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On politics, blogging, and being a Democrat

That’s a long title but this won’t be a long post, because I’m trying to drag my tired body to exercise before it gets really nasty out.

I don’t talk about national politics much on this blog, and it’s not because I don’t have well-formed opinions; it could be that I have too many of them. I was raised by very political parents, cut my teeth on anti-war protests and Eugene McCarthy’s candidacy, and in my early 20s was very active in Democratic party politics.

By “very active,” I mean that I spent many hours at 110th and Broadway in New York City registering voters and encouraging people to vote. I did Democratic Party politics the way some students did… well, whatever students did in the early 1980s, because I hung with the local townie politicos, not my fellow students.

I can talk my way into a high-rise apartment building like nobody’s business, which Back Then was one key method for leafletting. I spent many hours on Varick Street at the Board of Elections trying to invalidate opponents’ ballots (sorry, folks, this is how the world actually works — both sides did this). I walked the polls at elections with the district leader, who as a math whiz would pull the numbers from the backs of polling machines and have the returns figured out on legal pads well ahead of everyone else.

Oh, I almost forgot the part where I was elected in a contested primary as Democratic State Committeewoman for the 70th Assembly District (which became the 69th in some routine balkanization). I served one-and-a-half terms, resigning when I enlisted in the Air Force.

This is all a roundabout way of saying, I don’t talk much about politics but I know whereof I speak. I pick and choose my battles (and I sit politely through the natterings of people who think they know what they’re talking about — I just retreat to my Safe Space).

So, these blog posts.

I attended an Obama rally a few months back where the organizer said this wouldn’t be won by blog posts, and I agree with him. Phone calls, door-to-door, get-out-the-vote — all this is key.

But it’s also all right to use this blog not in lieu of our actions, but in support of them. I see all elections as crucial — local, state, national. But this particular election cuts to the quick.

We have had nearly eight years of devastatingly bad leadership. We’re mired in a war we never should have started, we had a president flitting cross-country on social engagements during a huge national disaster, our economy is in the toilet, and people are losing jobs and homes. We’ve lost face with our global peers, exhausting whatever street cred we had.

We need leadership, and Obama is a powerfully strong candidate for president. We’re incredibly fortunate he is running for office, and we have a chance to make this happen. Now and again, I’m going to talk about politics here, because it’s one more place to remind ourselves: yes we can. And yes we must.

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