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I never knew how much I loved California until I left it.

I grew up bouncing around for approximately four-year stretches in the southern end of the state, finally settling down in small town of 15,000 that I couldn't wait to escape from--a typical teenage sentiment. I escaped all right, going to college about as far away from my hick home town as I could and still remain in the continental United States.

And then a funny thing happened. As green as Massachusetts was, I started missing the dusty browns of California. As intellectually stimulating as college was, I started missing the hickness of my home town--the orange groves, the drive-in, the hokey main street strip…and my horse. Reassessing my geographical and cultural roots became a staple of my young adulthood.

The California I grew up in was one of well-funded public schools, a world-class public university system, quality infrastructure, appreciation of the wide variety of Californias within California--deserts, beaches, mountains; Hollywood and holy-rollers; the huge defense industry and the burgeoning anti-war movement; the slick tricks of Disneyland and the exploitation of farm workers in the Central Valley.

It's a complicated, conflicted, creative and sometimes reactionary state (see Proposition 13). It gave America Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan (sorry about that), Caesar Chavez and the first woman Speaker of the House.

In many ways, the candidacy of Jerry Brown for governor (again) feels like it's tapping a streak of nostalgia in me for a California that simply cannot be reclaimed in full. The world has moved on, demographics have shifted, and a lot of the benefits I took for granted in childhood were surely result of a tax base turbo-charged in the aftermath of World War II by a general American economic boom and, at least in Southern California, the defense industry's surge during the Cold War.

But Jerry Brown, as retro as he seems to some young folks here, really has the experience and biography to grasp the state in full in a way few politicians can. He's been governor, yes, but he's also been a UFW organizer, attorney general and at Ground Zero level of troubled localities, mayor of Oakland. Do I expect him to be able to turn back the time machine? Of course not. But nudging the state in a direction out of its paralyzed morass of fear, budget woes and collapsing infrastructure seems within the grasp of someone who's spent his life and his political career in California.

This election isn't just about how awful Meg Whitman is (and Lord knows, she's awful), it's about getting someone in charge who will deal with the problems of this cantankerous state in a more nuanced way than simply slashing social services and closing down state parks. It's about getting someone in office willing to grapple with very complex, long-term problems in a sophisticated way, while taking into account the fragility of the myriad communities in this state.

We can help Brown's election through our own fabulous community here, one that shows how creativity, collaborating and organizing are combining to find new ways to help campaigns. Sara R has made a gorgeous, very special hand-crafted quilt you -- yes! you! -- can curl up with on long winter nights with many virtual Daily Kos friends keeping you warm. Sara's spearheading a Daily Kos fundraising drive, and giving community members an opportunity to own the quilt through a drawing or writing an essay. Chip in $10 or write a 50-word essay (or less, even a haiku!)  and you can help the Brown campaign, help this community and help yourself to hand-crafted, one-of-a-kind quilt. Does it get any better than that?

All Buttoned Up
”All Buttoned Up” – photo by Bill Bachhuber

The community signed a quilt in Chicago at the 2007 Yearly Kos.  It is, in a sense, a snapshot of who we were then.  It could be yours!

Goal Thermometer

All Buttoned Up, middle

Every day in October brings an opportunity to enter a drawing to benefit Jerry Brown’s campaign for Governor of California.  Every donation of $10 or more to the fundraiser’s Act Blue page will count for a chance – one chance per person per day.  You don't need to spend money to enter, however.  If you are not donating, you can enter and have an equal chance of winning by writing an essay of 50 words or less on “Why I want Jerry Brown to be California’s next Governor”.  Send your essay with a subject line, "Jerry Brown Essay", to communityquilts (at) yahoo (dot) com.  If we find your essay topical, it will count for a chance. As with donations, one essay per person per day will count as a chance.  Only one form of entry is allowed for a person on a given day.

The winning ticket of the “From Red to Blue” quilt

At the end of the fundraiser period, I will assign a ticket number to each chance and ask a neighborhood child to pull just one ticket.  The drawing will be the first week in November.

Drawing for the star quilt

All Buttoned Up, upper right

Quilt stats:  It is 59” square, made of cotton fabric with a cotton batting.  My sister and I pieced it.  I hand quilted it.  The blocks feature 1930s reproduction fabric (feedsack prints) on one side, and bright, jewel toned contemporary fabrics on the other.  The quilt is sleeved for hanging and would look great on your wall!

Here are the signatures, by block number:

1-1A: Shanna
1-1B: Marilyn Rickert
1-2A: shakti
1-2B: Ben Wyskida
1-3A: LeAnne Clausen
1-3B: Peace to all
1-4A: sisterhavana
1-4B: snokat
1-5A: DailyKingfish
1-5B: Randi Scheurer
1-6A: Kainah
1-6B: Littlesky
1-7A: grndrush
1-7B: Tenn Wisc Jan
1-8A: Hope Despite All
1-8B: Xanthe
1-8C: WV Blue Guy
1-9A: Agnostic
1-9B: cocker mom
1-9C: Lauren Swihart & Nick Bailey
1-10A: herding old cats
1-10B: Mooncat
2-1A: LoisNClark
2-1B: Brian Reach
2-2A: Gilda Reed
2-2B: Ultrageek
2-3A: Courtney Sieloff
2-3B: rwreed17
2-4A: Ozzie
2-4B: flautist & Jared Lash
2-4C: JanetT in MD
2-5A: Rick Perlstein
2-5B: Anderson Republican
2-6A: Waterbug
2-6B: Cosmic Debris
2-7A: Kathy Kaufman
2-7B: ntorbett
2-8A: Optimusprime
2-8B: TheDon
2-9A: erinh
2-9B: Dania Audax & Timroff
2-9C: Christy Bowman
2-10: Matt Gibson, Jay Purdy, Jacob Wolf (The Extraordinaires)
3-1A: bendygirl
3-1B Malacandra
3-2A: Daniel Hartman
3-2B: Anne Marie Nicholls
3-3A: Irish Patti
3-3B: DavidNYC
3-3C: Hunter
3-4A: The Werewolf Prophet
3-4B: General Wes Clark
3-4C: Andy Ternay
3-5A: flaxter
3-5B: Michelle Martin
3-6A: spotbrian
3-6B: elfling
3-6C: Marian Nestle
3-7A: AAbshier
3-7B: megabn
3-8A: sharoney
3-8B: TheKK
3-9A: uberblonde
3-9B: Michelangelo Signorile
3-10A: Lane Hudson
3-10B: Jerome a Paris
4-1A: cskendrick
4-1B: Eric Massa
4-1C: Christina Siun O’Connel
4-2A: casperr
4-2B: Melissa McCullough
4-3A: quicksilver
4-3B: David Brock
4-4A: DemFromCT
4-4B: loggersbrat
4-5A: Mrs. P
4-5B: pastordan
4-6A: John W. Dean
4-6B: Ilona Meagher
4-7A: Kos
4-7B: Carla Axtman
4-8A: texasmom
4-8B: javelina
4-9A: janeta43
4-9B: Lilypew
4-10A: Juan Cole
4-10B: Jeffrey Feldman
5-1A: northwesterly
5-1B: everhopeful
5-2A: Kennedy
5-2B: kid Oakland
5-3A: Susan Thistlewaite
5-3B: schmendrick
5-4A: Navajo
5-4B: Melissa S.
5-4C: DBunn
5-5A: Tracy Joan
5-5B: fabooj
5-6A: thereisnospoon
5-6B: Ann Reed
5-6C: JZola
5-7A: Tullia Fidei-Bagwell
5-7B: memiller
5-8A: Silence is Complicity
5-8B: Jesselyn Radack
5-8C: Spiral
5-9A: One Pissed Off Liberal
5-9B: Bodhisattva
5-10A: Booman
5-10B: Cali Scribe
6-1A: Jill Richardson
6-1B: soyinkafan
6-2A: 42
6-2B: athenachrome
6-3A: silverleaf
6-3B: Susan McCue
6-3C: murphy
6-4A: highfive
6-4B: Edgewater Joe
6-5: MsSpentyouth
6-6A: ArgosRun
6-6B: Digby
6-6C: Sundayhighway
6-7A: Scott Kleeb
6-7B: Larry Grant
6-8A: noblindeye
6-8B: diceepur
6-9A: ProduceMan
6-9B: Oakroyd
6-10A: xysri
6-10B: fghPA
6-10C: George Lakoff
7-1A: ttobba
7-1B: Josh Sproat
7-1C: PlantingLiberally
7-2A: NinthElegy
7-2B: Susan S
7-3A: Common Sense Mainer
7-3B: Bill in Portland Maine
7-4A: SanDiegoDem
7-4B: Christy Hardin Smith, Taylor Marsh
7-4C: kaye
7-5A: Sean Robertson
7-5B: Vicki
7-6A: Bonddad
7-6B: Virginia Simmons
7-6C: worldpiece17
7-7A: rickeagle
7-7B: suz in seattle
7-8A: teacherken
7-8B: Rev. David Beckmann
7-8C: sra030
7-9A: Hlinmo
7-9B: Blog Active
7-10B: gloriana
7-10B: boofdah
8-1A: Ellicatt
8-1B: Dreaming of Better Days
8-2A: Frederick Clarkson
8-2B: DHinMI
8-3A: wanderindiana
8-3B: Frankenoid
8-4A: videogirl
8-4B: Delaware Dem
8-5A: Robert Losner
8-5B: Anathalie Sugiva
8-5C: BAC
8-6A: virgomusic
8-6B: raines
8-7A: Spencer Overton
8-7B: shermanesq
8-8A: Atrios
8-8B: Will Bunch
8-9A: Reality Bites Back
8-9B: Dante Atkins
8-10A: sdorn
8-10B: Perseus
9-1A: Brian Keeler
9-1B: Irene Yacobson
9-2A: synesthete
9-2B: Carol Barnes
9-3A: Glenn Greenwald
9-3B: Rachel Griffiths
9-4A: Cenk Uygur
9-4B: Poemless
9-4C: Safir Ahmed
9-5A: Sam Seder
9-5B: Garance Franke-Ruta
9-5C: David Boyle
9-6A: China Parmalee
9-6B: Elizabeth Compa
9-6C: Kevin Huyge
9-7A: Sydney Blumenthal
9-7B: Steve Novick
9-8A: David Sirota
9-8B: Max Blumenthal
9-9A: Danish Brethern
9-9B: Sara Reed
9-10A: Espresso
9-10B: Kelly Gordon
10-1A: Charles Brown
10-1B: Gary Trauner
10-2A: Timroff and Dania Audax
10:2B: maxomai
10-3A: Bill Richardson
10-3B: Joan McCarter
10-4A: Pam Spaulding
10-4B: Linda Perlstein
10-5A: Madame de Farge
10-5B: VB Dietz
10-5C: Dan Seals
10-5D: Marianne Wood
10-6A: Delia
10-6B: Lanie
10-6C: JCHFleetguy
10-7A: Canyoubeangryandstilldream
10-7B: Major Danby
10-8A: Robert Geiger
10-8B: Anthony Romero
10-8C: Lithium Cola
10-9A: brillig
10-9B: mik
10-10A: Sara Robinson
10-10B: Darcy Burner

Goal Thermometer

Originally posted to Susan Gardner on Sat Oct 23, 2010 at 08:35 AM PDT.

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