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Blue Army: These Boots Are Made For Walkin’ (Precincts)

(Welcome to our new weekly feature at this time on Thursday afternoons, between now and the election:  Blue Army.)

I see Christy wrote a very nice post this morning sweetly suggesting you help get out the vote this Fall.  Christy is your blog Mom and she loves you.  She makes muffins and plants flowers and feeds the little birds.  I'm your mean gay Dad, your Blue Army General, and I didn't build the Inca Empire by kissing your little scrapes and owies.  Sunday Saturday mornings, Christy says "Pull up a chair," but Thursday afternoons, I'm here to say, "Get off yer ass!"  So listen up, or I'll leave you tied up in the jungle for the ants:

It's time to enlist.  Get yer boots on and shine 'em up.  Get ready, locked and loaded:  we're raising a big Blue Army and we need every last one of you. Yeeeaaarrrggghhhh!!

In a minute, I'm gonna tell you exactly what I need you to do, but first here's why we need you to enlist.  It's not just about the candidates, though it is about the candidates.  It's not just about the November elections, though it is about the November elections.  It's not just about saving the country, the Constitution, the planet, or ending torture, though it is about all those things.  It's about you:  we all need you to learn how to do field work, how to make campaigns work, and that starts with whatever little itty bit of volunteering you can do back in your home town, or even from your phone at home.  Best of all, get up out of the house.  These Blue Army boots were meant for walking precincts.

Each Thursday at this time between now and the election, we'll share experiences from the field.  There are people here who are already highly experienced and willing to help you rookies learn the ropes, so all you old campaign warriors, please mark this time slot down each week to stop by and help with training.  Share some stories and help answer questions and give people tips in the comments.

Speaking of shared wisdom from the field, here's what one of my local Drinking Liberally friends, who is also a local  party organizer, has to say to all of you:

No matter how little time or money you have available, there is always something you can do to help out your local progressives. Obviously campaigns always need monetary donations, even in small quantities, but they also need manpower. Here are some suggestions for how you can make a difference:

1. help staff your local polling place and hand out sample ballots on election day, or offer water or snacks to those who are staffing that poll

2. help a campaign with administrative tasks in the office, like stuffing envelopes or assembling packets for canvassers

3. write a letter to the editor of your community paper in support of the candidate of your choice

4. help a campaign or local Democratic committee with pre-election canvassing

5. put a yard sign in your yard or bumper sticker on your car or trash can

6. help out with a campaign phone bank and make GOTV calls

7. offer to help drive people to the polls who don't have cars

Every little bit helps!

Those are some great ideas from someone who told me that when she's talking to wingnuts and gets tired of them, she glances at her watch and interrupts them to say, "Um, I have to go now:  I'm late for my abortion."

Okay, are you ready to enlist?  Here are your "orders" for this week:

  • Contact Do More Than Vote and use their easy interface to get connected to the right volunteer organization for you in your area.  And by the way, DMTV has been put together by people just like you, and they could use some well earned donations for building all this amazing infrastructure on their own.  Use their ActBlue link to send them some love.  (Ahem:  now, please).  UPDATE:  They're currently at $793.34 $1,323.34.  Can we push that to $2000.00 today?
  • Volunteer to become a poll worker.  No bitching about fairness at the polls:  become part of the solution.  Go here.
  • Volunteer for Howard Dean's new army through your local Democratic Party.
  • Make sure you're registered to vote and harrass your sympathetic friends to register.  You can do it online in mere minutes.  Stoller tells you how.
  • Review any of the many links and options Christy offered you this morning.  If you can't find something to do from there, you're not looking.  No time to waste:  pick one of these options to enlist!

A final note:  even if you think your local candidates suck, do something, if you can stomach it.  Why?  Training.  We need you to learn how it's down, or even document the atrocities when it's done wrong (send me your horror stories:  Howie and I may have use for them).

Imagine what the world will be like if by this time two years from now, we have tens of thousands of us around the country with experience, running and staffing elections.  Even little guerrilla bands of us on the local level can change the country when there are enough of us.  I'm here to help raise and train a Blue Army to oppose and defeat the Imperial Redcoats.  It's all about the infrastructure, baby.  The establishment fears you, but it does not fear you enough. . . yet.  So get to it. 

Discussion questions:  have you been a campaign worker or volunteer?  What was it like?  What did you learn?  If you've never done it yet, what stands in your way?  If you used to be afraid to start but then jumped in, what pushed you over the edge? 

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Pachacutec did not, as is commonly believed, die in 1471. To escape the tragic sight of his successors screwing up the Inca Empire he’d built, he fled east into the Amazon rain forest, where he began chewing lots of funky roots to get higher than Hunter Thompson ever dared. Oddly, these roots gave him not only a killer buzz, but also prolonged his life beyond what any other mortal has known, excluding Novakula. Whatever his doubts of the utility of living long enough to see old friends pop up in museums as mummies, or witness the bizarrely compelling spectacle of Katherine Harris, he’s learned a thing or two along the way. For one thing, he’s learned the importance of not letting morons run a country, having watched the Inca Empire suffer many civil wars requiring the eventual ruler to gain support from the priests and the national military. He now works during fleeting sober moments to build a vibrant progressive movement sufficiently strong and sustainable to drive a pointed stake through the heart of American “conservatism” forever. He enjoys a gay marriage, classic jazz and roots for the New York Mets.