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(Obligatory I don't write diaries opening...)

The wave of optimism fueled by an unprecedented GOTV effort shows us that change is possible if we roll up our sleeves and work together.  That said, there is a great deal of change that needs to happen to secure our democracy for future generations.  There are some really face-palming results that highlight the problems we still face.  I want to point out three of them here:  Bachmann, Arpaio, South Carolina.

Minnesota will always be the home of Paul Wellstone to me.  A state that elects Michele Bachmann has a serious problem...in some districts.  Who in their right mind would vote for her?  48% of the population watched Mitt Romney pile on lie after lie to the point that everyone questioned what he stood for and yet they continued to vote for him.  Because he's white?  Because he's NOT a librul?  Because the 'democrat' party is evil?  I actually don't think so.  I think those are by-products of not effectively communicating with certain segments of society.  

The Arpaio situation induces nearly the same face palming exasperation.  What are these people thinking???  We have a prison over-population problem and a sheriff who wastes resources chasing phantoms like Obama's birthplace (the most documented birth place in history if you asked me) while piling up prisoners in inhumane living conditions, a veritable Arizona Guantanamo Bay situation.  He feeds the Prison Industrial Complex that is interested in getting paid for every incarcerated human it can possess rather than focus on rehabilitation or even denial of incarceration when drug offenses are carefully examined.  No corporation running a prison would be interested in early release of a prisoner; that's like a software corporation leaving money on the table.  This situation also suffers from a higher level problem much like the Minnesota issue.

Where does the answer lie?  Another place with the same problems, but where the solutions couldn't be more obvious:  South Carolina.  Specifically, the 7th district where Tom Rice (R) defeated Gloria Bromell Tinubu last night.  

The ballot for the 7th District was the easiest to complete in the nation, I would imagine, if you were a Democrat.  Straight party ticket vote resulted in votes for Tinubu and President Obama.  Short Ballot, right?  Wrong.

There were many other seats to be filled including for Board of Education, City Council, and others.  Yet, no Democrats were on the ballot.  At least one race was between a Republican (Bob Grabowski) and a petition candidate who was really a Republican who lost in the primary (Marvin Heyd).

Now, granted these three locations are all heavily Republican districts populated by white people who are very afraid of where this country is headed.  I speak with them and they tell me their tales of Obama eating babies and Democrats working for the Soviets... well, not quite that bad - most of the time.  

WHERE ARE THE DEMOCRATS?  I include myself in this bunch.  I dutifully vote out here.  Tinubu lost by ~27,000 votes out of around 267,000!!!  That's not that big a difference!  Bachmann narrowly won.  Arpaio?  Landslide.  Again, Dr.Tinubu lost by only 27,000.

The Washington Post said:

House

Republican Tom Rice defeated Democrat Gloria Bromell Tinubu in the race for the newly created 7th District, according to a projection by the Associated Press. The contest was the most competitive of the seven House races in the Palmetto State.

READ THAT AGAIN!  Now tell me you're not fired up????  This is South Carolina and in a VERY Republican stronghold.

I tried to change the opinions of others.  I succeeded in flipping exactly ONE Republican vote - sadly it was in a blue state.  If everyone worked to flip one vote, to soften one extreme opinion with logic and a gentle touch, and to succeed in nothing other than to put a human face on Liberalism, we could force the GOP back into a moderate condition and bring about a Democratic majority.

A miniscule 27K votes difference and no candidates?  Why no Dems on the ballot?  My opinion is a very real fear of extremist retaliation.  I saw the dirty looks given to a woman who donated at least 8 hours a week to an afterschool program when she put an Obama sticker on her vehicle in the parking lot.  Heralded for helping kids, the very white, anti choice women gave her dirty looks.  

We should be celebrating our Democratic process.  Instead we hear story after story of people harassing others over their political leaning.  Stop the name calling and start changing world views.  Run for office.  

If there was a Democrat on the ticket, barring a GOP plant, I would have voted for you.  I would have had your back.  I would stand up for you if someone said something false and defamatory about you regardless of where I was.  I did it for the President at the Kroger.  I did it for Joe Biden at the school.  I did it for Dr. Tinubu at a party.  AND YOU DID TOO!  We all stood up for our candidates.  The days of getting kicked around by blowhards is over.  

The wins last night were exciting.  I stayed up all night and slept for an hour or two.  Now, I'm awake and ready to go again.  There's a coaching principle that has taken hold that instructs coaches to stop setting wins as goals for athletes.  Stop criticizing mistakes - flush them and move on.  The guidance is to improve yourself and your skills; if you do that your odds of being victorious will continue to grow as you improve.  We are improving.  This time, let's stop worrying about the aforementioned nutcases - flush those losses - and ask ourselves what can we set as goals to improve our positions.  Bachmann, Arpaio and Rice all were victorious because we focused on them instead of us.  That's not to say those who opposed them were bad or wrong; not saying that at all.  I'm saying, we can do better.  

Surely the good people of Ms. Bachmann's district in Minnesota know that she's an embarrassment.  They just can't bring themselves to vote for a Democrat because they've been told how evil we are.  We're not.  We know it.  They don't.  We want many of the same things they want; they just don't trust us because Fox tells them not to.  

We will do better...  but only if we focus on improving our standing on a local level.  We have a better ground game, but they have a definite advantage locally.  They have been very effective at getting their message out; I think their messaging is dangerous and destructive, but that doesn't make it ineffective.  We must start acting locally.  I for one pledge that I won't wait every 2 years to get involved anymore whether that's donating to my causes or trying to change opinions.  We have an advantage and we must not squander it again.  Open a mind.  Start a dialogue.

Thanks for letting me rant. Oh, and Gloria Bromell Tinubu?  I'm sorry we let you down... 27,000.  Flip one.  We can do this.  No sleep until South Carolina turns blue...

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