An Open Letter to Pat Hurley

I will no longer address you as my representative. In voting to override Governor McCrory’s veto of Senate Bill 2, making it legal for magistrates to deny to marry same-sex couples who have the right to marry in North Carolina, you have not only voted against the wish of thousands of North Carolinians, but blatantly voted against me.

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An Open Letter to Thom Tillis

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Dear Senator Tillis,

I did not vote for you, but since you are now my senator, you are obliged not only to listen to me but to represent me. It would be easy to dismiss me because you won this race without my vote, so I would like to take a moment to remind you that you did not gain election through a majority, but merely a plurality. Indeed, because of this, please realize–and consider this deeply–that you now represent more than half of North Carolina who did not vote for you. Therefore, I would like to share with you where I stand on many of the issues I believe will be important during the next six years in which you are in office.

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Vote! Vote! Vote!

November brings both horror and delight–this one more so than usual on the horror part, but that’s a scary story for another campfire. Today I’m focused on two other things: NaNoWriMo and Midterm Elections.

So this post is a simple request: First, vote. And if you scroll a little further, you can even look up your voter information. Second, send me a writing prompt here.

If you can only do one, VOTE. But at least, I beg you, do one.

Apples and Honey

Last night Rosh HaShanah began, the start of the Jewish year 5774. For most this meant traveling to services, eating apples and honey (for a sweet and prosperous new year), and hearing the shofar–a ram’s horn–blown. For me it meant none of the above.

I could easily steer this conversation in about five directions, depending on how I choose my next few words, and since each road isn’t incredibly long and all equally relevant, my task now is to touch each of them in turn.

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Vehicles of Change

I began interning with NCPIRG in November and just days ago I joined the steering committee for the Resolve to Fight Poverty Annual Conference. I joined during our New Voters Project with the hope of helping out where needed, especially with our sustainability projects.

Life surprised us with a reshuffling, and to keep working with our campus coordinator, we pulled together behind the No Hunger, No Homelessness action kit–which was great. We raised a fair amount of money for Feeding America through the National Hunger Clean-Up, and now many of us are coordinating a national conference. That’s not something most people can brag about–not that I’m bragging.

Not only this, my NCPIRG family is just that–family–and I want to keep working with them and helping our group to grow and make a difference, on campus, in our community, and in our entire country. Which is all good and great, mind you, except that since I joined the group, I’ve been struggling to answer a pretty important question:

Why do I care?

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My Vote Didn’t Count

So elections were yesterday and despite distractions galore, I still managed to reach my daily word count goal for NaNoWriMo. Through antihistamines and philosophers, economic speakers and communication workshops, I thought the day would end on a solemn note. And when I saw some of the election results, certainly it seemed solidly solemn enough, but somehow there is clarity in these wins and losses–clarity that my vote didn’t count.

But don’t mistake me for apathy. There’s more to it than that.

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The Issues at Hand

Last Thursday, when early voting began in North Carolina, I encouraged everyone to research the issues, to know the candidates, and to go vote. Ironically, I had yet to do any of these things–however, as I returned home this weekend, it was my intent to do all of them. And I am quite pleased to announce that I have, indeed, now done all of them.

But I don’t want to stop there.

Instead, I want to share with you what I believe–where I stand on the issues at hand and the candidates I have placed my faith in to propel us forward. My intent is not to persuade, although certainly I believe I have endorsed those who will lead us to the best state we can be in–nationally and locally–and for that reason persuasion is not a bad thing, but it is not my intent. What I plan to share is my ballot–who I voted for and more importantly why I gave them my endorsements.

Before I continue, I want to be clear about where I’ve gained my facts and the resources that led me to making my decisions: First, I relied on NCVoterGuide.org to provide me with my personal ballot information (available in sample ballot form at NSCBE.gov) and summaries of the candidates. Second, I relied on the candidates’ websites to further aid in making my decisions. If you do not live in North Carolina, at least take the time to read a little bit further about the national candidates I’ve voted for (namely, the president) and then, unless you truly wish to hear my views, I encourage you to stop reading and take the time you would have spent here researching the issues and getting to know the candidates you’ll be voting for. And then, of course, I want you to vote.

Otherwise, what’s the point in writing any of this?

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Where Are We Going, Where Have We Been

Today began early voting in North Carolina. I’ll be voting on Monday, but that’s besides the point: What matter today is that you can now take your voice and make it heard–locally and nationally.

I’ve been debating a long time with myself if I want to “go political” or not. It’s a part of me, and I can’t deny that, and it’s certainly been a part of this blog–none of us can deny that. However, I’ve worried about alienating readers, offending people or making erroneous claims that will hurt me in the end.

I’ve decided today that all of that? It’s stupid. It’s our obligation–yours as much as mine–to “go political,” and given the start of early voting, there’s no better time than now to do it.

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Guide for the Civilized

Lately I’ve been watching controversial documentaries. I love documentaries. It’s like a miniature lesson on all sorts of topics in a living room turned classroom for ninety minutes. The perspectives, the visuals, the ideas. I ingest them like ice cream, each flavor delicious in its own way, but even better with toppings.

Lately I’ve been watching controversial political documentaries. I like politics. So much I’m adding a minor in political science. So much I’ve considered running for office or working in government at some point. I’ve aspired to teach to change the world, but hey, I’ll say, maybe I can make a bigger difference somewhere else.

In one such documentary, someone commented with distaste how, after 9/11, President Bush told the people to go shopping. Although it seems this statement actually originated from media commentary on his speeches (and therefore, is more likely rumor than fact), when I heard this, I shut my eyes, ruffled my brow, and shook my head. Such a stupid thing to say! I thought, and thinking further, I wondered

What would I have said?

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Despicable Meandering

This evening I was given some terrible news: The vote on NC SB 106 and NC HB 777 has been moved up from September to tomorrow. These sequences of letters and numbers sound innocent on their own, but they sound ominous when you know what they refer to: A pair of bills introduced to the North Carolina General Assembly trying to write discrimination into our State Constitution. If passed, the public will decide whether or not to amend the Constitution to explicitly prohibit any and all legal recognition of same-sex couples in North Carolina.

Not only is this news disheartening, it also makes me somewhat thankful.

I am not, nor will I ever be, thankful for the hateful hearts that fill our world. Same-sex marriages are currently illegal in North Carolina and writing this into our constitution is merely an act of intolerance. It speaks volumes of the hatred and bias that runs through the veins of every man and woman who has supported these bills. I need not give names; their hate will return to them someday, and I can only pray they may change their ways before it’s too late. No one–not even them–deserves to be treated with such malice. I pray their hearts may open to the harm their hands are causing even as we speak, as I write these words, as you read them.

What, then, do I have to be thankful for at a time like this?

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