Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Hello, Grandma?

Today is National Voter Registration Day!

All over the country, the League of Women Voters is hosting events to help people register to vote. Type in your zip code to find an event where you are—and register yourself or help people sign up! I finally got around to registering my mother to vote last week; I did it online and it took only 3 minutes. She's the least political person I know, but she's watched enough TV to conclude for herself that she wanted to vote because "Romney is not sincere." When she gets her absentee ballot, I'm going to go over it with her candidate by candidate and issue by issue and help her fill in her ballot.

Do you know people who might like to vote but need help voting? The first step is to get them registered. Do it today!


Friday, September 14, 2012

Discussion Question #9: The Tree Governor?

In my last post I asked you to imagine yourself as a dog wanting good promises from your local politicians. What if you were a tree? What would you want your governor to believe?

I googled "interesting laws about trees" and found all kinds of laws about trees: no climbing, no planting too close to a street, no cutting without a permit, plant one if you cut one, etc. I had hoped to find something a little more creative and inspiring. Maybe: get a property tax credit if you plant native trees that bats like (such as hickory). Or: public schools whose students spend one day a month pulling destructive vines down from trees in parks get . . . one more day of vacation each year!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Discussion Question #8: Woof!

If you were a dog, what kinds of promises would you want to hear from your mayor?

Yesterday I saw that public swimming pools in D.C. are open to dogs on the last day of swim season for the annual Doggy Day Swim. That's creative!

I wonder how it happened? Did someone just wake up one morning with this great idea and call city hall?

How can "regular people" like us make small things like this happen all over the country?

How about writing letters or emails to your candidates for city council and mayor and asking what they'll do to improve the lives of dogs in your town?

Thursday, September 6, 2012

A More Perfect Union

Four years from now . . . What will you say if someone asks, "Are you better off?"

I hope we'll be able to say YES.

My last post was on "inspiration"—a challenge to us all to identify something inspiring in the political campaigns. Last night's speech by Bill Clinton certainly was inspiring, wasn't it? (Listen to the whole thing on YouTube or on a dozen different websites by googling "Bill Clinton DNC 2012 speech." It's long but you can fold laundry or wash dishes while you listen—I did both!) I still don't feel that I can list specific presidential campaign promises that inspire me, but that speech convinced me that things are better today than they were 4 years ago and will be even better 4 years from now. I'm eager to hear President Obama's speech tonight.

Back to inspiring promises: maybe it's not even necessary to be inspired by specific promises. When you get excited about your birthday, it's the whole thing that you look forward to; you don't separate out your excitement about the cake and the presents and the music and the friends. When Clinton ended his speech with a nod to our preamble—"a more perfect union"—I thought, "That is something I can look forward to!" Here's a little top-of-my-head poem inspired by that:

A More Perfect Union
by Janet Wong

Hard to say
what would make
a more perfect union

So many layers
to that answer

a more perfect onion:
that's easy

Would not make you cry
would not stink things up
would give you strength
would flavor your life

I guess
it's kind of the same way
with a more perfect union

Four years from now: a more perfect union! How's that for a goal?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Discussion Question #7: Inspiring

The Voter's Journal at the back of Declaration of Interdependence provides this prompt: Write a list of the most inspiring or sensible ideas you've heard from presidential candidates (official or unofficial) in this election.

Here we are, two months from the election date, and I'm very sad to say that I can't think of a single inspiring idea that I've heard from the mouths of Romney or Obama. But the Democratic National Convention is about to begin—and I'm sure I'll hear at least one inspiring thought there.

It would be inspiring for me to hear that a billion dollars will be poured into schools simply for the purpose of "increasing the joy of learning." Is that going to happen? (I doubt it)

It would be inspiring for me to hear that X million additional acres of land will be set aside for national parks next year. Will that happen? (probably not)

It would be inspiring for me to hear that our federal government will give tax breaks to corporations that  change their regular work week to 4 days x 8 hours/day; I truly believe that the biggest impediment to quality of life for many people is the lack of adequate time to relax. (dream on)

So: what WOULD be a realistic inspirational campaign promise?

Have you heard any?