Oprah Made Me Laugh Today

It’s been awhile.

Oprah slides into a folksy, communal speak when she wants to emphasize something we already know to be true… an open secret… and it almost always engenders laughter.

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Aside from it feeling really, really good, laughter reminded me that the ferocious energy of concern I have for the health, well-being and future of this country has recently over-taken the, frankly, tender set of sensibilities that are my foundation and the sustenance of a healthy personal, professional and spiritual life.

Nonetheless, Oprah’s recent public appearance in Georgia caused me to clarify what single attribute in a candidate for public office I believe to be non-negotiable.

Here’s how I answer my own question. If I consider the issue of self-empowerment solely through one’s own hard work, a historical tenet of the moderate Republican platform (and no such moderate platform remotely exists in today’s conservative discourse), I can understand the merit of the idea. What’s missing in its viability and in conservative gun, immigration and health care philosophies is what Republican candidates never speak of: an intentional statement of support for the well-being of others.

Language such as, “standing for the values that matter to all others”; “collaboration is the first responsibility”; and “the change we need has to come from valuing and respecting every voter” is evidence of a person, a soul, infused with mutual, universal respect. These are Stacey Abrams’ words. Stacey hopes to make history on Tue as the first black female governor in the U.S.

This is language I insist upon in any candidate who has my vote. A candidate who cannot or will not acknowledge our shared humanity as being integral to how this country thrives and how we live in this world has not yet learned the simplest lesson of love. The lesson is simply to recognize and accept what is spiritually true about myself and all others.

Stacey Abrams’ speech is honest speech. She confesses having to, “manage the limits I’ve put on myself”; to include romance novel writing as a key piece of a balanced and expressive life: “writing is cathartic to me.. it’s one of the ways I can soothe my soul”; to managing debt (three college loans): “If you’re rich, debt is considered a mark of greatness. If you’re poor, it’s considered a mark of inadequacy.”

So, again I say: We need a bigger tent. The Democratic party needs a tent so large that its members’ commitments to honoring racial, religious and economic diversity, affordable education, local and national consensus-building and vast environmental protections literally vaporize the small, small voices of hate and separation.

We have an unprecedented opportunity to move this country in a whole, meaningful and progressive direction. The election of Stacey Abrams and innumerable other bright, energetic, fearless candidates this Tue is the United States of America righting itself,  turning a corner with the sun on our shoulders and supporting every citizen to live her or his greatness.

“I come as one, but I stand as 10,000.” Maya Angelou.

VOTE.

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Here is My Vote

I voted:

  • FOR a governor who protects health care coverage for all and Medicaid for those who need it; who supports a woman’s right to choose and women’s essential healthcare; who supports protection of public lands, clean air, water and stringent environmental protections; who pre-emptively legislated against off-shore drilling for oil.
  • AGAINST legislation that would end Oregon’s commitment as a sanctuary state; against racial profiling; against the forced use of local police as a deportation force; against legislation that is self-defeating and discriminatory against the wide spectrum of people who work in every Oregon industry.
  • AGAINST legislation that would unfairly strip away quality healthcare, including abortion care, from low-income residents.
  • FOR legislation allowing the issue of bonds for financing affordable housing in a market that is increasingly unaffordable.
  • FOR a surcharge on retailers with total annual revenue over $1 billion dollars to fund the Portland Clean Energy Community Benefits Fund, which funds clean energy projects and clean energy job training.

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I also voted FOR:

  • A country that cares for its weakest residents, its disabled, its sick, its elderly.
  • A country that is still striving to provide accessible, affordable high-quality education for everyone.
  • Courageous businesses that are committed to paying all their employees a fair, livable wage.
  • A country whose residents ALREADY recognize that the rights of LGBT people should never be any different than their own.
  • A country that so deeply cares for its own residents that its legislators are permanently committed to clean water and deep environmental protections.
  • A country that takes a leadership role in funding sustainable energy options.
  • A country that reflects every and all family units.
  • A country that abhors racism and misogyny.
  • A country that values EVERY life as unique and valuable.
  • A country that stands for the premise that women are the absolute equal to men.
  • A country that finally recognizes when its highest duty is to remove a fascist president from office.

THIS IS WHY I VOTE.

 

I Will Vote in the 2018 Mid-Terms Because

  • The world I see for my son, his family, and their families’ futures still has coral reefs, old-growth forests and vast expanses of pristine undeveloped land that I have national ownership in.
  • Self-education on critical issues opens me to the ideas and challenges others face, which enriches my life.
  • The rich ethnic heritage of black, Hispanic and Asian women is as important to them is as my ethnicity is to me. We are each other.
  • I support leaders who have the courage and self-reflection to honor animals’ Your Vote Counts buttoncontributions to human lives.
  • I want the restoration of serious conversation about issues that matter to Americans like health care, preserving the environment and gun violence, not junk inflammatory issues designed to separate us.
  • I actively support courageous young adults who insist on free and safe school environments.
  • I support the basic human right of legal recognition for who one chooses to love, and for legal recognition of each person’s service in government and in the military.
  • Inspired leadership is now a requisite skill in any elected official I will consider voting for.
  • I insist that my elected leaders represent the entire country with courage, intellect and grace.
  • I expect leadership that respects and reflects the extraordinary variety of beings who live in this world and who want to partner with each other.
  • I cannot, at this time, afford the privilege of feeling fragile from the assaults to my sense of decency, self-respect and autonomy.
  • I will not tolerate self-aggrandized ignorance in my political leadership.
  • Michael Soule reminded me that our global crisis is really the Sixth Great Extinction, Earth’s only extinction event caused by an animal [us], not volcanic activity or an ice age.
  • I now feel forced to examine how I contribute to global warming, and to hold myself and my elected officials accountable.
  • I’m reminded that, unlike a Chinese exchange student after college graduation, young American adults are not pigeon-holed into a subsistence job and into a dormitory with a shared bath and a pre-written future.
  • As Wendell Berry wrote: “We need to go now and again into places where our work is disallowed, where our hopes and plans have no standing.” Those places are critical to the quality of life of every being, and they must be preserved.
  • Another woman’s sexual assault is as important to me as my own.

VOTING IS VOICE.