Dear Barack Obama and Gentleman Joe Biden:
I’m writing to suggest that yesterday, October 2, 2008, the day of the Biden/Palin Debate, was a great day for the American Democracy: it’s been a while since I felt this way, not since three weeks ago, looking in Obama’s eyes in Grand Junction, Colorado. Since then, I’ve added to the lustre of my meaningful life by becoming a volunteer—a specialist in New Voter Registrations at the local college-- for Camp Obama here in Glenwood Springs, God’s Country in Colorado, a state that is more ready to vote for change than I’ve ever seen it, in 32 years, since I emigrated from New Jersey, a rebel Democrat, in the 70’s.
This state can be won in November. The groundswell is only starting. The levels of grassroots activism here in the Roaring Fork Valley, hub of traffic from Vail to Aspen, a multicultural conglomeration of very successful people with international and local pretensions, have risen dramatically, on both sides. People are stopping each other on the street to make sure a friend or acquaintance is registered to vote! Do you appreciate how different that climate is, from past elections here? In 1976, a rabid Jimmy Carter supporter, newly enlivened as a Democrat from the celebration of the Bicentennial, I walked the streets of Glenwood with a “Vote, Please!” sign on Vote Day. This was almost surely terroristic behavior in Glenwood at the time, not much visited by people carrying signs. But, heck! Who could deny the mutuality of my message? Still, it was aberrant behavior in this very (pre-1990) Western town.
Oh, yes, things have changed. Things are changing. To succeed in change times is a) to recognize that change is occurring; some things, like the historic migration of humanity northward around the world or the sanctity of partnership, regardless of sexual choice, are inevitable in that change—One needs a good nose for the Now--and b) to remain constant in our actions to the set of ethical principles we preach. Walk the Talk. Evolution of the change will occur as it will, and we will be stalwart to claim or at least mark it Obama by our belief in egalitarianism. I feel more people than ever are willing to claim that “all people are created equal.” Democracy is more afloat in the US than I’ve seen it since the ‘60’s, given, of course, that I live on the fringe, in cosmic-hoo-hoo-rainbow-land!
Barack Obama! Joe Biden! Thank you. People are coming up to me to thank me for helping them register to vote! I feel like Mr. Democracy for sitting myself down at 63 and asking everyone who goes by, “Are you ready for the election? Will you get a Mail-in Ballot for November?" For a simple-minded senior like me, this is amazing, simple work, but the gains!
I’ve been out of activism, though always a voter, since 1980, when I moved from the Dems to the Unaffiliated Column. A couple weeks ago, I moved back to the Democratic Party, because I must participate in the caucuses again. Your stance on grassroots activism has given every “cultural creative” (Paul Ray, The Cultural Creatives) a point to focus on, a voice to espouse, a way to balance all the opposites, a leader for the dance with change afoot, in a foot-to-the-ground, natural way. The bottom is rising. Hooray for you! I’ve had a hand in registering 81 New Voters to the system in three weeks! Despite 42 meaningful years in the American public educational system, this feat, right now, most brings me to tears of pride. As a baby-boomer on the leading edge (birth-1944) for thirty years, I’m grateful for the reconnection to the American principles of grassroots activism that started this country, before there was partisanship, before there was spin, when there were only revolutionary sharpshooters picking off Redcoats from behind the trees of Virginia--terroristas--seeking self-resolution.
My DAR great-great-aunts, descended from religious victims out of England in 1687, and my Celtic coal miner paternal forebears, looking for food in 1910, and the Sandinistas I've bonded with in Nicaragua, would all be happy to see my progress as a citizen. Maybe it’s time to let rhetoric be rhetoric, and let actions speak for truth.
I registered 27 New Voters for America yesterday. Democracy was served. And, Barack, I thank you for it.