Make a plan and VOTE on Nov. 8

Friends,

We’re in the last few days of this election. At this point, most folks will know who I’ve voted for and who I support.

But that doesn’t really matter. What matters is that you make a plan and make sure you vote on or by November 8. If you haven’t turned in your vote-by-mail ballot, make sure you do so, or make a plan to drop it off at a polling place on election day. If you’re voting in person, make a plan as to how you’ll get to the polls on Tuesday. If your state still has early voting this weekend, go for it and bring your friends.

If you’re in Santa Clara county, polls open at 7 am and close at 8 pm. If you’re in line before 8 pm, you’ll still be able to vote.

Know your rights at the polls! If you are harassed, or if someone is looming over you or trying to look over your shoulder, let the election officials know! If you’re an election officer, don’t let anyone try to intimidate your voters!

Overall, let’s take a deep breath and get this over with so we can move forward.

Samhain Thoughts: A Conversation with Jesus

“No, no…pleases don’t fall asleep! I’d like to have this conversation.” He said, as I was typing in my bed. I was tempted to nap right then, but I did want to write. I turned on my Hated Bands playlist and invited Him to have a seat.

He laughed. “It’s easy for people to hate what they don’t understand, isn’t it?”

I nodded. “Definitely. Or to think someone is evil because they like something you don’t.”

He gave me that look.

“Okay, Okay! Guilty. But, seriously, how can people like Trump and say they believe in You? How can they say they believe in You, when they are generally being discriminatory, racist, white supremacist, homophobic, transphobic and more? I mean, people really believe that they need to take up weapons to fight these things in Your name!”

He grinned, but His eyes were sad.

“My words have become Rome. They are not what I taught then, but I can’t help what My words and My actions became. Humanity has used what I’ve taught for their own ends. There is only so much I can do as an Ancestor and Deity. You all have to own your own mistakes and find the compassion to forgive them…eventually. Humans are good at torturing themselves and hurting themselves. You should know that by now.”

I nodded. “Yes, we tend to do ourselves in quite handily.”

We sat in silence for a bit.

“There is hope, though.” he said.

“Is there?”

“Oh yes! It’s in your art and film. There are stories of humanity’s great awakening by more than one author. There is, somewhere in the human psyche, a need to believe that some day we’ll move past our hatred and violence, or at least make it so that the violence and oppression are unacceptable and that learning, art, music, compassion, love are normal instead of the exception.”

I nodded. Yes, we have a lot of that, and a lot of the art I consume is of that. “But we’re far from that place,” I said.

“Yes, that’s true. It’s like any wound: you have to go through a lot of pain and discomfort until it goes away. The unfortunate thing is that you were born in the middle of the pain, so it seems like things will never get better.”

“Really? You mean it will get better?”

He smiled sadly. “Eventually.”

That didn’t really inspire hope, but I have always had at least a little in my heart.

“That’s the spirit!” He said, as he stood up to leave. “I have hope that you will continue to spread the teachings of love and hope. It doesn’t even have to be in My name. I’ll tell you a secret: My hope was always to make people see others as human beings, to see themselves in others. It was never any more than that, really. The religion isn’t important, but that is.”

He left the room while “Sympathy for the Devil” was playing…

Why You, Yes You, Should Still Vote #millennials #genX #geny #progressives

Before I head out to the east coast for a nice weekend with family, I am directing you to this Medium piece by Michael Arnovitz called “Thinking about Hillary — A Follow-up” which makes some excellent points. The first set of points it makes is about the sexist, misogynistic crap that Hillary gets just because she’s a woman running for office. I’m not going to really go on about that, since I’ve already made that point in many venues, and frankly, I’m kind of tired of pointing it out.

But the other thing that Arnovitz talks about is the young vote:

“You know those old people you like to make fun of? The conservative, tea-party seniors who watch Fox News 24 hours a day and say crazy, racist shit at Thanksgiving dinner? Quick note on them: they vote. They always vote. They vote like it’s a goddamn religion. Meanwhile, the vast majority of people in your age group couldn’t find a voting booth with a state-of-the-art GPS stuffed up their ass. Take a look at the graph above again. See the information on the right? It was put together in 2014 by the Pew Research Center. At the bottom of all of those bars you’ll see a segment called “Bystanders.” This refers to people “On the sidelines of the political process who are not registered to vote and pay very little attention to politics.” With seniors that segment is at only 3%. In your age group that same segment skyrockets to nearly 20%. Do you see a pattern developing here?

I realize that it’s difficult to appreciate the value of historical perspective when you’re too young to actually have any. But you know who does have a little historical perspective? Seniors. And maybe that’s one of the reasons they are so serious about voting. Because unlike you, they’ve been around long enough to know that voting booths are the place where shiny new political movements go to die. And maybe they also know that rallies with twenty or thirty thousand people may seem amazing and powerful while you are at them, but voting is the real difference between a large political movement and a large political circle-jerk.

And in regard to so much of the attitude I’m seeing — No matter how much we plead for you to get involved and no matter how fiercely you are courted by politicians, the majority of you steadfastly refuse to express any interest in voting. And yet somehow there is no end to your bitter and entitled disappointment with the American electoral system. Really, it’s like watching a bunch of vegans bitch about how pork doesn’t taste as good as it used to. And quite frankly, it takes a particularly special pair of stones to vote this badly and then have the fucking gall to claim that your vote was suppressed. So here’s your free wake-up call from Uncle Mike: nobody needs to go to the bother of suppressing your vote. You’re doing that just fine on your own. Quite frankly, all anyone who’s worried about the “youth vote” needs to do is let you be you.

History, as the saying goes, is made by those who show up.

You don’t.

I bolded the important bits for you.

I think this is equally true for the progressive vote. There are so many people in the progressive movement who are quite willing to bitch about the system, and yet they won’t vote, especially in off years. Nor will they consider running for office. That is just a shame. I mean, we’ve just seen with Brexit the importance of voting, and yet people just give up on voting because they think that it doesn’t count.

But if the people you don’t want making the decisions about this country are showing up to vote and you aren’t, then well, we get what we have now.

Yes, some states have crap election rules right now, so now is the time to help each other get to the polls, or get an absentee ballot, or vote by mail, especially if there isn’t a “time off to vote” law in your state. Help people get their IDs so that they can vote. Drive them to the polls.

But seriously, vote. I don’t really give a shit if you like Hillary or not. I don’t really care if you decide not to vote for president at all, but there are other elections that are down-ticket that are just as important, if not more important.

THE ENTIRE HOUSE AND 1/3 OF THE SENATE IS UP FOR GRABS. IF YOU DON’T WANT THE SAME CONGRESS AS WE’VE HAD THE LAST 8 YEARS, THEN GET OFF YOUR ASS AND VOTE!!

Show up and change history. I will.

Why You, Yes You, Should Still Vote #millennials #genX #geny #progressives

Before I head out to the east coast for a nice weekend with family, I am directing you to this Medium piece by Michael Arnovitz called “Thinking about Hillary — A Follow-up” which makes some excellent points. The first set of points it makes is about the sexist, misogynistic crap that Hillary gets just because she’s a woman running for office. I’m not going to really go on about that, since I’ve already made that point in many venues, and frankly, I’m kind of tired of pointing it out.

But the other thing that Arnovitz talks about is the young vote:

“You know those old people you like to make fun of? The conservative, tea-party seniors who watch Fox News 24 hours a day and say crazy, racist shit at Thanksgiving dinner? Quick note on them: they vote. They always vote. They vote like it’s a goddamn religion. Meanwhile, the vast majority of people in your age group couldn’t find a voting booth with a state-of-the-art GPS stuffed up their ass. Take a look at the graph above again. See the information on the right? It was put together in 2014 by the Pew Research Center. At the bottom of all of those bars you’ll see a segment called “Bystanders.” This refers to people “On the sidelines of the political process who are not registered to vote and pay very little attention to politics.” With seniors that segment is at only 3%. In your age group that same segment skyrockets to nearly 20%. Do you see a pattern developing here?

I realize that it’s difficult to appreciate the value of historical perspective when you’re too young to actually have any. But you know who does have a little historical perspective? Seniors. And maybe that’s one of the reasons they are so serious about voting. Because unlike you, they’ve been around long enough to know that voting booths are the place where shiny new political movements go to die. And maybe they also know that rallies with twenty or thirty thousand people may seem amazing and powerful while you are at them, but voting is the real difference between a large political movement and a large political circle-jerk.

And in regard to so much of the attitude I’m seeing — No matter how much we plead for you to get involved and no matter how fiercely you are courted by politicians, the majority of you steadfastly refuse to express any interest in voting. And yet somehow there is no end to your bitter and entitled disappointment with the American electoral system. Really, it’s like watching a bunch of vegans bitch about how pork doesn’t taste as good as it used to. And quite frankly, it takes a particularly special pair of stones to vote this badly and then have the fucking gall to claim that your vote was suppressed. So here’s your free wake-up call from Uncle Mike: nobody needs to go to the bother of suppressing your vote. You’re doing that just fine on your own. Quite frankly, all anyone who’s worried about the “youth vote” needs to do is let you be you.

History, as the saying goes, is made by those who show up.

You don’t.

I bolded the important bits for you.

I think this is equally true for the progressive vote. There are so many people in the progressive movement who are quite willing to bitch about the system, and yet they won’t vote, especially in off years. Nor will they consider running for office. That is just a shame. I mean, we’ve just seen with Brexit the importance of voting, and yet people just give up on voting because they think that it doesn’t count.

But if the people you don’t want making the decisions about this country are showing up to vote and you aren’t, then well, we get what we have now.

Yes, some states have crap election rules right now, so now is the time to help each other get to the polls, or get an absentee ballot, or vote by mail, especially if there isn’t a “time off to vote” law in your state. Help people get their IDs so that they can vote. Drive them to the polls.

But seriously, vote. I don’t really give a shit if you like Hillary or not. I don’t really care if you decide not to vote for president at all, but there are other elections that are down-ticket that are just as important, if not more important.

THE ENTIRE HOUSE AND 1/3 OF THE SENATE IS UP FOR GRABS. IF YOU DON’T WANT THE SAME CONGRESS AS WE’VE HAD THE LAST 8 YEARS, THEN GET OFF YOUR ASS AND VOTE!!

Show up and change history. I will.

This Is Where We Are Now

The world is a very weird place right now. This morning I woke up to my British friends, and my British wife, angry and freaking out about their country. I don’t blame them. They woke up this morning to see just how far bigotry and xenophobia is entrenched in their country. What’s hard for me is that I try to be hopeful, and in this…

It’s hard to find hope when we’re facing a similar situation here.

I’m not talking about the leaving the EU part of the equation here, but the bigotry and xenophobia part. I keep thinking about whether I’m going to wake up on November 9th either having to make plans to leave the country for my wife’s safety, or will I be able to breathe a sigh of relief? Will I have to worry about those we’d have to leave behind being killed because they’re queer and/or people of color?

I’m not joking. This is something we’ve discussed in the event of a Trump presidency. The legislated xenophobia won’t happen right away, but it will happen. Trump is endorsed by the KKK, anti-LGBT evangelicals, and other radical Christianist and nationalist groups. I don’t doubt that if Trump held the presidency, many of these groups will take it as a sign that their godly mandate is approved. Before we know it, we’ll be seeing people saying, “OMG! I voted for Trump, but I didn’t expect THIS!” while people of color, LGBTQA are either deported or shot.

What’s harder is that I have family members who support Trump who don’t see the implications of Trump’s bigotry and xenophobia. Which is the same bigotry and xenophobia that was behind the Brexit vote. Seriously, my wife and I have had to discuss a Plan B in the event of a Trump presidency for our personal safety.

Think about that before you pull the Trump lever on November 8th.

 

I’m tired of politics, but I’ll still vote. #decision2016

There’s seven months left in this election cycle. Seven very long months of conventions, debates, and political ads. There’s never ending political reports and news outlets trying to get the biggest ratings, with very few sources of news that doesn’t have an agenda.

I know I’m kind of done with all of this and I still haven’t had my primary (which is in June here in California). It’s hard to listen to the bluster of the presidential candidates and not think that we’re just all screwed. That no matter what happens in November, things are still going to suck.

Heck, I’m even having a hard time writing this post because I’m tired of politics.

But here’s the thing: no matter how tired I get with politics, I’m still going to vote. Every election. Every time. Even in the off years. I even set it up so I’m permanent vote-by-mail so that I don’t forget (thank you California!). Sure, sometimes I won’t know who the local candidates are (and that’s usually when I vote by party), but I’ll still vote.

I’m mostly speaking to those of my generation and younger here (Gen X, Gen Y, Millennials). I know you’re tired and you think there’s nothing you can do, but trust me, if you all vote, the demographics will start to shift. The US has an abysmal voter turnout all the time, especially among younger people. Only 65% of folks who are eligible to vote actually register to vote, and of that only just over 50% of people who are registered actually vote. Think about this. According to the US Census, there are about 322 Million people in the US, about 80% of which are over 18 and eligible to vote. So, that’s about 258 million people that could register and cast a vote (theoretically). Only about 167 million actually register to vote, and only about 88 million who actually vote. That’s less than 30% of our population making decisions for 322 million people.

There’s a lot more to an election than just the president, house, senate, and governors. There’s local elections (mayor, state reps, etc), propositions, school boards, judges, sheriffs, city councils, and so on. These are the positions that impact your day to day life much more than the national elections. The unconstitutional and stupid bathroom panic bill in North Carolina is a bill that has immediate effect on the lives of transgender people particularly. That wasn’t a national body that passed that bill, it was a state legislature.

Thing is, by voting, you have the power to help fix it. You may not think that your vote counts, but it does. A lot of the more local politics are determined by smaller voter margins. There are many examples to Google about local races decided by 10 or less votes. And, if you have the will and drive to do so, run for office. If you don’t like what’s going on, and you feel you can do it, be part of the solution to help fix it.

I’m a pastor, so I’ll never tell you who to vote for, but I will tell you to get out there and vote. Get registered. If you need help figuring things out, send me an email and I’ll help you. Look it up online, since most states have online voter registration. If you’re in a state that has those stupid voter id laws, get your id and make sure it’s all squared away. Help your friends get theirs. Help folks get to the polls. Carpool. Bring snacks to those waiting in line. Bring snacks for the poll workers. If you can’t get there because of work, try and go during your lunch hour. In most states, employers are required to give you time off to vote. If you don’t think you can make it to the polls on election day or if you’re not going to be in your home state, find out how to do vote by mail or absentee voting.

I know you’re tired of it all and freaked out by the choices, but we still need your voice. Please register to vote and then vote, any way you can. Believe me, it’s really important.