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The bit I love starts around minute 4, but the whole thing's worth watching.
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Several people have asked me how they can help DC protect itself from the ravages of the current congress and administration. I have an idea.

DCist has an article about the current abortion law before congress. There's also a link to a "death with dignity" law with which congress is trying to interfere and, though there's no link, mention of a gun law which the House, especially, has already tried to overturn. They've already interfered with our decriminalization of marijuana laws, leaving us in the awkward position of not being able to regulate a trade which, through taxation, would help us immensely.

Call your congress people and Senators. I don't care if you agree with DC's law. I disagree with the "death with dignity" law and the only reason I don't disagree on abortion is that someone who doesn't have bodily autonomy isn't a full citizen in the eyes of the law. I see anything forbidding the right to choose as a slippery slope to women no longer being seen as full citizens. After all, it's been less than a hundred years since we were seen as full citizens. The point is actually more powerful if you disagree.

The point is that we have Home Rule. The point is that congress is not allowed to interfere with Boston, Denver, Oklahoma City, Detroit, Memphis, Nashville, Seattle, El Paso, or Portland, OR all of which are cities within 50,000 of our population. If the US Congress passed a law that said only the citizens of Seattle had to turn in their personal guns, everyone would rightly be up in arms (no pun intended). If they passed a law that said only the citizens of El Paso were required to have a gun on them at all times, the NRA might be happy, but the rest of us would be up in arms.

The more conservative the state you live in, the more powerful the statement. It's primarily, though not exclusively, Republicans and conservatives who are putting their fingers in our pies. Many of them are the same Republicans who shout from the mountaintop that the Federal government shouldn't interfere in local laws -- like those "religious freedom" laws and "bathroom bills."

Call. Please call. Call often. Adapt one of the sample scripts from thesixtyfive.org. More than anything else, make certain that you say your are their constituent and that you support the District of Columbia's right to autonomy in local matters. It can also be phrased as support for the District's right to Home Rule. While you're at The Sixty-five, pick another call to make. This isn't going to be a short haul on any issue. If you call your congress critter on another issue, throw in a "and don't interfere in the District of Columbia's local laws" at the end of it.

Thank you. Spread this message any way you can.
fabrisse: (Sense8 Sun Fight)
I won my election. To clarify, I am now the first (unpaid) politician 2000 people will call if they have a problem. I hope the percentage of children too young to use email is high, but it's not likely.

What does this mean for me? Well, first of all, no matter what, I can't move to Quebec for at least two years. I mean, I hadn't planned to, but with our current President-elect, it was a possibility.
The struggle is under the cut. )
For the next two years, I'll have to worry about these 2000 people -- that they'll lose the little political autonomy they have, that they'll end up being forced to register on someone's list. And I'll have to fight. Mostly in small ways via forcing developers to adhere to zoning plans and pollution regulations, but I'm very aware that it may also be in big ways -- and that I'll need to be vigilant every day.
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In August of 2004, I was at a friend's birthday party. Someone came up to me and said that the people who lived in the middle of the country, the ones who were going to be voting Republican were, and I quote, "stupid." When I disagreed, he said, "What do you call people who vote against their own interests?" We then got into a discussion about totalitarianism's definition (he was using the word fascist when he meant totalitarian) and whether or not Bush was totalitarian (in my opinion, no, but Cheney probably was) until we finally circled back around to his original, "they're all stupid." He also called me a Republican and we had to have a side discussion on what independent means.

At that point, I said something along the lines of, "This is why you'll lose. You're not willing to find out why they aren't voting in their economic interests." More discussion.

Finally, I made my point, which is that the Democratic Party had a chance to reverse people's belief that it was made up entirely of elitists who didn't care about the middle of the country. What they needed to do was go out at a very grassroots level and talk to people door to door, set a spell on a front porch drinking the sweet tea that would be offered and ask about what's going wrong in America or in the neighborhood and take notes. Then go to the next front porch and do the same thing. At that point, we, and I'm counting myself there as an East coast elitist who is traditionally Liberal, had up to three years to figure out how to reach middle America and drop our elitist language.

We didn't. Obama won. And we forgot that this project still needed to be done.

Make no mistake, this is about class and privilege in the United States. While white privilege exists (hoo boy, does it exist), people who are in extreme poverty, without work, and with drugs devastating their communities don't see themselves as privileged.

Until and unless we build this bridge, we will lose the hearts and minds of the middle of the country and their kids. Seeing that Grandma's medicare doesn't get her the help she needs or that his children are more likely to find meth than a job, alienates people and they are told by the ministers they listen to that a thrice married sociopath is better than a God-fearing Methodist who's stayed with her husband because the "values" shared aren't tangible. It doesn't matter that Hillary Clinton isn't warm and fuzzy, that can be overcome. It matters that the Democratic Party is bad at pointing to the concrete actions they have done to help. It matters that the Liberals don't deplore abortion, for instance, while explaining why it needs to remain legal with human and relatable anecdotes.

I work with numbers. I've learned to respect statistics. But I'm also southern culturally, and nothing is really understood within my culture without a story to explain it.

In a Guardian comment, I once said: In my jurisdiction, most of the women who choose to abort already have two or more children. They are making the choice, in part, to make certain the children they already have will be fed, schooled, and reared with fewer financial constraints. This is not the choice for toys. This is a choice for children to have the essentials of life.

You want to end abortion? Then make certain there are programs which provide safe havens for abused women. Make certain that every child who is already here has a safe place to sleep and sufficient to eat. I promise you, the abortion rate will go down drastically.


That's a strategy that has a story to be told. Sharing that story could get middle America supporting the right to choose if it's framed right (I admit, I picked a tough one as an example.).

But Liberals can't tell these stories until we've set on a porch and listened to their stories.

When my cousin who was more like a grandmother to me was in her late 80s, I said something inadvertently which led her to ask me about "the gays." I approached my answer through the bible using the ten commandments, the New testament superceding the Old, and 1 Corinthians 13 to buttress my argument. She listened because I was family, in part, but also because I was educated, because I approached it through the book she loved and the religion she practiced, and because I listened to her whole question.

I don't know how we can do this, but I know that we must.

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