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Tuesday, August 17, 2004
Politics and Fair-Minded Folk...
Just a recap of some things I never thought I would experience!
(I really attempt to restrict my use of this list and generating
emails to information regarding the Michigan ballot initiative.
Hopefully, the information included here will fit the bill
closely enough. Had a couple of really exciting experiences
that I wanted to share!)
As some of you know –from being pestered by me…sorry-
I recently decided to run as Democratic Precinct Delegate
write-in candidate. This ended up being a remarkable experience.
We put together a flier (and attached a pencil with the
write-in information included on it…created by adhering
clear laser-print labels…it was a riot seeing people
show up at the polls with the pencils to take in with them
while voting!), completed a very targeted canvassing Monday
evening and worked the polls 13 hours (sunburn!) election
day Tuesday. There were 193 votes cast in our precinct.
About 30 of those were Republican (so I was out there).
45 were absentee...again, no chance there for me as a late
write-in. Down to 120-ish possible votes in total. Ended
up with 83 votes - they threw out four due to errors ("David
O'Brien", etc...which was still a much lower percentage
than we had anticipated given the hoops folks had to jump
through to cast a write-in vote;) Ended up with 79...the
top vote-getter! The poll workers said it was the first
time they had seen it happen for a write-in candidate not
included on the ballot with four other people on the ballot
and they couldn't believe it. I surely was surprised…figuring
there was no chance – especially with so many absentee
ballots. They were really great at the polls…as were
almost all of the people I was able to speak with that day.
It was such a terrific experience to see how much people
have in common…and not the overwhelming differences
that some political leaders would have us believe. I was
able to learn so much about the democratic process as well
- a fascinating opportunity. I know I was very lucky.
Anyway, the Washtenaw County Democratic Party Convention
took place last Saturday. About 111 delegates and many other
interested democrats attended. The agenda included meetings
of three committees, one of which was the Resolution Committee.
I decided to participate in this committee. (Delegates were
able to select participation in one of the three committees
including the Rules Committee, Credentials Committee and
Resolution Committee.) In the meeting, resolutions were
brought before the committee for introduction and debate.
A group of us were concerned that, although the resolutions
we were hearing were outstanding, there was not one regarding
the proposed “marriage” amendment. We quickly
met and I submitted the following (please see below). Which,
was accepted UNANIMOUSLY! Later the three committees presented
their report and the accepted resolutions were voted on
by the entire group. There was some debate on various resolutions,
but they were all adopted!!!
All resolutions adopted during the convention will be forwarded
to the state platform committee for adoption and are to
be advocated by the county’s delegation to said committee.
Following this incredible event, there were caucuses for
the purpose of electing state pre-convention committee delegates
and alternates. Included were two positions to the State
Platform Committee - one male delegate and one male alternate
delegate - to represent he 15th district. They accepted
four nominations and someone nominated me. It came down
to two of us and was really close. The delegate was great
and I know he’ll be strong. I was elected as the alternate,
and was so excited and more than a little surprised. Regular
people can actually get involved and feel like they have
a voice, and it can happen more quickly than I would have
ever guessed. The resolution is included now and I will
be attending the Pre-Convention Platform Committee training
session and meeting!
On voting day, I also convinced someone I met who was working
for the Coalition For A Fair Michigan to run in his precinct.
(There were NO Democratic Delegate candidates running in
his precinct!) He won! Just as a side pitch, PLEASE consider
running in your precinct in the future. These are positions
that afford a voice in the creation of the party platform,
and having my friends among the people making these decisions
would certainly make me feel optimistic.
What is most amazing to me is that anyone –including
someone as boring, regular and simple as I- could participate
and feel, as mentioned earlier, that it made a bit of a
The entire experience has been more than I could have ever
imagined. I mention the resolution only because it ties
in with the “marriage” initiative info. included
in this update, but there were many exciting and hopeful
events the last few weeks.
Here is the resolution as submitted and adopted:
TITLE OF RESOLUTION: Oppose the proposed “marriage”
amendment to the Michigan Constitution.
Drafted by: Chris O’Brien
WHEREAS: (It being a fact that:)
*Same-sex marriage is already against the law in Michigan.
*This Constitutional amendment would permanently ban civil
unions for all unmarried couples.
*This Constitutional amendment would force employers to
cancel the insurance and pension benefits they already offer
to the unmarried partners, both gay and straight, to tens
of thousands of Michigan workers.
RESOLVED: (A decision or solution to be made),
The Washtenaw Democratic Party opposes constitutionalized
discrimination against unmarried couples and Michigan families.
Other items I thought folks might be interested in knowing
about, if you haven’t heard already:
There have been some frustrating set-backs nationally…Missouri
passed their anti-gay amendment, the California Supreme
Court voided nearly 4000 marriages, In Utah, two groups
have formed to seek discrimination - one group is described
as “concentrating more on scientific issues, scientifically
why same-sex couples (note the absence of the word “marriage”
here even) are not good for families.” As usual, and
as with the Michigan initiative, this push would eliminate
basic laws such as hospital visitation and inheritance rights
for ALL unmarried couples gay or straight.
The position adopted by the American Psychological Association
Council of Representatives deploring discrimination and
supporting marriage rights
Can be viewed here: http://www.hrc.org/Content/ContentGroups/FamilyNet/Professional_opinion/American_Psychological_Association.htm
For the most current updates, information and related stories
on the fight against discrimination please check out http://www.loveisloveislove.com/
my favorite anti-hate and anti-discrimination site –
by Margaret Cho! This site is meticulous, incredibly current
– extraordinary (!) and its web mistress is unbelievable!
And if you haven’t heard, Margaret Cho’s “The
State of Emergency Tour” will be hitting The Michigan
Theatre Oct. 9! For ticket information, please click here:
or http://www.margaretcho.com/tour/tour.htm or call The
Michigan Union Ticket Office at 734-763-TKTS or Ticketmaster
There is so much more to send, but I know this is long already.
One last thing, I would love to increase my “Folks
For A Fair World” mailing list. If you haven’t
connected with me to let me know it’s okay to send
these very periodic updates to you, please consider doing
so. I appreciate and respect differences of opinion and
won’t send them to those who don’t let me know
that it is okay to include them in my contact information.
(Although I will be sending this email to more folk due
to the campaign update included. If you aren’t on
the list, this is the only one you’ll receive.) Also,
in a push to increase the size of the list before the ballot
initiative really kicks in for the general public, I wanted
to ask if you would consider getting even just one other
concerned and like-minded person to join the list? The list
could double in no timeJ
Again, if you haven’t let me know it’s okay
to include you, I haven’t. Please let me know if you’d
like to be included. (And thanks for handling this email:)
As always, thank you so much! Hope your summer is proving
to be peaceful and allowing time for fun!