Tuesday, September 30, 2008

An Open Letter

Dear Friends,
I apologize in advance for sending a letter that is political in nature. I will state up front that I am an Obama supporter but if you are not, I hope we're "still cool," as the kids would say. In all seriousness, it breaks my heart to see divisiveness tearing our country apart and I hope you will accept my invitation for a drink to discuss your viewpoint because I like nothing more than to be encouraged by those on the other side that things in this country will be okay if Obama doesn't win. That said, this note may not resonate with you because it presumes that you are pulling for the old donkey, so again, I apologize. And please, don't forget to call and schedule that drink with me.

I just wanted to share something about my weekend. I went to Scranton, Pennsylvania to canvass for the Obama campaign on Sunday and got to speak with people there about their concerns and thoughts regarding the upcoming election. Doing so made me realize how far we Democrats still have to go to win this election. The two things I heard most often from door to door were: "I don't really care about the election," and "Obama's going raise my taxes." Old, young, male, female- these were things I heard across the board, and the worst part was, each person I spoke to was a registered Democrat.

Sad as that made me, I did have moments of great elation when, for instance, I explained to a middle-aged woman concerned about her health and taxes that Obama's health care plan would provide her with affordable coverage made universally available, but would not take away her right to remain with her current provider. McCain's plan, however, would continue to deregulate health care (and we know how well deregulation is working for our economy) and begin to tax her on the heathcare benefits her employer provides. And as for Obama raising taxes? Not true. He would, in fact, cut taxes for 95% of Americans, positively effecting the middle class, which Obama considers to be those making less than $250,000/year, unlike McCain, who considers those making $5 million or less/year to be middle class. "Really?" she said. "I didn't know that."

There is so much misinformation and/or apathy out there and we are only days away from registration deadlines and the start of early voting in many states. One, if not the most important of the states, Pennsylvania, is only one-hundred odd miles from NY and many people close to the Obama camp say it is essential that he carry that state if he is to reach the White House.

I know not everyone can sacrifice their weekend to drive up and go door to door but there are so many other ways to get involved, and PA is certainly not the only state that needs our attention. Many of you, like me, are from Iowa, another swing state that needs our efforts to turn it solid blue. Your vote will count a lot more there than it will in New York and it's not too late to register as an absentee. If you go to www.voteforchange.com, you can get information on registering in your state and/or check on your current registration status in minutes.

Checking your registration status is key in this election because regardless of whether you've already registered, you may be surprised to learn that your registration may have mysteriously vanished from the record. This, I discovered, just happened to me and it also happened to a friend in Georgia, who was lucky enough to get a notice that he had been 'purged' from the record, which he promptly corrected.

Despite the fact that you may have registered, many people have been inexplicably purged from the record and that their vote will not count unless they re-register. Checking your status can be done easily at www.voteforchange.com, as I said.

Again, I apologize for inundating everyone with my personal politics but my feeling is that, come November 4, if I have not done everything I possibly can to put the person I believe is best for my country in power, than I really have no say regarding the state of the nation come November 5.

I hope you all have a wonderful night and for those of you celebrating Rosh Hashanah, l'shana tova!

Alexis Stember

PS- I plan to canvass and/or make calls every weekend from now until election day so if anyone wants to join me or wants help getting involved, let me know. And to those intimidated by the idea of canvassing or making calls due to a sense of feeling not deeply enough informed, I promise, no one expects you to be a policy expert and the interactions you have with people will often be far more brief than you might expect. And no, people are usually not screaming prats, even when they're opposed to your point of view. They're often quite nice and you truly have nothing to fear.

PPS- I made this little video tonight from the PA trip. Very short, but hopefully sweet.

Hello from Pennsylvania from Alexis Stember on Vimeo.


Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for your well thought post and your hard work. This is a very important election and I am hoping and praying that together we can get this wonderful country back on the right track. Obama is the man to do it.



Alexis Stember said...

What a lovely note, Stevem and what a great blog http://clistersbackchannel.wordpress.com is. It's unspeakably encouraging to see so many people actively participating in the shaping of the nation. Thank you for your service, as that's what I feel such writing is.

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