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Living Liberally Blog
Living Liberally Blog
Submitted by Justin Krebs on Thu, 09/11/2008 - 1:23pm.
It was Primary Day, or was supposed to be, seven years ago in New York City, when word came: first, a freak accident; then, clearly something more. By the time the 1010 WINS radio reporter sobbed "Oh my god, my god, it's gone, the tower is gone," we all knew that something new, frightening, unanticipated was happening.
We put the elections on hold, and New Yorkers sought out their loved ones, found their way home, and tuned into their televisions. Except for Lower Manhattan, it wasn't chaos on the streets. It was quiet, almost eerily so -- everyone found the people and places they loved the most and waited.
The next day, as New Yorkers emerged from their apartments, the cloud of smoke hanging above the city and a burning smell present miles from the site, we found our way to common ground, such as the vigils in Union Square. We found each other.
We had put our elections on hold, and engaged in our civic life in other ways -- checking on neighbors, lining up to give blood, sharing tears and looking at photos of missing people in the open churches our parks had become.
At the time, it was unthinkable that life would go on as normal. But 10 days later, a tearful Letterman returned to the air; within days, people returned to their offices; the subways never stopped running for long.
But our politics didn't get back to normal.
From the day of that postponed primary (which, of course, needed to be delayed), our country seemed to agree to postpone democracy. Giuliani's effort to delay New York's elections failed, but the politics of fear that 9/11 enabled the Bush administration to cultivate has been the driving force in our country since. And at first, in those moments of fear, many of us were happy for a commanding hand -- more security, less liberty, seemed an OK trade in those early days (those who warned from the start that such a trade is never worth it will never receive the credit they deserve for being right).
And now, seven years later, we're in a campaign where one side tells us we should still be very afraid. As though we would dishonor those who died in the attack if we dared to challenge the security state those in power wish to maintain.
"Never forget" may be a politicized slogan in the mouths of those who want to justify martial excess, but it's also a very real sentiment for those who lost loved ones, lost a sense of serenity in their beloved city or lost a little of their innocence on that day. I will "never forget" and never roll my eyes at others who keep this day sacred. There were real losses on September 11th that need to be marked.
But not forgetting doesn't equate with not evolving.
Every year on this day, I walk down Broadway from Times Square to Union Square. Every 8-10 blocks, the diagonal Broadway cuts out another public square as it crosses the uptown/downtown avenues: Times Square, then Herald, Madison Square Park, then Union Square. These were the spaces that made me feel safe to come out again seven years ago. And on September 11th, 2002 -- a year later -- Union Square was vibrant with the shared sorrow for what was remembered and hope for a city that was back on its feet.
Today, there were no public gatherings along Broadway. That's not to say there were no memorials today -- but most New Yorkers have returned to life as normal.
If a city can grow beyond a tragedy, so can a nation. One doesn't need to stand still to remember. Just as New Yorkers got their city moving again, we need to get our politics moving.
Enough postponements. The polls are open. We have fewer than 8 weeks to remember that democracy isn't our liability, it's our greatness.
Submitted by Justin Krebs on Thu, 09/11/2008 - 7:22am.
After the attacks, the Bush/McCain team forgot
They forgot to properly equip our troops,
They forgot that it was religious extremism
They forgot that the world was ready to help,
They forgot to ask us to do anything
They forgot what made America great.
Seven years ago, we said, "Never forget."
Share this anniversary with warm company,
Submitted by Justin Krebs on Wed, 09/10/2008 - 11:12am.
What if I told you there was a way you could ensure voting rights on election day?
You might say, "Sure I know about Election Protection and being a poll-watcher."
What if I told you that you wouldn't be a watcher -- but could protect votes from the inside?
You might look at me funny.
What if I told you that you could get paid?
If we've got your interest, it's time you become a Pollworker for Democracy.
Our friends at CREDO have done it again: taken a simple idea, created a straightforward program, and made it easy for people to make a difference.
You know those impossibly ancient people that populate polling sites across America? Well, thank god for them -- because without pollworkers, we wouldn't have elections. That said, let's be kind to them -- let them retire! And the only way to do that is to take their spot.
In many states, the Boards of Elections are still in need of pollworkers. They pay you for your day's labors, and in many cases feed you. And they entrust you with the keys to the automobile of democracy. That means that you get to verify a person's right to vote; you get to proactively offer provisional ballots; you get to be the point-person for irregularities.
Let's be clear: you are not the watcher voicing an objections -- you are the operator making sure sh*t works.
If you can keep lines moving, keep counts honest, keep people enfranchised, keep right-wing efforts to suppress and intimidate out of your polling stations, then you will have spent November 4th wisely.
So sign on up -- and somebody you can be the impossibly ancient pollworker who knows that for decades you made our democracy work.
Submitted by Justin Krebs on Tue, 09/09/2008 - 2:48pm.
In today's New York Times, Bob Herbert -- a favorite columnist of Living Liberally -- laments:
He goes on to articulate the proud liberal legacy in America: civil rights and women's rights, environmental protection and food safety, Social Security and Medicare, concluding:
Bob - have we got a video to show you.
Bob, you're speaking our language. The 10,000 monthly attendees at Living Liberally events around the country agree with you. The activists, bloggers and electeds in the video above agree with you. Daily Kos creator Markos -- whose first words on his blog (as recounted in his new book Taking on the System) were "I am progressive. I am liberal. I make no apologies." -- agrees with you too.
And John Kennedy pre-emptively agreed with you in his famous remarks (that are the video's soundtrack).
So what's with our elected officials? What's with our leaders on the "Left" that leave them so scared of this label?
They believe they've only given up on a word that's been poisoned in the public imagination while we were too complacent to defend it. But they are actually giving up the ideas, the tradition and the accomplishments that had accompanied that word for the last century.
Unfortunately, if you only think election-to-election, you don't make language your battlefield. You willingly cede that footing thinking repositioning may get you short-term gains.
We see where that gets us. Which is why so many regular Americans are taking the lead where our "leaders" are failing -- why everyday citizens are becoming voters, volunteers, activists, and even candidates under the "liberal" banner. From Idaho, where 6 chapters of Drinking Liberally gather progressive peace activists; to Salt Lake City, where 40-50 regularly gather and proudly proclaim their liberal identify -- there are loud, lively Liberals in this nation.
Bob, we're with you in calling upon our politicians to step up -- but in the meantime, don't despair: we're holding our heads high -- liberal, loud and proud.
Submitted by Justin Krebs on Tue, 09/09/2008 - 2:21pm.
I love that the challengers for Governor and Lieutenant Governor were in attendance, unafraid to be seen with a group of scary liberals...and that Sean goes into detail on some of the rules of the drinking game.
Submitted by Justin Krebs on Thu, 09/04/2008 - 9:07am.
Obama packs our a week-long Denver celebration.
Biden buys good news cycles & great energy.
The Dems bring dignity, hope, vision.
Join for a drink (& a drinking game) --
Submitted by Justin Krebs on Wed, 09/03/2008 - 1:37pm.
For use and wide distribution...drink liberally:
McCain on the Rocks:
Take a Sip when
Take a Gulp when:
Take a Big Gulp when:
Celebratory Toast if:
Submitted by Justin Krebs on Wed, 09/03/2008 - 12:24pm.
Tomorrow, John McCain will give his acceptance speech.
You want to watch.
Therefore: it's time for a watch party.
Drinking Liberally is working with People For the American Way on a national night of gatherings -- fittingly called "McCain on the Rocks." You can find a local get-together, or check with your area DL chapter to see if they are hosting something.
We'll be posting the official DL Drinking Game later on, but in the meantime, Bill Nothstine from our exceptional Portland, Oregon chapter has already posted rules for an all-evening drinking game (sip if a speaker references his POW experience; drink if McCain speaks of his POW experience; chug if anyone says how much McCain doesn't like to mention his POW experience).
They've also create a guide for McCain-themed haiku and limericks.
Now McCain will not talk to the press
When the RNC meets in St. Paul
Download the drinking game and haiku/limerick guides below -- they are PDF attachments. (If attachments don't show up, follow the links above to find the rules online.)
We're enjoying McCain on the ropes. Now, let's have him on the Rocks.
Submitted by Justin Krebs on Wed, 09/03/2008 - 12:12pm.
Haven't been blogging much these past two weeks. Traveling makes it difficult enough to sit down and write; the busy pace of Conventions makes it harder; and these two Conventions have been such extremes that I want to be wandering through them more than describing them.
Denver was a democratic carnival, where the main pedestrian drag of the Lower Downtown area was filled with suited delegates, young people, protesters (from the Left and the Right), vendors (Barack Obama action figure anyone), musicians, annoyed Denverites, bicycle cabs...and, yes, riot police. Their presence reminded you any moment there cold be travel; but they didn't block streets...they didn't separate the delegates from the protesters or the onlookers.
It was an open city for an open convention. While I was there, I felt aware of the cops...but not oppressed by them.
Then I came to Saint Paul. Maybe it's the layout of the city -- whereas the Denver Pepsi Center is on the outskirts of downtown, the Xcel Center is at the heart of this city...and thus the heart has been cut off from its body by barbed wire and barricades. A beautiful city becomes unwalkable. The locals, who love their home, are ashamed that this is the face they show to the world.
Walking with the peace protest on Monday -- the 10,000 that featured families, children, vets and no violence -- we were led through caged paths with high, black grates on either end. Police stood at the read as we slowly slogged through narrower avenues near the center. At one point a friend asked, "Should we be worried that they already have their gas masks on?" At another point, we wanted to peel off -- and a cordon of 30 shoulder-to-shoulder riot cops told us that we had to march the full parade route.
They don't seem to be wanting to do this. But in that environment, they are not individual police officers (residents of St. Paul keep telling us they love their police -- that they are "neighborhood cops"), but one side of a tense confrontation; and we protesters were made to feel like the other side. The tension mounted. Surrounded by my public safety officials, and by 10,000 people in agreement with me...I didn't feel safe.
That gloom and fear pervades the RNC. Hope and happiness charged the DNC. Maybe each party is just pushing its brand.
More soon...and check out Open Left where Matt Stoller has been photo-documenting much of this experience.
Submitted by Justin Krebs on Thu, 08/28/2008 - 12:41pm.
As Barack Obama accepts the Democratic nomination for President tonight, enjoy his address with drink in hand -- ready to toast, to celebrate and to share the experience...with drinking game rules, of course.
Take a Sip when
Take a Gulp when:
Take a Big Gulp when:
Celebratory Toast if:
Finish Your Drink if:
(If you want to print out a version, you can click on the attachment link for the PDF below -- prints 2 per page)
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