I am packing up some stuff and was flipping through some of my old books today when I came across the The Good Soldier, by Ford Madox Ford. Ford wrote this book in 1914, as Britain approached War with Germany, and traditional authority was being violently challenged on all fronts: threatened strikes by industrial workers, the fight for Independence by the Irish, the struggle for women's suffrage. The book is about adultery and deceit and passion, but the title is a reference to the narrator's struggle to make sense of a world that is disordered and morally chaotic. The narrator, John Dowell, is naive, obtuse ~~ he has blind faith in appearances and in the old-fashioned traditions of society ~~ and lacks a capacity for passion (sexual, moral, societal, personal). In the book, Dowell is trying to tell us that his wife has been having an affair for nine years with his good friend Edward ("the cleanest looking sort of chap, an excellent magistrate, a first rate soldier, just exactly the sort of chap you could have trusted your wife with") ~~ he wonders whether morality is nothing more than a mockery, whether "good people" really exist, and about the disappointing difference between appearance and reality:
Is there then any terrestrial paradise where, amidst the whispering of the olive-leaves, people can be with whom they like and have what they like and take their ease in shadows and in coolness? Or are all men's lives like the lives of us good people...broken, tumultuous, agonized, and unromantic lives, periods punctuated by screams, by imbecilities, by deaths, by agonies? Who the devil knows?
What the heck does all this have to do with swing states? Well, I think our country right now is disordered and morally chaotic; I think our current Administration has made a mockery of Morality; I think we all know the current Administration is trying to convince us that appearances are all we need to believe in, not the reality of the complete absence of WMD's, not the reality of poverty, not the reality of economic disaster on the horizon; I think the "utopia" Dowell imagines in that scene above, well, that doesn't have to be a fantasy ~ I think we can make it real again, by Booting Bush and electing John Kerry. And in all this, the election has become a series of War references: the "battleground states," the "ground troops" (volunteers) in the swing states, the "attacks" the candidates hurl at each other, the "targeted" voters.
Well, I'm packing up my gear and going to a swing state ~ Nevada it seems right now, although my exact "assignment" will be confirmed next week. I know Florida, Ohio, and Missouri are worth more electoral votes, but I can't drive that far, and my primary effort will be outreach to Spanish-speaking voters, and probably some Native American communities. Nevada is worth five electoral votes and currently, the race is neck-in-neck, "Barely Bush" with Bush up by 4 points. I hope my car makes it out to Nevada, I hope I can find a way to pay my rent while I am gone, I hope the job offer I asked to defer until after the election will still be here when I get back. I will be working on mobilizing the Latino and maybe Native American vote, Getting Out The Vote in our communities, people whom you know aren't being included in polls because they might not have phones or answering machines, or they work from 7 am to 7 pm and thus aren't home when the pollsters call, or they aren't fluent in English so they can't answer the polling questions, or because they might only have a cell phone instead of a land-line and there is no way to poll cell phone users ~~~ so, don't listen to the polls, especially the ones showing Bush's lead growing in Arizona ~ trust the grassroots effort to get those voters out on Election Day.
MoveOn.org is pushing an effort called "Leave No Voter Behind" where they are raising funds to send 500 organizers out to the battleground states ~~ most of these volunteers will take unpaid leave from their jobs, so you can help support them by donating at the MoveOn.org site ~~ they want to raise $5 million. Me? Since my Fellowship ended on September 3 and I still don't have a job, well, I only want to raise enough money to pay a few bills while I'm in Nevada so that I don't lose my apartment or my health insurance, and so that when I return, the bill collectors won't have cleaned out my place and kidnaped my cat (Bill) for ransom.
If you feel so inclined to support your sister, Mari, feel free to donate to my own little cause, fighting for Nevada's 5 electoral votes, by clicking on the button below. And if you feel further so inclined, please pass this along to your friends or post it on your own blog ~ hopefully, anyone who can't travel to a swing state can donate a little bit of money, even $10 makes a difference, to MoveOn.org or to me, or to your own friends who may be heading out "to battle." Yeah, I know it's a crazy idea ~ but I'm trying to take our country back....won't you help me? Think of it as:
- It Takes a Village to Get the Country Back, or
- Nevada: Only $2 per Electoral Vote, or
- Help Me Make Nevada Blue, or
- Nevada: Don't Gamble on Another Four Years of Bush
Yeah, I made up those slogans myself. Pick your favorite and donate if you can. If I raise more than I need, :), I'll donate the surplus to MoveOn. All I know right now is that I will live with a Host Family wherever I end up; as soon as I get more details on where I will be, what I will be doing, and when I leave, I'll post about it. ~ Sigue la lucha and peace and all that. ~~ :)
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