Thought for Today

If you're a business guy, no one tells you to "shut up and do business [and] stay out of public policy." If you're in a big corporation, you influence the government your way, right?
--Bruce Springsteen in the Wall Street Journal, talking about the double standard that comes into play when entertainers venture into politics

A Favor for Little Uptown

That I want John Kerry to be President is not news.

That most of you who come here regularly also want Kerry elected--again, no surprise.

I don't need to ask you to vote--you will. [Do be especially nice to those older people--Mother Uptown among them--working the polls. It's a long day, with strange equipment.]

I do need to ask you--especially if you live in a swing state, or who have friends and relatives in a swing state--to do that hard thing: talk politics to friends and family.

How can you reach them this late in the game?

My thought: make it personal.

The Uptowns have, as you may know, a two-and-a-half year-old daughter. We're old; she's it. Our hope for her is that she'll be a good citizen of the planet, that she'll relieve a bit of misery and add a bit of knowledge and joy. Our responsibility is to protect and guide her and educate her until she's old enough, strong enough and educated enough to flap her wings and go it alone.

We take this responsibility seriously. Because we work at home, we spend outrageous time with her. We take her pretty much everywhere; she's visited even more museums than zoos. And it's largely because of her that I go to a gym three mornings a week and, under the prodding of a rugby player who's way too smart to be charmed by the likes of me, lift steel until my muscles scream and my eyes are about to pop--damned if I'm gonna croak before I dance with Little Uptown at her wedding.

But the Bush crowd--they don't care about Little Uptown. The wind blows West to East, picking up crap from ever-less-regulated smokestacks, and that crap ends up in our kid's lungs. She can't eat much fish, or she'll get mercury poisoning. And don't get us started on what global warming could do to make her world politically unstable and environmentally dangerous.

The environment. That's our issue. Even more than Iraq--Iraq will end, and soon, no matter who's President. But damage to the planet persists. Even if you vote Bush out and change the regulations and put a gun to the heads of corporate polluters, it's going to take years to turn the environment around.

Americans don't like to think long-term. Unless it's for their kids. Maybe, beyond their blessed tax breaks and their "I've got mine" smugness, you can get friends and family to understand why so much is at stake in this election. Why there clearly is a difference between the candidates. Why, at some level, you're begging for your kid's--and their kid's--life.

What Can You Do?

Voting Tueday? Got a video camera? Would you take it with you when you go to vote? And if you see anything funky, alert the Video Vigil crew, who will post your video on the web as fast as those pixels can fly.

What Can You Do? (2)

First, take Tuesday off. Then get on your bike and make like Paul Revere--meet at coffee houses and bike shops in your community every hour on the hour, to either bike with bells on, or support those who are.

What Can You Do? (3)

Re Rush Limbaugh appearing on NBC on Election Night, you can write to the head of NBC News (scroll down to "Today's Action Item: Rush Limbaugh on NBC" for more details). The best e-mail I've seen so far is from my ultra-articulate friend Robert S:

I am frankly stunned by your decision to have Rush Limbaugh appear on NBC. His callous, cruel and patently incendiary commentary, his racist, anti-democratic, xenophobic point of view, his denigration and attempted erosion of the principles that keep America free, call for a response above the norm: not only will I not watch NBC, but I will TIVO NBC, speed through the programming later, but make note of every national advertiser. I will email them individually of my intention to boycott their products and place the blame squarely on NBC. If I am able to find out who will be advertising prior to his appearance, I'll do it then.
Can you top that? Please CC me when you write

Will Brett Favre Throw a Touchdown Pass to John Kerry?

By e-mail, our faithful reader Renee makes an intriguing argument: