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Pay at the door

November 29, 2007

Confession: I am on Ron Paul’s mailing list because my VCR’s subliminal messages convinced me that civil liberties were worth investigating.  It’s easy to sign up to receive the campaign’s email messages and it doesn’t involve any commitment.  I get emails from his campaign about how I can participate as a grassroots activist.  What makes me sad, though, is that I would love to help collect signatures to assure that he will be on the primary ballot in February, but I don’t have any 8 1/2 x 14 paper.  I feel paralyzed by my lack of discretionary funds.  Am I supposed to dip into the family budget to buy a ream of paper, or solicit a donation from an office supply store?  Although, now that I am thinking about it, I guess I could call around and someone I know would have some 8 1/2 x 14 paper that I could bum.  I’m feeling a little inspired, to wake myself up out of apathy and change out of my pajamas and walk down my street with my children in tow to ask my neighbors for their signatures.  How very “grassroots” of me that would be.

Also, I got an email from the Ron Paul campaign with the subject “Virginians: Vote for Ron Paul at the last State GOP Sponsored Straw Poll”.  I would love to go to Arlington and vote in the straw poll, but I don’t have the means to pay at the door.  What, what?  I have to pay to vote in an election poll that doesn’t mean anything?  I was totally ignorant of the significance of straw polls so I looked them up on and found that the word straw alludes to winds of change and predicting which way the wind is blowing.  OMG, my name is Fighting Windmills, I would be the perfect person to vote in a straw poll!  The results of straw polls generate media attention and participating in one helps people with similar interests meet each other.  So, the problems are that 1) this is a Republican Party of Virginia sponsored event in Arlington* and 2) I would need to wear something nice like a “Subvert the Dominant Paradigm” T-shirt and 3) it costs $35 to vote and 4) I would be afraid that the Republicans would all stare at me and be all, WTF is Fighting Windmills doing here?  So I start to feel apathetic again.

Alas, the “trickle-down” economy has done it again.  The powerful, the connected and the rich get to vote in straw polls, something that is supposed to be “grassroots”.  It got me to thinking about Ani DiFranco’s music and wondering if she thinks her message is trickling down.  To hear her in concert, one has to pay at the door.  So, even the most noble of us are caught in this hypocrisy.

Here’s a thought: Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich as running mates.

Blogging counts as grassroots activism, too.  So, for now, I placate myself.

*I’m scared of the GOP because of patriarchy and going to Arlington would be crazy because of traffic and the logistics of what to do with my children (damn them, always in the way)

  1. November 30, 2007 12:07 am

    Isn’t it funny that an organization would send out emails asking you to be a grassroots supporter? Perhaps politicians don’t understand the meaning of grassroots. Ross Perot tried to fool everyone that way. I think Al Gore will be doing it sometime next year, too.

    Why do you need “legal” size paper? Can’t you just use A4? After all, it is an international standard. So American. (Partly tongue in cheek: I am an American.)

    I’ll watch the kids for you while you are casting your straws. How old are they? What are their interests? Any food allergies? It might be a little out of the way, but could you drop them by here… I’m in Tsu, Mie, Japan. 😉

  2. November 30, 2007 12:15 am

    This whole thing sounds rather foolish. 😉 That was meant to make you feel that you had been a success. Ack. The paradox is killing me.

  3. November 30, 2007 8:48 am

    Bikkuri, thanks for coming over. I love your comments. Thank you so much for the babysitting offer. On my way to Arlington I’ll just swing by Tsu and drop off my kids. They are well-behaved and don’t have any allergies. 😉 Their interests include playing with Anpanman toys and eating strawberry-flavored Pocky.

    I was thinking that if the email had said, “free childcare” it would have spoken volumes.

    You need legal size paper because the official pdf is the only way that the signatures will count. Plus you have to get them notarized. Remember how the “hanging chads” negated some people’s votes? Uhm, yeah. There’s no getting around the red tape.

  4. November 30, 2007 10:40 am

    Oh, your kids would have had a blast at work with me today. Fridays I work at an elementary school with a pilot program for learning English. The 4th, 5th, and 6th graders will be showing off their skills tomorrow at some presentation. I was helping them polish up today. Fourth graders are doing “story time”, which means skits. One sketch was the chef character from Anpanman, getting really hungry and trying to eat Shokupanman’s face. She asked him politely if he liked butter or jam, before buttering him up. Reminded me of old Warner Bros. cartoons.

    I wonder what they would do if you reduced the PDF until it fit on A4 paper…

    Oh yes, I remember Hanging Chad and his brothers Swinging Chad and Pregnant Chad. They should really toss out all of the Chads; only the obsessive-compulsives’ votes should count.

  5. November 30, 2007 12:43 pm

    Nope, I don’t have A4 paper at home either. The petitions are only acceptable on 8 1/2 x 14 paper, they made that clear. Different is wrong.

    P.S. My children are watching My Neighbor Totoro right now. 😉 That sketch your students are doing sounds really cute. Are you going to record it?

  6. December 2, 2007 12:46 pm

    I would have been happy to watch the students, but had too many other commitments. One of which was studying for today’s JLPT level 2.

  7. December 12, 2007 4:58 pm

    Bikkuri, I admire you so much for taking that test!

    Well, Ron Paul will be on the ballot in the Virginia primary! He got double the signatures that were required!

  8. December 12, 2007 10:03 pm

    Thanks for your admiration, but I’m worried that I may have failed the test. Regardless, I will study more.

    Congratulations on getting the signatures.

    I read your Let’s English page. I thought it was funny that the tables were bolted down. That is probably because you were in Tokyo; I have heard the students there can be wild. We don’t bolt down tables here (as far as I know.)

  9. December 12, 2007 11:17 pm

    I was in Hamamatsu. The girls weren’t wild, but it was the media room. Each table had headphones and a cassette deck, so that’s why the tables were bolted down. Supposedly, the media room was the perfect place to have English class, but it seriously limited us and annoyed the crap out of me.

  10. December 13, 2007 11:20 am

    You can tell that I’m a country boy. I label everything between Yokohama and Tokyo as Tokyo.

  11. December 13, 2007 11:45 am

    😉 It always made me laugh when my students said Hamamatsu was inaka since a population of 500,000 seemed impressive to me!

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