Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

I missed Halloween.

Heavy sigh.

I have been known to get requests from neighborhood parents in regard to my costume choice. I really like Halloween.

But today I was driving all over Fremont, California checking out polling stations, deciding which ones would be better for visibility, sign holders. It was a long day and now I have to type up my notes.

I miss my kids. I miss my wife.

And for my outrage of the day? The DNC did NOT give any money to the No on 8 campaign. None. Nada. Zip.

Makes you wonder if they are more concerned with distancing themselves from us queers than justice and equality. Personally, I'm sick of it.

Back to the Main Event


Thanks, Donald!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

To Fast or Not?

James Dobson has called for all his minions to fast for 48 hours and then go get 'em, fight the battle to ban equality and fairness in California.

I guess then they'd all be set to munch down a ton of Twinkies and get away with the madness. More illegal contributions are being tracked in Florida and the Mormons snuck another million into California.

You know what? I think we're going to win. I think people see the nutty folks speaking tongues and swaying in Qualcomm stadium and think... whoa nelly, they've all lost their minds.

I hope they do.

I went to the event in Oakland and I gotta tell you, I might give up Rachel Maddow and Wanda Sykes for Barbara Lee. She did her speech and then picked up her cell phone and made a call.



We all made calls. And had some amazing BBQ. If you are ever in Oakland, go to Everett & Jones Barbecue, 126 Broadway at 2nd Street. Get the brisket with medium sauce. Okay, if you're a baby go for mild because the medium had quite a burn! But they donated the space, and the No on 8 signs in an African-American owned business made me feel great.

I'm not fasting. That's stupid. We're only asking you give up all your money. Which I guess would lead to fasting...

After, I scouted polling locations in Oakland. I have to be honest, I'm not good with directions. I can get a little... testy when lost. But I took my list and my little everlost program on the rental car and went to it.

What is it with all the churches as voting locations? I find that a tad creepy.

Driving back over the Bay Bridge, I thought about my kids. It's almost Halloween. I don't know who is carving the pumpkins because I always do. The last time I was here, the whole family came out. We went to Alcatraz, to Muir Woods, to some fabulous restaurants. I had an email from the principal of Ben's school- one of the buses had a small accident.

Don't worry.

I do worry. I'm a mother. It's my job. Ben failed a test and tried to get Walter to sign the paper, thinking he would get away with it.

As if we don't talk to each other.

Jake had an amazing costume made for him by a good friend of ours. I'll miss it.

I'm not going to fast and I'm not going to give up. There are a few more days and if I stop now- what will be the point?

Maybe I'll fedex a pizza to James Dobson. See how his resolve holds up.

It's Hard to be Good

The news out here in CA is the hacking of the No on 8 website. It seems there was a coordinated attack on the CA site and FL, No on 2, site.

Nice.

I've heard over and over again, it's so hard to be good. Why can't we deploy these scummy tactics? Why don't we hack their websites? Create outrageous lies in our ads to scare people into voting our way?

Because we see ourselves as the good guys. We can't stoop that low. I know that's right but sometimes, I get so frustrated, I just want to win.

We won't. Of course we won't. We're not willing to give up our ideals, our morals, our beliefs. Someone should remind the Log Cabin Republicans of that.

I'm going out to a women's event in Oakland today.

Senator Barbara Boxer and Congresswoman Barbara Lee will kick off “Women’s No on 8 BYOCell – Cell Phone Call to Action,” aimed at rallying Democratic women to actively work to defeat Prop 8. Senator Boxer, Congresswoman Lee, Assemblywoman Loni Hancock, and Women’s Foundation of California Chair Elmy Bermejo will hold a press conference at Everett & Jones Barbecue in Oakland as volunteers call women voters to urge them to go to the polls on November 4th and cast their ballots against Prop 8.

Come if you can. Look for me- I'll have on a Mass Equality button. I'll buy you a beer to go with that barbecue.

We'll do what we do best- call, ask, plead our case. Gather together to remember, if nothing else, that this is the right thing to do.

And the right way to do it.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Dead Heat in CA

Well, if we were behind last week? We've made up some ground. It's a dead heat. 50 50.

I wish I could do more. I wish I had Jon Stryker or Tim Gill's money and could simply write a check for a million bucks. (they have both donated generously) Or any of these fancy Hollywood folks out here.

I saw Sean Penn earlier today. I was sitting out on the patio writing and he wandered out. I almost asked him for a donation. Yup, that's how intense it feels right now.

Hey, Sean, sure you made a great movie, thanks but do you think you could spare a couple hundred thousand?

I kept writing instead. What can I say? I'm chicken.

Please excuse my repetitive post earlier. It was for the Right to Marry day. It'll be up on Huffington soon and I was hoping to squeeze some dollars from the straight left.

You know that if we lose, we'll take it to court. This isn't even close to being over. It'll only cost more. Funny, rights cost nothing to give and everything to save.

Armageddon in California

I have a question for all those religious groups are pouring money into California to try and make a constitutional amendment to limit access to legal contracts – and that is what marriage is, a legal contract first and foremost- we’re not going away. They are funding discrimination in the name of Jesus.

I am a suburban lesbian mom. I live in Massachusetts. Last I checked, the end of the world has not occurred. No plagues, no locusts, no hell fire and damnation. I am married to a woman I have spent the last 18 years of my life with. We have three kids. We pay taxes and support our community. Recognizing us with the same dignity and respect as everyone else has not changed the divorce rate amongst heterosexuals.

Nor has it lead to teaching sexuality in kindergarten.

Society has not crumbled. I know the right wing would like you to think it has but last I looked, it’s all pretty much the same.

The irony about this is how I teach my kids tolerance for the people who would dissolve my marriage. Who would throw me into conversion therapies to make me “right.” I tell them its okay for other people to have a different opinion.

It’s just not okay to take away someone else’s rights because of those opinions.

We all need to learn a little more tolerance. We all need to stop for a moment and ask ourselves, deep down- how will this truly change my life?

California is no different that Massachusetts. The world will not end. It’s not Armageddon. And when people tried to take our rights away? We fought back. We’re fighting back in California. James Dobson and his crew can pound the airwaves with hateful messages, they can liked us to pedophiles, they can say that it’ll lead to people marrying donkeys or their brothers or mothers. They can put small children’s faces on the TV with their innocent eyes and say somehow our loving, committed relationships will lead to their demise.

I don’t quite understand that but maybe that’s because I’m raising three kids and I have seen no lack of morality in them. Except maybe when they finish the orange juice and put the empty carton back in the refrigerator.

The reality is, if we lose in California? We will continue to fight. We’ll go to the courts, we’ll draft legislation, and we’ll keep fighting until we have equality. We’ll raise money, they’ll raise money. Millions wasted over something that doesn’t cost a dime.

If you are tired of the argument, tired of the ridiculous warning that the world will end, please reach into your weary wallets and give one more time. Let’s finish this so California can go on to tackle bigger issues like Education, Health Care, and the budget crisis.

It’s not Armageddon. No one is going to take away anyone’s right to preach the evils of homosexuality. No one is going to marry his or her dog. Four years we’ve had equality in Massachusetts.

Nothing has changed. My partner is my wife now. We have legal rights. People who hate me still hate me. They still get to preach every Sunday about how evil I am.

The only people who have anything to lose? Are all the families, like mine, across California and all of our straight allies who want their kids to grow up in a country that believes in equality. Fairness.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Cabbies Know Best

I was at a table of volunteers, all calling people. It’s wild here right now. Calling for volunteers, calling for Election Day visibility. There is a volunteer coordinator who is a clone of my sister in law, Tonita who is giving out instructions.

Nice but direct.

No one has made calls before but their packets are great. Cell phones provided if need be. Long lists. Text to read. Nervous questions asked about what was the right thing to fill out on the forms. Do you leave a message or just hang up?

Never leave a message, I said. It’s too easy to ignore.

At my table there were several young, gay men. An older straight woman who had been to Reno to knock on doors for Obama and felt this was the most important thing to do right now. Everyone started off slowly reading the lines, starting to roll after a while. Mostly people called are willing to be engaged at some level.

It’s easier to do this in a room full of people.

Money, however, is hard to raise. Tapped out. Broke. Can’t do more.

I understand, fully, the feeling- and the reality. Since the primaries, it’s been call after call, looking for political donations. I don’t ever remember a time when so much has been asked for.

Or so much was at stake.

I keep looking over my lists, who else can I call? Who are the straight allies I can ask? Even a couple hundred dollars makes a difference right now. (I know that feels like a lot but please understand, I’m used to asking for much more.)

I took a cab back- I’m kind of a baby about public transportation when I’m tired. First thing in the morning is fine but… I have my limits.

Okay, I’m kind of a big baby in general.

The cab driver was an old stoner from the 1960’s, with a long, gray ponytail. How do you like San Francisco, he asked.

I love it, I said. It’s a beautiful city.

He asked why I was here and I explained I came out to work on Prop 8. I did not mention which side but seeing that he picked me up in the Castro, it was an easy guess.

No on 8! He said loudly. Stupid rednecks need to just shut up.

I agreed.

Even the Republicans think it’s stupid. It’ll fail. There is no way it’ll pass.

I hope not, I said. A lot of money has come into the state to tell you all what to do.

After pulling what could only be deemed a Boston driving move, he said, There are enough right-minded people. It’ll never pass.

We then went on to discuss why Californians were so mellow.

It’s the pot, he said. We have great weed out here.

Indeed.

I found it funny that his voice was even, calm, and had that California lilt to it. And yet he drove like a maniac. I do believe, though, Cabbies often know the pulse of their city better than most. They always know where to get great food. I guess San Francisco is a no-brainer- but he seemed certain about the state.

You have a little Bostonian in you, I said as we pulled up.

He laughed. Just a little during rush hour.

The rented space for No on 8 was full when I left. Hundreds of people sitting at tables making calls. The energy was high. People are nervous.

Not my cabbie, though. I hope he’s right.

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Ready, Set... GO!

I started off this morning, nervous as hell. What would I do? I have never been part of this kind of campaign before- would I make calls? Would I stuff envelopes? Would I run to get coffee?

Honestly, I'd do whatever.

I was asked to raise 30K by this afternoon for a mailing that is going to 750 thousand people.

Alrighty... I got on the phone. Email. I even texted someone for a donation. Hey, I'm not proud.

And as one friend said, listen, my portfolio is pretty much going to be the same on Wednesday November 5th. But if we lose in California... I'll never forgive myself.

Noonprop8.com. I don't care if you have 10 bucks to give, or if you've given already. Please... again. Tell them I sent you.

I am also going to help get out the women to several events across the state.

Yup. Money and women. That's what I'm doing. So far.

It's nice to see a contingency of people from Massachusetts out here. I am proud to be on the board of Mass Equality because we remember everyone came to help us. Now we're here to help them.

It's electric to be in the room and not only because there are so many cute women. California is the largest state. If we win here, it's over. Our opponents know this and are getting more and more desperate.

The No on 8 campaign is organized and cruising at a fast pace. Massive volunteers will show up tonight to make calls. Media opportunities are being taken advantage of at every moment.

It's about fairness. Equality.

I'm going back to the phones. I have some more dollars to shake out. Anything, everything counts at this point. It's not about raising millions more, it's about hitting daily targets to get it done.

At four? I get to tackle the women. Um... I mean the women's events.

As an aside? The nerves are gone. No time to waste.

Monday, October 27, 2008

San Francisco, Here I Am

I'll go to work tomorrow. I'm a bit of a baby when it comes to travel and time changes so I didn't feel I could hit the ground running.

And I'm starting to learn I don't have to bleed to be successful or a good person.

I was starved when I got here. I went to the lobby bar and ordered some food. The waitress said, Do you prefer Miss or Mr. Whitman?

It was a clear understanding of gender identity in a respectful tone. I said Miss is fine.

Thank you.

I can't even count the times I've been called Sir in my life. Daily? For once I felt respected.

Now I'm trying to stay up and pretend my body is not aching to go to sleep. But I will say this- I love San Francisco.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Temporary Change of Address

I am leaving for San Francisco tomorrow morning. I will be working on the No on Prop. 8 campaign. I have no idea what I'll be doing until I get there.

I'm excited, nervous, but I am ready to do something, anything, to make a difference. I cannot sit by another day and watch. I have to be active. While the Obama campaign is enormously important right now, I have to go work for my cause, my people.

Not many straight people are willing to take to the phones, streets, for LGBT causes but are willing to work for Obama.

We need to change that but for now, I'll go where I feel I can make the most impact.

My wife said GO. I'm not sure if it's because she cannot stand my nudgy/anxious behavior or because she knows I need to do this. Probably both.

Jeanine will be covering the home front for 8 days- that's a long long time for her. LONG. I'll be blogging from San Francisco, a temporary change of address but back for election day here.

If the world goes to hell, I want to be here with my family. I need to be here with my family.

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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Have You Ever Been Mortified?

And had to keep the good face going?

I was mortified tonight. I shouldn't even write about this but... I can't help myself. It's too funny.

Tonight I was invited to an HRC event. Big fundraiser in Boston. I've been to a bunch of events- lousy food, lots of people, no big deal. Not tonight. I had a problem.

Jeanine and I met with some folks before the event in the bar and had a cocktail. The ice melting like mad, but I don't notice, I'm engrossed in conversation. I usually hold my glass... well... in my lap.

I stand up after the hour and oh my god. I had an enormous wet spot - where? My crotch. Great. I'm so embarrassed I can't see straight. I go to the ladies room- I'll take the pants off and blow dry them with the hand dryers.

ONLY THERE ARE NO HAND DRIERS. Just useless paper towels.

I'm mortified. I can't dry the enormous wet stain my cocktail glass has created. I look like I wet my pants. Or my water broke.

Ooops, I'm pregnant. must have sat on a bad toilet seat. my mother warned me... me and Sarah Palin. Or one of the Palin's.

I pace. I panic. I finally go out to Jeanine- she's alone- oh my god. I have to leave.

It's fine, she says.

IT'S NOT FINE I HAVE A HUGE WET SPOT.

No, really, it's fine.

We go upstairs.

I have an enormous wet spot and then I see Walter and Allan.

I didn't know it was black tie event. Allan, of course, is in a suit. Walter? black jeans and a shirt.

Fuck.

Fuck fuck fuck. I set them up. I didn't know but I should have.

Fuck.

I'm sitting there with my jacket buttoned- did I mention I've had my period for about three thousand weeks in a row and hot flashes and the idea of a jacket is beyond me let alone buttoned.

But there I am with a GIANT WET SPOT- now drying- and I have to have my jacket buttoned. Hot flashes. Get me a cocktail, sweet jesus. Did I mention this is for HRC?

Finally, Walter, Jeanine, Allan and I circle. We all ridicule Jeanine's decision to bid on the most god awful ugly lamps. Fair play- Jeanine then points out my need for Depends. We ponder an instant auction item of Depends.

My pants are nearly dry by now. I still want to die.

I hate these events. But if I seemed exceptionally off? MY FUCKING PANTS WERE WET. I should have listened when my mother tried to teach me how to sit like a lady.

And I ended up with the ugliest lamps in the history of man. Oh, don't worry. When we get them? I'll upload some pictures.

Prop 8 Gets Ugly

Ken Mettler, a Kern High School District trustee and Kern’s “Yes on Proposition 8” campaign leader, kicked and punched a protester Friday night during a dispute over stolen signs.

http://www.bakersfield.com/hourly_news/story/589951.html

Click on the link to see the altercation.

I suddenly feel like it's time to head to California for the last few days of this fight. it's time to bring in everyone we can, and to take to the streets. It's no longer about money- it's about bodies being there.

I cannot believe a high school trustee would kick someone but there it is on tape.

Friday, October 24, 2008

More No on 8

Perfect, AJ...

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Save The Children

I’ve had enough.

I’m tired of being treated like some freak that needs to be carefully sidestepped at every election as if supporting my marriage is touching the third rail. I’m tired of the rhetoric that “gay marriage” will be taught in classrooms across the land and small children will be exposed to sexuality in inappropriate ways if equality is given to all.

The children, oh, please, save the children.

The newest ploy in California to take away equal rights is to use Massachusetts, my home state, as an example of all that will go wrong. Children will be “forced” to learn about gay families.

They may even be exposed to a book, “King and King,” that on one page? Shows two men kissing.

Oh, the horror. I have to admit, any time my kids’ see my wife and I give each other a peck, they do shriek in disgust. The same way all kids do when they see their parents express affection.

What makes me the angriest is not the stones they are throwing at me- bring it on- but the effect it has on my kids. My kids aren’t gay. They have gay parents. Should their teacher have to send out a permission form every time one of my kids mentions his parents? If they draw a picture of their family, does it require parental notification?

Is that what we want in our schools? A lock down on anything different?

The people so concerned with the “children” are clearly not concerned with mine at all. While it’s fine for my son’s fifth grade teacher to come in and share pictures and stories about her heterosexual marriage ceremony, it’s suddenly all about sexual behavior when a lesbian or gay man does it.

I will admit, all my kids did, in fact, talk about our wedding at school. It was historic, it was about social change and you know what they discussed? The chocolate fountain at the reception. The giant bouquets of hostess Twinkies, ho ho’s and cupcakes.

They are kids. They have lives they want to share with their friends. Why should they be singled out for different treatment because of who their parents are? Can you even imagine anyone recommending doing this to kids of interracial marriages?

Proposition 8 supporters are running ads with little children asking their heterosexual parents about men with men, and women with women. Funny thing is, with all those heterosexual teachers at school, some parading around with pregnant bellies, and I have never once had my kids ask about heterosexual sex practices.

Nor do they come home and ask, Mommy? Can a man and woman get married? And it’s not solely because kids are awash in 24/7 media images of men and women together, often sexually, but because they don’t really care.

They care about their worlds. Soccer games. Playdates. Chocolate fountains.

And so what if kids do come home and ask about gay families? If you’re really such a bigot, just spew out all the hateful things you have to say about homosexuality. See it as a teachable moment.

Son, if you grow up to be gay, we’ll disown you, the church will shun you and in fact, you’ll burn in hell. Now go do your homework.

I’m tired of being treated like some leper that will infect children with horrible values simply by being acknowledged. I’ve got news for those folks- I’m a parent, first and foremost. I’m also a wife, a writer, a neighbor, a friend, a colleague, and a pretty damn good cook. I coach my son’s soccer team, I fold laundry and I make my kids brush their teeth. I volunteer at the school on occasion even though on top of it all, I’m a big ol’ lesbian.

The kids don’t care. They just want someone to help tie their shoes, or pick out a library book.

Save the children? Don’t believe it for a second. They only want to save a hateful way of seeing the world through very narrow eyes.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Waiting

Anyone else stressed?

I'm stressed. Worried. The countdown to the election is killing me. It's not just about the presidential election- although that's enough. It's California, it's a bunch of state races.

Nerve wracking.

I can't help but feel we are all on the edge of a great reckoning for this country. I've never felt this way before. I'm both excited and anxious.

There is nothing to say right now about who what where or how we should go forward. I think we all know.

All we can do now is wait.

Monday, October 20, 2008

I Want To Know

I want to know why my cat licks the Steuben swans on my desk

I want to know why Ben is the most loving, adorable human being for one minute then a nightmare in the next

I want to know why the Patriots have to suck so bad this year

I want to know why every straight parent at the elementary school comes up to me and says, I really love Rachel Maddow

I want to know why a man can stick a vacuum on his penis at a car wash- like no one would notice?

I want to know why men will always always always explain their mistakes by blaming you

I want to know why we need ads to convince people that McCain is a fucking nightmare- we could use all those dollars for gosh, I dunno, education instead

I want to know why when Jake belts out an obnoxious burp, I feel a little parental pride

I want to know why women are clearly so much smarter, more complete and more capable (see baby making as first example) and yet are still a 51% minority

I want to know why people feel comfortable denying gays marriage rights but think taking the right to marry away from interracial couples is beyond their imagination

I want to know why children sleeping, even teenagers, are so beautiful even when they just pushed your buttons so bad you wanted to engage in retroactive abortion rights

I want to know why no one will eat the ends of the bread, and instead of just tossing them to the dog to eat, paw through the bread making a mess



I want to know why ... please explain.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The REAL Palin on SNL

Saturday, October 18, 2008

And One More

My girlfriend Wanda. I love Wanda. Please don't tell my wife...



Thanks Suzy!

Saturday Slump

So I can't think of anything to write about because I've been freezing all day long at various soccer fields across various different cities in the area.

I think my brain is numb.

This is from Jeanine, who stated, this is now her favorite blog. While I'll try not to be HURT, I have to say, it's very funny.

http://quotation-marks.blogspot.com/

Go check it out... it's very funny.

Or should I say "funny."

"Very."

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A New Level Of Hate

As we all dissect the last debate, and worry about the economy, the level of hate in this country just reached a new high.

Or should I say low.

In Illinois, an elementary school bus driver taunted a ten year old boy, calling him "gay." He then, at the child's bus stop, encouraged other students to go beat him up.

The school has confirmed this, and is looking to confirm that the driver himself got off the bus to join them.

That a 46 year old man taunted a ten year old boy for any reason is horrible enough. But that he was in charge of children's safety and encouraged kids to beat the boy up?

There should be a special kind of jail for people like that. Since that's pretty much out of the question, how about a federal hate crimes bill?

As the economy continues to swirl it's way down the toilet, the levels of hate crimes- all hate crimes- will rise exponentially. They always do in times of economic distress.

This was a ten year old child. Too young to be gay, straight or anything but a boy. What if he were Black and the driver had called him a 'nigger' and told the kids to beat him up? Or Asian? Or Hispanic?

Where is the outcry? This happened last week and there has been no mainstream media news about it at all- why? Because if it were about race? It would have made the news. If the child was handicapped? There would be cameras in this guys face asking hard questions.

There would be a lesson to learn. It would be clear that in our society that kind of behavior is not okay.

Instead we have reached a new level of hate.

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No on Prop 8 Theme Song

California continues to be very close. More money, time and energy are needed to fight Prop. 8, a proposition to take away Marriage Equality.

I was sent a great theme song for the fight for our heterosexual allies.



The only problem is it seems she doesn't know it's "teh gays."

Thanks, Mandy!

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Happy Birthday, Ben



Today is Ben's birthday. 13 years ago, after many many hours of labor, he finally joined the world.

He is officially a teenager.

My sweet baby has been replaced with a very tall, grunting guy.

Yeah.

Nah.

I dunno.

That's pretty much big conversation from him. Unless it's American Idol season.

But when he was little... oh, the curls on his head. (Zachary is in blue. Jake was not born yet.)

video

He loved a rocking giraffe my mother gave him and Zachary for Christmas. It was the same year she was there and let them play with her fur coat. In this video, you can hear her laughing off screen.


video


He's grown up now. Not completely, by any means but he's taller than Jeanine. He's handsome and full of teen angst. There are days when we get along great and days I have no idea what to do with him.

Okay, to be honest? It's more of an hour to hour thing.

Tonight Walter and Allan will come over and we'll have the birthday dinner. Until this morning, I thought I was going to have to have Kentucky Fried Chicken, as that was his choice until I finally begged to make him something at home, please please please. He chose chili, corn bread and chocolate cake. I should let them all have Coke and we can have the "C" meal.

I watch those early videos and I cannot believe he was really that little. That he was so free to be himself, wearing pink slippers and dancing a ballerina move. He was full of energy and excitement all the time. He laughed out loud and said I love you all the time.

I know that little boy exists inside the rough, tough, teenage exterior. I know there are times he would love to twirl. I also know all that kindness is still inside, wrapped in anger and frustration from not fitting in the way he thinks he should.

Not to mention the curls which now exist tucked under a "gansta" baseball cap.

I love him and some day, he will be able to love himself.

Happy Birthday, Ben.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I love Jesus...

Morgan, thank you so much for sending this to me. I have to be honest, I do not watch Ellen. I think if I turned on the TV during the day, it'd be a bad bad thing for me. I'd never stop.



Man, did I need that. I might need to change my policy.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Election Madness

I listened to NPR this morning- bad way to start a day. I cannot believe anyone would vote for John McCain. I cannot believe there is a chance that he can be elected. I tried to be soothed by Totenberg's review of the election numbers and her clear statement that there is no possible way McCain can win.

Oh, but he can, Nina.

In a county in Maryland, there were absentee ballots sent out with a typo. Instead of Barack Obama, the name was listed Barack Osama.

Typo, the folks claimed.

Yuh. If you believe that, I have a bridge to sell you.

The Brandenburg concertos are playing now. My favorite all time piece of music.

Calm.

Yuh.

Will McCain steal this election? How many elections have to be stolen before we take to the streets?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Desperately Seeking Calm

I’ve been in Maine for the last few days. This is the last weekend before the cottage is closed for the winter.

Jake and I went out to see some harbor seals today that were lounging on a shoal just off a nearby island. As I rowed us out, Jake was casting a line to fish. We got close to the rocks and he pulled his line in.

I don’t want to hook a seal, he said.

Good point, I said.

It wouldn’t be very respectful, he said.

Here was an 8-year-old boy, clear on a simple concept so many adults are completely clueless about. Respect.

We tossed over some of the chopped clams we were using for bait. The seals came within about ten feet of the boat, poking their heads up, sometimes jumping and splashing. We watched for a long time before we headed back to the house.

The seals followed us most of the way. I think they wanted to be sure we were leaving before getting back on their sunny rocks.

It was beautiful. The day clear and warm. Jake lay down across the backbench of the rowboat and closed his eyes for most of the ride.

I want that calm. The calm of a child who has everything he needs, good friends and a clear, if not simple, understanding of the world. I find myself anxious and worried about things I cannot control.

Part of me wants to stay here. Hide from the world, out on my boat, watching seals. Listening for the loons calling. Hauling wood in, sitting in front of a roaring fire.

Part of me knows better; I haven’t slept any better here than I have been at home.

As a student of history, I find this time fascinating. Like Bob Case, the meteorologist who predicted the Perfect Storm on October 1991, I have heard the warnings for the last couple years and am watching it all come together.

I want the water and my boat. My kids, laughing while we all play a wicked game of Pictionary. I want to be oblivious.

I’m not. I know as this crisis grows, jobs will be lost. A lot of jobs.

It’s been hard for me to write about anything else and yet, I know I should be writing about everything else.

Like respecting harbor seals we delight in watching.

I’ve worked so hard in the last few years to control my impulsiveness. To see the anxiety for what it is- miserable but manageable.

I need to step away from it all for a while. Soak in my kids, be with good friends, and remember to laugh. Let it go. There is nothing I can do. The boards that I sit on, the endowments I am responsible for, will create a wild rollercoaster ride for the next few months.

There is nothing to be changed in the moment.

Except the things I know I can change. I know I can go running every day. I know I can close my computer and walk away from the news. I know I can turn off my cell phone.

I can have the calm I desperately want right now if I am willing to let go.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Going, going...

When Ben was born, on October 15th, 1995, I cut out the newspaper headline. To be truthful, I came home ten days later to a pile of newspapers on my sidewalk. Still, I cut out the headline.

Dow hits 6,000.

It was historic. Now I'm thinking, on October 15th 2008, I may have the same headline to cut out.

What does it mean? For one, people who were planning on retiring in the near future can forget about it. It means that everyone in this country is scared. The "bailout" is nothing more than the government making promises to money they don't have.

No one believes them.

I'm scared. I know all of this will come back, and there will be money to be made, again. In the meantime, who will lose? How many people will be out of work? How can we afford social programs? As the economy tanks, historically crime has gone up. Drug addition rises. Domestic violence escalates.

Families with children become homeless, creating yet another generation of kids locked out of the American dream.

Will we still have a middle class when this is over? Or will we become a society of have and have nots, clearly divided.

What will happen to public schools? Where will they get the money to pay teachers, provide resources? How can we ever have a democracy without excellent public education?

Who will pay the bills?

McCain stumbled today and called everyone "my fellow prisoners..." The wear and tear of a long campaign has proven he is incapable of being the president. Let's be serious- these next few years will require some efforts not seen since the 1930's.

We are prisoners, in many respects. I won't leave this country. It's my country. I love being here. I believe in the possibility of a fair America. And yet, I'm watching the Dow go down down down and what it means as a symbol for so many people makes me anxious.

Sad.

What kind of world are we leaving our kids?

Have we simply used everything up? Going, going...

Gone.

Let me be clear, the Dow average is not the end all and be all but it is a clear sign we all react to. It is an indicator of where we are going, economically. Just a sign post.

But a daunting sign post it is.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Can We Vote Now?

How about now?

I feel like my dog. She always has a look on her face that says, Wanna pet me now? How about now? Is now a good time?

I want to vote. Now. I want this over.

The debate last night was one of the most boring, dull, uninspired bunch of bullshit I've seen in a long time. The candidates are tired. I'm tired. If there is an undecided vote out there, make them decide already.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Nailing Jello To The Wall

OHMYGOD! John McCain just did a pitch for my pal Sue!!!

Oh, John

We all can't be Meg Whitman.

Or Warren Buffett.

What a line of shit.

Ready, Set...

Another debate tonight, Town Hall style. The press is looking for McCain to do well.

Not so sure about that.

I'll be online watching again. I believe Obama is moving slowly but surely to a overwhelming election win. I want to remember tonight this is a historic election. On April 9, 1865, slavery ended legally in the US with the signing of the treaty at the Appomattox Court House.

143 years. Brutal history.

I'm going to hold that as my talisman tonight.

And watch the states turn blue...

Monday, October 06, 2008

On the Bright Side...

Oil fell to under 90 bucks a barrel today... gas will be cheaper.

Of course, you may not have a job to drive to but I'm trying to be positive. Today's market crash- almost a free fall in the middle of the day- is a reality check. We're in a deep recession, contrary to Mr. Gramm said it being in our heads.

And on the brink of a depression.

I don't know about any of you, but my mother used to tell stories of the Great Depression all the time. She, a woman of considerable wealth in her old age, would fold paper towels used but not ruined, in half and place them on the top of the roll.

Waste not, want not.

Meanwhile, in California, the proposition to make marriage between one man and one woman gains considerable strength. They are currently ahead in the polls and have out raised the good guys- that would be the marriage equality folks- 22 million dollars to 15 million dollars.

It makes me frustrated. What can I do?

I can beg all of you to donate whatever you can. Time, energy- if you are in MA, get in touch with me. There is a place to do phone banking and I can hook you up. If you are not, give.

I mean, hey, gas is getting cheaper.

Seriously, there is no win in this. Giving at a time you should be saving is against every fiber of my own good sense, let alone yours.

But give, we must.

I can say, without hesitation, if you give, give to The Equality California group. They are the group with the most organization, the most people on the ground, and doing the most collaboration between other groups.


My mother also loved a dollar well spent. This is it.

If you can only give 10 bucks? Do. It's what those right wing freaks are getting at church every Sunday as they pass the collection baskets- a clear violation of non-profit rules. They know and they simply don't care. It's that big to them.

So many people will give to Obama. I applaud that. But so few will give to LGBT rights. If you read this blog, you have read about my family. My kids.

Give for them.

Please.

If we lose? Let's at least know we did all we could. All we can.

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Sunday, October 05, 2008

Sarah and Joe, Part Two

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Two Years...



Today is the second anniversary of my mother's death. When I realized it last night, after friends had left from having dinner, I sat for a moment. I wasn't sure how that made me feel.

Today, sifting through the pieces, I feel good.

She doesn't haunt me anymore. Her voice on edge is almost gone from my head. Now it's more of a whisper. A gentle one.

I think fondly of all the good times. The bad well... they're over now. She can't hurt me again unless I use her voice to hurt myself. I don't much anymore.

I don't miss her anymore. While I've worked hard to heal the wounds we both inflicted on each other, I know better. There was little of her left. The woman who walked with me at night on Myrtle Beach for hours was long gone. The playful grandmother who draped her fur coat over Zachary's two year old shoulders hadn't moved from a chair in a smoke filled room for well over a year.

It was over by the time she died.

I don't like thinking of her on the day she died. It is too close to all the pain at the end. I want to remember her, celebrate her on her birthday. Think of her in Dan's garden, having dinner with Pearl on her birthday, the summer night warm. Or of how much she appreciated our Ogunquit house, having lent us the money to buy it, she felt an ownership in it.

I'm off to a soccer game- the second of the day. Jake has a birthday party sleepover, and Zachary will, I am certain, find his best pal to hang out with later. Ben... well, he's in deep doo doo, so he'll hang with us tonight. A year ago, I ached to dial the phone and tell my mother the highlights of the day. How much fun it is to coach Jake's team. The frustration of raising a teenager. The extraordinary way Zachary fits into being a classic middle child.

I hold those things with the friends who were here last night. I share them with my family of choice.

I don't need approval anymore.

And that feels good.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Another Wait

Today we will wait for another vote on the (gift package) bailout of Wall Street. Yesterday, Warren Buffett called it an "economic Pearl Harbor." Today, the French Prime Minister said the world is "on edge of abyss."

You have to love the French. Always more beautiful in their language.

I don't see the far left or the far right, an odd team in this debate, thinking a few tax cut perks are enough to vote for this. God knows what kind of pork spending is being bandied about in those halls to twist arms. I think I fear more those promises than the actual bill.

We shall see.

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Thursday, October 02, 2008

I Won't Answer the Questions the Way You Want Me To

Did Karl Rove school this woman?

I'm going to talk straight to the American people?

Oh god.

My Stomach Just Fell...

She's doing really well.

Joe sickpack? Hockey Moms?

You may not like what she's saying but she's doing great.

Oh no...

Can I Call You Joe?

Her first question, walking on the stage...

oh, this is gonna be something.

700 Billion Promises

Can't change the reality of rising unemployment.

Jobless claims jumped higher than expected. Maybe Wall Street is on the wagon...

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

The Senate Passes the Bill

Watch for a crazy day on Wall Street tomorrow...

Paulson's Ashes

All this news is too damn depressing. Once, about two years ago, Walter told me to lighten up on my blog.

Too sad all the time, he said. It's like Angela's ashes.

I remember reading Angela's Ashes while pregnant with Zachary. I cried and cried. Can one more baby die? Yup. Another one bites the dust.

I feel like it's been Paulson's Ashes, over and over. Except he doesn't die, but keeps coming back in new, different forms of legislation guaranteed to screw average Americans. The latest bill is over 400 pages.

I'm not sure I can stomach reading it.

As a pause, I'm going to do a little bragging on my boys. Zachary. He's going to try out for All City Band. He plays a mean saxophone. He's also decided to try being a vegetarian. I told him to talk to his pediatrician at his next visit and then we'd discuss what it would mean.

You'll have to... you know... actually eat vegetables.

I know, he says, ready for the challenge.

I don't care if he makes the band or not. I love that he's trying.

Ben has successfully moved to the third floor, in his own, private room. He's the only one in the house with his own bathroom, too. And when I asked him to clean it the other day? He did. No sass, no back talk, no wandering around forgetting.

He's starting to catch himself just after saying something really obnoxious- wait... sorry. I remind him it's okay to THINK anything he wants. But he cannot SAY it.

Jake has started to mirror his parents. The other morning, he was up practicing the drums at 6AM. Jeanine used to practice- the drums and the piano- so much when she missed a couple days in a row, one of the neighbors stopped her and asked what was wrong.

Yes, drums are that loud.

While 6AM is way too early, I couldn't help but smile.

He's also started to clip coupons from the newspaper, just like Allan.

Do you buy this, Mom? He comes and shows me.

I've never been one to clip coupons. It seems now I have an in-house service.

There are serious issues we are facing as a country today. Not just an economic meltdown but social change. In California, the debate rages over marriage equality. Should everyone be able to get married or just a few? In Massachusetts, a ballot question that would eliminate the state income tax will be voted on- do we care about our government services or would we rather pony up, piece by piece?

Ballot questions cross the country, raising important issues, questioning us as a society: Where are we? What do we believe? Will we shift towards religion being incorporated into our government or will we embrace the separation of church and state?

It will be interesting to see.

Regardless of the vote tonight, I have three great kids. A beautiful wife and great family.Joy in the moment.

Not to mention a pile of coupons.

Waiting for the Next Big Vote

Don't you wish they cared as much about Health care? Or ending the war?

As we wait for the next historic vote, and all the sound bites that will accompany it, I would like to point out a little something.

In 2008, Ford, GM and Chrysler all received a 25 billion dollar loan from the US government. They will receive another 25 billion next year. What have you received for your hard earned tax dollars?

37% decline at Chrysler, a 34% decline at Ford and an expected 24% drop at GM.

Wow, that was a good investment.

What did the CEO's make?


"Alan Mulally, Ford president and chief executive officer, earned $2,000,000 in salary and received incentive bonus awards of $7 million. Total 2007 compensation was $21,670,674, which includes salary, bonuses, the Company-recognized expense for stock options and other stock-based awards, as well as all other compensation."

"GM chairman and chief executive officer Rick Wagoner received compensation valued at $15.7 million for 2007, up 64 percent from the previous year."

I can't find 2007's pay for Chrysler's Robert Nardelli but he was booted from Home Depot for running the company into the ground. He left Home Depot early in 2007 with a 210 Million dollar payout.

Great.

And we're going to give these folks more?

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Heaven Forbid

As my mother would say... Heaven Forbid.



Thanks, Morgan!