into electoral politics, may had a reputation for being scrappy. now that her lobby for an official podium has surged both her campaign AND her confidence, she’s sure to arrive at the debates in full form. if she’s smart, though, may will play the thoughtful and intelligent leader to the others’ boy-club-as-usual brand of banter.

may could transform the debate into something palatable, giving the usual testosterone fest a real shake up. her presence - never mind performance - could add value to a pro forma exercise that typically turns more people off than on to the leaders and their prized electoral process. folks might actually watch this one.

may has a lot riding on this appearance. in addition to cramming as much platform and persuasion as she can into her allotted time, may will have to give layton a run for his money in terms of presenting an ‘alternative’ political choice, especially on those finer policy points that have average voters wondering how to tell the ndp and greens apart. and while all the leaders have big plans for pointed attacks on harper, they will now have the added noise of may to break through - noise she’ll direct at harper sharply and effectively, i suspect.

with the sarah palin factor in full effect down below, may will be watched with even keener eyes. at the risk of coming across as another ‘novelty’, she has to up the ante on substance in a way palin thus far has not. why? i’d like to believe that unlike our sheep-y neighbours to the south, we canadians are a scrutinizing bunch who prefer substance over style and purpose over pomp.

may is unlikely to break any important ground with her interventions on the economy, social policy, or even peace. her mettle will obviously be most tested on the environment. most canadians tend to believe that no federal party really gives a shit about planet earth. with this access to the mainstage, may has a golden opportunity to generate real, credible urgency about climate change and the environment. at the debates, she will no doubt save her best assault on the prime minister for the conservatives’ appalling record on the environment.

i’ll be tuning in with high hopes, organic popcorn in hand.


life by lists

lessons (or confirmations) from my stint at CUPE

i pretty much suck in offices, LEEDS-standards sexy or otherwise.

i’m more capable, professionally, than i even thought i was, but…

my above-average ability to effectively navigate (endure?) bureaucratic systems may well be over.

even four shrill alarms and contractual obligations can’t guarantee me out of bed before 10.

what for most people are the ‘witching’ hours are my most creative.

the strange pride that comes from good ghost-writing still got nothing on a byline, however unnoticed.

talented people cannot thrive unless or until they are trusted to.

my gut really should get more air time.

i have become quite the misanthropic loner.

reasons to cling to the freelancing dream as long as i can

see above.

things i want to accomplish before the end of 2008

play the guitar without looking down at it.

polish off a new batch of vocal demos.

spend at least every other saturday night outside this house and/or being social.

take at least one week of bona fide, unplugged vacation… possibly in cuba.

spend time campaigning somewhere in the US during the presidential election.

feel better than this.

take to their conclusion at least two dangling personal writing projects.

secure a regular column/commentary on a web zine.

replace this with a new, lighter, less assholic laptop.

get a new tattoo.

what concerns me most about the post-presumptive-nominee-becoming obama (aka: see! 'supporter' doesn’t mean 'zealot', haters)

his recent disclosure of the possibility of slowing a previously-promised 16-month withdrawal from iraq.

the disturbing comfort with which he pandered to pro-israeli influencers the day after he clinched the nomination.

his repeated dodging (hiding?) of a clear stance on the historic DC handgun ban case.

his abandonment of the very public financing he has so strongly advocated.

his support for letting religious charities that receive federal funding consider religion in employment decisions.

the way he insists on categorizing being called a muslim a 'smear'.


Apologize This

guest rant by arlo yuzicapi-fayant:


Well here I am recovering 36 hours after receiving the Apology.

Apparently, I appear to be one of few who felt quite unsatisfied with the long awaited and quite eloquent script from Prime Minister Stephen Harper regarding Indian Residential Schools in Canada. It was like one of those moments where one truly needs, and is ready, to sneeze and then is suddenly circumvented.

I guess it is because in any other country, these past actions would be considered genocidal, outright war crimes or just plain mean.

Don’t get me wrong. I do not doubt the sincerity in every word issued in the Apology. It brought tears to my eyes along with most everyone who witnessed this epic event at the House of Commons or on big screens throughout Canada. Or for others who faithfully reviewed and re-winded for hours on CPAC and CBC just to make sure one heard it accurately.

The pomp and pageantry just made me want to weep with pride. Especially the old Inuit doing his first drum dance ever, live on national TV with a humidex of 38 degrees to boot. And the beautiful Metis violinist who defied the code by playing something other than the Red River Jig.

The interviews with the survivors were especially poignant. I would know, I come from 4 generations of them.

What makes me crazy is they only said sorry. I should feel elated like my many relations who travelled here to our nation’s capital to hear the mea culpa in person. We have been demanding some kind of a formal apology since the 80’s and yesterday we got what we wanted. A big fat one.

I am sorry myself for expecting more. They could have said “Like okay you win, we did you wrong, messed up about 13 generations of your people, committed unethical acts of parliament and here is what we’re going to do about it to make it all better.” But no, it was more like:

We NOW recognize that it was wrong to separate children from rich and vibrant cultures and traditions that it created a void in many lives and communities, and we apologize for having done this.

We NOW recognize that, in separating children from their families, we undermined the ability of many to adequately parent their own children and sowed the seeds for generations to follow, and we apologize for having done this.

We NOW recognize that, far too often, these institutions gave rise to abuse or neglect and were inadequately controlled, and we apologize for failing to protect you.”

Thank goodness Indians started ranting in the early 20th century despite Indian Act legislation preventing us from doing so. Creator only knows how long it would have taken them to say “Sorry we NOW recognize…” if we had waited much longer. Like duh, till hell froze over.

Three things prompted me to write this diatribe:

On Tuesday June 10, my 16 year old daughter and I attended a fundraiser in Ottawa for the Kelly Morriseau Education Fund established by Paul Dewar, MP. NDP in cooperation with the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC). Mahalia had recently completed a history report on Indian Residential Schools and I wanted her to see more of the outcomes.

Kelly was a young Aboriginal woman brutally raped and left dying in Gatineau Park, Quebec in December 2006. Her killer has never been found. She leaves us with young children and much heartache. She joins many Aboriginal sisters whose deaths are no longer overlooked or forgotten due to the tireless work of NWAC and supporters.

The film “Mohawk Girls” by award-winning director Tracey Deer was screened followed by an up close and personal chat with Tracey and NWAC president Beverly Jacobs. The documentary looks at the lives of three Mohawk teens that grew up on the Kahnawake Mohawk reserve near Montreal. The National Film Board documentary won 'Best Documentary' prize at ImagineNative, Canada's most important Aboriginal film festival.

After a heart-felt speech by Ms. Jacobs, enjoyable commentary by Ms. Deer, my companion Sylvia Smith (teacher) was asked to share a few words for Project of Heart, an interactive hands-on approach to educating students, church groups and active citizens about the travesty and legacy of Canadian Indian residential schools. For each child who died or went missing in Residential Schools, the participants in the Project of Heart paint a tiny tile to commemorate that child’s spirit and if possible, a name. It is expected the tiles will number in excess of 50,000 when assembled.

Sylvia told the audience how most of the people (students, average citizens etc) she works with in Project of Heart share similar questions – WHEN did this happen? WHAT are we apologizing for? WHY don’t we know this? This struck home for me. We know about the holocaust, when JFK was assassinated, Japanese interment camps and the crucifixion of Jesus Christ but have barely a clue as to why our first peoples are the way we are… The most an average school child knows is that we invented wigwams and popcorn.

The second event that motivated me to say something was the fact I and most of my group could not attend most of the June 11th Apology festivities and hoopla in down town Ottawa. We were in our last stages of trying to heal from residential school, either as a student or as a child of a survivor, or other traumas due to our lot in life as Aboriginal women. Each week, we tell our own stories and we make every effort to attend each session to support each other, even if it means foregoing the excellent catering at the Westin Hotel and opportunities for 10 second sound bites about our residential school impact.

These circles are where the real healing and forgiveness has to occur. Not in the House of Commons with scripted speeches nor with huge individual cash settlements that are likely to kill the remaining survivors who haven’t yet died of old-age and a hard life.

So last night I watched every Apology broadcast after my return from healing. I was envious of who was all there because in my past life I knew them or had helped them in some way. I wanted to be there up front and center with a designer dress (equivalent to one month’s welfare) or even a head dress. I wanted to shed a tear on national TV and be broadcast around the world.

I wanted my great-grandparents, my grandparents, my aunts and uncles, my parents to be there, all giving poignant statements about their abuse and survival. I wanted my children and grandchildren there to report what a horrible mother and matriarch I was because I didn’t know how to give a real hug if I was paid a hundred dollars for each attempt, because back in the day hugs were a bad thing.

But alas, the old ones are all dead, except the birthmother, who is just simply damaged beyond repair. Most of my young ones don’t give a shit what has happened for 150 years unless it makes a nice tattoo. I went to bed quite grumpy.

Third motivator is this: Here in Ottawa we have a phone in show on CBC from 1:00 – 2:00 pm covering topics such as the Apology, gardening pests, Alanis Morrisette, recycling, etc. The question was: what is your reaction to Stephen Harper’s apology? I have to give them kudos for their coverage on residential schools though, so much I am totally saturated and just want to listen to BOB-FM and songs from the 80’s for awhile…

They announce the call-in number once every hour or you may have to e-mail for it 2 days in advance. I ended up phoning CBC’s corporate headquarters and went through the whole press #1 for this and press #9 for that and finally got through on a local line. I was asked my name, phone number and what my comment would be.

I said I was pretty disappointed with the Apology, where was the rest? What about the offspring of the survivors, where was our sorry? She said I am putting your through right now, and she did – me - immediately live on air.

At this point I turned into a blithering slightly ranting Cree woman on a Thursday afternoon with no purpose in life other than to commend Dion, Duceppe, and Layton for stating what really should have been said. The guest speaker immediately informed me for about all the virtues of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and talked about this for awhile.

Eventually, I was able to interject how it was supposed to be the listeners’ time to state their reactions I mentioned I was the first generation not to have to attend residential school and I was still pretty damaged.

I did share that when my boys were fighting (I have four) they were put on the couch and couldn’t get off until they were sorry. Not to SAY they were sorry, but to BE sorry. Then I was pre-empted by a beautiful sounding young woman who made a documentary about residential school survivors, especially her granny. DVD available at Chapters.

I was sad because everyone else that called in was so encouraged by the Apology and had heart-felt tales of their abuse and fond wishes for this move to heal our peoples. I did not see one comment on any channels of people who said “this is BS!” We had this mapped out years ago for Kelowna and how many tax-dollars and lives would this have saved in Canada if not for a certain party’s “intervention”?

In my opinion, we should not be kicking our heels up in glee because we finally got a “We’re Sorry”. We likely have to vote PC for the next 7 generations out of mere gratitude for this momentous apology and awesome finger food. Nope, I’m going to hang out and wait for the “Please Forgive Us”.

Arlo Yuzicapi Fayant, retired activist, Ottawa


The Pound, obama style

HONEST TO CRAP i have been going on and on about this all freaking day - i can't believe someone managed to get such a sublime shot of it: seconds before obama took the podium last night to make one of the best speeches i have maybe ever heard, he and his purple-sleeveless-dress-wearing (what politico woman on earth would ever be caught dead in an armsless garment before this broad I ASK YOU) partner michelle gave each other The Pound. when it happened, i gasped, squealed, then busted into a (slightly worrisome) wave of cry-laughter. i really couldn't believe my eyes. i became a delirious schoolgirl. before obama even began speaking, my brain did a nanosecondic scan of the thousands of political speeches i have seen on tv or in person or on film or even in my wildest dreams... and none of them featured The Pound. seeing barack and michelle acknowledge one another that way took my breath away, literally. anyone unfamiliar with the gesture will probably miss the significance of it's appearance at a globally-telecasted US presidential nominee's speech. but i cannot overstate what it means, this first-ever Pound between a political couple at anytime, anywhere, EVER. and that, internet, is why i dig it all. that is why i'm aboard this here train. sure, there's all that heady 'Change We Can Believe In' stuff - mostly to do with policy and washingtonism and politics as we know it, which i am for sure behind - but last night's POUND is the kind of change people like me have thirsted for. holy shit, is it ever a new day! i can't wait til those people get all up in that white house. i'm so giddy.


means to an end

the workload is rather heavy of late. silly, really. but i see it as a means to an end, an end i like to call Two Months Working On The US Presidential Election Campaign.

the pace and to-do lists and sheer volume of thoughts in my head has resulted in me being, well, a bit loopy. even claude - when i dropped by earlier this evening to record some stuff to accommodate his production deadline - said i seemed 'a little nuts'. fair. and when i inadvertently busted into the chorus of 'turn the beat around' as i was leaving, he said my eyes sorta glazed over when i got to 'percussion'. that's nice.

i would describe the feeling as the auto-piloty delirium of an election campaign, only without the election or the campaign. unlike those bouts of crazy, though, i'm at least getting (mostly) paid during this one.

i'd say i'm not working so hard as so much. thank christ i generally enjoy whatever task is in front of me at a given minute. it just seems like an insurmountable pile. it's my own doing, so i'm not complaining. just blathering. see, in addition to the full-time media relations contract i'm doing with CUPE (more on that later), i'm trying to wind down a couple of other contracts, write my wordsmithy pants off (more on that later, too), and tend to domestic administrivia that lately includes the seventy thousand things one has to do when one's purse gets stolen. super fun. i'm also fielding (and in some cases, beginning, in others, trying to put off) new contracts, too. little but oh so interesting ones that i'll be tickled to describe at another time.

did i mention i got a standing freaking ovation from the 100-or-so adorable student leaders to whom i gave a two hour anti-oppression workshop? that was a few weeks ago out in the country at the annual SFUO retreat for all the students elected to executive positions within their respective faculties. and it was awesome. but the problem with being so (quite unnecessarily) warmly and audibly embraced for one's anti-oppression training is that the masses just want more. i have so far received calls from four separate faculties inviting me to facilitate smaller follow-up sessions with their execs. of course i enthusiastically accepted. For Good Reason. but more work it sure is, to be done when? who knows. but who am i to turn down an opportunity to play even a bit role in the anti-oppressionizing of potential freedom fighters? and so i shall impart the wisdom of my long, embittered years on those leaders of tomorrow, and they will love it.

lots of work, sure, but some play, too. last weekend, i was damn near knocked into a bliss coma when i attended a house concert performance by coco love alcorn, whose mind-blowing vocal stylings simultaneously decimated me about my road not traveled and intoxicated me to want to sing as much as i can until i die. and a few nights ago i got to play b&b host to songstress amy campbell and her lovely partner alice after partaking of her mesmerizing set at rasputin's. there's been a bit of socializing here and there and a new orleans cooking class and failed attempts to visit a certain newborn. So Much Going On.

i just ate a quarter watermelon.


rabbling about hillary, again

god i'm slow, i know. i've got a dog's breakfast in the works that includes such hits as the deadline conga line and cat burglar blues. but for now, politics. again.

a reworked version of an earlier post was
published on rabble last week - not as commentary, like other times, but as news. what the? since when does my unyielding obsession with the democratic presidential nomination qualify as news? um, thanks. i'm simultaneously tickled and daunted about having been asked to 'cover' the us elections for rabble this year. don't tell anyone, but we're even trying to figure out how to finance and get credentialed for the republican and democratic national conventions where i'd probably get thrown out of all kinds of press rooms for chair-wetting or obnoxious outbursts or some such inappropriateness. i'll take my chances.

anyways, my dad says i'm too hard on hillary. i think other perhaps less forward people in my life would agree with him. screw all of you. why can't i stop questioning hillary? why can't any of us?

but for the record, and for the love of all things rational: not supporting hillary is not an attack on feminism. the generational chasm on this point is palpable. and worrisome. to all the haters who would insist that anyone with a pair of ovaries and progressive dna should support hillary or be sent to exile island: i am a so-called ‘third wave’ feminist. i find it difficult to identify with clinton or her candidacy as a symbolic challenge of the proverbial glass ceiling. i, like thousands of other women, have thoughtfully reviewed clinton’s credentials and chosen to back obama. i do not see her as a sister, ally, mentor, or representative, but as an old-school politician. and all the women's movements in the world have brought me to this precious place called choice. as a proven progressive working for serious change, i get to decide who i want leading the charge to those lofty goals. as a radical feminist, there is plenty i'm willing to challenge in the name of putting women - or a woman - first. but in this case, it isn't even that radical a notion to support a black man over a woman. because she's THIS woman.

i’m with 32-year-old liberal writer michelle goldberg, who suggested that older feminists "seem to identify with clinton so profoundly that they interpret rejection of her as a personal rebuke." holy fuckballs, is that ever true. she claims to be sticking it out in this race more because of all the calls for her to leave it. but of course its as much about all those women who have pinned their EVERYTHING on her. clinton’s is a campaign of and about perseverance, one that regards surrender as worse than defeat, that sees the fight as for a cause as much as for a candidate. now usually that's the kind of gutsy stick-it-to-em position i can get behind. just not this time.


dear superdelegates

everybody is talking about it this week, especially after the anti-climactic results of tuesday’s indiana and north carolina primaries: hillary should bow out.

you, the superdelegates, have the clout to make it so. a few of you had the good sense to wake up to the light on wednesday morning and declare support for obama. some of you even had the gumption to switch your support from clinton to obama - reborn, brave, strategic? whatever, we'll take it.

i can’t begin to speculate about the psychology of a superdelegate, never mind the fairness of a system that affords you such power, but power it certainly is. given how critical the situation is, i say wield it. what are you waiting for? don’t you want to take over the white house more than make some sort of unclear, ill-timed point?

while it smacks of anti-woman sentiment akin to the anti-Black undercurrents that have me enraged, some of the harsh commentary this week couldn’t be more on point if the head was this continent and the hammer was falling from space. in march 6th's new york daily times, columnist
mike lupica blasts clinton for a vanity campaign run amuck. monday, his colleague thomas defrank submitted that clinton’s resistance to forfeiting comes from a crass desire to capitalize on the fears of racist voters. you can’t go two clicks of the mouse through wired news without landing on more of the same, disturbing suggestion.

with the voting math soundly against her and the temperature rising among voters who are ever antsier to turn the campaign against presumptive republican candidate john mccain instead of increasing the damaging democratic party divides, one has to wonder what exactly hillary is fighting for.

an outright win? empirically impossible now. and her contention that the equation be amended to include the illegal florida and michigan results simply won’t fly: how could the democratic national committee alter formulas at this 11th hour, especially in a way that would penalize obama for actually abiding by party rules?

a strong showing? she’s already got one. she began as the one to beat, got up each time the going got tough, and has done everything possible to stay til the end – adjusting everything from personnel to strategy to tone. it is impossible to deem her campaign anything but impressive.

her dignity? politics should ALWAYS be about dignity – so let’s leave the needless bloodying to the UFC ring, shall we? the longer hillary stays in this race, the more imperiled her dignity is. everyone loves a fighter, but human nature requires us to cringe when that fighter stays past the moment when a win is viable, or even safe. to step aside is the best thing hillary can do for her dignity at this point, while she has some political capital and future left. before we pity or resent her to the point of no return.

for the sake of democracy? c’mon. it is one thing to wish mightily for a democracy that celebrates process, access, and a level playing field. it is quite another to cling so tightly to such a notion in the face of a reality that dictates entirely otherwise. we all now how skewed the US electoral system is towards the privileged, the dominant culture, the elite. hillary’s ongoing candidacy does not a crusade for electoral reform make. the longer we consider this battle a testament to some romantic notion of democracy, the more we risk gift-wrapping a victory for the republicans at a moment in moment history when the fewest people want it and the planet simply cannot afford it.

if democrats were really enamored by or committed to true democracy, elevating the voices and struggles of the proletariat, or designing a process that allowed real access to ordinary aspirers, the US political field would be home to more than just two overbearing parties. there's be proportional representation and quotas for underrepresented demographics. we’d be holding a kucinich/rdwards ticket by now, OR BETTER. we’d be celebrating, not vilifying, ralph nader’s candidacy. we’d be shaming hillary’s (or anyone's) personal campaign injection of 11 million instead of excusing it. how easily we stomach our own hypocrisy.

this is all strange coming from me, i’ll admit. i fancy myself more of a ‘fuck the status quo’ resister than it would seem now. but my plea to you, the superdelegates, is spurred more by a panicked desire to see a serious, post-bush shift in washington than some kind of callousing towards the game of politics. if life is a series of battles, i say seeing this democratic nomination process through to it’s formal (and let’s face it, embittered) end is not worth it. things are getting uglier by the day: the slung mud is reeking more and more of racism, sexism, classism, elitism, of Nasty ... all of which will inevitably harden into unwieldy, crusty divides within the politicized Left. not only can we not afford that, we really shouldn't be ABOUT that.

and don't even get me started on those colours or states or income levels some claim obama can't win in the general. i've combed the voter breakdowns and polling data, too. it ain't as clear as all that and too much of a straw man argument for me. plus it only leads us back to that horrible and inappropriate dichotemy, because isn't the reverse that hillary can't deliver black voters in the general? electoral politics is surely a complex ball of wax, but sometimes reality can be this simple: neither can win everyone, but the sooner everyone gets behind someone, the better chance we have of rallying most.

besides, any way you slice it, democracy has already spoken. the numbers tell the story of a smart and trialed-by-fire candidate named obama. what more could we possibly expect of him before green-lighting him into a general campaign? he’s weathered the ‘upstart’ and 'poet-not-politician' labels. he’s weathered realtor-gate and Muslim-gate and every other feigned hurdle constructed for his passage. the most ominous obstacle he’s weathered, perhaps surprisingly? a certain passionate and provocative preacher named reverend wright – dubious ally turned dubiously media-hungry.

you play the hand you’re dealt, it is said. and where the US electoral system is concerned, it is an ingrained and unfair hand, indeed. but unless we’re prepared to suspend all electoral activities in the world’s so-called superpower – and i mean an outright moratorium on politics as usual – in favour of getting messy with some genuine electoral reform, then jagged pills for us all. hillary’s may be the most bitter, but fold her hand she must – if not for the sake of her party, then for us - the progressive global community at large that so eagerly desires the republican toppling to begin. STAT.