Celtic Diva's Blue Oasis: 10/15/06 - 10/22/06

Monday, October 16, 2006

22 days until Election 2006: What can I do to help bring about change?

I was listening this morning to the local talk radio show "KUDO In the Morning" on Alaska's only Progressive Talk Radio station, KUDO 1080 and they had well-known advocate for non-violence Kathy Kelly on the program. Hearing her perspective from her trips to Iraq made me wish that we could hear more voices like hers in a national forum.

But that would mean the mainstream media would have to go along...*sigh*...

During the interview, co-host Jennifer Summers expressed a frustration common to many Progressives - especially those of us wayyyyy up here in Conservative Alaska. Since most of us can't quit our jobs and fly overseas to provide hands-on help, how can we truly effect change in the world?

Kathy's answer was simple - write letters, make phone calls...help change the make-up of the Congress in the upcoming election.

As it happens, John at Americablog has given us a way to do just that on a National level by aiding MoveOn.org:

MoveOn's campaign to win Congress

The November election is our best opportunity in years to change the direction of our country. We can end Republican control in Washington if we get progressives in key districts to come out and vote.

That's why we've launched Call for Change, one of the largest volunteer phonebanking efforts in American history. MoveOn members will make more than 5 million phone calls to voters in 30 highly competitive House districts plus key Senate races.

This works! We tested this program in a special election in April, and our calls boosted voter turnout more than any volunteer phonebank ever studied. MoveOn members also made 77,000 calls to put Ned Lamont over the top in the recent Conecticut Senate primary.

Now, if we all pitch in, we're going to win back Congress.

The calls are to fellow-Progressives who have spotty voting records, so MoveOn wants to spur them out to the polls in the "battleground" states.

I signed up and started doing it today.

The time commitment is minimal - 1 hour a week until 4 days before the election. Then, it's one hour a day up and 2 hours on Election Day.

Also, MoveOn has made the whole process incredibly easy - just sit at your computer with your phone (or your headset if you are using a web-based calling program like Skype), read from the script and push the buttons. The rest is automatic.

I've already started doing this and it's great fun, especially since most of the people you are calling are fellow-Progressives!

There are also places offering voter-education materials to help clarify the issues and Progressive stances. One of my favorites is Sojourners, an excellent place for Progressives of Faith to find like-minded souls. Jim Wallis, author of "God's Politics," and other members of his organization put together voter's guides and other election resources contradicting the Neo-Con version of Christianity. These materials provide excellent material for Church Leaders who disagree with the right-wing extremists but may be unsure of a good way to present those views.

I highly recommend the book, by the way.

I hope this provides some information that folks will use to help change our political landscape.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

God save me from 9-year-old slumber parties...

Ya know, I really think that sometimes "parental awareness" is overrated.

Sure, I want to help my daughter avoid the pitfalls of hooking up with a crowd of future homicidal crack whores.

On the other hand, just getting to know the very "typical" school girls my daughters calls "friends" can be enough to keep me awake all hours of the night...and not just during the slumber party.

Tonight, I found myself wondering what kind of parenting these kids were getting. I wondered what kind of...god help me I'm going to use that word..."values" they were being raised with. At risk of being cliche - if I ever demonstrated the kind of selfishness, arrogance, cheekiness or disrespect in someone else's home, I can't imagine the kind of beating that would have awaited me at my house.

My husband commented when I discussed it with him, "These girls weren't that bad."

But that's my point - these girls are far from what today is considered "bad." As a matter of fact, they are actually above-average 9-year-old 3rd graders who do well in school and strive for some level of society-based success. (All of her friends are on student council or are trying out for...gulp...cheerleading.)

...and I don't like most of them very much.

I know that I'm worried that my daughter is still upset and disappointed that she was not also elected to student council - that she doesn't feel like she's "as good" as some of these other girls who are already giggling about boys and turning up their noses at what they perceive to be "unfashionable."

I've raised my daughter to be a compassionate, empathetic steward of the Earth...OK, so that's quite a bit to expect of a 9-year-old. She is, however, respectful, helpful and well-behaved to the extreme in school and in other people's homes. So, why is she attracted to shallow spoiled-rotten brats? Am I being too hard on them because it's just a pre-adolescent girl thing? Is it because I always hung out with the brainy geeks and musicians instead of the "prep" or "jock" crowds so I have no stomach for this aspect of school life? Is it because I went to Catholic school for 16-years and wasn't exposed to as many of the "pressures" as the kids are in public school?

The real question...can I survive being the mother of a girl in the "popular" crowd?