Kicking ass and taking names

We went to a convention party last Thursday and short of actually seeing the candidate in person on the campaign trail, it was one of the best things we've done this whole political season. Seriously. There were probably 50 people at this guy's house, most of whom didn't know each other (we certainly didn't know anyone), crammed in a small living room around two tiny TV sets and cheering so loud we couldn't even hear the crowd on TV when they started cheering. I don't know, there's just something about being in a room full of like-minded people who're all so focused on one goal: getting this guy elected. We are so going to kick this administration's ass in November, kick him so far out of office that he'll bounce all the way to Crawford.

Missed Sharpton's speech, though I hear it was a real barnburner. Kerry's was fantabulous, though. He's no Clinton or Obama (who, by the way, blew our socks off) or Edwards, but he didn't try to be. He's a good speaker in his own right, he has a compelling message, and this country would be well-served by him. This was what rooted me firmly in the pro-Kerry camp, versus the ABB camp. Well, I haven't been just ABB for awhile, but Kerry finally made himself my guy.

A note on Obama: have been keeping watch on him and his race ever since Kos started championing him way back in March (?) (too lazy to look it up), but this was the first I'd actually gotten to hear him speak. I'd read about what a gifted speaker he was -- that he was talented enough to take the mantle from Clinton, even -- but you always take that kind of talk with a grain of salt, 'cause it's easy to get wrapped up in the moment when your guy's on deck and think he's the best thing since, well, Clinton. But they were right. Obama's all that and a bag of chips. So now that I've already gone out on a limb and predicted an Edwards ticket in 8 years, I'm going to go further and predict an Edwards/Obama ticket. And an Obama/? ticket eight years after that...? Hmmm...maybe, just maybe, the Rethugs have managed to burn enough bridges to ensure a progressive agenda for the first quarter this century. Which would be the only good thing those bastards have done in the last four years (or more).

Anyway, back to the convention party. Had lots of fun and some great discussion with all kinds of people. Stood next to a guy during the speech who was all about the snark, and he was good at it, too. And next to him, a nice older lady who volunteers for the Kerry phone banks once a week and cheered for all the environment and education stuff. Met a Kerry campaign representative who did a good job recruiting and encouraging people to do more of these house parties. (And in fact, we'll be doing at least one, we've decided. Possibly for one of the debates, if we can swing it. Also one on election night, depending. I'll post news about it here so stay tuned.) Visited with a couple who voted Nader last time and learned their lesson. Later, got into quite a discussion with a lovely lady originally from Pakistan and a guy who declared himself a Marxist. Talking with him was fine, though he wasn't very well-informed on the issues he brought up and didn't have a lot of in depth knowledge, so it was more debate skill exercise. Still, always worthwhile to hear a different point of view.

It was actually the lady from Pakistan that I was trying to talk to. I wanted to know her perspective on this whole thing -- the election, the American media, American politics in general, and of course, the current Administration. She'd originally been in Canada for awhile until the company she worked for transferred her to the states, so she also had an additional perspective (especially on the media) that I found quite interesting. In fact, I could probably write a very long post about some of the things we talked about if I had the time. But the thing that struck me about her, though, was that here's this foreign national who won't be able to vote in the upcoming election and yet, she came alone to a house party to celebrate the convention speech of the Democratic candidate (something most people weren't even watching, let alone celebrating), knew no one, yet sweated and cheered along with the rest of us who actually can vote. That's how much this election matters.

Our host was a guy named Zach, who's starting a great new website called 99percent.org. The idea behind this is that most people have too much going on in their lives to do a lot of political activism but they really want to be involved. So rather than leave them with a choice of all or nothing, Zach's idea is to give people easy things they can do to help out. Sign up on a website like MoveOn. Donate $10 to johnkerry.com. Put a bumpersticker on your car and pass them out to your friends/neighbors. Tune in to AirAmerica. Host a house party. Read a book or watch a movie (he even provides a handy list of reading/viewing material to check out). It's a really inspired idea to get people involved. By understanding that people want to do something, even something small, we give everyone a chance to make a real difference because I've said it before and I'll say it again: together, we are mighty*.

*That's from Firefly, by the way, which, if you haven't heard of it...well, get thee to any one of a hundred sites (mine is a good place to start; you'll find links to other sites from there) and then go buy the DVDs. I'm not kidding. I mean it...GO!

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