42 days left: Are you registered to vote?

No, really – are you?  Have you moved/ changed names/ decided to stop voting in your hometown by absentee ballot but haven’t done anything to move this forward yet?

Better safe than locked out of a crucial national election because you fall into this overlap (courtesy of Change.org):

Join voters across the country today for the first ever National Voter Registration Day to make sure that by the time the day is over, you are on your way to be registered to vote – including knowing where you actually need to go to cast your ballot.

And while you’re at it, maybe bug your friends and family too – the number of people who think they’re all set but who actually need to take a few more steps to vote is staggering, and could lead to heartbreaking results when the polls close on November 6.  Just send them a nice note today saying “Hey there!  I know you care about this election – time to make sure you can vote before registration deadlines close!”

The world will thank you later.

Greatest political ad ever?

As we get into the part of the election cycle where all the ads are recycled – and frankly, all a bit depressing and pessimistic – something this awesome shines like a beacon of truthiness.  It’s a symbol of why we vote in the first place and how important it is to know what’s at stake, rather than just checking a box and voting the party line.  There could be some good candidates you miss!

More information about how this awesome ad came to be here.

Women and public service, on a scale of awesome

Cool: A new State Department initiative to support women in public service.

Cooler: The fact that Mount Holyoke College is part of this new program, and is going to serve as a world leader getting women involved in – and recognized for – public service.

Coolest: The fact that my dear friend Priti Rao is one of their success stories already!

Go Priti, go Mount Holyoke, go women kicking butt and making the world a better place, one public service position at a time!  Check out the Women in Public Service Project to see what great things they have in store for the future.

You go, girl

You know that person who is so smart, so great, who just gets it – it being the change we need in this state/country/world?  The one who has no hidden agenda, who has no legacy to uphold, who is just a good person even before becoming a politician?

She just announced that she’s running for Senate.

I’ve been a huge fan of Elizabeth Warren since she thought of the idea of the CFPB (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau) around which my last job was centered.  In the fight for financial reform, she perfectly melded the arguments of economics and the middle class family, and presented the problem – mortgages that are allowed to “burn your house down” while toasters get super strict regulations – and the solution – oversight much? – in a way that we could act on.  And when we did finally create the CFPB, we were both there to celebrate.

I am so excited that I’ll get to support Elizabeth Warren in her Senate bid.  We could use more people like her in Washington.

PS: Anyone who feels the same way is welcome to come crash on our couch a night or two in return for some days of canvassing!

PPS: “The ragged edge of the middle class” is my new favorite phrase of the day.  Check it out.

Music “Monday”: Yes We Can

In honor of a great orator and public servant, Martin Luther King, Jr., I bring you this video about a leader in our own time.

Every time I watch this video, it reminds me of the importance of this moment in history.  These words, and the actions that match them, give me the feeling that this is our moment, our time to change the world.  I am glad to be a part of that solution, that change.

My great-grandmother used to say that she was there when MLK delivered his “I have a dream” speech.  It seems a bit unlikely, though she was definitely an active supporter of the civil rights movement.  Even knowing that there are zero pictures that support this claim, I think what she was really trying to say was that she was a part of that idea that changed the country.  And I think she would be glad to see the result of that dream, and the way our generation made it a reality.  Let’s keep her proud.

Ingredients for Roadtrip Success

In order to evaluate any roadtrip (or trip in general), you must see if certain criteria have been met:

  • Did you get lost at any point and laugh as you found your way back to humanity?
  • Did you eat at least two meals in the car and another in a parking lot/rest stop?
  • Did you get scurvy from eating only white carbs for 72 hours straight?
  • Did you sing to a rocking 90s music and argue over the contents of one such playlist?
  • Did you use public buildings and campaign headquarters as pit stops?
  • Did you have conversations about life, the universe, and the validity of KFC’s Double Down sandwich?
  • Did you pull a quick u-turn when you saw a giant native American statue on the side of the road?

Oh yeah we did, and how!  (Get it?)

I still think that if P and I are going to make a career of campaigning cross country, we need a better GPS, a cooler full of fruits with vitamin C, stronger bladders, and a car that I am allowed to help drive.  But we survived this trip and are still best buds, so I have faith in us.  Watch out world, we’ll be on your road sometime in the (distant) future!

Votes for Women

Two tanks of gas, seven campaign stops (not counting the victory parties) and nine collective coffees later, the election is over and my roadtrip with P has come to an end.

In the end, we had some wins and some losses.  P’s organization had an 85% success rate overall, but a lot of the races that we didn’t win were either really close or really close to impossible, given the anti-incumbent political climate.  Regardless of the final outcome, it was great to be back on the campaign trail and getting my hands dirty with direct political action.  Call me crazy, but I love canvassing even more than phone banking, and phone banking even more than holding signs (not least of all because the first and last activities are outside but only one gives you the ability to run around and keep your toes from freezing!).  I love talking to voters, waving at cars, and leaving cheery reminder messages on answering machines around the state.

At the end of the day, I am optimistic about the future of women in politics, though I am disappointed by the results across the country and especially in my home state of NH, where only our gov kept his post.  I am glad that this election had such high voter turnout, but I don’t think the right information got to voters, in the end.  I think that in the Stewart vs. Colbert sense, fear triumphed over sanity.  But that’s democracy; I just hope we can still get things accomplished in the next few years because that’s what we elected these people to do: to govern, not to sit around and bicker.

The jury is still out on whether or not P and I could survive each other for more than 48 hours at a time a la Project Campaign Camper.  More on that in the next update!