80,000 people--the largest crowd ever, for anything--cheer Kerry and the Boss in Madison, Wisconsin.
Springsteen ticked off a long list of the things that matter: economic justice, a living wage, a "sane and responsible foreign policy," civil rights, and "the protection and safeguarding of our precious democracy here at home." He said: "I believe that John Kerry honors these ideals. He has lived our history over the past 60 years, and he has formed an adult view of America and its people. "
Quietly strumming his guitar as he spoke, Springsteen said Kerry understands that people are not infallible, that struggle and heartbreak are an inevitable part of the human experience. "That's why we need each other," he said. "That's why 'United We Stand' . . . and 'one nation indivisible' aren't just slogans. They need to remain the guiding principles of our public life."
Springsteen called on the country to face "America's hard truths, both the good and the bad." "That's where we find a deeper patriotism, that's where we find a more complete view of who we are. That's where we find a more authentic experience as citizens, and that's where we find the power . . . to make our world a better and a safer place."
As the huge crowd grew quiet, Springsteen quoted the late Sen. Paul Wellstone -- "The future is for the passionate" -- and he said the time to act is now. "That's why I'm here today to stand alongside Sen. Kerry and to tell you that the country we carry in our hearts is waiting."
I stole this from Theresa.
Below is an excerpt of an entry in the Oregon voters guide. Voters have the opportunity to publish entries discussing ballot measures. Measure 36 is Oregon's stab at preventing gays from marrying.
I'll post an excerpt, but click the link because there is more.
Argument in Favor
Traditional values are under attack, and sexual perverts are attempting to strain the definition of marriage far beyond what God has ordained. The Word of the Lord must be legislated as Oregon public policy.
In the Holy Bible, Saint Paul says that Christians should remain single and abstain from sex. The New Testament says that people should get married only if they are too weak-willed to abstain from sex:
"It is well for a man not to touch a woman…. It is well … to remain single as I do. But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to be aflame with passion." (I Corinthians 7:1, 8-9)
Marriage is not sacred. Marriage is for wimps and sissies!
Oregon public policy should define marriage in accordance with divinely inspired Scripture. Therefore, marriage licenses should be granted only to those persons who have been certified by professional psychiatric examination to be too weak-willed to abstain from sex.
Oh, by the way, although Jesus never said a single word condemning homosexuality, if heterosexuals can't get married, homosexuals shouldn't be allowed to marry either—well, unless they're too weak-willed to abstain. Sissies!
The sissy institution of marriage must not be perverted by sinners who are capable of abstaining! The sacred union of church and state must prohibit the immoral union of men and women capable of the discipline of sexual abstinence. We are not saved by either faith or good works. We are saved by religious-right legislation!
Freedom of religion and equal treatment under law is simply the special right to sin, because our tradition is the one and only truth! And our tradition (that is, our personal moral opinions) should become law.
AGREE WITH US OR BURN IN HELL!
(This information furnished by M. Dennis Moore, Traditional Prejudices Coalition.)
60,000 absentee ballots from (heavily Democratic) Broward County have gone missing. Voters who requested absentee ballots are not permitted to vote at the polls unless they have their absentee ballots in hand, so that the absentee ballots can be destroyed (thereby preventing a double vote.)
So, 60,000 Broward Countians who wished to vote will not be permitted to. Past results indicate that two-thirds of them would have likely voted for Kerry. Let's see, two-thirds of 60,000 is 40,000...the margin Bush "won" Florida by in 2000 was officially 537...what does all of that indicate...
Oh, right, we are fucked in Florida. It's so weird that the POTUS' brother is governor there! And all of these weird things keep happening to Democratic votes! Quelle coincidence!
Broward County officials blamed the U.S. Postal Service
Tuesday for misplacing nearly half of the absentee ballots requested in the county, as frustrated voters trying to find out what happened overwhelmed phone lines at the elections office.
The Broward County Supervisor of Elections Office on Tuesday pointed a finger at the U.S. Postal Service on Tuesday for nearly 60,000 missing absentee ballots, but took the blame for having a phone system that was being overwhelmed by calls from frustrated voters. While the post office denied responsibility for the missing ballots, Broward County commissioners, anxious to void another failed election, offered to send county employees to help with the phones.
Someone is calling Ohioans and telling them that their polling place has changed, directing them to the wrong precinct (and Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell has ruled that provisional ballots, i.e. those cast at a polling place other than your own for any reason, will be disallowed. Even though they've always been okey-dokey before.)
Let's see, with 250% more Democratic new registrations, 25% more new Republican regsitrations, 250,000 jobs lost under a Republican administration...who could be behind this? The mind boggles.
The caller interrupting a North Side couple’s dinner earlier this week said he was from the Franklin County Board of Elections.
He told the elderly woman that her voting site had changed and that on Nov. 2 she and her husband should cast their ballots at a South Side precinct. The caller even left the phone number of the board.
Her husband, who didn’t want their names published out of fear of retribution, called the board, sat through a long menu of automated options and finally spoke with an employee.
"They said there was no way in the world they would make such a call," he said. "I think it’s hankypanky and somebody in the election is trying to kill some votes."
At no time, Elections Director Matthew Damschroder said, does the board call voters.
"The only communication from the board of elections is printed on official board of elections paper with the logo," he said.
"If they’re saying they’re the board of elections, that’s a violation of the law. My recommendation to them would be to cease and desist."
His office has received about a dozen calls since last week from voters checking on similar calls.
Damschroder said there are two scams: The caller tells voters their precincts have changed or the caller offers to pick up an absentee-ballot application, deliver the ballot to the voter and return the completed ballot to the elections office.
By law, the elections board mails absentee ballots and the only deliveries are made to voters in nursing homes by both a Republican and Democratic elections worker. The only person who can return an absentee ballot, besides the voter, is an immediate family member.
"People are calling saying, ‘I got a call last night when I was watching Oprah from this group,’ " Damschroder said. "By law, the board of elections does not give anybody a ballot to deliver."
Carlo LoParo, spokesman for Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell, said he hadn’t heard about the scams. But he said he was glad to hear that voters who had received calls reported them to the elections board.
"Election fraud, voter intimidation or providing voters with wrong information is unacceptable," he said. "Anyone engaging in this activity will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
"Anyone contemplating this type of malicious activity should think twice."
All county boards of elections already had planned to send cards informing voters of their voting precinct, Damschroder said, a move that could combat some of these calls.
"The cards will be dropped (in the mail) next Monday for delivery Wednesday," he said.
I have no statistics, but it seems like Ohio was vastly overrepresented among early 90's Jerry Springer guests. I know this because we had no cable and that show was always on, and every time Jerry said "Tammy is an Ohio woman with six kids by five different men, and one of the men is her father! Today she tells everyone live on national TV!", my roommates all said "Ha ha! Ohio!"
But I love Ohio, even if I can't imagine living there any more. When I imagine myself in the future, I'm always there, picking apples and attending craft bazaars with the women of my family. My Republican family. But I love them! And isn't that true bi-partisanship, for a raving pinko like me to say that there are many, many Republicans who I love, even if I love them a little less for a while every four years?
I have three horses in this year's election race.
One, I want Bush to lose because he's a greedy, stupid liar and he's done almost irreparable harm to this country, at home and abroad. That whole war for profit (and no other reason) thing has really stuck in my craw. I want him to lose so much that I sometimes convince myself that I love the Democrats as much as I hate the Republicans (family and some friends excepted.) This is not true. (See number 3.)
Two, I want Ohio's electoral votes to go for Kerry in the worst way. It's like a test you devise in the early stages of love: If he likes me, he will turn around and wave. I need more from Ohio than fantastic apples and sweet corn if I can ever move home again. I need some sign that we are compatible. I can't stand to think that all of the people who have lost their jobs and who are so much worse off than they were five years ago are going to fall for Republican lies about Kerry taking away their guns and Bibles the day after inauguration, and vote against a change that we so desperately need. Oooohhh, how I want Bush to lose. Have I mentioned that? I can't live in a state that is more Republican than not. I certainly can't have my hypothetical future children (HFCs) living in one, and the HFCs are the heart of the "next year, in Ohio" plan.
Three, I'm a liberal. A leftist. A tree-hugging idealist. I don't cringe when people call me a feminist, because I am, or say that some of my ideas smack of socialism, because I'm down with my socialist impulses. Up national healthcare! Increase entitlements! I don't think it's fair that I pay more taxes because I'm single, but I wouldn't mind paying at this rate for a better society; better schools, better housing, better healthcare, better services for kids. Six weeks of paid vacation, a year's maternity leave--sign me up. Plain, unqualified equal rights for everyone.
Which brings me to my next point. As I've been watching Ohio's poll numbers fluctuate, and kicking myself for voting in DC where it doesn't even count, a little thing called "Issue 1" slipped right by me.
Issue 1 is a measure on the ballot in Ohio to ban gay marriage and prevent the state from conferring any benefits on same sex partners. It's the strictest measure of its kind proposed in any state. These proposed ballot measures are part of a Republican strategy across the country to drive up the conservative vote (apparently Bush and Cheney aren't sexy enough to do it on their own).
Here are some excerpts from an article I read in Salon. Among other things, it states that support for Issue 1 is running at 60%. That is disgusting. I'm learning to temper my judgment of other people's politics as I get older, but I have always maintained that anyone who supports any limitations on the rights of gays to live exactly like everyone else in this country does is purely a bigot. Those who oppose gay marriage will be remembered with the same embarrassed disdain as those who opposed civil rights for black people are remembered now. It's the same issue. The fact that these ballot initiatives even exist is shameful and horrifying. It's a big reason why I can't get too excited about Kerry/Edwards, even though I fervently hope that they win in a landslide. They're refusal to support gay marriage, and to be shocked and offended that anyone wouldn't, is deeply disappointing to me.
I had a good weekend in OH. One major drawback was trying to listen to the debates while driving through the mountains on the way there. Do people in mountain communities not have radios yet? I can't see what good the radios would do, actually, since there's no reception for 100 miles. I had no idea that people in Maryland were still living in such primitive conditions. Think they know about TV?
Anyway, my sister broke the one rule she has never wavered on so that we could listen to (metallic, echoing, static, mumbled fragments of) the debate: we listened on a.m. B. has always observed a strict ban on all a.m. radio, because talk radio makes her carsick. (This is a lie; she just hates talk radio. But it's a lie that she's always stood by, which makes it almost true, like WMDs in Iraq). Anyway, the debate sounded like a draw to me. I was surprised that anyone thought it was a landslide, either way. Kerry had a slight edge, I thought, but he'll need to step it up before the final debate. Also, it's much easier to listen to the debate when there's no chance of glimpsing Bush. It was still nerve-wracking, but I didn't feel really ill, like I did during the first debate, or the v.p. debate when I was watching in my living room. I never, ever want to see Dick Cheney's face in my living room.
Anyway, I was really heartened by all of the Kerry/Edwards signs in my hometown. I think it was about 60% Kerry, 40% Bush, which is the opposite of what I anticipated. As I've said before, I may be more upset if Bush wins Ohio than I will be if he wins the election. Things in my hometown are grim, and more factories are closing all the time. But people are outraged at some of the tactics used by the Secretary of State, a guy called Blackwell. He's been doing everything he can to depress the Democrat vote; trying to outlaw new registrations because they're not printed on the right paper, banning provisional ballots, etc. It's craziness.
Anyway, the whole weekend made me a little homesick. This is normal for autumn; I'm always homesick then because you just can't get good apples in DC. But this time I had a new revelation.
We spent some time with my uncle and his partner and their friends. They all live in Athens, Ohio, home of Ohio University. It's a beautiful part of the country, and OU is the only other school I applied for besides GW. I got in, too, and by rights I should have gone there. It was affordable, that's where most of the college-bound from my graduating class went, etc. This weekend, I thought for the first time how well I would have fit in in Athens. If I'd gone to OU, I'd probably still be there, wearing comfortable shoes a good 90% of the time (this is the most attractive thing about the hippie lifestyle, by a wide margin.) If I ever decide to move back to Ohio, which is forever an option, maybe it will be to Athens. Just far enough away from my own family, liberal, artsy, cheap...plus I have enough family there to get invited to a dinner party once in a while and maybe get a job. It's an intriguing prospect. I'll price clogs this week.
It's official; the debate party is on. It's going to be fun, with quizzes and prizes and food that I buy with my heard-earned money. Any of my DC readers who are interested, email me for details. I even have a pretty flyer that I'll send you.