Organizing political thoughts

I'm interested in hearing how different minds work when it comes to thinking about politics. How is your brained organized? What are the categories you use to keep monitor and make sense?

This might take a bit of work, but I'd appreciate whatever you might offer.



First category for me

Things important to Jane.


That's a good metric

Your wife speaks for me, too. Maybe we should develop a rating system from 1-10, where issues fall on the "Jane Scale."


Looking for what is at the intersection of increasing fairness/equality with what is within the edge of achievable with what is something I can have an impact on. While I care about many issues with varying levels of passion, my energies as disproportionately directed towards where I feel like I can make a difference.

When trying to change election outcomes or policies I think it's important to go both for the low hanging fruit that may not be the sexiest and for those things that are just at the line where people start to say don't bother with it because it's too hard or too far too much, without overlooking either ends of that spectrum.

And I feel like that philosophy has guided me well enough so far. Whether it was voting for marriage equality resolutions from the precinct level on up to the delegate level at a national convention. Or taking the lead on getting clean elections and voting rights resolutions passed across multiple cities. Or participating in or organizing rallies and petitions to move these issues into winnable territory.

Or helping people believe a clean elections disclosure bill was achievable this year with our current legislature and putting in some serious nonpartisan grassroots legwork to help get it passed. Or measurably increasing voter turnout in key areas with groups that are underrepresented in our political process.

My personal volunteering or campaign donations have tended to go towards candidates that not everyone is talking about but often end up winning or losing by some of the closest margins in a given election cycle (Linda Coleman for Lt Gov losing by under 7000 votes in a statewide election for example). The most exciting one though was serving as Volunteer Coordinator for Mayor Kleinschmidt's first run for mayor where we won by just about 100 votes. And now that I'm a Volunteer Coordinator for a living I really believe in making sure everyone I'm working with understands how the work they're doing can help lead to a specific concrete result.

Going forward I think it's really worth trying for nonpartisan redistricting reform in next year's long legislative session. I don't know if it's winnable but I think it might be on that edge. I really believe there are those on the right who value a fair system, who don't want to risk either party being locked out of power for 100 years again, who don't know what future elections will hold in terms of who wins especially with the 2020 census year falling on a presidential election year that will by its nature have higher turnout as demographics continue to change, who may be tired of tea party challenges in the primary being so hard, or who may want the legacy of a fair system but still get to retire before the new maps go into effect.

If we get too close to 2020 that last point won't be true, but in this narrow window it still is, and this is a long session with more time to get bills passed without elections to face in the fall, and I feel like that creates the right environment to try for something big.

Environmental activism is an area I hope to grow in too because the fairer future I'm fighting for won't exist if we poison the world too much.

Jake, you are an inspiration

Jake, you are an inspiration to us all. Frankly, I don't know how you do it with such grace and dedication. Thanks for all you have done and will do.

Pragmatic liberalism

I try to look left as much as possible (on most issues) while still considering electability. Pure idealism never put any food on the table.

I actively oppose gerrymandering. Do you?

I don't know

I'm in transition...I'll let you know when I get there!

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Everything is related and cross related-No escape

I find it interesting to keep as much an eye as possible on many moving parts to try to discern what the overall movement is, as well as disruptions most likely to happen. Seems to work, tho some think I am daft - been right fairly often, perhaps better than expected. By that, one has to look for events and things which seem at first uncorrelated and unrelated. But, eventually patterns emerge.

I have watched the environmental political movement evolve since Carson, and Meadows in the 1960s and 1970s, and Erlichman. I concluded we would fulfill the prophecies of Malthus, no escape, hence extinction sooner than really necessary, which means my grandchildren will experience hunger or worse. No escape. I also am certain those who are relatively rich are factoring toward similar conclusions hence their preparations of armed groups, police, to insure their survival in style, and OBTW, screw everyone else. The march in my life time from 3 billion on earth to 7+, projected to 9 or 11 insure that things will most likely look like Soylent Green. As a matter of fact, politics does matter and in this time, the most serious thing is the rabid ambitions of men and women who are certain they know everything, and they must be king or queen at the exclusion of all others. Right now, parts of this society who run things are unwilling to face climate change and possible extinction -- actually unable and that should scare the hell out of everyone -- but most are focused on the mundane and trivial, studiously ignoring the march of our species to the brink. So, folks fight about inconsequential crap. And, if you did undertake to change things, you would flail and fail, since all we can do at this point is attempt futilely
do delay. As as delay is done, the rationale to throw the lower classes under the bus will become ever more appealing. This does not even consider the avowed self righteous behaviour of the the religious who want to impose a theocracy on all - Calvin on steroids.

As the last two years has proven, in the Democratic Party in NC, small groups of self-righteous people have tried to abscond with the party itself, for their own reasons, convinced of their own rightness and berating others as fools and idiots and much, much worse, for what? Civic virtue, that is what I long for. Voller has done a great job, few screwups which some OCD folks continue to beat on, but he has displayed great civic virtue by stepping down, which I did not want. More than is possible to say about many others who will continue to flog an empty sack in an effort to prove they are right.

So, in organizing politically: look at the facts without scales on your eyes. Set up the parameters of what must be done and what can be done for the most with the most efficient use of resources and sharing. Bring people along and convince them of the rightness of the cause, although many will attempt any type of sabotage they can think of - so guard against it without tyranny. Teach public virtue - example the Boy Scouts - which I left after 25 years when it could not deal with homosexuality. Reward it. Celebrate it. Anyone who says they have a magic wand is lying. Anyone who says to me, "you just do not understand" is lying, or about to. The golden rule, always. Make sure you can think, "I may be very wrong" and act on it.

A great mistake is to not use those who can actually manage people, things, resources and time to conduct politics. The job of running the Party is to manage lots of stuff and people, not winning campaigns and raising funds, got others for that. But, we on the left do not have large numbers of people who have done management at various levels, and the self-promoters always throw stones at those who do manage well - seen too much of it.

Just some thoughts as we attempt to delay the inevitable.



Thanks for the thoughtful

Thanks for the thoughtful comment. I too am a fan of looking for connections that at first glance may not seem obvious. It's a hard thing to do. And when done often seems inconsequential to more pragmatic types.

This is exactly the kind of response I have been hoping for, but I'm also interested in more granular categories that populate people's brains.

For example, I tend to think more locally the nationally, but with an emphasis on the same issues: voting rights, environmental issues, and abortion-rights are always at the top of my list.

Only recently have I put much energy into electoral politics and I have been proven quite inept on that front.

And even more recently, I have been putting things into two categories: those I might be able to do something about, and those that are hopeless. The latter category seems to be growing of late.

I half think

I half think that if we could just get everyone to watch Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey with Neil deGrasse Tyson they would at least partially understand the magnitude of the environmental challenges ahead while learning in a way that is both entertaining and grounded in science.