Sunday, November 30, 2014

A few tips to political folks

So much is being written about this past election, as if one party had never controlled both the US House and US Senate, ever. We know this is not the case. As a progressive, I remember that, in not so distant time, both chambers and the presidency were controlled by Republicans and we got through it. Yes, it might have sucked and yes there were some bad things that happened, but we got through it.

After spending a lot of time helping candidates I support get elected, and hanging out at election parties, I was reminded that I have always wanted to write a note to those in politics in regards to my thoughts on what they could do better. This goes to folks in all political parties.

Here you go:

When in public, be kind. Don't be arrogant. This goes for your staff too. Nothing is worse than running into arrogance-filled staff members at events. Anyone representing you or your campaign should be rocking it for you in public.

If you were part of something good, talk about it. Even if it means talking positive about someone who is not popular. For example, the economy seems much better off than it was two or four years ago. Certainly better than six years, no matter who is talking about it. Sure someone who hates the President will tell you, when talking about better unemployment numbers, that this number doesn't include folks who stopped looking for employment, but they never have. Never. So it is still apples to apples.

If you like something, admit it. Don't bs us. I firmly believe that folks will respect someone who sticks to their beliefs, even if those folks don't agree with those beliefs.

Thank people. Yes, you won. It was close. Thank those who took their personal time and decided to do what they could to help get you elected or re-elected rather than spend time with their family, go for a run, or volunteer for a non-profit.

Show up. Nothing sucks more than to see ads with you being attacked for not being present at work. This doesn't fly for most of us, nor should it for you. If you have missed a bunch of work, in any capacity, tell us why.

If you lost an election, don't stop. If it is a four year term that is a bit tougher, but for two year terms run again. And again. If you firmly believe that you are a better candidate and would support the citizens better than the other person, keep going. Rock it in between elections and run again.

Give a shit. This is crucial, although many folks get elected who don't. Many folks in politics want to be mayor or governor or president. If that is the only reason you are running for state house or some other position, please don't tell me that. I want to believe that you actually care about the people who you are asking to vote for you. I get that folks aspire to a higher office, and I also want someone who represents me on any level to give a shit.

And my regular readers would be shocked if I didn't include this part. If you want to make change but do not want to get into politics, the least you can do is vote.

Thanks for reading.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Be nice today

So many terrible things were said during this past election. I thought I had heard/read it all.

Until the President's speech last night.

Holy cow.

I started reading comments on Facebook and Twitter. Then I went to newspapers and TV websites. I have watched horrible things be said about our President and have always shook my head. What I have read in the last 24 hours just baffles me.

So much vile. So much hate. So many terrible words not only about the President but about immigrants, liberals, and anyone who might support anything the writer disagrees with.

I disagree with many when it comes to politics. And I agree with many. Those I disagree with I choose not to hate or demonize.

I'm much more about finding what we have in common and building bridges. Having a conversation. Debating our thoughts, ideas and solutions.

So I am going to be nice to those I disagree with. I am not going to become a person filled with negativity, judgment and hate.

I am just as powerful of an activist while filled with kindness.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Your first vegan Thanksgiving

Me and Suga at one of our Thanksgiving meals (we have dinner outside when the weather is nice).

In the past few months I have connected with many folks who are newly vegan and who are entering into their first holiday season as vegan. I remember my first holidays being vegan and thought I would write some words of support.

Many folks don't like Thanksgiving. I totally LOVE Thanksgiving. I do not celebrate the day in the same way that culture has passed on to me. I celebrate it as a chance to enjoy a day off watching my husband delight in creating a feast for people we love, and celebrating friends of ours who are family.

For Thanksgiving, there are vegetarian and vegan groups all of the country that host some type of meal, whether it's a vegan potluck or a full-on vegan buffet that you pay for. Whether you are going to someones home for a meal or not, I think at least swinging by one of these events and getting to know people is great. You would get to eat amongst your own and may even meet folks who you want to be in community with.

Most folks serve turkey at Thanksgiving. As disgusting as that might seem to you, it is still very normal for many people. If you end up at a dinner where turkey is being served, don't rip your clothes off and scream "I'd rather go naked than partake in a meal that includes a tortured being!". Simply pass on the turkey and go for the vegan items. If there are no vegan items re-read the preceding paragraph.

Keeping this thought in mind, many family and friends will make sure there are vegan options for you when inviting you to the meal. I have always had plenty to eat at Thanksgiving dinner, even when my husband wasn't cooking it. If your host asks you to bring a vegan dish, go all out and bring something that will blow the minds of all of the other guests.

You can also plan to host Thanksgiving dinner at your home. Mike and I have been doing that for many years and we love it. And I am pretty sure our guests do too.

If you decided to become vegan for the animals, remember that you are their voice. Many of you will be at a Thanksgiving dinner where other guests have no clue what being vegan is, or means. This is your chance to be a loving, compassionate voice for those who have no voice.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

What an election!

I have always believed that all politics is local.

As I watched the returns on election night from the Jefferson County Dems party, I was once again reminded that the work I do to support local candidates pays off, while at the same time I have little control over whether or not a bigot is elected in Iowa.

To be fair, bigots were also elected in Colorado.

Election night was good locally as both my state rep and my state senator, two men I really like, were re-elected. My state senator was only ahead by some 400 votes, a count that went higher as votes were counted.

My former state senator, whose district we are no longer in due to boundary changes, won by 190 votes.

Talk about close. And about how each vote is vital. There were actually a bunch of close elections in Colorado.

The best part of election day is that we got the vote out in Jefferson County. Our favorite for State Board of Education, who represents our Congressional district, won 89,000+ votes. She was running against a "reformist", tea party candidate, like the three county school board members we have that won election last year. What this election showed me is that people voted. With all of the crap coming from our school board, people have gotten pissed off and have started voting. This is huge as our two amazing county school board members are up for re-election next year.

The point here is to vote. To get active in a local campaign. Get to know the candidates and choose one. If there isn't a good candidate, one that you can support, consider running yourself. I'm not talking about for US Senate. I am totally talking about city council, state rep, county positions and local school board.

If you are dismayed about what happened election night, do something.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Happy World Vegan Day

I had no idea today was World Vegan Day!

I started the day by making brunch for friends, including my favorite French toast recipe and sausage. Then later today Mike is making his famous enchiladas as we have a couple of friends coming over for dinner.

My favorite things about being vegan are that I contribute less to suffering on this earth and that I get to eat incredibly delicious food.

There's a lot to celebrate. And the more I read about World Vegan Day the more I learn. Like, this is even World Vegan Month!

So spread the word. Have a potluck. Or a small dinner party. Let friends and family know why you're vegan. Bring a vegan delight to the office.

We are becoming a huge, diverse community. Let's embrace it. And let's celebrate.

I wish you a very happy World Vegan Day!

Thanks for reading!