Herrrroooooo, Nevada!

October 31, 2004

It's not so much a gamble, really. The donkeys always benefit from high voter turnout. Just that one little fact makes me so frustrated. Why is it such a struggle, election after election, to get that demographic to the polls whose lives are most vulnerable to the vicissitudes of office-holding, and whose votes have the power to swing worse to bad and back again? This is a sleeping dragon that never wakes, and only occasionally switches its tail at a particularly irritating fly. Let's hope Bush is sufficiently irritating.

Back to the happy: the brilliant young 'uns today who have been roused by our near-fascist regime to organize in new and brilliant ways have shown those of us with small political imaginations that we don't have to sit around in our solidly blue states, in our lefty towns, twiddling our thumbs and dreaming of a Californian secession. We can actually (legally!) cross state lines and talk to those people in swing states we're so disconnnected from and (in my case) so afraid of. There's a swing state within a five hour drive or a three hour flight of almost anywhere in the continental United States. So think about calling in sick on Tuesday, and spending the day fighting the good fight. Maybe you'll feel less helpless. I know I do, and I'm not even there yet.

This week I'm volunteering with a group called Driving Votes, who still need lotsa cars and drivers to go to swing states on Monday and Tuesday to drive people to the polls. The org is focusing on Portland, Oregon; Reno; Las Vegas; Albuquerque; Kansas City; Madison; Cleveland; Youngstown, Ohio; Martinsburg, West Virginia; Philadelphia; Manchester, New Hampshire; and Orlando. Check 'em out tonight, they're still taking volunteers!

If you wanna get with the program APA-stylee, check out the coalition of APAs for Kerry who are also organizing volunteer groups to go to swing states. Their target states are Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida. You don't have to be for Kerry to work with a partisan group, since all these groups are doing is GETTING OUT THE VOTE. Plus, you'll be with your homepersons.

If you need extra incentive to get your booty swingin' (or swing statin'), just think on this: in an election as close as this one could be, the tiny voting percentage of new, immigrant voters, who don't vote predictably or in a bloc, could make all the difference. No matter what your party affiliation, getting those new voters to the polls, and getting them in the habit both of voting and of giving their loyalty (or not) to a particular party, can mean planting the grass root for an ethnic or demographic voting bloc that can be swung next time, or the time after that.

And if that's not enough, new voters, especially immigrants, are particularly vulnerable to intimidation from volunteers the elephants are organizing to go to the polls and challenge new voters. Your presence at the polls could be the difference between a new citizen voting, and a new citizen being scared away from the polls, possibly forever. What can you do about it? E-Z, Sneezy. If you're a lawyer or a law student especially, but even if you're not, volunteer on election day to go to vulnerable polling places and monitor the polls. You'll be a resource to vulnerable voters and you'll get the warm fuzzies as well. By the way, the other danger, i.e. Florida 2000-style shenanigans, has already reared its Texan head. I didn't know the extent of the shenanigans until recently, but there's plenty of independent online press about it now, so have a look.

In closing: while I love all the little DIY efforts to mock Bush and support voters, what is up with filmmaker Timothy Bui and his cohorts' website selling t-shirts against Bush? The logo reads "No Bush! We like it shaved" and features the silhouette of a naked woman pumping her fist in the air. The website includes a photo page dedicated mostly to women striking sexy poses in the too-tight t-shirts, showing off their breasts, licking lollipops and, in one instance, stroking the crotch of one of the tough hipster-looking guys. "The red star represents a movement that is spreading in all directions and the female pumping her fist into the sky symbolizes power to the people. The slogan, well... that speaks for itself," reads the site's only comment on the proceedings. The female what pumping her fist into the air? My people call female humans "women." If this site is intended to get that all-important Hooters demographic to the polls, well ... more power to ya, I guess. I just tend to get a little scrunchy when bad writers locate the problem of neo-conservatism in my pubic hair. But that's just me.