Yes We Did

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008 12:14 am
flwyd: (transparent ribbon for government accoun)
I did a very insignificant amount today to help the election of the most impressive political figure of my generation. It seems that almost everyone in Lakewood voted early this year, but the Obama campaign–through an incredible volunteer organization–left nothing to chance and pushed to the end. President-elect Obama is able to inspire a wide range of people to make significant personal donations -- of money, of vacation time, of weekend time, of spare time, of sleep, and of sanity to play a small role in doing what they feel is right for America. If he can spread this energy beyond his campaign into society as a whole, he may leave an immensely important mark on the character of a nation for generations to come.

I'm sure I'll disagree with many positions he takes, but I know that he will take those positions after careful consideration with input from people who know what they're talking about. And that's really the core of good leadership.

I was also heartened by John McCain's concession speech tonight. It was almost as if he was eager to flee the fear mongering and red baiting he's engendered over the last two months. Perhaps he wanted to do away with the last eight years and get back to the John McCain who ran for president in 2000: a true bipartisan concerned with honorable action for the good of the country. I hope he helps establish broad support for fundamental changes President Obama wants to bring through.

When Bush leaves Washington, I hope he takes with him not only cowboy diplomacy and faith-based science but also the practice of railroading policy through congress, legislating from the Oval Office (signing statements), and executive secrecy. If Obama is to excite me as much in four years as he does right now, he'll need to graciously divest the Presidency of the powers claimed by his predecessor. He'll need to bring about important reforms and new programs not just with the help of 300 of his Democratic pals but by convincing the American people that the plans are strong so that they can convince their elected representatives to get on board. This is how a great orator can become a great governor.

To everyone who became engaged in politics this year for the first time ever (or the first time in a long time), stay involved. Politics is one part exciting, three parts boring. But by and large, it's the boring stuff that has an impact in our lives. Several local races in my area were decided by a margin smaller than the number of people who didn't vote for that section of the ballot.

Democracy is government of the people by the people who show up.

Today, this month, and this year, Barack Obama's supporters showed up. In the few days I've spent with the campaign organizers, I can see them fight to keep the chaos in check, straining to make it to the finish line without collapsing from exhaustion. They deserve a chance to rest and a chance to celebrate. But democracy isn't just about one person on one day. It's our civic duty (some might call it a curse) to stay informed and voice our opinions. I challenge everyone to be more informed each year about the candidates and issues on the ballot. Democracy is government of the people by the people who show up and it's based on the hope that everyone will show up and know what they're talking about.

Good night, and good luck.
flwyd: (transparent ribbon for government accoun)
The beginning of October means it's time to make sure you're registered to vote at your current location. Colorado Voters can check their registration status online. It will also tell you your polling place, what districts you are in, and so forth. In Colorado, the County Clerk must receive your voter registration by 5pm next Monday in order for you to vote in this fall's election.

Even if you can't make it to your polling place on November 4th, you can still vote by mail; check your County Clerk's website for mail-in ballot information. The advantages of voting by mail include not waiting in line, being able to refer to voter guides before checking boxes, and voting at midnight while drinking a beer on your couch naked.

Colorado is considered a "swing state" in this year's presidential election which means major candidates are expending a lot of effort to convince us to vote for them this year. I've listed all of the presidential choices below. I urge you to inform yourself about the other items on the ballot as well; many of the less-publicized choices will have more of an impact on your day-to-day life. Coloradans this year will vote on an open senate seat, a seat in the house of representatives, the state board of education, University of Colorado regent, state senate, state house, district attorneys, county commissioners, RTD directors, judge retention, 14 initiatives and 4 referenda to amend the state constitution, and various issues at the county, city, and district levels. Educate yourself early so you make an informed decision about the future of your community.


Colorado has rather easy ballot-access laws, so tends to have a lot of minor-party choices. I'm surprised, for instance, that the Prohibition party is still kicking it even after Earl Dodge kicked it. And I've never seen a few of these parties before, particularly the Boston Tea Party (who are not on the ballot in Boston). Presidential candidates on the Colorado ballot:
John McCain / Sarah Palin Republican
Barack Obama / Joe Biden Democratic
Chuck Baldwin / Darrell L. Castle Constitution
Bob Barr / Wayne A. Root Libertarian
Cynthia McKinney / Rosa A. Clemente Green
Jonathan E. Allen / Jeffrey D. Stath HeartQuake '08
Gene C. Amondson / Leroy J. Pletten Prohibition
James Harris / Alyson Kennedy Socialist Workers
Charles Jay / Dan Sallis Jr. Boston Tea
Alan Keyes / Brian Rohrbough America's Independent
Gloria La Riva / Robert Moses Socialism and Liberation
Bradford Lyttle / Abraham Bassford U.S. Pacifist
Frank Edward McEnulty / David Mangan Unaffiliated
Brian Moore / Stewart A. Alexander Socialist, USA
Ralph Nader / Matt Gonzalez Unaffiliated
Thomas Robert Stevens / Alden Link Objectivist
flwyd: (blue sky red rose)
I like to believe that people in the long run are going to do more to promote
peace than our governments. Indeed, I think that people want peace so much
that one of these days governments had better get out of the way and let them
have it. -- Dwight D. Eisenhower
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