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People getting involved

People all over the world have protested for one side or the other in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. AlterNet reported that, “An unprecedented number of Americans question Israel’s actions in Gaza.* (1/6/09). Activism, protest, organizing — there are legitimate activist organizations as well as illegitimate ones. The following story refers to the sometimes very dark and terrible side of protest. On 1/6/09, McClatchy reported on a “Cross burned in yard of man who helped troubled youth.”*

People are getting ready“# to be actively involved in helping to get our nation back on track during these very dark times. Our president-elect has invited this. The official working website of the incoming administration is here: The Obama-Biden Transition Team.

“Grassroots for Obama” was spawned by his campaign in the blogosphere. Communication on the web is also done through e-mail. Activists probably receive a lot of e-mails. I am not even a real “activist,” in the classic sense, and still my box is usually full. These are tough times* and there are lots of needs. The e-mails, while absolutely legitimate, are unsolicited. I have no idea how I have gotten on these lists. I find the range of good causes heartening and interesting, however. A few examples follow:

  • Blago — Grainger@GraingerTerry.com: Phil Molfese is the contact. The cause is a “citizen group to hold demonstration” outside of Governor Blagojevich’s office, 100 W. Randolph St., Friday at noon. They will ask the governor to resign. I will not be attending but you might want to show up.
  • Media Bias — Sarah Coles wanted me to know about “the top 5 trend predictions for political communications and political media under the Obama presidency,” via Skewz (www.skewz.com), the first user-driven political media aggregation site for exposing media bias. I joined Skewz, an interesting twist, and intend to post biased pieces as I find them.

If I were a young person, I would also find all the the communications perfectly normal, but I am a granny. Millenials are activists, very involved with each other and with their communities, their nation and the world. I am by no means a milennial, but I do get a lot of e-mails from Michelle and Barach, and David Plouffe at Barack Obama.com, where I have posted just a few times. The Democratic Strategist explains:

. . . there is probably a good reason why Obama has decided to keep his personal organization and its vast electronic relationship with millions of supporters intact instead of disbanding it or folding it into the national or state Democratic parties. This officially nonpartisan network will work overtime to keep the bipartisan grassroots engaged in the struggle in Washington, and deploy pressure accordingly. This formidable organization is a tangible asset that should not be dismissed or minimized.

The range of kinds of potential involvement in Obama’s grassroots bipartisanship is wide. The biggest thing right now, of course, is to be one of the ten people selected to attend the Inauguration as the Obamas’ guests. The first guest has just been announced. Quoting Michelle’s e-mail:

Cynthia Russell from Newberry, Florida, and her guest will attend the welcome ceremony, Barack’s swearing-in, the Inaugural Parade, and our Neighborhood Inaugural Ball.

Cynthia is a builder and has been feeling the impact of the recent economic crunch. She wrote:

“I’m a single woman who has been building homes for over 18 years. I’ve supported myself and have been able to help out my mother from time to time. Now I find myself wondering how much longer I can hold on and be able to pay my bills and keep the doors open for business. Barack gives me hope. Hope that 2009 will truly bring change to Americans who find themselves in this mess with me.”

Earlier a first set of Obama “house meetings” focused on getting people to tell President-elect Obama how to fix health care, is probably the first of many example of many similar efforts to come in the future. Obama coffee mugs were for sale at Christmas time. Michelle’s Christmas card suggested donating to your local food bank or to the USO care package program. Filling out a survey (550,000 participated) prompted this recent interesting information:

. . . your ideas about the future of this organization are taking shape. Here are a few things you shared in the survey:

  • House meetings were the primary way supporters got involved in the campaign
  • People are excited to volunteer around a number of top issues, including education, the environment, health care, poverty, and the economy
  • 86 percent of respondents feel it’s important to help Barack’s administration pass legislation through grassroots support
  • 68 percent feel it’s important to help elect state and local candidates who share the same vision for our country
  • And a staggering 10 percent of respondents indicated that they would be interested in running for elected office

This feedback is essential to our next steps, because this movement is fueled by your ideas and your passion.

I have registered/joined several activist organizations, though I have not contributed money. They include:

  1. One.org — This very active organization looked back at a great 2008. The organization’s current effort is a petition drive to ask President-elect Obama to, “In your inaugural address, please make a clear affirmation of your pledge to fight poverty and preventable diseases worldwide, and support that statement with an FY2010 budget request that puts the U.S. on track to meet your historic commitments.”
  2. WEcansolveit.orgThe We Campaign is a project of The Alliance for Climate Protection — a nonprofit, nonpartisan effort founded by Nobel laureate and former Vice President Al Gore. The goal of the Alliance is to build a movement that creates the political will to solve the climate crisis.

The New Year is a good time get reconnected to your community.

Hat Tip Key: Regular contributors of links to leads are “betmo*” and Jon#.

View my current slide show about the Bush years — “Millennium” — at the bottom of this column.

(Cross-posted at The Reaction.)

My “creativity and dreaming” post today is at Making Good Mondays.

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