Sunday, October 31, 2004

Winning Wisconsin, Part 3

It's 2:40 pm. and we're taking a break from canvassing while the Packers game is on. Some say that every election that the Redskins have played and lost, the presidential incumbent has also lost. The Redskins are losing, of course. So many Wausonians are sure of a Packers win that they're already back to the tasks of the day: raking, cleaning, trick-or-treating. So it's time for us to get back to work.

This morning I canvassed 41 houses. Very few people were home, but of the ones that were and would tell me how they're voting, 8 were for Kerry and 1 was for Bush. Onward!

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Winning Wisconsin, Part 2

It’s 7:30 p.m. on Saturday evening and I’m SO glad we get an extra hour tonight from the ending of daylight savings time (don’t forget!). I’m physically beat. I got up this morning at 6:30 am to get in an hour of exercise before canvassing because I’m used to exercising every morning. I should have skipped it! Two shifts (one before lunch and one after) of walking and knocking and walking and knocking is EXHAUSTING. I’m ready for bed right now.

First shift I covered 70 (yes, seventy) houses. Most weren’t home (this is typical: canvassers get way more “not homes” than anything else). Of the ones that were home, several either don’t vote, won’t vote or wouldn’t talk to me (this is all typical. Many people are burned out with the election and are sick of canvassers). Of the ones that were home AND would tell me who they are voting for, there were 11 Kerry supporters and 5 Bush supporters. Not too bad.

Second shift: covered 50 houses. Of the ones that were home and would tell me how they’re voting, there were 5 Kerry supporters and 0 Bush supporters.

Canvassing isn’t exciting. It’s a lot of very physical work for what can seem like few results, but consider that there are thousands of Wisconsin canvassers getting those kinds of results every day. That adds up to the votes that will win Wisconsin for Kerry. We’ll go back and make sure every one of those Kerry voters gets to the polls on Tuesday. But the way my feet hurt by 5 p.m., all I could think was, “Kerry better #%$@^ win this thing!”

And, yes, there were some undecided voters. When I knocked, introduced myself and asked if we could count on them to vote for Kerry on Tuesday, they said, “I still don’t know yet.” I usually just smiled and made sure they knew where their polling place is, then thanked them for their time and moved on. But I did talk for a moment with a few undecided voters who said they are disgusted with how the candidates are conducting themselves and they don’t really believe either candidate deserves to win. I nodded and came dangerously close to agreeing with them. I know I’m supposed to plug my guy in moments like that, but I just can’t put my heart into it. No wonder I give my dates mixed signals: even a strong action like driving five hours to live in Wausau, WI for five days to canvass for Kerry doesn’t include my 100% consistent support of the senator. If an undecided voter can’t choose a candidate, I really can’t say I blame them at this point.

So the increasingly mean-spirited and hyperbolic Kerry and Bush ads are actually hurting Kerry’s and Bush’s campaigns at this point because many Americans DON’T want to put up with that kind of manipulative, bullshit propaganda. I’m actually beginning to believe the undecided voters are the only ones who haven’t gotten caught up in the emotionality of this election. We’re all acting based on our strong emotions either for or against Bush, for or against the war, etc. But the undecided’s are not feeling emotional, they’re just sizing up these candidates for what they’re worth and they are NOT impressed and I can’t blame them. Without emotion driving me, I wouldn’t be killing myself to get Kerry elected. My repulsion with Bush keeps John Kerry in my rose-colored focus. Without Bush as the option, I might not back Kerry. Remember, I still want Dennis Kucinich in the White House.

And I have now had my first really negative experience with a Republican. One guy maybe 30 years old, opened his door, saw my Kerry button and said, his voice full of hatred, “I wouldn’t vote for that Clintonesque idiot if my life depended on it.” And he closed the door. I’m grateful that he didn’t cuss or yell or make it a long rant, but the pure vitrol of his statement really struck me and I didn’t respond well. I slumped away from his house feeling disillusioned and drained. Is that what we’re up against? Is that the wrath, fear and hatred that drives American society? Is that emotion part of my homeland? Suddenly my faith in the entire human race vanished and the world felt hostile and alien. I walked slowly to the next house, trying to recover some enthusiasm for my work.

But I do take some pleasure in canvassing, even when I get Bush supporters. I just like people and I like interacting with them. Also, Wisconsin is beautiful right now. My favorite moment today was climbing a gentle hill, wet road gravel under my shoes, leaves of bright yellow and sometimes orange/red above my head and spindly black trees witnessing my mission. The air smelled rich with wood from the rain that had been falling all morning (not too bad, I had an umbrella) and I just loved being outside. That was a good moment.

So here I am, back at the hotel and tired. This was my schedule today:
Exercise at 6:30 a.m
Breakfast at 8:00 a.m. (compliments of Baymont Inn)
Start canvassing at 10 a.m.
Lunch (donated pizza back at headquarters) at 1 p.m.
More canvassing at 2:30
Give up and return to hotel at 5 p.m.
Recover!

And that will be my schedule for Sunday and Monday and Tuesday (but I’m dropping the 6:30am exercise). I’ll be as glad when the election is over as the most jaded undecided voter.

Since I am able to keep up the blogging while I’m here, feel free to comment! It helps me feel in touch.

Winning Wisconsin, Part 1

It took 5 hours to drive from Chicago to Wausau. Last night at the local Democratic HQ, David, a campaign worker from NY, explained that Wausau is right in the middle of the state, surrounded by rural areas, and can be called a "swing district of a swing state." David had to miss Kerry's massive rally in Madison on Thurs but can console himself with the knowledge that Wausau's central and swing qualities have made it the choice of NBC Nightly News for election night coverage. I'm excited. They'll have several correspondents throughout the country and one will broadcast reports from our Kerry headquarters. I had no idea heading out to central WI would put me so close to an election night spotlight. Sometimes life works.

Last night I phonebanked: called Democratic voters, asked if they're voting, do they know where to vote, do they need a ride. Had sympathy for undecided's since they have so much pressure on them: they see two crappy candidates to choose from, but constantly hear how the election is on their shoulders. I spoke to one confused and frustrated voter who said he's been disappointed and disgusted by how the candidates have conducted their campaigns. He said both Bush and Kerry have done nothing but talk badly about each other and if they've done half the stuff they've accused each other of, they should both be in jail. What could I say? I agreed that neither of the candidates has been strictly honorable and yes, their campaigns have disintegrated into name calling and badmouthing. I offered my sympathy to the man, thanked him for voting whichever way he decided, and hung up.

I did what? I didn't stick up for my candidate, the one I just drove across the state to canvass for? What kind of campaign worker am I? Actully, I think I'm a realistic one. After watching the South Park lampoon of this year's election, I had to admit that despite my personal animosity for Bush and dedication to Kerry, this kind of IS a stupid electtion with two sorry candidates. Election 2004 is pretty much a repeat of election 2000 with its barely literate Republican candidate and its tepid Democratic candidate and the only real difference is that this time the Democratic party has its pollwatchers and legal counsel ready for any Republican election fraud. As I listened to the undecided voter voice his disgust with the both of them I felt like saying, "You're right! George Bush sucks dog penis and John Kerry sucks the tiny green 3-incher!"

But I didn't. (The South Park episode I refer to aired on Comedy Central on Wed and you can probably catch the second airing if you look for it, maybe Sun. I recommend it.)

But, reflecting on all of it, I confirm that whether the emperor wears clothes or really should put on some sunscreen, it's "forward march!" for me. Today I'll join the group of Chicago volunteers who will canvass the surrounding cities of Merrill and Mosinee. We'll do the same thing we did on the phone tonight: ask if they're voting for Kerry, do they know where to vote, do they need a ride. Mission til Tues: by phone or by foot make sure all Kerry supporters actually vote!

(If anyone needs to know, I'm at Baymont Inn in Wausua, WI).

Friday, October 29, 2004

Kerry in Madison

Glorious, glorious victory...

Thursday, October 28, 2004

I'm Off to Canvass for Kerry in Wisconsin

The Kerry campaign group I'm volunteering with has scraped up the money for lodging from Friday night through Tuesday night, so I'm actually leaving for Wausau, Wisconsin Friday morning and not coming back until Wednesday (fortunately no one will even notice that I'm gone except for my hamster). Our meals will be donated by various volunteers who will keep the headquarters stocked with plenty of food, so I'm hoping this adventure won't cost me anything. Wisconsin Kerry organizers urgently want as much help from us Chicago volunteers as possible and asked if I could spare the extra time. What else do I have to do? I don't know what online access I'll have up there, but I'm taking my laptop and hope to keep blogging.

Friday through Wednesday...what am I getting myself into?

Okay, Chicago friends, I'm counting on you to hold things together here! Please do what you can to keep this election as efficient and fair as possible. The effort of each one of us DOES count. It was a tough call to choose between poll watching in Chicago and canvassing in Wisconsin, but since I can afford to sacrifice almost a week of my time, I'm going. I'll mainly be calling and visiting the Wausau, WI houses of those who have stated support for Kerry and making sure they vote. Rain or shine, warm or cold, here we go. And when, in six months or so, the Kerry administration turns out to be a huge disappointment to leftists like me and we realize he really isn't even close to the president we wanted and people ask me how I feel about having worked so hard to elect him, I'll be able to hold my head high and say, "He's still better than Bush."

Regina's Official Prediction: John Kerry will be elected by a comfortable margin, rendering unnecessary any re-counting or legal manipulation. I don't think it will be a close election. Quote me!

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

The Freedom of the Unmarried - Single People, Volunteer!

From Saturday through election day I'll be volunteering and living in Wausau, Wisconsin where I will do whatever is necessary to get all Kerry supporters to the polls in that area. Single people like me are critical to this campaign. Let's proudly pull MORE than our weight on behalf of all those Kerry-supporters who don't have the time to sacrifice (often because of family obligations). BTW: does anyone know anything about Wausau? I don't even know how long it will take to drive there. This week I'm exercising and eating well in anticipation of a four-day pizza-and-donut diet and no time for working out.

I address this to everyone, but especially the SINGLE PEOPLE: still feeling unsure about how much time/money you can spare for this election? Chicago, Evanston and other local communities need poll watchers, runners and phonebankers. Training for these positions is happening here:

Volunteer Training for Election Day
When: Saturday, October 30, 5:00 to 6:00 pm
Chute Middle School, 1400 Oakton St, 847 859-8600
RSVP to s.schell@susanschellproductions.com

Here's a very specific opportunity: I have a friend who is very politically active and generally cool who has a volunteer opportunity for election day. She sent me an email saying she'll be volunteering on Election Day with the Election Protection volunteer corps (http://www.electionprotection2004.org). She's looking for people to go to the south side of Chicago with her to do poll watching on 95th Street. Can you join her? Do you know anyone else who is looking for a way to contribute that day? Please send me an email or a comment if you're available or would like more information.

More volunteer opportunities:
Check the Kerry volunteer center.
Go to Wisconsin or another battleground state (see Illinois for Kerry for these and other volunteer opportunities).
Take part in the Buffalo Grove phonebank (1275 Barclay Blvd, Buffalo Grove) to call people in battleground states.
Volunteer to help in the local election by contacting your congressperson or ward chairperson. If you are in the 9th
congressional district, call Jan Schakowsky's office at 847 424-1998, (email alex@janschakowsky.com).
Contact the Chicago Kerry headquarters at 312 832-0220.
Attend the Kerry rally in Madison on Thursday, with guests Bruce Springsteen and the Foo Fighters.
Attend the final Kerry meetup on Thursday at the Firehouse Grill in Evanston or one of the other Chicagoland locations.
(see Illinois for Kerry for more meetup sites)

And if you absolutely don't have one hour to spare for this election, please donate to one of the following:

Democratic National Committee - Midnight this Friday is the deadline for making a contribution that will be used for this election.

Kos Dozen - Support congressional candidates throughout the country.

MoveOn PAC - Grassroots support of the Kerry campaign and other Democratic candidates

No regrets! Don't wake up on Nov 3 and wish you had done more to get Bush out of office. The worst possibility isn't Bush getting re-elected; the worst possibility is Bush getting re-elected and knowing you could have done more.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Imagine: a Democratic Congress

Okay, if you really, REALLY can't spare one hour to volunteer for the Democratic ticket, at least send a few dollars to support the Democratic congressional candidates that are battling Republicans for seats throughout the country. In addition to electing Kerry (and even if he doesn't win) we have a chance to take back Congress! The Republicans are running a new series of horrible ads, aimed at some of these congressional candidates. Help these Democratic candidates fight back and win those seats by giving whatever you can at Move On PAC or through the Daily Kos website at actblue.com/list/dkos.

And by the way, can you believe the latest news that almost 380 tons of explosives have been missing from a former Iraqi military facility since October 10? Apparently these explosives were being monitored and controlled by U.N. inspectors before we invaded Iraq, but since then the occupying U.S. force has lost them. J freakin' christ...

Spend 4 Days in Wisconsin with me!

Canvassing on Saturday went well even though it rained the whole time. I think warm rain was a bit more inconvenient than the windy cold the week before, but once again, the weather did not matter to me. Reaching Kerry supporters and getting them to vote early was the goal. In Wisconsin, they can vote early at City Hall for two weeks before Nov 2. This time I was in Racine, working in a neighborhood of residents who were almost all Democrats, but have a low voting turnout rate. We offered to have a van pick them up if they needed a ride.

Here's the report from Illinois Kerry Travelers, one of the groups that headed to Milwaukee:

begin Daniel Biss email

Volunteers,

Thanks so much to the Illinois Kerry travelers for another record-breaking turnout today.  We had about 320 volunteers in Wisconsin, and another 30 or so in Iowa!

We made thousands of critical voter contacts as this race approaches its home stretch.  Perhaps the most memorable moment occured when two buses covered in Kerry-Edwards paraphernalia and loaded with chanting volunteers drove right past a befuddled-looking Alan Keyes in downtown Chicago. (Yes, this actually happened.  But he looked
like he was used to hearing deafening "Obama! Obama!" cheers everywhere he went!)

Well, we're finally ready for the climactic weekend.  With many pundits suggesting that the whole election will come down to
Wisconsin, I can't  possibly stress enough how important your help will be. You've all given very generously of your time
already -- let's just make it a few more days to ensure a Kerry-Edwards victory!!

So, here's the scoop.  We need people for the whole four-day period Saturday 10/30 -- Tuesday 11/2.  This is what all your hard work for the last two months has been building up to!

First of all, if you can make it for the whole four days, please get back to us IMMEDIATELY! (contact: NIKerryTravelers@yahoo.com) We will most probably be able to cover your hotel costs if you can stay for the full four days!  (Possibly a shared room.)

If you are interested in staying some nights but not the full four days, we should be able to find you housing with local Kerry supporters.

Next, we need drivers badly.  The effectiveness of volunteers will be predicated on their mobility.  So, while we will be running buses, we'd like to encourage you to drive if AT ALL POSSIBLE.

Lastly, here's the bus schedule.  You'll notice that the buses are quite early.  This is because these days will be incredibly hectic up in Wisconsin, and your help will be needed as early as you can possibly get there!

Saturday 10/30:
** Buses leave both 57 W. Grand (Chicago) and 826 Custer (Evanston) at both 8am and 9:30am.  Volunteers are asked to arrive a half hour before departure.
** Buses leave Wisconsin shortly after 6pm and return to Chicago/Evanston by 9pm.

Sunday 10/31:
** Buses leave both 57 W. Grand (Chicago) and 826 Custer (Evanston) at both 8am and 9:30am.  Volunteers are asked to arrive a half hour before departure.
** Buses leave Wisconsin shortly after 6pm and return to Chicago/Evanston by 9pm.

Monday 11/1:
** Tentatively, we are scheduling no buses for Monday.  We hope to get everyone up to Wisconsin by carpool.

Tuesday 11/2:
** Buses leave 57 W. Grand (Chicago) and 826 Custer (Evanston) at 8am.Volunteers are asked to arrive a half hour before departure.
** Buses leave Wisconsin shortly after 8pm and return to Chicago/Evanston by 11pm.

So, sorry for this deluge of information, but we wanted to make you aware of all the opportunities.  As always, please RSVP to
NIKerryTravelers@yahoo.com. Your RSVP should include the following information for each traveler:

1.  Name
2.  Phone number - cell if you have one, home otherwise.
3.  E-mail
4.  When exactly you are free to come to Wisconsin.
5.  Whether you can drive (and if so, how many others you could take).
6.  If you cannot drive, which buses you'd like to ride (time, date, location).
7.  In the event that you're staying overnight, whether you'd be willing to stay with a local Kerry supporter.  (Recall that
    people who would prefer not staying with local Kerry supporters and will not be in Wisconsin for four full days
    will be on their own to find housing.)

If you can't drive, but your availability does not correspond with the bus schedule, we will try to arrange a carpool for you.

One last time, thanks so much for all your hard work and devotion! Let's make it one last record-breaking four-day blitz for regime change!!!


end Daniel Biss email

That's it. Every nation on earth is watching and waiting for us to vote Bush out of office and I'm outta here. It's the freedom of those who are unemployed, unmarried and childless: can I sacrifice all my free time for four straight days? No problem! So, let's go - how can you resist? We'll get unlimited pizza and donuts, physical challenges of stamina and layering against the cold, the admiration and respect of those who don't have the time (or guts) to do it themselves, and the deep sleep of those who KNOW we're doing all we can to get Bush out of office. Ahhhh...

Someone asked me, "What if Bush wins?" My current response is that it's not time to worry about that yet, but even if he does, I will have the clear conscience of someone who did her part as an accountable American to clear him the hell out of office. Even if the worst happens, I will be able to live with myself.

How about you? Want to spend four days in Wisconsin with me? Or just volunteer one day or for a few hours? We're getting down to your last chance to rest easy, knowing you did your part...

Friday, October 22, 2004

Call Me a Rabid Democrat...

Saturday morning it's back to Wisconson for me. Here's what a Wisconsinite friend tells me the weather will be:

"Thunderstorms likely, especially during the morning. A few storms may be severe. High 66F. Winds S at 15 to 25 mph. Chance of rain 80%. Wear a hat."

I will wear a hat. I am totally charged up for this trip. I know that if the Boston Red Sox can come back from #$%-damn 0-3 to beat the New York Yankees (I do NOT like the Yankees) and go to the World Series, then John Kerry is a shoo-in as president! This is a GOOD year for Boston. Get ready to celebrate Kerry's victory at my next gig on Saturday, November 6 at 9:30 p.m. at the Red Line Tap (see announcement on the right side of the screen)!

Tonight I had a women-only potluck to which I invited all the single women I know. We ate great food, made new friends, talked politics, talked about everything else, and we viewed the video of Nice Peter's "The Bush Song." Go here to see it yourself. It is my anthem as I tirelessly plod the midwestern soil for Kerry -- until I get tired anyway. Harry Shearer also has a good anti-George song. And as usual, go to my previous posts for info on how you can help the 2004 election be as efficient, honest and Jeb-free as possible (besides listening to these anti-Bush songs and reading my anti-Bush blog).

One guest tonight theorized that Jeb Bush is not pushing as hard for the election of his brother because things went so badly last time. She said that after the whole Florida re-count fiasco, "the dirt settled on him, not George," and Jeb has had to realize that he didn't do his political career any favors. This time it would even work well for Jeb if George lost in Florida because then Jeb would no longer be seen as the string-puller who rigs elections. I like this theory. I predict that George will lose Florida and Wisconsin. Wisconsin will definitely go Democratic. I can TASTE it...along with those good Wisconsin dill pickles...and no calories...

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Take That, You Yankee Fans!

If the Red Sox can come back from 0-3 and beat the damn New York YANKEES and actually make it to the World Series for the first time in 86 years, despite superstitions from a "curse," then I know the future President John Kerry has every chance of winning the election and no one can tell me different!

Maybe the Cubs are next?

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Dating, Part 5 Million

The manhunt is over. What does that mean? Well first of all, I and my therapist of 11 years have once again realized that the idea of a relationship is terrifying to me. I recognize yet again that I expect being in a relationship to cause me to prioritize my boyfriend's needs and wants over mine, which leads to resentment and self-hatred for not treating myself well. I'll also feel guilt for not being the perfect girlfriend and resentment that he's not the perfect boyfriend, and my initial warm feelings for him will eventually turn into panic and fear that he'll break up with me, accompanied by the greater fear that he'll never break up with me. Driving all of this will be my abject terror that intimacy suffocates and kills, either figuratively or literally. I'm terrified of being erased.

The second reason the manhunt is over is that, as one male friend put it, having low self-esteem pretty much makes me "un-datable." Hearing it put that harshly hurt, but I admit that trying to find a long-term relationship just to bolster my anemic self-esteem is a doomed mission. Over the last 15 years, I and various therapists and professionals have also worked on hard my self-esteem problem, but obviously I/we haven't accomplished much. My low self-esteem isn't changing.

So, knowing there's little chance that these two extremely powerful self-blockades to romance will change anytime this decade, I give up the manhunt even more profoundly than all the hundreds of times I've given up in the past. As long as I feel bad about myself and am terrified of intimacy, there's no point in continuing to pretend I'm capable of any kind of relationship and there's no point in searching for "the right guy." All I've done for 10 years is reject all the men who want to date me, so why pretend I'm actually open to a relationship?

So, at the unmarried age of 38, I'm done. Now I'll find out what it's like to go grocery shopping, or to perform at a bar or to just walk down the street without keeping a lookout for possible dates. For over two decades, I've constantly kept a lookout for possible dates. I've constantly evaluated myself, sizing myself up from the outside, imagining how I look to men, wondering if I'm attractive enough to earn the attention I've constantly, constantly been seeking. Constantly.

No more. Spinsterhood 4 Ever. Now that I'm no longer grooming my body to attract men, I feel different about it. These days I'm currently enjoying not having to wear a bra all time because my chest is smaller from recent weightloss. I actually halted the weightloss in August because I didn't want to lose my curves, but now that I don't need them maybe I'll go for further weightloss. I'll see if I can get rid of my breasts altogether and never have to wear a bra again. I don't need my breasts or hips and no one else is using them (I remain indifferent to the idea of having kids), so why not just starve them away? Maybe I'd be more comfortable as a toothpick.

When a girlfriend points out that this plan is crazy, I realize just how little I occupy my body for myself. I now understand why wives stop wearing heels and uncomfortable underwear: if you're not trying to attract a man, why bother looking attractive? But if I no longer need to attract men, how do I dress? What does it mean to dress just for me? How do I separate what makes me feel good from what makes me feel good because it attracts men?

I don't know. I have no idea what to do with that focus that I used to use to constantly scan for single men. What's the point of getting up in the morning without that constant, noble, society-supported quest to find a permanent relationship? How do I act, eat or walk down the street just for me and not for the gaze of men?

And what do I do with the rage I feel because others get to have that falling-in-love kind of happiness, but I don't?
WARNING: I will direct this rage at anyone who suggests that now that I've stopped looking, now I'll find "Mr. Right." "Mr. Right" has never shown up any of the other hundreds of times I have given up and "he" isn't going to show up now that I wear my self-loathing and defeat on my sleeve, expressing my disappointment and disgust to any idiot who tries to approach me.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

To He Who Hesitates...

And to anyone who hates Bush but doesn't think Kerry is a good option either:

Pull yourself together, ya candy-ass liberal. You want Bush out of office? Kerry's the only option we've got, so unless you want to pledge your allegiance to the Texas waterboy, suck it up and get ready to punch that chad for John F. Kerry. Damn...

And give me a call when you want to start working on Dennis Kucinich's, Al Franken's or Hillary Clinton's campaign for 2008!!

PRESIDENT KERRY

The worst possibility is not Bush being re-elected; the worst possibility is Bush being re-elected and wondering if there was more you could have done.

My Saturday:

1. Cramped schoolbus to and from Milwaukee, WI.
2. Gray skies, strong wind and 45 degree weather!
3. Knowing I am brilliant because I wore layers of clothing, including two sweaters, gloves, scarf and hat.
4. Being SO FOCUSED on connecting with Kerry supporters that I barely felt the cold!
5. One Wisconsinite said, "It's quite a day to be out doing this," and I answered, "Yes, but that's okay!" And it was!
6. Repeated to self, "The Republicans are freezing their asses, too. The Republicans are freezing their asses, too."
7. I believe Wisconsin WILL "go blue" and their electoral votes will support President Kerry.

To all my great, leftist friends who don't like Bush but haven't considered doing much about it except voting on Nov 2nd:

Do you not have time to get involved with the presidential election? Is this political stuff just not your thing? What if I could 100% guarantee you that Kerry would be elected if you gave just TWO HOURS of your time, would you do it? What if I could 100% guarantee you that Kerry would be elected if you gave just 50 bucks? Would you do that? Or what if I could 100% guarantee you that Kerry would be elected if you gave just one day? Bush gone - guaranteed - for just one day out of your life?

Forget all the polls and predictions. It's time to just go full-speed ahead and know that electing John Kerry IS in our power. I'm giving up my Saturdays to freeze my ass in Wisconsin, but I'm not even asking you for that. You can do other things and never have to even go outside. Please, please read the opportunities below, pick one, and DO it. Citizens of every country in the world are watching and counting on us to get Bush out of office. We can't let them down again!

WISCONSIN: Yesterday (10/16) 1,000 (one thousand!) Chicagoans spent the day canvassing in Wisconsin. WE NEED TO KEEP THESE NUMBERS OF VOLUNTEERS UP! Please help fill all the buses going up to Wisconsin on Saturday the 23rd and 30th. RSVP to chicagoland4kerry@sbcglobal.net. Your RSVP should include:
1) If you are willing to drive and how many volunteers you can take.
2) Your cellular phone number for the organizer
Volunteers are asked to arrive by 9:00a to get checked in with the coordinator.
Buses leave Chicago HQ at 57 West Grand Avenue and Evanston DPoeE HQ at 826 Custer @ 9:30 am. And Volunteers will be back in Chicago by 8:30 pm that night.

IOWA: Iowa's absentee ballots were mailed out last week and need to be picked up from now through election day, but can only be picked up by a certified courier. Chicagoans are being trained as couriers and will be making trips out to Iowa's East Side every weekend hereafter. Please RSVP to chicagoland4kerry@sbcbglobal.net. if you can help with the Iowa effort.

PHONEBANKING: If you can't go to Wisconsin or Iowa, spend an hour or two making phone calls to swing states. Everyone who shows up and makes some calls will feel like they are really making a diference. Phonebanking centers in Chicago are at the SEIU office at 120 S. Sangamon (M-Th 6-9p, Sat 10a-2p, Sun 4-7p)and the Kerry office at 57 W. Grand, 3rd floor (M-Th 5-9p, Sat 11.-6p, Sun 2p-6p). Centers in Evanston are 1715 Chicago Ave. (Thu 5p-8p) and DPOE 826 Custer St. 7p-9p. Contact kerryphoneschicago@yahoo.com or ILKerryVolunteers@yahoo.com for more info. Please do it. You'll be glad you did! Or call 312-832-0220 x234.

The Rapid Response Network is running a media watch and needs writers, researchers and editors. This one lets you help out any time you have a few minutes. Great for night owls and those uncomfortable talking to strangers. Go to www.rapidresponsenetwork.org

Bill of Rights canvasser: hand out state-specific Voters' Bill of Rights in key neighborhoods where voting rights are at risk. Encourage voter participation on election day. Go to www.electionprotection.org

The Election Protection Coalition has identified Illinois as "high-risk" for voting rights violations on Election Day. They urgently need volunteers to perform on-site poll monitoring, offer voter assistance and to report evidence of problems to the same-day legal assistance Voters' Hotline. All training will be provided. Volunteers from all walks of life are needed, but especially lawyers, law students, clergy and Spanish speakers. Go to www.electionprotection.org

How much time can you commit on Election Day?
30 minutes - be a Mystery Voter and help monitor your polling place.
90 minutes - record your precinct's final vote tally to help watch the vote count.
8 hours - help monitor precincts and survey voters in swing states.
Go to www.votewatch.us

Be a judge of election. A judge of election is the official responsible for the conduct of the election in the precinct polling place. Judges of election are the backbone of the electoral process. You must apply and be trained and you do get paid. Go to www.voterinfonet.com/sub/election_judges.asp

SIGN UP TO RECEIVE EMAILS WITH EASY WAYS TO GET INVOLVED at www.johnkerry.com or Move On PAC (Political Action Committee) .

ELECTION DAY, Tuesday Nov 2nd: Take the day off of work. We must make sure all Kerry-supporters actually VOTE. Countless organizations are organizing efforts to get all Kerry-voters to the polls on Election Day. Go to www.johnkerry.com or Move On PAC (Political Action Committee). Dick Durning is a Chicagoan organizing people to go up to Wisconsin on Election Day. Contact him at rdurning@aol.com.

GIVE MONEY: The Republicans have some of the wealthiest sources of cold hard cash, but we have the grassroots cashflow of millions of Democrats whose $50, $100 and hell $5 donations ADD UP. Contribute to Move On PAC or the Democratic National Committee.

Go to www.illinoisforkerry.com for more information about what's going on in Chicago.

MAKE SURE NO ONE CAN ACCUSE YOU OF NOT DOING EVERYTHING YOU COULD TO GET BUSH OUT OF OFFICE. The time is now. Thank you.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Self-Esteem

Scraping around in another depression triggered by my ongoing lack of a boyfriend, I saw my therapist earlier this week. We realized halfway through my session, that as depressed as I get about not being in a relationship, deep down, I don't really want to be in a relationship. I felt startled by the realization, but I had to admit that it felt right. I don't want to be in a relationship. So if I don't want to be in a relationship, what is all this angst I constantly spew about wanting to be in a relationship? I've tried so hard, sunk so much money into it, spent so much time and energy trying to find a boyfriend. What has this all been about then?

Well, big surprise: my therapist and I came back to the familiar conclusion that I have low self-esteem and believe that being in a relationship will validate me as a human being. What I've been desperately chasing for years hasn't been a relationship with a man so much as a feeling of worthiness, importance and lovability. From my early 30's until now, I've been increasingly desperate for a sense of my own self-worth.

I know this is not a big news flash and it's certainly not original or interesting, but it leads me to wonder about the difference between self-esteem and confidence. I have lots of confidence. Confidence is what gets me onstage, singing my original songs, all by myself. Confidence is what gets me on all those dates with men who usually want to see me again. Confidence is what I have as I walk down the street, head high and hips swaying, knowing I look good. Confidence doesn't go deep. I've got lots of confidence.

What I don't have is self-esteem. Low self-esteem knows that none of these dates will ever work out because I'm really not good enough for a relationship. Low self-esteem stops me from fully promoting my music because I'm not really entitled to artistic recognition, support or success. Low self-esteem knows I'll always be unhappy because that's all I know, it's what I've inherited and it's all I deserve. Low self-esteem also knows that over the last 15 years I have spent huge amounts of money, time and effort on improving my self-esteem. I've done every kind of therapy, self-help book, workshop, etc. in a relentless attempt to Believe I'm Worthy. My low self esteem tell me that if I haven't improved my self-esteem by now, I'm not going to.

I'm beginning to suspect that although I've been able to build my confidence, there's nothing I can do to change my self-esteem. I suspect self-esteem is developed in the early stages of life and you just have to live with what you have. Since the age of 23 I couldn't possibly have worked harder on improving my self-esteem, so if I still have low self-esteem (which I obviously do), I can only conclude that there's nothing I can do about it. I don't want to accept that I'm just supposed to scrape through life like this, denying myself everything I want because I don't believe I deserve it, but I don't know what else to do.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

I'm in this week's Chicago Reader!

It's on page 29 of this week's Chicago Reader (October 8, 2004): an article called "Foul-Weather Dems" by Ted McClelland. Since he shadowed me as I canvassed in Wisconsin last Saturday, I'm featured and, dammit, he wrote everything down. Unfortunately, that includes a very flip, single-chick remark I made at one point that I never expected to end up in print. You'll see it when you read it. Oops. Oh, well (I can't give you a link because the article isn't available online. You just have to go out and get your hands dirty).

I know not everyone considers himself/herself a canvasser, so I'll stop pushing the canvassing and present some other ways to support the Kerry campaign. The worst case scenario isn't Bush getting re-elected; it's Bush getting re-elected and wondering if there was more you could have done. Sleep easy knowing you ARE putting in a little extra effort to get Bush out of office:

1. The Environmental Victory Project is focusing on five swing states. Sign up to write letters to undecided voters in these five crucial states. Go to www.envirovictory.org.

2. The Rapid Response Network is running a media watch and needs writers, researchers and editors. This one lets you help out any time you have a few minutes. Great for night owls and those uncomfortable talking to strangers. Go to www.rapidresponsenetwork.org

3. Bill of Rights canvasser: hand out state-specific Voters' Bill of Rights in key neighborhoods where voting rights are at risk. Encourage voter participation on election day. Go to www.electionprotection.org

4.The Election Protection Coalition has identified Illinois as "high-risk" for voting rights violations on Election Day. They urgently need volunteers to perform on-site poll monitoring, offer voter assistance and to report evidence of problems to the same-day legal assistance Voters' Hotline. All training will be provided. Volunteers from all walks of life are needed, but especially lawyers, law students, clergy and Spanish speakers. Go to www.electionprotection.org

DON'T LET ILLINOIS BECOME ANOTHER FLORIDA.

5. How much time can you commit on Election Day?
30 minutes - be a Mystery Voter and help monitor your polling place.
90 minutes - record your precinct's final vote tally to help watch the vote count.
8 hours - help monitor precincts and survey voters in swing states.
Go to www.votewatch.us

6. Be a judge of election. A judge of election is the official responsible for the conduct of the election in the precinct polling place. Judges of election are the backbone of the electoral process. You must apply and be trained and you do get paid. Go to www.voterinfonet.com/sub/election_judges.asp

7. Spend Election Day helping to get Kerry voters to the polls in swing states like Wisconsin. Yes, this is more door-knocking. Go to www.johnkerry.com or Move On PAC (Political Action Committee).

8. See my 10/2/04 post for even more ways to volunteer.

Please choose whatever works for you and do it. Let's have fun and "Kerry" Bush OUT of the White House!

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

The Unemployment Channel, Part Two

[Refers to earlier post about a Simpson's episode in which Homer is jobless and watches tv all day, including the Channel for the Unemployed.]

Other programs that might be shown on The Unemployment Channel besides "How to Win the Lottery": "Dressing for Excess," "The Art of Check Timing," "Fasting for Fun and Discipline," "Reducing Your Rent: In-law Diplomacy," "Corporate Survivor: Sorry, Your Job's Been Outsourced" or maybe "Discharged Survivor: Life on the Street." Other ideas?

Monday, October 04, 2004

The Bush Song

This song is my current anthem. It rang in my head all day as I canvassed in Wisconsin. The band is Nice Peter and they're totally cool. Peter Shukoff, the lead singer, is my new friend.

You can listen to "The Bush Song" or watch the video!

Saturday, October 02, 2004

How I Love My Country -- And That Means YOU

I love my country and I am willing to do whatever it takes to get George Bush out of office. This is how I loved my country today:

1. Nine a.m. meeting time to catch bus -- not enough sleep.
2. Spent 90 minutes on cramped school bus to southern Milwaukee (learned proper pronunciation of "Milwaukee" does not sound the "l").
3. Painful small talk with overenthusiastic fellow canvassers.
4. Consumed diet of pizza and pop before heading out to the neighborhoods.
5. Spent 30 more scenic minutes travelling to southeastern Milwaukee (no "l").
6. Three solid hours of canvassing was actually the fun part of the day. Met about 30 mostly nice Wisconsinites (?) by knocking on their doors and asking if they'll be supporting the Democratic ticket this year. No one was rude or argumentative. Some declined to state. Some said, "No," and we were done. Others said, "Yes" and even filled out the absentee ballot application I proffered.
7. Also fun: cute reporter from the Chicago Reader was covering today's effort and chose me (me!) to walk around with and observe. Fed ego and changed world at same time (he also offered to carry my bag and coat, so fed diva ego as well).
8. Water, must have water...
9. Bathroom, must have bathroom...
10. Spent 90 more minutes in cramped school bus back to Evanston.

Ultimately I'm damn glad I did it because every absentee ballot application we got is one more Kerry vote IN THE BAG. I got seven of 'em, oh yeah, signed and everything, but even canvassers who only got one or two or three felt satisfied because those applications added up to a pile of at least a hundred and it's those kinds of numbers that can turn the !$%&-ing election. Remember this is Wisconsin, the "swingiest of the swing states," and the state that some say will determine the winner of the election.

The entire world is watching this election. Unlike other countries, the United States' policies truly affect the whole planet and they are counting on us to boot this guy out of office. This is how we start re-building the international ties that Bush has ruined. And this isn't my usual drama and hyperbole, this is real. This election is one of the most critical in U.S. history and definitely the most important one of our lifeftimes. Never before has there been such a groundswell of grassroots activity. Republican and Democrat canvassers are truly battling for every vote in a ground war bigger than most states have ever seen. We are down to ONE MONTH LEFT. How can you NOT participate? Remember: the worst thing is not Bush winning; the worst thing is Bush winning and having to wonder if your apathy influenced it.

Sleep easy knowing you ARE doing everything you can:

REGISTER TO VOTE: I will personally strike any of my Illinois friends who aren't registered to vote by Tuesday, Oct. 5th. That's IT -- no more Illinois voter registration after this Tuesday! Register, dammit. Here's a link.

SIGN UP TO RECEIVE EMAILS WITH EASY WAYS TO GET INVOLVED at www.johnkerry.com or Move On PAC (Political Action Committee).

WALK PRECINCTS IN WISCONSIN WITH ME! Contact NIKerryTravelers@yahoo.com or go to http://www.johnkerry.com/index.html and click on the "Become a Volunteer" option.

PHONEBANK: If you have a cell phone, you can help make calls to undecided voters from 3:00p to 5:00p on Sunday, Oct. 10 and Sunday, Oct. 24 in Grant Park (SE corner of Randolph & Michigan). "Sunday in the Park WITHOUT George" is organized by Democracy for Illinois and the League of Conservation Voters. RSVP here and enter 60605 as the zip code OR contact reganburke@hotmail.com, 312-943-4859 OR just show up! Bring your cell phone, a pen and a lawn chair. Rain site: Pedway under Randolph St. station entrance.

DEBATE PARTIES: Watch the second presidential debate on Friday, Oct. 8 at a Debate Party. Find one to attend or host your own Debate Party. Go to www.johnkerry.com/events/ for details. Debate/House Parties are great for getting more people to volunteer and/or donate money and/or just educate themselves on the candidates.

ELECTION DAY, Tuesday Nov 2nd: Take the day off of work. We must make sure all Kerry-supporters actually VOTE. Countless organizations are organizing efforts to get all Kerry-voters to the polls on Election Day. Go to www.johnkerry.com or Move On PAC (Political Action Committee). Dick Durning is a Chicagoan organizing people to go up to Wisconsin on Election Day. Contact him at rdurning@aol.com.

GIVE MONEY: The Republicans have some of the wealthiest sources of cold hard cash, but we have the grassroots cashflow of millions of Democrats whose $50, $100 and hell $5 donations ADD UP. Contribute to Move On PAC or the Democratic National Committee.

MAKE SURE NO ONE CAN ACCUSE YOU OF NOT DOING EVERYTHING YOU COULD TO GET BUSH OUT OF OFFICE. I love this country. YOU love this country. Let's LOVE this country back into a Democratic administration! WHO'S WITH ME?

Canvassing In WI - odd detail

I asked each resident, "Are you supporting the Democratic ticket this year?" If they said, "Yes," then I talked to them about voting absentee. Voting absentee creates a better paper trail of your vote, makes SURE your vote is counted, and gets voting out of the way in case you get busy on Election Day. It's the best way to get votes for Kerry.

But if they answered my question with, "No," I had a bizarre urge to say, "Oh...okay...well, then...do you want to make out?"

Maybe I belong on the Daily Show...