Posted tagged ‘Indiana’

My First Day In A Blue State

November 5, 2008

My brother-in-law, Paul was the first to call me this morning to give me the news that Indiana had gone for Obama. We went to bed after O’s bomb acceptance speech (cried like a baby) not knowing for sure. After I said goodbye to Paul I popped out of bed, put on the same Obama t-shirt I wore yesterday (I know, but I don’t care!) and marched myself right outside.

Now I’m having the most bizarre impulses. In the last hour I’ve had a strong urge to buy a bunch of iTunes, drink a triple Americano, and hug complete strangers. So far I’ve only given into the second one, which, given the randomness of this post, won’t likely come as a surprise to you.

I’ve been thinking a lot this past week about what’s next. Last night after insulting large folks by using that tired “the fat lady sang” line, Tavis Smiley threw out a phrase that struck me as interesting: engagement dividends. He wondered how Obama would spend the surplus of energy an engaged electorate brings to the table.

It’s a really great question, but maybe not one that Obama has to answer by himself. Those engagement dividends belong to the common good. Though I fully expect him to provide some ways for average citizens to take part in his administration, I see no need to limit my involvement that way.

As for me, I’m watching my part of town very closely. Right now, it is still a swirling cloud of friendly energy working to pull itself into ball of successful hotness. There are eleventy million ways for anyone who lives on the East Side of Indianapolis to take part. And if there is one thing working on this campaign taught me, once you are involved at all, you will care in more ways than you ever thought possible. This is doubly true if you are working in the area of your gifts.

So, think about it. Do you get a sense that there are engagement dividends in your neck of the woods? Is there a way to grow them? Because if there was ever a time to turn the common good into uncommon good, it is now.

(Update: I hugged a complete stranger at The Goose Market this afternoon!)


Squash the Funny Business at the Polls!

November 3, 2008

The following is a video put out by the Obama campaign on how to avoid voter intimidation shenanigans. The video shows examples of the kind of wacky stuff that has been happening already, including an attempt to disenfranchise Joe the Plumber because of a clerical error on his registration. Democrats ended up protecting his vote for McCain.

If you don’t have time to watch the video, and you live in Indiana here’s my main message to you. Do NOT get out of the voting line no matter what anyone tells you, asks you or accuses you of. As long as you get in line BEFORE 6:00 p.m., just stay in there until you either vote or have had a chance to call this phone number:


Tomorrow I will spend my day hanging out at designated polls watching for signs of voter intimidation as I cross every finger and toe I have.

Absentee Ballot Commitment: In Memory of Jerry

October 30, 2008

I sent this to Ben Smith over at Politico. He’s been asking for interesting voter stories. Then I thought I should share it with GrowingSense readers, too.

Hi Ben,

Wanted to share a powerful absentee voter story from Franklin, Indiana. A friend of mine from church, a beloved retired Methodist minister named Jerry Hyde died two weeks ago after a long bout with cancer. Two days before Jerry died he called the woman who would speak at his funeral to leave some final instructions and then added (on her voice mail): “don’t try to call me back because I’ll be on the phone all afternoon for Barack Obama.” Since he was homebound and recognized that he didn’t have long to live, he made sure he voted early.

Arkansas and Indiana, In The Pink

October 17, 2008

Don’t go looking at THIS link unless you want to get addicted to poll numbers and statistics in less than five seconds, but I noticed for the first time Arkansas is moving from being a solid red state for McCain to a pink state.

Indiana is back from being light blue to pink.

What on earth are these two campaigns going to do for the next three weeks? Can’t we just vote already? Oh, yeah. In Indiana we can right now. Early voting in Arkansas begins October 20. Why wait?

This Ad Is Running In Indiana

August 20, 2008

It’s about time.

And then there’s this from the DNC. I’m grateful for Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church and author of The Purpose Driven Life.

That Saddleback conference was something. I don’t think I would have known just how flippant and removed McCain is from economic issues until I saw it. But I guess, according to McCain’s economic advisor, Phil Gramm who shows up in the video as well, that just makes me another whiner.

Some Good News for Gay Families

February 16, 2008


In Indiana a constitutional gay marriage ban dies in the House.

What it means: It will be 2012 before Indiana voters would get the op to vote for a new constitutional amendment, since any constitutional amendment must pass through two consecutive legislative terms. Say what you will about conservative Indiana, being slow to change the constitution makes a lot of sense to me.

What it doesn’t mean: The state still has laws against gay marriage, so nothing really gets better for gay families. Things just don’t get any worse, for now.


In Oregon, same-sex couples may now register as domestic partners as of February 4, 2008.

What it means: Oregon’s senate and house passed a domestic partner registry law that allows same-sex couples to register their partnerships, thus granting them state-level matrimonial rights – joint tax filing and inheritance rights, mainly.

What it doesn’t mean: Oregonian and all other American gay families are still not recognized by our federal government, which means that any corporate pension or retirement benefit with federal ties (taxable income) may not be transferred to same-sex spouses without tax penalties. Also, there are over 1,100 federal rights and benefits attached to marriage that will not be available to gay-partnered Oregonians.


A New York appellate court ruled that valid out-of-state gay marriages must be recognized in New York.

What it means: Until the NY legislature decides to amend the constitution to say otherwise (and it could), out-of-state gay marriages (Canada, Massachusetts, other countries that allow gay marriage like Spain and the Netherlands) must be recognized by the state.

What it doesn’t mean: Gay couples still can’t get married IN New York. The highest court in New York ruled in 2006 that gay couples did not have a current legal right to marriage in that state.All three events are just a continuation of the ever-evolving patchwork quilt of our civil rights, but at least these are relatively good news.

Hi, I’m Jon Elrod

February 8, 2008

Jon Elrod (Not my photo -Looking for credit info.)

Interesting race developing for Julia Carson’s (RIP) now vacant congressional seat. Worth a little trip down memory lane for me.

Back in 2004 I decided I needed to broaden my mind a little and try to understand a scrappy group of voters called the Log Cabin Republicans. For those who don’t know, the LCR are gay Republicans. When I found out that a highly respected friend of mine from church was the group’s president I decided I needed to at least try to understand where they were coming from.

After some assurances that I would not take the opportunity to drop molotov cocktails (they can be a little skittish about having vocal Democrats hanging out with them during one of the rare opportunities they have to be totally themselves), I was invited to pop into a couple of local LRC meetings; kept my mouth shut (mostly) and just listened. It was a positive experience, and for what it is worth, I have since decided that the world is lucky to have the group around. I’ll put it this way; while I have my differences with their party, I know it probably won’t be me that convinces this largely Republican state that we deserve equal treatment.

Anyway, part of my ear and eye opening trek included a stop one night at a political LCR candidate meet and greet downtown. Of course, my friend and city councilman Scott Keller was there. And Carl Brizzi, our then soon to be prosecutor, too. He was my main reason for popping in. I had an inexplicable celebrity crush on him.

While I was there a young guy, late 20s, cute and suit-ish was quietly introducing himself to folks. He approached me and said, “Hi, I’m Jon Elrod. I’m running for state representative.”

My first impulse (ignored) was to say, “Awww…look how cute you are?” as if he were a bunny that had wandered near me in the garden. Then his words registered. State rep? Really?

Turns out he was running against long-timer Ed Mahearn (D) for the south Indy District 97 seat. I asked Elrod what he would do differently if elected. To be honest, I don’t even remember his answer. My mind was wandering to some haunting questions: What am I doing here? What if all of these Republican candidates are just faking interest in equality? Am I in danger? It was a paranoid time.

Elrod won that race, barely, and so far it looks like he wasn’t faking his stance on equality. His defense, more or less: Marriage is a religious issue. He doesn’t want government telling him how to do religion. They should bother with civil unions and their availability should not be determined by gender.


Elrod life detes: History major undergrad (theater minor). Now an attorney by trade, but works as a church camp director one week every summer. Has spent some time at Christian Theological Seminary. Methodist. (Am I right? Early 30s and no ring on his finger? God help the yenta in me, but all you single Republicans looking for like-minded dates who aren’t turds, if he’s not otherwise taken, somebody needs to jump on this one. He sounds like a keeper.)

Now freshy is running for Carson’s vacated seat, against Julia’s grandson Andre’ Carson. Both Jon and Andre’ are newbies in their own way, though Elrod has at least his stint as an Indiana Rep to draw on. To be honest, I am a little annoyed that the state Dems didn’t let David Orentlicher, IMO the smartest, nicest and fairest politician in Indiana, run for the seat.

Will the Carson name and Andre’s past jobs and work with his grandmother be strong enough draws to pull the votes on March 11? I don’t get to vote in this special election, but I’m interested to see what happens. Elrod knows how to campaign. We’ll see if Carson does. Elrod’s using a local and fairly young political strategy team. Carson has a DC firm with lots of experience. I don’t know what kind of money is coming to either candidate.

Both candidates make general statements of equal fairness, but I’ve only heard Elrod actually come right out and say our families deserve equal protection, which begs a bigger question:

I realize Democrats in a Republican state have to sit on some prickly fences to survive, but should Democrats be worried when Republicans start to look more inclusive? Keep an eye on the bunny to find out.