Sep 29, 2008

Electoral Vote Tracker

Either this is really cool, or I'm really nerdy. Probably both.

This site features an interactive map of electoral votes by state. Hovering over any given state gives you the percentages for each candidate, as well as the results from the last four presidential elections. There are several other features, including my favorite: "This Day in 2004." I could watch Virginia going from dark red (Strong GOP) to outlined in blue (Barely Dem) all day long. You can see a map of the Senate races and get details on top-priority House races. There's even some information regarding issues we've been paying attention to - like the bailout bill - and issues we haven't - like the fact that there are three liberal(ish) Supreme Court Justices who may want to retire soon.

Justice John Paul Stevens was appointed in 1975
by President Gerald Ford.
Homie can also rock a bow-tie.

Sep 23, 2008

The World Is My Canvass

The Obama campaign HQ here in C'ville is located in the remains of a department store on the Downtown Mall, now barely furnished with card tables and folding chairs. There is not air conditioning to speak of, but it seemed like I was the only one who noticed. Two or three dogs were lounging about the place, completely at home in the hustle and bustle of thirty-odd volunteers trying to change the world. I noticed the abundance of female workers and wondered what that says about the power of charisma in American politics. I'm not what you'd call a Barak Obama supporter ... I'm more of the Any Dem Will Do school of thought. I dared not mention this to those bright-eyed women, with their "Obama Mama" t-shirts and their special language of Barak-isms. But I envy their conviction.

When I gave my address to the woman training me, she looked thrilled. No one else wanted to canvass my neighborhood because, in the sense that there is a remote-controlled structure that lowers across one entrance into the complex, we are technically a gated community. The packet of addresses I was given has this helpful handwritten note: "You're not supposed to be there, but stay until you're asked to leave." I imagined trying to explain to an irate home owner's association that yes, I live here and no, I'm not just a tenant and please, don't hurt me.

My neighbors turned out to be pretty nice overall. Some take one look at my Obama/Biden button and turned me away immediately. Several twenty-somethings came to the door in their pyjamas at 5:30pm - it's gratifying to know I'm not the only person who changes as soon as she gets home. I had a nice conversation with a very cute law student, who broke my heart a little by informing me that he is a "lifelong Republican." The Best Canvassing Moment, however, goes to a woman in one of the basement apartments on my street...

Me: *ringing doorbell*
Boy: *opens door* AUGH!
Mother: AUGH!
Me: AUGH! Wait, why are we screaming?
Mother: Well, my daughter saw a snake earlier!
Me: And you thought it came back? And rang the bell?

Unfortunately, Obama HQ forgot to give me brochures to leave behind when no one was home. I suppose I'll have to go and do those houses again...? Honestly, I would have benefited from a little more structure in this whole process. Still, I had fun. For anyone considering canvassing, I say do it.

Sep 11, 2008

VOTE: Stories, Links, Offers and a Threat

The founding fathers of our nation believed that human beings have certain inalienable rights, including (but not limited to) life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. However, they did not consider suffrage to be one of those rights. First non-whites could not vote, then women. Today, my mother - who has lived in this country for the majority of her life and has thoughtful and heartfelt opinions about how it should be run - does not have the right to vote. She is not a citizen (yet - her paperwork is currently floating around the ephemera at USCIS). And that's as it should be. No offense, mom, but we can't just let anybody (like non-citizens and children) vote.

My point is, voting is not a right. It is the privilege and duty of every citizen. The summer after I turned eighteen, my father took me to the county seat to get registered to vote. He was cheerful, filled as he was with a sense of civic virtue. I, on the other hand, had been woken up early and driven forty-five minutes in order to wait another hour and a half in an uncomfortable plastic chair. I was sulky and sarcastic, and I completely missed the point. I still regret not thanking my father that day for the gift he gave me - the right to decide my country's (and by extent, my own) future.

Now hear this, Virginia residents - if you have time to read this blog, you have time to register and to vote. It's easy. Here are the necessary links:

VA Board of Elections website - all you ever need to know about the voting process.
Registration form (PDF) - if you've never registered or have moved since the last election. The deadline for registration is October 6th.
Absentee Ballot application (PDF) - the deadline for the application is 5pm on October 28th, and the ballot must be received by the time polls close on Election Day (November 4th).

Furthermore, I will help you. Comment with your address and what you need, and I will mail you the appropriate forms (along with a stamped envelope, if necessary). I screen comments, so your personal information will not be available to all and sundry. And just in case making things simple isn't enough, how about this ... ETERNAL GLORY. Send me a picture of your voting process (submitting your registration, dropping your absentee ballot in the mail, or even your "I Voted" sticker on election day). I will post it on this blog and say something nice about you. And possibly send you cookies.

Finally, a word of advice. If you don't vote, you will forfeit your right to complain to me about the government for the next four to eight years. Unless you have a really good excuse, like you were kidnapped by crazed Canadians and smuggled across the border. But I'll want to see the beaver claw-marks.

Sep 9, 2008

Democratic Loyalty Quiz


My results:
Your score is 10 on a scale of 1 to 10. You are a pure, unabashed, die-hard Democratic loyalist. You are appalled by the way Republicans are turning America into a theocratic, corpo-fascist police state, and you'd gladly walk through a furnace in a gasoline suit to elect a Democratic president. In your view, there is no higher form of patriotism than defending America against the Republican Party and every intolerant, puritanical, imperialistic, greed-mongering, Constitution-shredding ideal for which it stands.

Sounds about right.