Well, it’s that time again. Election time! I think that the excitement I feel for major elections is very close to what I felt as a kid for Christmas. Yeah, seriously.
So, in my past life I gave lots of money to causes that I now detest (Focus on the Family, American Family Association, etc.) and over the last 4 or 5 years I’ve tried to make up for my previous mistakes. I had my misguided Ron Paul phase back in 2007 and inexplicably gave enough money to his campaign to actually show up in donor searches.
Now that I’m on the right (Left) side of the issues for good, and after giving everything I had to the Obama campaign back in 2008, I’m supporting our 2010 candidates where I can. I’ve been wanting to see exactly how my giving breaks down so I created this pie chart. It’s probably only interesting to me, but since I worked on it for so long I thought I’d post it anyway. I recommend clicking on the image to see a sharper, easier to read full size version.
As for who I’ve chosen to support (and there are so many more I wish I could support), here’s a bit about them and why I support them. Clicking on their name will take you to their campaign web site.
John Flerlage – John is running for Congress in Colorado’s 6th Congressional District. I have worked with John since the early days of his campaign serving primarily as his Internet social networking guy. John is an incredible man, a proven leader, and has the sort of character we all wish our elected officials had. If you have the means, please support John.
Betsy Markey – This is an easy one. Betsy defeated the awful, despicable, hate-filled Marilyn Musgrave in Colorado’s 4th Congressional District back in 2008 in what I considered to be one of Colorado’s and the country’s gay community’s greatest victories. Marilyn Musgrave was known for such discriminatory legislation as the Federal Marriage Amendment which she repeatedly introduced. I also have a special place in my heart for CD4, since I spent my first year and a half in CO in the city of Fort Collins. Would really hate to see this seat fall back into Republican hands.
Tarryl Clark – Two terrifying words: Michelle Bachmann. I don’t think I need to say anymore, but Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District really, really needs to do the right thing and stop subjecting the nation to Bachmann’s special brand of crazy. Oh, and just for fun check out michelebachmannsaidwhat.com.
Joe Sestak – I started donating to Joe Sestak back when he jumped into the race to challenge fake Democrat Arlen Specter in the Pennsylvania Senate primary. Thankfully he defeated Specter and now he’s got a tough fight to beat tea bagger Pat Toomey. Really hoping he pulls this one out.
DCCC – The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, committed to electing and keeping a Democratic house. I trust them to put my money where it will be useful.
Rob Miller – Remember that jerk Joe Wilson yelling “You lie!” at the president during his speech to a joint session of Congress? Well, Rob Miller is the guy who is going to take his job and the first candidate I signed up for monthly contributions to. Joe Wilson is bad for South Carolina’s 2nd District and he’s bad for America.
Charlie Melancon – Charlie Melancon is a pretty moderate Democrat, but compared to the destructive right winger he’s running against, he’s beautiful! David Vitter represents my home state of Louisiana in the U.S. Senate and does an extremely poor job at it. Does an affair with a prostitute make an individual unfit for office? No. If that individual gets elected on a hypocritical “family values” platform, should he be re-elected? No.
Stan Garnett – Back when Congress passed and the President signed historic legislation to prevent insurance companies from dropping your coverage because you got sick, or from making being a woman a pre-existing condition, etc. our Attorney General here in Colorado decided to sign us all on to a wasteful, misguided lawsuit against the federal government in opposition to the healthcare legislation. Immediately Democrats started looking for a candidate to take him out in what would have otherwise been an easily re-election. Buzz started that Boulder District Attorney Stan Garnett would make a great candidate and I actually started a “Draft Stan Garnett” Facebook group. A week or so later he was in the race. Can’t wait for him to win this one!
Mary Jo Kilroy – Mary Jo Kilroy won Ohio’s 15th District narrowly back in 2008 and is a major target for Republicans this year in a rematch with her 2008 polling. This is one where the Republicans see a real opportunity and losing Representative Kilroy would be a real blow.
Paul Hodes – Representative Paul Hodes is running against anti-gay, pro-life, tea bagger Kelly Ayotte for U.S. Senate in New Hampshire in what is considered a toss-up race. I love the state of New Hampshire’s independence, but there really is no question as to what the right thing to do is here.
Jerry Brown – California is the country’s most populated state and is currently in financial crisis after 8 years of being represented by a celebrity Republican Governor. Now Californians are given the choice between Jerry Brown and former eBay CEO Meg Whitman. Aside from being a hypocrite on illegal immigration and employment, Whitman is now nearing the $150 million mark of dollars she has spent on her own campaign. She bought the primary and now she’s trying to buy the Governorship. Jerry Brown, while sometimes eccentric, is a good ol’ liberal and I have no doubt would lead California in the right direction. During his first stint as Governor he appointed more women and minorities to office than any other previous California governor. That’s someone I can get behind.
Jack Conway – This is a very clear example of me trying to make up for past mistakes. Ron Paul’s son, Rand Paul, is running against Jack Conway for U.S. Senate in Kentucky and I fear the havoc would attempt to wreak if he were let loose in the Senate with his tea bagger ways. Jack Conway supports the health care overhaul and is pro-labor. He’s exactly what Kentucky needs after being stuck with Jim Bunning.
Bill White – Let’s be honest here, politically Texas is an embarrassment to the nation. After screwing us with 8 years of George W. Bush, I’m hoping that the time has come to turn the state around. Rick Perry is the longest serving governor in Texas history and has done everything in his power to keep it closed-minded, gay-hating and very, very red. Bill White is the former mayor of Houston and has the opportunity to take Texas in the right direction.
Bernie Buescher – I donated to Bernie Buescher’s campaign for re-election as Colorado’s Secretary of State because for a while there he looked like he might be in trouble. Things seemed to have evened out now and it’s looking like Bernie will be re-elected.
ActBlue PAC – ActBlue is an organization that raises money for Democratic candidates. Through it’s website it has raised over 150 million dollars for many Democratic candidates who would otherwise not have a Web fundraising presence. My donations to ActBlue come from a percentage tip for the site that I agreed to add on to other donations.
Finally! 11 years after Matthew Shepard’s death, the legislation bearing his name has finally made it through Congress and on to the President’s desk. The Republicans, of course, fought it all along the way but despite their best efforts America has arrived in the 21st century. It saddens me that Senator Kennedy isn’t here to see this come to fruition, after all of his years fighting for it.
I do wish that the bill could have been sent through Congress on its own accord, but attaching it to a defense bill was the safest bet for getting it through and the Democrats did the right thing in doing so.
Matthew’s parents Judy and Dennis have worked tirelessly to see this happen and I have enormous respect for both of them. I had the wonderful opportunity to meet Judy at a Soulforce event protesting Focus on the Family and their hurtful, dangerous rhetoric. She was incredibly sweet and genuine and my heart broke all over again for this women who was thrust into a role that no parent would ever wish for. Hate took her son from her she chose to go on and fight that hate, She is my personal hero because of it.
Today as I watched the above videos I stumbled upon this great video which contains the statement that Dennis Shepard gave during the trial of one of Matthew’s murderers. The audio is from the movie “The Laramie Project”. It is incredibly moving.
I just happened upon this video and it’s very fitting when considering my previous post. We must work harder to create safe havens for LGBT individuals around the world, until that day when all people are loved, accepted, and safe in their home.
I’ve been haunted lately by the images of teenagers Mahmoud Asgari and Ayaz Marhoni as they wept and waited for their execution, pleading for their lives. There are questions about their case, and whether or not they were executed for their consensual homosexual acts or not, but regardless, hundreds of people are executed in Iran and other places for simply being who they are.
There are people and organizations working to make change around the world. Please consider joining up with Amnesty International and making a recurring donation. When atrocities like these and in many other categories appear around the globe Amnesty is always there fighting for justice, peace, and human rights. I have the utmost respect and gratitude for Amnesty International, and if I’m lucky maybe someday I will work for them.
So, it’s been a while since I’ve posted here but something happened tonight that is just the kind of thing that gets me to blog. I recently met a guy named Alex and tonight when we were talking I found out his story. He’s 27, has lived in Colorado for 3 years and is from Peru. He’s gay and is out here but is not at a point where he feels he can tell his family or anyone back home. He’s living here illegally; he overstayed a work visa.
I used to be a right-wing crazy who would go nuts over this kind of stuff, then I became a very conflicted and confused “moderate” who didn’t know quite what to do about these things but still strongly felt “they” should all go back and do it legally. Now I’m a bleeding heart liberal who wants us to throw open our arms and our borders and actually live by “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”
Why does Alex want to live in America so badly? He wants to fall in love and be able to live openly and without fear in a same sex relationship. As we spoke tonight he sadly told me about a close friend of his that was arrested for his immigration status almost 3 months ago. His friend is from Morocco and is desperate to stay here because he can be jailed for his sexuality if he is sent back home. He applied for amnesty based on his sexual orientation and was denied. He appealed and was in the middle of the detailed and exhaustive process when he was was picked up and taken to jail for his illegal status. He was shipped to a jail near Colorado Springs and remains there almost three months later.
I know we must have immigration laws; I understand that reality, but this is not the answer. This man is in jail and will likely be sent back to a very unfriendly country where he may be imprisoned for who he is and we don’t consider that important enough for him to stay.