I wondered today, how the neighborhood streets could be so quiet, less than three days before Election Day? Even the porched and doors were quiet, that is, the political litter had been taken away and the mail had been collected. No problem having conversations on porches. Not even a lawn mower was stirring. The heavy mist (or was it rain?) dampened, literally and figuratively, without thunder. Politics without blare.
In the Fourth of July Parade, I heard "Alice, we love you!" How sweet to my ears. And how humbling. As our President said, "I love you back."
Today, a very busy voter hurriedly accepted my information card. A few minutes and a few doors away, I heard her call my name and say, "Alice, I'll be supporting you. I like what I see." And off she went. How kind. I'm working to get more of that! I need her vote with many more to give the love back to wonderful supporters.
Also yesterday, Women Progressive Activists gathered at the home of District 7 County Commissioner Kristin Judge. This was our annual summer meeting with potluck sides. State and County candidates were among the attendees who each got a chance to talk about elections, prison, economic and education issues among the areas in which we are active locally.
One important thing we can all do for Michigan is vote to nominate the two Democratic State Supreme Court candidates in the non-partisan section of the Novemeber ballot.
There will be more information on that after the primary, so I hope voters will first do something for Ann Arbor and Washtenaw--vote for me so I can be on the November ballot, too!
Local resident Daisy Wu opened her house and social network for a Sunday afternoon reception to greet State Senate candidate Pam Byrnes yesterday. A new friend among the group had asked me to attend because she want me to get elected to the District 11 County Commissioner seat.
What a wonderfully group! Their academic and business accomplishments are impressive. They are contributing in so many ways to making our communities successful. And they will vote!
So, I am grateful to have been asked to describe District 11 and remind them that my name will be way down the District 11 ballot, the first in the list of democratic candidates in the county commissioner category!
The annual downtown party, just a half-block away from City Hall, was a little different this year, at least for me. Oh yes, the potluck food was amazing as always. And everyone was open to the chance conversations that always surprise and sometimes lead to new ideas and projects.
Although this is a privately organized event, the diverse crowd was full of candidates for other public offices that most people understand--mayor, city council and state representative, for example.
It's a small crowd who know what county government means to the quality of our lives. Among that crowd, I saw three of the four incumbent county commissioners that Ann Arbor voters elect.
As I said, it was a little different for me. My campaign name tag and my two-wheeled campaign vehicle ("vintage" Schwinn) were undeniable conversation starters. It was such a good time that I stayed longer than I had planned.
Have you ever wished 'they' would just be quiet? It's amazing how little can be said in fifteen minutes. You can get the feeling that something else--maybe a lot else--is going on, the longer it takes to "answer" the question and the less seems to be said. More words can be more information--or not.
As a citizen, I've had my comments limited to the proverbial 3 minutes. I've also wished that officials would limit their own comments. As a candidate, my speech is still limited during debates, interviews and in my literature. It's good pratice.
As a citizen working on becoming an official, I'm thinking about effective speech and courtesy. Official silence can be a good time to listen.
The other day I got an update from the campaign for Virg Bernero about Memorial Day observances and parades in the Lansing area. I won't be getting on the road to the Lansing area this weekend. There are a few public observances around the Ann Arbor area, and I will also be observing privately.
Along with so many young men, my uncles and my father enlisted for military service connected with WWII. My great aunt was one of the first five women ever to be promoted to colonel rank in the Army Nurse Corps. She served in England during WWII and around the world before retirement. I will be wearing her insignia pins near my heart this weekend.
Sacrifice of life or soundness merits serious observance. In a broader sense, service in our armed forces requires some sacrifice whether in conflict or not. Members of the armed services give up rights and commit their lives to the missions of their organizations. An older friend was a peace-time Army draftee. When we were sophomores during the Vietnam conflict, a college friend enlisted in exchange for her medical training. Male friends in college also enlisted, and some got drafted in the lottery. A few years ago, a young friend enlisted with special permission and served over two years in the Navy before she turned 20. All of them suspended civilian life to meet their commitments.
We are at liberty to serve community. Volunteers make our society better. The numbers show, however, that relatively few of us volunteer to suspend our civilian lives to serve in the all-volunteer armed forces. Is it any wonder? Although my family WWII vets miraculously survived to old age, war persists. Conflicts are still creating many armed services combat veterans and casualties to whom Memorial Day observances will be dedicated for time to come. A friend was five when her father was shot down in Vietnam. His name is on the D.C. Vietnam Memorial wall. The somber "Honor Roll" keeps growing on the News Hour.
Some vets re-enter civilian life unscathed and some do not. It is important to prepare our armed services personnel well. As cilivians, it is important to prepare and keep the kind of secure society that welcomes them after they fulfill their service commitments. We can remember every day that, as hard as times are, our armed services protect us in a way that we cannot protect ourselves. We can remember every day that, they have aided civilians here and elsewhere, on a scale that we could not. We can remember that the society we create every day should be worth the sacrifices.
Today I attended an early greenway walk and two candidate gatherings much later, with my own District 11 county commissioner campaign activity in between. Supporters of different mayoral candidates can still support me. A District11 voter might support one or another Democrat for State Senate and still support me. No matter where I go, I'm still in between.
This morning I biked along the Packard edge of District 11
, to join the Bike to Work Day rally at Ann Arbor Farmers Market. It wasn't raining when I got up, but five minutes after my two wheels hit the road, the light rain refreshed just like a cup of coffee. There was real coffee, fruit salad and delicious breakfast bagels and cakes for a pretty good turnout of riders and exhibitors, considering the damp.
Mayor Hieftje made a short official welcome with his summary of bicycle amenities to come. Prizes were awarded. I won the prize for having the oldest bike there. My bike won the comment, "That's an original paint job!" I gave myself the prize for being the only candidate [other than the Mayor] to show up.
It was great to talk with other riders and folks like the WBWC. As things wound down, 6 other riders and I joined Tom on his "Conference Bike" to move it down the street to its garage. No special riding skills were needed, but pedaling face-to-face in a circle takes getting used to!
I was already used to the light rain, so I took a long route home for lunch, through neighborhoods of District 11. Thankfully, all of my biking concluded before this evening's thunderstorms.
It was off again, on again. Our weekly neighborhood lunch was almost derailed by Eyjafjallajokull--the volcano still erupting in Iceland. The previous day, our regular host was reported to be stuck in the Netherlands on her way home from Greece. Luckily, a later flight was successful. Local events are connected with global events! Cooperation got great food on the table and we caught up on local issues, around the globe. This weekly gathering both grounds me and inspires.