Making a difference in our country's future by doing that which is ours to be done.
These days all of my identities are converging: whether I am offering a blessing in the grocery store checkout line, offering a prayer in a poem or experiencing the kinship with all life while walking my or a client's dog - it's all the same. It's all Life.
A very smart white friend of mine was ranting the other day about why the race of our new sheriff doesn’t make any difference to her. “Black, white, yellow – they’re all the same to me. I don’t see colors. I don’t care what color the sheriff is.” Here’s why I think she – we – should care.
All these years after the Civil Rights Movement, black people don’t experience the same civil rights that white people do. And one of the areas where their civil rights are most routinely violated is in their encounters with police. They are arrested at higher rates, incarcerated at shockingly higher rates and for longer sentences for the same crimes. And the Black Lives Matter movement did not come out of nowhere: unarmed black people (mostly but not all men) are shot and killed by police at a desperately higher rate than white men. They are treated by police as if their lives don’t matter.
There was a very disturbing case in Asheville last summer, captured by police body cams and then leaked to the public, where an unarmed black man was arrested for j-walking. (J-walking! I routinely cross the street illegally with a lot of confidence that I will not be arrested or even cited for it. That confidence – with me being white – was not shaken by this case.) He was man-handled, choked (repeatedly gasping “I can’t breathe” – he could have died), and had his head several times bashed against the sidewalk. That video went viral and confirmed black people’s most cynical – I would say traumatized – fears of how they are treated by police, not in Baltimore but here in Asheville.
A black mayor, Terry Bellamy, helped soften the feeling of being disenfranchised. A very non-prejudiced white District Attorney Todd Williams, who has actively developed programs to get harmless black men out of the criminal justice system (flying in the face of the previous administration which consistently went for maximum prosecutions and maximum sentences) has helped.
But the police are the point of contact between citizens and the criminal justice system. Quentin Miller has terrific credentials, including serving in the Asheville Police Department for 24 years. He’s the perfect person for the job. When you go to the polls (starting today) and vote for the Buncombe County Sheriff, don’t be color-blind, be color-conscious.
We have two great candidates running for Congress in our area. Because of the way Districts 10 and 11 have been gerrymandered, I can’t tell you which of those districts you belong to, but you can look it up real easy. Just go to the state Board of Elections look-up site and plug in a very little bit of information. It will show you if you are registered at your current address, your Congressional district, your precinct, and your polling place (for election day November 6 – for early voting you can go to any one of many locations, more on that tomorrow).
Phillip Price, Democrat for District 11, is really a very good guy with progressive politics. He is running against Mark Meadows, a conservative among the conservatives and leader of the House Freedom caucus – the worst conservatives in the House.
David Wilson Brown, my man in the 10th District is an awesome guy in so many ways – not just his love for dogs and how much my dog immediately loved him. He’s running against Patrick McHenry, a very conservative Republican.
Conventional wisdom has it that because of how gerrymandered these districts are a Democrat can’t win. This is totally untrue. Our candidates are so great and if enough people go out to vote absolutely they can win.
The NC Board of Elections Public Voter Search page offers you the opportunity to check your registration and get your sample ballot.
Enter your “full” first and last name and, if it comes up, check the “I am not a robot” box. For common names, you can also select your county to filter responses. Select the link with your name, hit the link, and it will take you to your Voter Information page.
At the bottom of your Voter Information page, there is a blue box titled Sample Ballots. Hit the blue link that has a letter and number to the right of 2018 General Election, and that is your sample ballot.
or call 828-250-400
Democracy North Carolina (“not affiliated with any party) hotline: 888-OUR-VOTE
You talked and we listened. Some of you don’t like to do phone banking, but are still eager to help DavidWilsonBrown defeat Patrick McHenry. Here are some different and important ways you can help the campaign.
We are putting together “Event Teams” in each of the 8 counties in District 10. We need help with event planning, prep, set up and take down. Some events will be very low maintenance; others will be complex with a lot of moving parts. Remember, you’ll be working with a team to complete the tasks.
Here are the types of tasks that could be involved:
Participate in planning calls/emails
Pick up food/beverages and set up at event
Pick up/set up chairs, equipment
Last minute errands
Pick up and distribute campaign materials, i.e., yard signs, flyers, registration forms, etc.
Set up registration table(s)
Clean up/take down after the event
We have another opportunity that involves staffing campaign offices in Asheville and Gastonia. You would assist visitors/volunteers and have some light administrative tasks. We need 3 shifts per week in each office. 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Our Asheville office is located at the Buncombe County Democratic Party Headquarters and they have office staff scheduled at those same times. We will probably add shifts as we get closer to the election.
Please reply to this email with the following info:
Events, staffing campaign offices or both
County (Cleveland, Gaston, Lincoln, Polk, Rutherford, Catawba, Iredell, or Buncombe)
Thanks for your energy, your enthusiasm and your commitment. You’re the best!
Physical support like hugging can sustain us through the long haul – but touch can be very tricky and sometimes oppressive. We are learning this in our society more and more. I can’t shake the image of that creepy young guy in the Access Hollywood tapes telling the young actress “How about a hug for the Donald?” Hugs aren’t always innocent.
This talk that I gave at Jubilee last Sunday outlines three principles for keeping them sweet and safe.
The meeting was very well attended – maybe 200 people. For me that evening, rather than celebrating the big crowd I got kind of intimidated by it. The building – headquarters for the Buncombe County Democratic Party – was not new to me: I had been there several times during Barack’s last campaign. But I had never been to a meeting of either the Democratic Party or the Progressive Democrats and I suspected, correctly, that I would mostly be among strangers. It turned out, though, that I very much enjoyed the meeting and have penciled the regular monthly meetings (second Monday) in my book – and plan to go back.
Here are my take-aways from the evening.
The Progressive Dems run a pretty tight ship.
The meeting started on time and was well run.
They videotaped the meeting, live streamed it, and had the video up on their web page by the time I got home. The video guy had told me that the visuals were really choppy for the first half of the session (a “bandwidth problem”) – and they must have decided that the technical quality was too bad, because the video has been removed – replaced by really a pretty good article on the meeting from the Citizen Times.
All four candidates are really very good: smart, articulate, good values and good politics. I would proudly work for any of them.
No matter what people say about these districts being hard for a Democrat to win, I think it’s a new day and those old bits of conventional wisdom no longer apply. I think that David Brown in going to beat Patrick McHenry in the 10th district and whoever from the other three wins the primary on May 8th is going to beat Mark Meadows in the 11th district.
These four all have good positions about gun control. I think that in the November elections gun control and the NRA are going to weigh down Republicans across the country – and flush a lot of them out of the Congress.
I don’t know yet who I am going to work for. I’m planning to go to two more Indivisible “vetting sessions”: