05 February 2008

Today is Super Tuesday

And I'm so excited I can't sit still.

I can't even knit.

This is all I have to show you, in all the time since I last posted (or the time before that, and before that, when I think I last showed any knitting):

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On the left is the soy yarn I found here. 100% soy. It's cute. Thinking I might make socklets. Or something. Don't really know. On the right is the hem of the Fair Isle 101 - I got a replacement needle, then realized I could possibly fix the KnitPicks one. The cord simply pulled out of the tip, and once I got it free of the knitting, I put it back in and it stayed. I have to be veddy careful, though.

Anyway.

As I think this picture suggests, I haven't really been knitting much. I have been doing a *little* work, and lots of errands, but mostly I've been *excited*.

About the most exciting election of my life (and I'm a political junkie who likes to follow these things even when they're depressing), and the first candidate ever who I am completely, unreservedly *behind* in every possible way. The whole thing has this weird *fate* vibe about it, to be honest.

I don't like the idea of trying to tell anyone how to vote. Too much like proselytism to me. But I'm a really, really big fan of voting, in general, and I know that everyone can use a timely reminder and maybe a little information/inspiration. So I hope everyone can take this post in that vein, and if it squicks you out in any way, please just move on - I'll be back to regularly scheduled programming soon.

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If you don't know whether you're supposed to be voting today, check here for the list of state with primaries/caucuses. Check your candidate's web site (like this one) for reference details - they are usually very anxious to help. :-) Party organizations and campaigns usually have people on call to offer rides, even, as well as directions and details on what you need to bring with you for ID, etc.

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Why vote for Obama? The image above kind of represents everything for me. So does this one:

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But you might want some more information, if you're still deciding.

First, yes, I'm a feminist, and yes, I was thrilled to see a woman - any woman - win New Hampshire for the first time. But I'm also in favor of human rights, in general, and I'm every bit as thrilled to see a black man about to win the Democratic nomination. But more than anything else, I believe in voting for the right human for the job, and that their genitals and skin color are irrelevant. I also believe that a responsible vote is not for the candidate who most resembles me, but for the candidate who I believe can best represent and serve everyone.

It's not a matter of who they are, it's how they see others.

But I understand that many of my fellow feminists have waited all their lives for a woman Presidential candidate, and they're having trouble voting for anyone other than Hillary. I understand, and I've been a strong Hillary supporter since 1992. Personally, though, I think that - for reasons beyond Senator Clinton's control - her candidacy would actually set back that cause by many years (sad, but true). I think a successful Obama Presidency is actually the best possible recipe for opening up the field for future diversity in candidates. I've been convinced for a decade that the first woman President would come in my lifetime, and that she would be from a generation following the boomers. I still think that's true.

Still hesitating? This Ravelry post by the Kitchener Bitch does an excellent job of summarizing a whole lot more reasons, more concrete ones, with good links, too.

If you'd like still more information, there are two threads in Ravelry that discuss at length the differences between Hillary and Barack. This one, in the "Stitching Liberally" group, and this one in the "Knitters for Obama" group. There's also the introduction thread in the Obama group, where I and others explained at length why we're supporting him.

Worried about disturbing rumors you've heard about the candidates? Check out the facts at Snopes.com or FactCheck.org. Both are independent organizations. (Hint: don't believe everything that arrives in your inbox =] )

I've come across some other Obama-supporting posts in the knitblogosphere that I'd also like to recommend. Here's Go Knit in Your Hat and Welcome to My Closet, Here's a Black Dress. (Both blogs well worth checking out for the knitting content, btw, if you don't already subscribe.)

And, of course, there's the Raffle (prize list and details on Ravelry, here). I've donated money to the Obama campaign, which marks the very first time ever that I've given money to any political entity. I wasn't able to give much - we're driving on fumes until my new job starts in the fall - but every bit helps. Unlike Hillary, Obama didn't take any money from lobbyists. Unlike {cough} others, he's not a personal billionaire. Obama's campaign has been financed by people like me and you (okay, and a few movie stars! =] ). It's a real, old-fashioned grass-roots campaign, and it's *working*.

I know that for many Americans of my generation, it sort of feels like nothing really ever changes, except for the worse. That has been our experience. But I'm also a historian - my profession is the study of change over time. And it's always interested me to pay attention to how *good* change comes about. I think there are two ways. The first happens gradually - the slow change of attitudes and mentalities - and the mechanism for that is the dissemination of information and experience. Education. The second kind of change for good can happen overnight, or at any rate quickly. What brings that kind of change? It's a tricky combination of leadership - which can come in different forms - and *collective action*. Collective action with no driving force tends to disintegrate. Leadership without the tiny contributions of many, many people who make the effort can't accomplish a thing. It's the combination of the two that can accomplish just about anything.

It's the combination of the two that brought us all the rights and privileges that we mostly take for granted today: democracy, political independence, civil rights for all adult humans, the social safety net that (increasingly less frequently) allows old folks to die with dignity and cancer victims to not go bankrupt and laid-off workers to survive through the few months it takes to get a new job.

We have more resources than any other country on earth, which should make it easy to do these kinds of (much cheaper) things for our collective good without even hurting our pocket books. If we can afford Iraq, we can afford *productive* campaigns to actually help our own people instead of obliterating other people.

We have some problems facing us right now that require major, progressive change. And the sooner the better. The environment. Our dependence on oil which is crippling us politically, economically, and environmentally. A healthcare system that profits insurance company executives and screws over *everybody else* - all non-executive employees, medical professionals at all levels, and above all, every one of us who could, at any moment, need medical care that the insurance company might lose money on. And let's not forget our tanking economy, the middle class that is slipping rapidly into financial no-man's land, the thousands dying in Iraq for no reason whatsoever and the thousands of future terrorists being generated in the Middle East every day by this irrational, destructive and pointless war.

I think it's safe to say that there is more at stake in this election than there has been in any other except Lincoln's, in the middle of civil war, and FDR's, in the midst of Depression. Both of those times, Americans chose the person who we now know to have been uniquely capable of bringing us out of crisis. Big parts of the reason we are so often arrogant in our patriotism, now (or were, until the current administration) is because of the great, difficult choices made by these two Presidents. In both of those elections, the choice was incredibly difficult to make and both candidates were very unpopular with the political establishments of the time.

I would also add that both Lincoln and FDR had less experience in public service than Barack Obama has now, and when they took office, Lincoln was 51, FDR was 50, and Obama will be 49 (Bill Clinton was 46 when he took office, and Teddy Roosevelt was 42).

Barack is ready. And we need him.

Back to knitting, next time. Promise.

Edited to add: Here are a couple of fine assessments of where Obama is right now in the race and what we should expect from the results today.

Edited to add (2): Okay, if you watch nothing else, watch this video by Lawrence Lessig.

17 comments:

Ruth said...

Love this post, there are many of us non-American's who are watching and hoping too.

Meghann said...

Great post!! I'm antsy today too:)

twinsunplus1 said...

Excellent post. Since John Edwards "suspended" his campaign, I will be switching to Obama. We'll (DH & I) be watching Keith O. and the other politico types on MSNBC tonight. It is the first exciting primary season in a while.

f. pea said...

Thanks for a great post. I am so excited today I can't sit still, either. But I really enjoyed your analysis of social change: collective action + leadership. We really are on the cusp of great change in this country. Let's make it happen!

Knit Mongrel said...

Stop, or I really will leave my husband and fly to Russia.

The bummer? Illinois won't let you vote in the primary if you're a registered independent. Lame. I'm imagining Illinois will go for my man anyway, but... I'm still pissed. :)

Anyway, happy Super Tuesday, and here's to change... this is certainly the first year I've care about a candidate this much...

alice said...

i think... you'd REALLY enjoy my aunt and uncle's blog, http://ifnotwhatwhenifnotwhohow.blogspot.com/

they just slay me with their entries... while also being informative and well-written, there's always a lighter side.

and one of their posts (the new martha i believe) ends with "but we could share a marlboro with obama". i like getting that sort of feeling from a candidate... :)

well written... FANTASTIC post. i almost got in trouble at work because i was so deeply engrossed in it. heh.

Bashirs Momma said...

What a great post - I hope you don't mind if I steal your images. Obama as progress is my new screensaver at work. YEAH!

Fingers crossed.

melissa said...

great post! i'm so excited about today, but also biting my nails. i've never been so invested in a presidential campaign before...i don't know if i can make it til tonight to hear the results. go obama! :)

Kim said...

I have never been so happy to be able to cast my vote for someone who gives me hope. If we could just reform our primary process and electoral system....It's a good day to vote! And I appreciate that I can.

Beth said...

O.K. I have to say that I voted for Mitt but...if it comes down to McCain and Obama I may have to deeply consider the other party...

Specs said...

I'm an Obama supporter, too, but I almost don't want to hope too much lest I be disappointed. I got really emotional about Dean four years ago and that was a big let down.

But still: YES. Excited!

LizKnits said...

I cast my vote today... let's keep our fingers crossed!

Marianne said...

We put our votes in for Obama last night.... Oklahoma still ended up Clinton.... sigh...

A really great post, Kate.

Juti said...

You're so articulate. This is great.

I'm a little older than you (the same age as Obama) and I never thought I'd see a viable woman or black candidate in my lifetime. I've been so ashamed of our government for the past seven-ish years... now I'm so proud of us. Something has to change, and for the first time in a long time, I think it's gonna happen.

I'll check out those groups on Ravelry.

alimum said...

Thanks so much for the shout out!

Isn't it wonderful that we are getting an opportunity to vote for someone as opposed to against someone else? For the first time in my life, I really feel like I have cast a vote for a president I want, as opposed to the lesser of two evils. I hope we'll get that chance in November as well.

nstssj said...

Cast my vote a couple of days ago, and your post resonates so well. I am a feminist also, and am thrilled to see that our choices are between a black man and a woman! But to vote on gender alone would make no sense if you really care about this country. It's the issues, the way they see the world, that matters here. And we need someone to cast out the stupidity demons quick :)

The Purloined Letter said...

Great posts and great links! It is amazing how many knitters support Obama. (Wonder if he needs a gift of sticks and yarn--maybe Berocco?!)