Monday, March 31

Positive reinforcement

I need to catch up on about two weeks' sleep so this will be short.

I attended the El Paso County Convention yesterday.

The bad news: It was a big bucket of poo.

The good news: I am an Obama State Delegate. I am being sent to Austin.

Thanks to Oliva, Dori, Lance, Adrian, Beto, Taz, Sebastian, Rose, Kara, Padalino, Carl, Eve, Kath, Viv, Chris, Laura, Tom, Henry of Lighthouse Coffee, Donald, Paul, Maddie, Dave from DC, all of the Obama for America staff, Bassett Tower, Tatco Electronics, Sherwood Engineering, and Mom and Dad. Some days I really wanted to stay home or get out of it, but you guys kept me going.

Past, Present, and Future: Barack Obama is what this country needs.

Friday, March 28

Case for Obama Pt. 2

We have a pivotal choice to make. America will take a third seat in global growth markets behind the European Union in wealth and Russo-Chinese arrangements in growth markets. The only issue less understood than the Iraq war is the looming needs of alternative energy and sustainable resources. Immigration, our retiring citizens, and the rising cost of health care must be handled. That is a lot for four years. If the Democratic party does not address and act upon every single problem facing us today, we will lose the election in 2012. All of our worst fears and most cynical opinions will resume after four years.


We could be lead around by the nose. Everyone from Governors to Congress members, from foreign trading partners to mom and pop store owners, from activist celebrities to wide-eyed college freshmen will urge on the air of panic. Unless we elect one who conducts him or herself as anything other than a statesman, who acts as if he owes his allegiance to the people who gave him their trust—we will have difficult decades beyond that of difficult years. Barack Obama has the mind and the voice to inform and draw measures that will be capable of meeting the hardships this country will face. Clearly Barack Obama is the candidate who owns misgivings and has the self-respect to supersede any setback.

Now, we are both believing what we would like to about our candidates. Being human, when asked to describe strangers we are most often listing characteristics we see in ourselves. There is no doubt that very exceptional qualities can be found in both candidates running for President.

But let me add this: Barack Obama is shockingly one of those good people who got into government despite what politics has made of it. You are right to believe that he does not quite fit in Washington D.C. What we’ve passively allowed to happen to that city, the waste and commonplace corruption---It’s downright disgusting.

Barack Obama is exactly the type of person who needs to be in our nation’s highest office. Instead of having the good people in government trying to make fair what otherwise would be unworkable institution; we must put the good people, and not just the good politicians, in office.

Based on character alone, you should be able to identify Barack Obama as a man whose had to carve out his own destiny. You should admire this man when virtually nothing he has was ever guaranteed. You should admire how he still has the respect and compassion made him dream big. You should consider his entire life, not just the Barack Obama since Iowa, not the Obama of your inbox, not the Barack designed by pundits to convince you of their self-importance.

Barack Obama is not just the makings of an interesting bit of election history, he is the chance, the first one in my lifetime, that this nation, We the people, can reclaim our voice as citizens.

Case for Obama Pt. 1

If you believe that all politicians lie, and you’ve picked the candidate that lies the least, little of what I say will matter to you. If you believe that being a good person and being in government are two things incompatible, then the change many of the men, women, and young people have been excited about these past few months must sound to you like the stuff of misguided dreams.

My people, America is not broken. When you see the largest audience of people under 30 participating in our national political discussion, this is an America bred of inevitability. People try to claim that America wasn’t built on a lot of fancy words, and they’re right. It takes work, ingenuity, originality. When you listen to the ambitious plans this next generation has for this country, America is not broken. American politics has just taken its time to catch up with the country.

We have a tough election ahead of us in November. Even as the younger generation is assuming the responsibility of citizenship, their parents and grandparents are having difficulty seeing the future. Indeed, what we do in this election, and for the next decade will effect how that future will look. What has been going on in this country, the energy being brought to campaigns—is not only about Barack Obama. More than half of this nation’s citizens are saying “No! We will not let this shameful spectacle continue. No! We will not accept another four years of a President acting out of self-interest. No! We are not going to be easily used by them who undermine our liberty and taint the blood that so vigilantly fought to secure the dream that was America anymore.”

We must come to a great decision. We must do more than simply disapprove of the last eight years. We must do more than sit idly by while our politicians navigate our government through a complex world. We must decide that the kind of passive participation that allows wretches like George Bush to defame this great nation. No, all of this excitement is not just about Barack Obama.

But Barack Obama is the only President who will remind this nation of what it has been looking for. He is the only one who represents the variety and creativity of American ingenuity. If we were all more like Barack Obama, we will break this nation of 51-49 splits essentially decided on which spin story lands better with target demographics. He is the only PR consultant who will keep Americans in the light.

Barack Obama has not been lying to you. He has been dealing with vicious attacks and magical thinking that would see him at best, out of this Presidential race. He has shown himself to be a gentlemen of high integrity, a man of compassion, and a leader with wisdom. Imagine that! A President with wisdom. A man who does not promise what he unsure he can perform. We are the new Americans. Obama makes it official.

Don’t let this be the last day you fight for what Barack Obama has heard us pleading for. Don’t disappear after November.

Friday, March 21

Even if you win, you lose.

Sorry for the preach read below.

The entire purpose behind the Reverend Wright episode is now evident. It took a few days. It took some hammering by the fucking retarded major news outlets. But if you miss the point, it doesn't really matter.

It was viral.

You were meant to think "There is a white America." or "People who think there is a white America are against America."

The fact that our diplomacy often looks like state-sponsored terrorism was the context of the speech used to defame Rev. Wright is for naught.

How do we know when he said what? All of it is innuendo. Any other statement they follow is now in your mind as him having said from the pulpit.

If you've heard anything about it at all, unless you've already trained your mind to systematically flush garbage bigotry from your mind, it's already in you. It may not be part of your character, but it will come out of you now in flashes.

Don't show patronage to this news. Not just because it's Obama, or because it will be McCain, or that it's aimed at Clinton.

Turn the channel.

Inform yourself.

Friday, March 14

Resistance, Rebellion, and Death

I was asked to leave the Democratic HQ today.

We're back to work on Monday, but apparently I am an agitator. Officially, arguments are prohibited specially if they will inhibit work from being done. Everyone was listening--everyone in the crowded office stopped for 3 and a half minutes while I laid down my Indie, French Resistance-inspired, Libertarian ideas while simultaneously condemning their in-office appraisal of ridiculous and illogical views of politics.

I like these people. We have a sense of pride about the work that we're doing, and camaraderie has built up around these feelings. We tell stories and swap bad jokes. There is Budweiser in the mini-fridge. The men and women poke jokes about gender, Republicans, and high-priced hookers. We rib on one of the bosom buddies who walked around the corner for a 7 dollar haircut that should have been a shave. We don't pretend and we all get along. What hurts me is hearing easy complacency when it comes to discussing government and politics. You can use asinine games to shield or shovel anyone you like. To borrow a phrase from the Times, "to be ready for Washington, you've got to be ready to play where destroying people is sport."However, political discussions between non-candidates should refrain from turning personal and instead carefully scrutinize the real matters ignored by media or campaign strategists eager to push their product.

If you've been to non-televised meetings, Democrats and Republicans have no trouble saying awful things about each other without any care for what detractor might be listening. 'The other guy is your enemy, and in the comfort of that circle any detractor will be devoured.' This is what I was talking about in the last post. When there is a mass of people surrounding you, nerves or lust might make any human talk up a mob. That honor or integrity are tossed aside matter little to a bunch of cannibals. There is no reaction in all the Earth like that animal pulse of blood.

However, the mob talk should stop inside the headquarters of the party which you give allegiance. There should be some bastion where people talk in real terms about their country and their government. It shouldn't be confined to a few friends over wine. We should take strong considerations to how we direct people's views of a candidate's character, foreign policy experience, brilliance of mind. No one is going to tattle on the other side for giving the truer version of what will be possible, what hits we'll have to take, and how feasible pushing through either President's agenda may be.

Today I was the lone Obama supporter working to clean-up the caucus mess. I had to hear people talk about what kind of person they are or what kind of person they'd like to be without offending their right to think this is talking politics. Simply adding a candidate's name in a dialog about characterization does mean you know how to engage in a political discussion. I tired of waiting for Precinct chairs to call me back. I did not mention Obama or Clinton or McCain. I see the point of keeping the work going, but my fear is that when you get past what a person feels about politics, there is no further progress to be expected out of them.

I've just begun talking about what is broken in this country.

Ask more of me. Ask more of each other.

And I went down to the demonstration
To get my fair share of abuse
Singing, "We're gonna vent our frustration
If we don't we're gonna blow a 50-amp fuse"
Sing it to me now...

Thursday, March 13

The Mob is Your Enemy

More than Republicans or Neocons or Muslims or Terrorists or Corporations or Lobbyists or Priests or Atheists Democrats or Liberals or Pharmaceuticals or Petrochemical boards, the Mob is your enemy.

Don't add to it.

I could get really angry here. I could blow up, not make any sense, and alienate the persona I want here writing to you.

I could explain how negative campaigning, whether you do it or it's done on national television by Presidential candidates, only achieves in puncturing the opponent's favor while most often deflating their own. Because it hurts the opponent more is the only reason it's done.

Please don't listen to small people who try to impeach a person's character when we've got a country to think about. Don't rely on surface attacks and email fwds to base your decision. They are make-believe important.

Honor your ability as a human to think as a citizen.

If you find yourself carrying on down the avenue shouting with your fists in the air, ask yourself, "Why am I doing this? Wait one second, what do I believe?" Don't just shout and clap for and nod your approval if you've got nothing going on there. I'll fight you over it, so just make sure your own reasons are as good.

$25 to the person who makes me a Don't Add (front) the mob is your enemy (back) t-shirt.

Wednesday, March 12

Long Weekend

The Texas Precinct Caucus experience.

Overall, the Obama camp prevailed because of their caucus blast. We were walking. We were calling. We were talking on our off time at the grocery store or at the coffee shop. Some of us were doing it casually, a little sick that this ugly thing called politics was seeping out from under our skin. Others were working on their fifth or sixth Presidential campaign, their fortieth campaign overall. They had their wearable American Flags, their clipboards, and their unnaturally bright campaign smiles. I could not tell the difference between the dirty politicians I just about hate and four volunteers I worked side by side with. That is not to say that the opponent's was any better. Indeed, I found those supposed to be neutral were by far the worst.

Politics isn't reason or efficiency. Sometimes it is just the kind of person eager to have everyone he meets congratulate him.

There was a triage in effect. I knew that people of like temperament were being placed at similar launch stations. I saw that the lunatics were being moved to precincts with the fewest people. It did alarm me for a day as to why I was placed with these curmudgeons, but the launch station was four blocks from where I live; and the smart, young Field Organizer knew I already had a partner. I dropped in to my launch station give them local intelligence, but mostly I reported back and picked up a Capri-Sun or Wheat Ale whenever the situation warranted. Specifically, a few arguments were the kind of petty I would have been driven to drink if work didn't need doing. I am the first-time campaigner who is involved in this election because room must be made for people like me whether the old guard wants it or not.

It is said that if an institution is corrupt, you can't help but absorb that same immorality. That no one person breaks the foundation.

The actual voting day there was a woman, if I can call her that, who had no business being the Election Judge. She didn't seem human. Maybe she works for Xenu. An election judge is responsible early in the morning for the voting machines, and who closes up shop by the end of the day. She gets paid little money, volunteers a good 20-40 hours, and gets the satisfaction of playing referee in American democracy. Ours looks like spiders do her make-up, hair, and possible etiquette training. The mascara boggles its way across her eyelids, up through her eyebrows, and into her hairline. When she talks, it is with such a violent shaking stir that I can see she put her make-up on herself. She is immediately offended that any person checks her competency, and only warms up to my partner Dori's fiegned reverence for this woman's self-sacrifice. She was lost and behind all day.

The following day, she calls into talk radio to complain about a precinct captain who was obnoxious, disrespectful, and troubling her civic consciousness all day. Her name is Suzy, she is a regular political talk show caller; and she got exactly what she wanted. My dad told me she calls in every day to various morning talk shows, that she seems mentally unbalanced, and is the type of person who tells people at dinner parties stories in hopes they will become her friends. He listen to morning talks shows on AM radio. He gets a kick out of the wackos taking themselves seriously.

Some trolls are only on the internet. Some of them walk around, get appointed an Election Judge, and accuse me of stealing Social Security cards. That's how disorganized she was. She lost freaking Social Security cards I am damn sure she shouldn't have kept in the first place.

One last note; she did have it right when calling me obnoxious. She doled it our and I gave it back better. Of all the arguments she lost with me that day, my favorite was:
Suzy- "If you come in here to use the bathroom again, I am going to have you removed from the grounds."
Estlin Jack- "This isn't elementary school."
She is a professionally a long-time substitute teacher. I won't say what that probably reveals about her personality. What a bitch.

This year's election took my entire city by surprise. The Demo HQ is still in chaos. No one knew how to run the caucus, and they obviously didn't take time to do their research online. A week before March 4, I read everything I could about primary and caucus rules for Texas and any other states I could use in my arsenal. The info was available, however cloudy.

That preparation was for naught. Caucuses all over El Paso went for Hillary Clinton. There was no discussion in mine. Indeed, there was no discussion with the overall genial conversations I had with Clinton supporters. People showed up to be counted. I lost the Permanent Chair spot by one vote to Clinton supporter who admitted no orientation with the caucus process. Dori ran for secretary and lost by a landslide to an 18 yr old who did nothing after getting elected. I talked to the 2 undecideds and swung one of them. No argument, no speeches other than mine. Only a few people got up out of their seats. People were tired and angry; and just wanted to go home. NONE of Clinton supporters voted that day. Dori and I'd been there since 6:30am, and we didn't see any of those people that day. They were organized behind the scenes. They smacked us around in El Paso despite our efforts. We lost the city 70% to 30%.


Pride stinging, I went to bed early that night. A glass of wine for potential future high blood pressure, and I dreamt of snowy forests. I walked around town the next day trying not to blow-up at a stranger who looked like they voted for Clinton. I realized my dream meant I wanted to be far, far away from here. Instead, I went to Obama HQ and helped clean-up. I vented. I made contacts with the people from El Paso who would need to continue to work on here until November. I took the loss personally and am in it for even these backwards Hill-billies who won't let a good man help their country.

I know Hispanics/Chicanos/Tejanos. When Hillary doesn't get the nomination, of that 70% that voted for her, 70% of them are going to stay home in November. They are very similar to college kids. They can be excited into short time commitment, but soon fade out. Soon they are gone and the long-time, selfish people are the ones left. I tell you, from the people voting on the day, and the amount of support I received in the public, this cocky Texan thought Obama would smash all those presumptive pundits who spew their oil. I thought we were gonna set their heads afire. Even if what I thought was right, that Obama was loved in El Paso, not enough of them went to vote early or on the day. We did 60%-40% on March 4, but got smashed in the caucuses. Some Republicans voted on the Democratic side, but not enough of them to give either side any kind of advantage. In our caucus, there was one Republican who went for Clinton. She thought it was good for women and good for John McCain. She has sons in the military. She agreed that Hillary even if elected would be blocked up the wazoo, and either way she would not be able to of anything to harm her sons. She would either bring them back or keep things generally as they are. She didn't like the idea that American soldiers would have to remain overseas for much of their careers if our idea of diplomacy continues.

I am trying to be fair here. That's why I mentioned the Obama people first. The young people from out of town were fantastic. They were somewhat overwhelmed, but I never saw them give up, put the books down, or go home early. They were intelligent, well-trained, and good managers. They had everything ready and if anything, they didn't have enough local volunteers to accomplish everything they wanted to.

It was a delight to work with people everywhere from California to New Hampshire, from New Orleans to Minnetonka. A number of these good people went right on to Wyoming, and many more are taking a short break before heading off to Pennsylvania.

Me, I am digging in. I am having a tuna melt on sesame and air-popped poporn; then I'm getting back to emails and Congress persons. County convention is March 29.

Next time, I tell you what's next.

Seth Grahame Smith, an ex-Hillary politico

Friday, March 7

Me, beastly

Politics isn't reason or efficiency. The cool calm head needed in times of stress isn't something people vote on. They probably would if they could see it, but none of us know what a candidate looks like in times of real stress.

The most stress we see candidates buckle under is the horrid lines constant appearances carve into their faces. We can guess that because someone has been in war or that another seems to have a judicious mind prepares a candidate for President of the United States. We are told so many lies that it becomes part of the game. We never get to see what the candidates will really be like because the most the whoring and monkey-dancing shows us is that a candidate has the stomach for the political arena.

To some of us, a friendly candidate who makes all the rounds shows us that a real person is in there. We're supposed to feel relieved that this person is just like us, and that we'll have an in to suck this person of all the resources lacking in our lives. Most of us think government is merely selfish interest. So do as we're supposed to just in case.

It sounds naive and ill-advised to speak about ideas to someone engaged in politics. Even if they are talking policy, they are people eager to pile up congratulations. Elections are an ugly thing. The kind of people who have traditionally been involved in campaign races are even uglier. You might wonder, like I do, if the younger people I've met who are not yet affected eventually will become like so many of the other vain men and women whose photo-handshakes can ever number enough. I do wonder if participating in the sometimes ludicrous structure of government will so politicize my feelings, beliefs, and mind, that all that is left is that poison. I turn around and I'm this sweaty man more interested in winning than knowing what I'm fighting for.

Texas Caucus is up next. It's passed, but I ran one. I thought you might be interested in knowing what that's like. I've got the county convention meeting coming up, and I plan on setting a meeting to devise caucus strategy with other Texan delegates.

I am not going to do as I'm supposed to.

I never have.

I will tell you as much as is not stupid to have out there. I will say that Obama supporters are different from McCain/Hillary supporters in the level of selfishness we mostly lack.

Til After the weekend.