Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Greetings Gorgeous Citizens,

The part equals the whole. Regular readers know this is a big theme for us here, over at the forum, and more and more on the road with my public appearances. It’s been one of the most exciting and important awakenings for me to uncover the connections between our bodies and our planet – the health of one is inseparable from the health of the other. Yet there’s another essential dimension to this: politics.

Many of us glaze over when the topic comes up. What’s it got to do with me? There was a time when I believed this. Politics was abstract, wasn’t something I could hold in my hands. But then I got “sick” (major dot-connecting, wake-up call) AND married a progressive politics junkie! For the first time in my life I started to take another look around me – there’s nothing that hasn’t been molded by the invisible hand of politics. My body (farm, drug, healthcare policy, just for starters), how about the sleeves on my arm? (cotton? Wool? Eco chic bamboo? Trade, labor, and again, farm policy). My computer (how about Defense spending long ago that led to the internet?), even the thoughts I believe are my own (who gets to lease airwaves? what is “decent”? Janet’s boob: no. Bloodbaths: yes? This is all FCC policy). You get the idea.

We’re just a week away from one doozy of an election. Every few years we hear, “this is the most important election!” But right now, everyone I know has a gut-wrenching feeling that it’s really true this time. In one cool discussion over at the forum, people were recounting how they voted early with tears of hope and pride in their eyes. There’s something in the air this year, and it’s a beautiful thing.

I’ve been swept up in the drama of it all, following the tit for tat soap opera as the kindergarten candidates throw playdoh at each other. Brian and I obsessively check wonky websites with up-to-minute swing state tracking polls displayed in pretty pie charts. Palin’s expensive clothes! Snap! Zogby polls paint Ohio light blue this morning! Snap! It’s exhausting and boy am I ready for a techno-detox.

Next Tuesday morning Brian and I will walk a mile down the road to the firehouse and vote. It’s not only a privilege and an honor to vote, it’s our duty to vote smart. We owe it to each other to do our homework. I cringe and get depressed when I see people make these decisions on a “feeling,” or on rumors, gossip or sound bites. I see some uninformed ignoramous on TV and think, “who the hell let him open his yap and how on earth can that jackass’ vote be worth the same as mine?" (maybe even more, since he lives in Florida). This election is expected to see the highest voter participation in generations. This is amazing and yet I am on edge. We’re in a shit pickle no doubt.

The two most important issues to me personally are healthcare and the environment.

Healthcare, obviously, because of the little box I check next to the words “pre-existing condition.” My COBRA is running out. I won’t bother describing the state of our healthcare system in the US other than to say it’s a despicable, immoral, shameful mess. I believe a decent level of healthcare in a wealthy country is a “basic right.” But Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness just ain’t possible when your premiums and co-pays are going up twenty times faster than your income, and hatchet men in cubicles overpower your doctor and use loopholes to deny care when you need it most. On this issue, Barack Obama gets our vote. His underlying philosophy jives with mine, and his way of going about it makes sense. He sees prevention as a key part of keeping us healthy and coverage affordable. McCain, on the other hand, says he’s all for freedom of choice, but after 30 years of deregulation, we know exactly what that really means: we’re screwed. His little 5K gift (which is only for families, not individuals, and isn't tax-free) ain't gonna get me very far. My COBRA is nearly $700 per month! His plan would leave tens of millions uninsured as the responsibility shifts from employers to workers. It’s based on faith that the market will eventually do the right thing… A concept that’s been discredited in a big way on Wall Street recently.

The Environment. This issue is so huge because it is inextricably linked to all others. Beneath the surface of any problem we face, we’ll find environmental causes and solutions. Dealing with global warming seems like a paralyzing challenge because we aren’t often asked to think so big and so far into the future. Politicians, especially, see the world through short-view lenses. During the 2008 Presidential campaign we’ve heard disappointingly little about the environment. But if you look hard enough, you’ll find the rhetoric. On the environment, Obama gets our votes. Both have plans to cut carbon emissions, but Obama’s gets us there quicker. And frankly, overall, the Democratic party has a long history of respecting the environment while Republicans have taken it for granted – even to this day denying a problem at all. Whether we’re talking global warming, endangered species, land use, pollution, I trust Obama has the intelligence, skill, and hopefully the will to lead our world towards an essential paradigm shift. It’s time for us to rely on clean energy to create jobs that both empower our people and respect our precious planet. It’s also time that we make the connection between energy independence and national security.

Here’s my environmental policy: Vote with your fork. I think Obama is more likely to help me raise that fork. I think he shares my table manners.

Of course, there are many other gravely important issues to worry about. Remember that Iraq War thing? Yep, still going on, to the tune of $10 Billion a month. And speaking of money, there’s the pesky economic armageddon. The damage hit home for me when I checked my account yesterday– one fifth of my life’s savings went up in smoke in just one day last week! Thanks, Deregulation! There’s also the Supreme Court’s affect on Women’s Rights. But hey, what’s politics got to do with me?

Meanwhile, Brian’s all bent out of shape about balance of power among the branches of government, wiretapping, Geneva conventions, nuclear proliferation. He explained it on our big dry erase board over tea the other morning. I get it.

Brian at his personal mecca, Jefferson's Monticello

We won't give you a bunch of links here. Thanks to Google, it’s never been so easy to be informed. And don’t forget to research your local races, too. Local politics have a huge impact on your day-to-day life.

Think about what matters to you, then think about your vision for the planet, your health and the future. And whether you agree with me or not (I still love ya) join us on Tuesday and vote.

In Peace,
Kris and Brian

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