Marriage Equality, Politics

Vote Early

No on 1

We’re in the midst of a campaign to preserve our new law allowing same-sex marriage in Maine. Out-of-state money and ads remade from the Prop 8 fight in California claim to represent Maine Values, but our side is fighting back with good ads and strong volunteer efforts.

I volunteered at the Marriage Equality phone bank the other night. I say this not to garner praise; it was a pretty small contribution of time and effort, all things considered.

But here’s what I found fascinating.

We were calling identified supporters (mostly true) to ask them to vote early. This is a strategy devised to boost turnout, since many of the supporters of same-sex marriage are not people who have a history of voting regularly. Maine traditionally has good voter turnout, but this is an off-year election, so it’s clear the get-out-the-vote effort will matter a lot. Southern Maine organizers of the campaign have devised a script and a philosophy that works for younger, urban voters who, quite honestly, are the most likely to get busy on Election Day and forget to go to the polls.

My call list, however, was to small towns on the coast and in more interior sections of Maine. And I’m here to tell you that Maine Values in those small towns include going to the polls to vote. The idea of voting early seemed absurd! Absurd. If I live three doors or three blocks from the polling place, in a town with no traffic, in a town where I see all my neighbors when I go to vote, why would I want to vote absentee?

Now, the advantage to the campaign is clear once it’s explained. Every week the Secretary of State will publish a list of those who have voted, and the Marriage Equality campaign will cross-check that list with its list of identified supporters and stop calling those who have voted. It both helps with “turn out” and allows the resources to be turned in other directions, to undecided voters.

So, I got the message I preached, and this morning, I applied online for an absentee ballot.

If you live in Maine, and you are planning to vote No on 1 (yes, I know that’s counter-intuitive, but that’s the way you need to vote to support same-sex marriage here), please consider clicking here and requesting an absentee ballot. Please think about voting early.

And if you’re related to me–Snowman will be voting absentee, if he remembers to request a ballot–just do it. Thanks.

Because whenever and however you do it, voting is a Maine Value.

James, Politics, Prophets, Psalms

Show By Your Good Life

Jimmycarter460 (Thinking about Proper 20B again.)

Who is wise and understanding among you? Show by your good life that your works are done with gentleness born of wisdom. (James 3:13)

He's a former President, a Sunday School teacher and a builder of houses for people in need.

He's an old school liberal. 

He failed to win re-election, in large measure because he could not get the hostages out of Iran.

He told us, wisely, to turn down our thermostats and put on a sweater.

(My daughter believes this was brilliant and cannot understand why people derided him.)

He's a prophet. And you know how much people like prophets.

It was the LORD who made it known to me, and I knew; then you showed me their evil deeds.But I was like a gentle lamb led to the slaughter. And I did not know it was against me that they devised schemes, saying, "Let us destroy the tree with its fruit, let us cut him off from the land of the living, so that his name will no longer be remembered!" (Jeremiah 11:18-19)

This morning I turned on that show again, and in the two minutes I watched, I heard President Carter described as "malevolent" and "ignorant" by a person who also accused him of "poisoning the health care debate."

Seriously, Pat Buchanan? After a summer of rowdy demonstrations and guns being carried to public events and posters of the President depicted as a witch doctor, this gentle old man is responsible for "poisoning" the debate?

Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or take the path that sinners tread, or sit in the seat of scoffers;

but their delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law they meditate day and night.

They are like trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaves do not wither. (from Psalm 1)

We often hear that history will have the last word on Presidents. I'm fairly sure this President's leaves will not wither.

Faith, Living in This World, Politics

Over Coffee

I'll confess it. There are a lot of days I have my coffee with Morning Joe (brewed by Star$$$$$).

Some of those days I have to change the channel due to the palpable rise in my blood pressure. This was one of them. On the subject of President Carter's remarks on racism being directed at President Obama, the Morning Joe regulars seem unwilling to accept the notion that racism plays any part in objections to and demonstrations against the current administration.

I think it's very easy for comfortable white people to deny racism. I say this as a person who grew up in the virtual apartheid of otherwise genteel Jane Austen's Village. I say this as a person who realizes that she often *doesn't* realize her own internalized racism.

This morning I would probably be happy to smack the smug faces of the Morning Joe crew. They're describing the vitriolic attacks against President Bush. Why, someone once called him a monkey, too, says Maria Bartiromo. Is it possible someone needs to explain to her the difference between an insult and an epithet?

They're talking about poll numbers and saying "It can't just be racism. He used to have 70% approval and now it's only 50%." But if racism drives the debate through its ugliness, does it matter what the percentage of racists is?

They're asking, if we were so enlightened in November, how is it that we're so backwards now? It seems to me we were always both, in some measure.

They're saying President Carter shouldn't have said it, that he's making trouble for the ever-so-careful Obama administration in its insistence that race has nothing to do with these things. I like their post-racial attitude. But we live in a world that is both modern and post-modern (right, church people?), where some people continue to fight battles that other people want to insist are no longer relevant. Maybe both things are true. And among the "moderns," there is still racism. I'll admit it, even if Joe and Mika would rather I didn't.