I think it's safe to say most of you don't have a clue who I am. I'm not a new reader, but I've preferred to blog on my own. I am a print and online journalist. That is to say, I've been to journalism school; graduated, and; worked (freelance). I have too many disabilities to explain here, so took my skills, experience and insights and decided to blog at Words From A Wicked Woman. As Maureen Dowd, Peggy Noonan and Melissa Harris-Perry use their columns as editorials based on FACT, so I write my blog entries. Because something is a "blog" doesn't mean there's no journalist or journalism at its core. The Obama 2012 campaign staff disagrees. My personal story is compelling, but will be dealt with elsewhere. What disturbs me most is that O's staff has treated volunteers, many of them middle-aged or elderly women, as though they should leave their brains at the door when, and increasingly if, they volunteer.
Both of these scenarios are wrong on many levels and I need your help to prove it.
As of this writing, there are only six days until the end of a godawful-long presidential campaign. One way or another, this is Barack Obama's last. However, because this is his last fling and there are few days left in the campaign, the only thing that can be done is highlight the shameful ways in which his staff treated volunteers.
I got a bad vibe in July when I offered my services as a volunteer as I'd done in 2008. I'd hoped to work with the LGBT community because that's where I am most comfortable and I could make sure we were not overlooked. However, when I asked basic questions like, "Who's working field for LGBT voters?" I was told, "That's above my pay grade." I blinked. I asked, "Who's wrangling bloggers?" The answer I got was, "I don't know." I blinked. I asked something else that I can't remember, but it not only made me blink, it made me recoil in mental horror at the compartmentalization of knowledge, the fear of the Chicago gang that was evident and the fact that the staffer saw nothing wrong with any of this. It was at that point I said that I think it would be in everyone's best interest if I worked the campaign as press rather than as a volunteer. Little did I know that some weeks later, when I asked the name of the press aide for this area, I'd be told that information was "confidential" and "I can't tell you that." That was my official WTF?! moment.
As anyone with a phone knows, the O camp called anyone and everyone who had volunteered or contributed to the 2008 campaign. It was not unusual for me to get three calls in one evening. I decided to use them to figure out what the hell was going on in this monster of a campaign that was so completely different than 2008 when people were valued and respected. I learned that I wasn't alone. Furthermore, the problems weren't just in Cleveland or even Ohio, but in other places as well. The kids who were sent to run the field operations wouldn't listen to anyone other than the Chicago gang. On top of that, they had no problem telling people who'd lived in the area for decades, if not their entire lives, that they couldn't do anything other than what they were told to do. There was no room for innovation, thinking outside of the lines or deviating from whatever plan was set up where the volunteers were not. Brains and initiative were not appreciated.
If it was only me hearing about these incidents, I could chalk it up to anecdotal evidence. However, my great aunt was hearing the same rumblings. The problem is that she has age-related memory problems and can't remember who told her what. That means I can't go interview the sources and get their experiences on the record. That's the first place the bloggers here might be able to help. Have any of you heard of O staff being condescending, dismissive, disrespectful and generally little jerks to volunteers, especially older ones? I could, and probably will, go hang out at a couple of the field offices and catch people coming out. The problem is that Sandy hit, it's still very wet and I'm already sick. Hell, for this, I'll willingly catch pneumonia if need be, but I'm hoping that won't be necessary. My problem is time. There is very little of it. I need to have quotes for my article by Sunday afternoon if I'm going to get a piece up by Monday afternoon. Can any of you help? I'm very willing to share a byline if that's an issue.
My mother died this past February. It was a tremendous blow to the entire extended family. It was especially a blow to me for many reasons. One of those is that I have to begin preparing to publish an online magazine for a specific female demographic one to two years earlier than I'd planned. It's the only way I can survive. My mother didn't set up the proper type of estate for disabled offspring and she was woefully under-insured. I have several disabilities, but there is one in particular that will not allow me to work 60-hour weeks for more than a short time before I have to take to my bed for a couple of weeks afterwards.
The disability that plays havoc with my ability to work is fibromyalgia. The explanation is too long to thoroughly discuss here, so please read the link I've provided. Each case is different. When interacting with my other disabilities, everything is heightened. However, I survive the pain, the exhaustion, the frustration and the stupidity of doctors who should know better because the only other thing left is to end my own life. Believe me, I've tried. But because I didn't succeed when I really should be a corpse right now, I decided that maybe someone had a plan for me. I strongly believe that the plan is for me to continue doing what I've been doing since I was in undergrad: write. With help and proper management of my time and body, I can overcome the vast majority of my disabilities about 80%-90% of the time and definitely be a hands-on publisher/editor-in-chief of a profitable niche magazine.
I've just uploaded my current résumé. It's so current I haven't converted it to HTML yet. :) I will find the time to do so by Monday. The upshot is that I am a journalist. (I actually prefer the term "writer" because it is more inclusive of my material.) It doesn't matter that what I currently write is a blog. It was bloggers who were the first to support Obama before anyone could pronounce his name. That little fact seems to have been forgotten. I knew that to go into the venture capital marketplace to fund my magazine, I had to have at least one recent signature piece. Therefore, I decided to write what I write best: articles about politics and politicians. The real skill in doing so is finding the story within the obvious. Campaigning pols say the same thing day after day after day. Anyone who has watched television for more than an hour knows what any given candidate has said that day. Never did I think I would be the story within the obvious. And it was all because of the convergence of my professional and financial need, and; Obama staffers' callous, willfully uninformed, condescending and downright foolish words, actions and attitudes.
I know how to tell my own story. As I said, it is compelling in and of itself even if, for me, it's just my life. However, others who hear it seem to be effected in ways I never imagined until I was forced to see view it as if it belonged to someone else. I can thank the Obama 2012 campaign staff for that one. Where I could have been their "poster child" for Obamacare and various other programs that help people work, it is fair to say that I am now a poster child for a lot of the things Republican challenger Mitt Romney has said but I never saw until I experienced the O campaign's disturbingly young, politically and emotionally immature and ill-equipped staff's attitudes first-hand. Ultimately, it is the candidate who is responsible for his or her staff--even if the candidate is the president of the United States. Obama hired David Plouffe, David Alexrod, Robert Gibbs and company. They hired the rest of the staff. Shit and attitudes roll downhill.
These people couldn't even get their facts right! The underling tasked with telling me to buzz off was under the impression that I was starting a blog instead of using the blog I already have to help launch a magazine. He said that if I got hired by a "credentialed" news outlet, then they'd invite me to sit with my colleagues, except they didn't use any version of the word "colleague." That would show too much respect.
My question for the DailyKos blogging community is this: Have any of you found press aides indifferent to your requests for credentials because you're bloggers?
If anyone here has any information concerning either of the situations I've detailed here, I really, really want to hear from you. I have no problem whatsoever sharing credit and bylines. I'm more interested in seeing that this information gets out. I believe that people should know what's going on in their candidates' organizations because it reflects on their leaders. It is my belief that leading is far more than simply making decisions and barking orders. It is also about being a moral example and showing subordinates what is and is not acceptable behavior. Clearly Obama has not done so. That is important information. These stories must be told. Please, help me do so. I can be contacted here.
The Wicked Woman