The "early states" phase of the primary campaign ends Saturday in South Carolina. After that, it's a national campaign with much less retail politicking and a more distant feel to the campaign trail. For the candidates, it will become even harder to tell what city they're waking up in. And the campaign staff -- these folks are working round the clock as it is, imagine what the next few weeks and months will be like!
[UPDATE: Let me be very clear. This effort is intended to be a morale booster as our folks are ending one phase of the primary campaign and beginning another. This is NOT in any way shape or form a signal that I think Edwards is or should end this campaign. John Edwards has stated clearly he's in this to the White House, and I fully intend to work my ass off to get him there. Oh, and think public domain. There are lots of pictures out on the web that are not copyrighted. Most lawyers know this.]
So, the idea popped into my head the other day, wouldn't this be a nice time to give the campaign a shot in the arm? You know, like bringing home a bunch of flowers not because it's a birthday or anniversary but just because.
So, an idea popped and a plan was born. We should thank John and Elizabeth Edwards for giving us this great opportunity to make a difference. We should thank Cate and Emma Claire and Jack for being so understanding and having their lives upended for a dream of a better tomorrow. We should thank Bobbie and Wallace Edwards for raising a son we are all proud of. We should thank the campaign staff and volunteers, from David Bonior for one more campaign as he continues to fight for workers every where, to Dave "Mudcat" Saunders for making sure Rural Americans are heard, to Joe Trippi for dragging back into another presidential run, to Tracy Joan and Aaron for hanging out with us on the blogs, to the research folks who keep the facts straight and the finance staff who keep the numbers all lined up, to all the other great staffers with titles and without, to all the folks manning the field offices, and to the volunteers coming in day in and day out to man phones, canvass neighborhoods, stuff envelopes, etc.
And what better way to say Thank You than....
Yes, I said sunflowers.
Pictures of sunflowers,
greeting cards of sunflowers,
drawings of sunflowers,
emails referring to sunflowers (and thanks),
for those who've given the limit and want to give more--actual sunflowers.
Oh, I forgot to explain why sunflowers! My bad.
Sunflowers are a native plant to the Americas, are bright and cheerful, are naturally resistant to pests, are often used in rotating crops as they return nutrients to the soil, and turn their "heads" toward the sun (in their budding stage, firming to a usually eastern-facing position when flowering). Sunflowers aren't fancy hot-house flowers but flowers grown in vegetable gardens, fields, across the country. These are flowers of the people!
So, to me, when I think of a politician like John Edwards, when I think of someone working for the people, when I think of someone working for a more open and honest government, I think sunflowers.
It's the symbolism of these cheerful flowers.
- Native to America, these flowers are truly "green" because they don't need fertilizers to stand tall and strong.
- They turn their heads to the sun as the day passes, representing open government.
- These aren't fancy flowers, but flowers of the people.
[Note: Some of you may remember an earlier effort to send lots of sunflowers to Senator Feingold in 2006 when he was standing up against the Patriot Act. That's when I first learned about sunflowers in this context.]
Why not more money?
Well, if you have it, sure. In fact, why do you have more money that you haven't already sent in!!
But after last week's fundraiser (I'll be tipping my hat to KingOneEye for some time to come!!), I'm personally tapped out as are many others. Plus, money is fungible. Sure, a big day in Finance is always good, but does it really put a smile on the receptionist's face or make that next house easier to reach for the canvasser? Can Emma Claire or Jack really appreciate the numbers involved in a presidential race, or will a postcard of sunflowers addressed personally to them seem like a treat?
Sometimes, we just need to stop and smell the sunflowers (or something like that).
HERE'S THE PLAN:
Over the next 4 days, let's flood the Edwards campaign offices with sunflowers in every way we can think of. Emails, snail mail, deliveries -- whatever works for you.
This is an easy way to give a lift to some people who have taken a lot of grief for us, who are standing up against a lot of special interests and a lazy press.
Just remember the message is simple: Thank You and the symbol is: Sunflowers. Pick your favorite staff person, or one of the family, or the whole campaign team. Pick an office in South Carolina or send it to the campaign headquarters in Chapel Hill.
Edwards for President
410 Market Street
Chapel Hill, NC 27516
Columbia, S.C. - Headquarters
1516 Richland Street
Columbia, SC 29201
685 Hwy 123 Bypass
Seneca, SC 29678
476 Meeting Street
Charleston, SC 29403
8 McBee Avenue
Greenville, SC 29601
728 Broadway Street
Myrtle Beach, SC 29577
1024 E. White Street
Rock Hill, SC 29730
1515 Butts Street
AND NOW FOR SOME TRIVIA ABOUT SUNFLOWERS:
The sunflower (Helianthus annuus) is an annual plant native to the Americas in the family Asteraceae, with a large flowering head. The stem of the flower can grow as high as 3 metres tall, with the flower head reaching up to 30 cm in diameter with the "large" seeds.
MANY FLOWERS IN ONE:
What is usually called the flower is actually a head of numerous flowers (florets) crowded together. The outer flowers are the ray florets and can be yellow, maroon, orange, or other colors, and are sterile. The florets inside the circular head are called disc florets. The disc florets mature into what are traditionally called "sunflower seeds", but are actually the fruit of the plant. The true seeds are encased in an inedible husk.
Of interest to our mathematician friends: The florets within this cluster are arranged spirally. Typically each floret is oriented toward the next by approximately the golden angle, producing a pattern of interconnecting spirals where the number of left spirals and the number of right spirals are successive Fibonacci numbers. Typically, there are 34 spirals in 1 direction and 55 in the other; on a very large sunflower you may see 89 in one direction and 144 in the other.
A model for the pattern of florets in the head of a sunflower was proposed by H Vogel. This is expressed in polar coordinates
where θ is the angle, r is the radius or distance from the center, and n is the index number of the floret and c is a constant scaling factor. It is a form of Fermat's spiral. The angle 137.5° is related to the golden ratio and gives a close packing of florets. This model has been used to produce computer graphics representations of sunflowers.
Here Comes The Sun: Sunflowers in the bud stage exhibit heliotropism. At sunrise, the faces of most sunflowers are turned towards the east. Over the course of the day, they move to track the sun from east to west, while at night they return to an eastward orientation. This motion is performed by motor cells in the pulvinus, a flexible segment of the stem just below the bud. As the bud stage ends, the stem stiffens and the blooming stage is reached.
Sunflowers in the blooming stage are not heliotropic anymore. The stem has frozen, typically in an eastward orientation.
Miscellaneous facts: The sunflower is the state flower of the U.S. state of Kansas, and one of the city flowers of Kitakyushu, Japan. Also, the sunflower is often used as a symbol of green ideology.