Environmental science, traveling, and the sociology of the unraveling American dream.


If you're looking for more about me, I'm pretty much hanging out over at my livejournal these days. I use this account for commenting on other people's blogs.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Back from the shades

Today was spent driving through rolling mountains. The sky was grey, and the world was covered with smoke and mists. The hillsides looked like the ghosts of forests, with the branches reaching for the sky like the spectres of the trees.

My voice has come back, but only partially, in that I now have the bottom two notes of my register but nothing else. (I sound hillarious trying to sing. Most of the notes disappear.) It's strange -- without the higher register, most of the innocent/appreciative/inquisitive tones I used aren't available, and I sound gruff and practical. It's been unexpectedly difficult to deal with, as for various reasons I need to be able to sound like something other than what I am. I didn't realize that losing the higher notes would mean losing so much of the information I can convey with my voice.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

A gathering in of threads

A few things before I meander over to NTB with my laptop to get my studded snow tires put on. (Since it looks like I'll be spending time in upstate NY and northern Maine rather soon. And also the Rockies, but not with my car.)

-I have a few semi-political essays I'm working on waiting in the wings, pulling themselves together, but I won't be posting them for a while now. Partly because posting them now would leave them lost in the general post-election frenzy, and partly because, well, they're not ready yet. But the three points I'd make right now, because now is when they need to be made:

1) Everyone's a purple state. I travel a lot, I see a hell of a lot of places, and I can tell you from experience, this is the truth. I see W'04 stickers here in Massachusetts, the woolly-headed liberal stronghold. And I saw Kerry stickers in Texas, more than a few. If we give in to the urge to simplify this into Red States vs. Blue States, we're letting them define the terms, and we're giving in too easily. Let's give the issue the complexity it deserves, because otherwise we're losing the nuance that could give us an accurate understanding of the situation. And accurate understanding = necessary to win. (Or it used to be.)

2) I don't care about the popular vote. Seriously. It's depressing to think that 51% of our fellow Americans went for things we can't understand -- but. This election wasn't run for the popular vote. These campaigns weren't run for the popular vote. This election was run under a very specific set of rules, and everyone -- the media, the voters, and the politicians -- was operating under those rules. You honestly don't think the voter turnout in Massachusetts and California and New York would have been the same if we'd been electing based on the popular vote, if people hadn't said "but we're a blue state, my vote doesn't matter"? No way. And yes, the same thing for Louisiana, or Texas, or Arkansas. With the election based on the popular vote to decide who won -- things would have been different. We were trying to defeat an incumbent president in the middle of a war. We knew this wasn't going to be easy. Next time around, we'll be ready.

3) Write. Attend. Get involved. And while the Internet's great, get involved in the "real world" as well. Call. Write letters, or at the very least, personal emails, on the issues. Don't worry about things being too many, or not counted, or not read, because they keep track of these things. Check out sites like the Union of Concerned Scientists, and find out what some of the less-popularized issues are, and who you can write to. Write letters to the editor. Get involved with voting reform, or protecting first amendment rights for comics, or anything, because there are a lot of fronts to fight on, and a lot of issues to care about. Write essays. Write anything, and get it out there. Get involved on a local level. The GOP came back from the ground up, and that's what the Progressives may have to do as well. It's not so much that local action can make a difference. It's more that it's the only thing that does.