Category: Politics


Yesterday, the bat kept flying into my life.  When the bat flies into your life, it is a signal it is time to bury some old part of yourself that has long ago died, but you have continued to carry.  Last night I was thinking about a time in my life when I was homeless and sleeping on a stiff bench in the Art Department building on campus.  I remember waking up to a class beginning and concerned students leaning over curiously poking at my arm.  The not knowing what will happen day-to-day is exhausting.  

That moment reflects a period of my life when I was filled with a sort of listless wanderlust.  Wanderlust minus destination and purpose.  At the time, I couldn’t afford an apartment of my own and had seriously irked my parents over something.  

A week into my ordeal, my now-husband invited me to Nashville and I quit school and headed down south for a few months.  When I returned, I was offered a beautiful place to live rent-free, which I immediately and shamelessly accepted.   I felt enormous gratitude, but I was still without purpose and a constant thorn in everyone’s side.

In a very real way, I didn’t “grow up” until I got married and settled with my husband into a home of our own.  Our marriage, though rocky in the beginning, offered the kind of security I hadn’t felt before.  And as we began having children, I slowly began to explore my purpose on this planet.  Over the last ten years I have shed my old skin (or killed off cells with chemo), and now it is time to bury that part of me without direction, without hope.  

Partly, this moment is inspired by the election, but I also believe some internal cycle ended long ago was carried along unnecessarily in the form of guilt or shame or an unwillingness to connect with the people of my past.  At this point in my life, though much remains uncertain, I am filled with gratitude and a feeling of hope that accompanies each new, promising hint of change emerging daily.  I feel much like the butterfly bush whose old-growth skeleton as the new shoots come up through and flower.  I have weeded out those branches that no longer serve my purpose for growth.

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The energy around the world is palpable this morning. The speeches by Obama, McCain and even Bush were moving and filled with an urging toward unity. President-elect (I’ve waited 10 years to write that) Obama made it clear he would not push a “liberal agenda,” but rather work to heal the nation and renew faith in us by our friends and allies in other parts of the world.

This is why I voted for Obama – Not just to get a Democrat in the White House, but to elect someone in the White House who might have a chance at bringing both parties together for real solutions over the long-term.

According to a CNN poll, 97% of voters called this election the most important election of their life. Not only have we elected a stellar leader who inspires, we’ve also elected the first ever African American president. We’ve proven as a nation that anyone can become president; “The dream of our fathers” lives still.

After 21 months on the campaign trail (longest in history), Barack Obama still inspires.  Please listen to Sen. Obama’s closing arguments (full speech).

Palin power backfires

Govenor Palin has charged the state of Alaska a total of $21,012 for flights and “luxury hotel rooms” to accommodate her children.  While I totally understand wanting your children with you while you travel around the country, Alaska state law allows only for payment of expenses for anyone conducting “official business.”  Unfortunately for Ms. Palin, Todd’s snowmobile race does not qualify.  (No!  I’m not being mean – that’s really one of the trips she counted as “official business.”)

From the CNN article:

When Palin amended her children’s expense reports, she listed a role for the two girls at the function — “to draw two separate raffle tickets.”

In the original travel form, Palin listed a number of events that her children attended and said they were there “in official capacity helping.” She did not identify any specific roles for the girls.

Isn’t one of the girls like ten?

Electoral College

This from the NationalAtlas.gov website:

The current workings of the Electoral College are the result of both design and experience. As it now operates:

 Each State is allocated a number of Electors equal to the number of its U.S. Senators (always 2) plus the number of its U.S. Representatives (which may change each decade according to the size of each State’s population as determined in the Census).

 The political parties (or independent candidates) in each State submit to the State’s chief election official a list of individuals pledged to their candidate for president and equal in number to the State’s electoral vote. Usually, the major political parties select these individuals either in their State party conventions or through appointment by their State party leaders while third parties and independent candidates merely designate theirs.

 Members of Congress and employees of the Federal government are prohibited from serving as an Elector in order to maintain the balance between the legislative and executive branches of the Federal government.

 After their caucuses and primaries, the major parties nominate their candidates for president and vice president in their national conventions traditionally held in the summer preceding the election. (Third parties and independent candidates follow different procedures according to the individual State laws). The names of the duly nominated candidates are then officially submitted to each State’s chief election official so that they might appear on the general election ballot.

 On the Tuesday following the first Monday of November in years divisible by four, the people in each State cast their ballots for the party slate of Electors representing their choice for president and vice president (although as a matter of practice, general election ballots normally say “Electors for” each set of candidates rather than list the individual Electors on each slate).

 Whichever party slate wins the most popular votes in the State becomes that State’s Electors-so that, in effect, whichever presidential ticket gets the most popular votes in a State wins all the Electors of that State. [The two exceptions to this are Maine and Nebraska where two Electors are chosen by statewide popular vote and the remainder by the popular vote within each Congressional district].

 On the Monday following the second Wednesday of December (as established in Federal law) each State’s Electors meet in their respective State capitals and cast their electoral votes-one for president and one for vice president.

 In order to prevent Electors from voting only for “favorite sons” of their home State, at least one of their votes must be for a person from outside their State (though this is seldom a problem since the parties have consistently nominated presidential and vice presidential candidates from different States).

 The electoral votes are then sealed and transmitted from each State to the President of the Senate who, on the following January 6, opens and reads them before both houses of the Congress.

 The candidate for president with the most electoral votes, provided that it is an absolute majority (one over half of the total), is declared president. Similarly, the vice presidential candidate with the absolute majority of electoral votes is declared vice president.

 In the event no one obtains an absolute majority of electoral votes for president, the U.S. House of Representatives (as the chamber closest to the people) selects the president from among the top three contenders with each State casting only one vote and an absolute majority of the States being required to elect. Similarly, if no one obtains an absolute majority for vice president, then the U.S. Senate makes the selection from among the top two contenders for that office.

 At noon on January 20, the duly elected president and vice president are sworn into office.

You know, when long-time conservative National Review contributer Christopher Buckley and Google CEO Eric Schmidt, a long-time high-profile fundraiser for the Democratic party, decided to publicly back Barack Obama, no one asked, “Was it race or merit?”  That’s the same question being asked of the far more moderate and respected former Secretary of State Colin Powell.  

Perhaps it goes deeper than race, The Media, to an issue of trust.  Afterall, Colin Powell was still workingas SoS during the early days of the Bush Administration and supported the president (though clearly skeptical), during Bush’s bid for war.  Powell was also keenly aware of Sen. Barack Obama’s firm stand against the war. 

It’s too late to alter our course in the east, but it’s not to late to alter the course that lay ahead.  That’s why it’s time for a candidate like Barack Obama.  And that’s why we’re seeing support across the board from people of all colors.  It’s time for this country to mend it’s wounds and come together; Democrat or Republican, Green Party or Libertarian, black or white, girl or boy.

After my treatments ended, I was asked to speak at the Survivor’s Day Picnic at GT Commons that May.  I just stumbled upon the speech and was struck by the last paragraph.  

And that’s exactly why they call us “survivors.”  The outcome doesn’t matter, but rather what emerges within us:  A renewed sense of courage, a desire to reach out to others, the realization that we are in this together and that no cancer can destroy our hope for the future.  

In a way, cancer is not just a disease, but a state of mind.  It’s a negative energy that permeates the body.  In these difficult times, as our nation struggles with its own form of self-depreciating warfare, I still hold out hope.  And I know we’ll get through this together for the better and with that renewed sense of courage that will enable us to make positive changes in a new, forward-thinking direction.  

In wellness, Samantha

For those of you unfamiliar with the National Review, it’s a conservative magazine.  And yes, it’s running negative attack ads just like the McCain/Palin ticket.  Prior to this heated election cycle, whenever I’ve heard an NR writer interviewed, I’ve typically been impressed by their approach to fair-thinking conservative politics.  The magazine makes no qualms about where it stands, but frankly, I felt it would be a bit more compassionate toward the founder’s son, a writer for the magazine who recently decided he supports Sen. Barack Obama for president.  His article on The Daily Beast is insightful:  

I retain the fondest feelings for the magazine that my father founded, but I will admit to a certain sadness that an act of publishing a reasoned argument for the opposition should result in acrimony and disavowal.

How sad – the magazine gets a shot at having its tires balanced and decides instead to give away the car.  

Also see related, Sorry Dad, I’m voting for Obama

(CNN) — Former Secretary of State Colin Powell announced Sunday that he will be voting for Sen. Barack Obama, citing the Democrat’s “ability to inspire” and the “inclusive nature of his campaign.”

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell says he is voting for Barack Obama. 

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell says he is voting for Barack Obama.

For the full article, please visit CNN’s website.

Ballots, Unbiased Voter’s Guide

Curious about your ballot?  Familiarize yourself in advance, visit Transparent Democracy to see your local sample ballot before election day.

It’s easy for all but 8% of America to decide which presidential candidate resonates more closely with their personal values, but sometimes we forget about the state, local and judicial nominees.  Educate yourself prior to election day with a voter’s guide.  You’ll need to select your state and the election period at top.