Oct 16, 2013

Another Day at the Office

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Maggie Sacra

Maggie Sacra, Chair

I could not sleep last Sunday morning as I was thinking about what I would write for this article. What could I say? What emotion could I elicit that would motivate as many of you as possible to get up, get involved, and vote this year.

Off year elections are so difficult and we had a bruising hard fight last year. This year we have seen commercial after commercial, and mailing after mailing that is misleading, misinformed, and full of outright lies about our candidates. The Republicans have pushed social agendas and economic agendas that are adverse to the general electorate, but have softened their stance at election time. Cuccinelli and Obenshain have especially been disingenuous about their records. This type of manipulation is nothing new; it has been a part of politics for centuries, perhaps millennia. The real problem is that the fight against us now is extremely well funded, devoid of a moral compass, and vitriolic. This type of filth presented over and over to us causes some of us to turnoff, some to become discouraged, and some to fall victim to the rhetoric and passion without searching for the truth. The frothing frenzy that Republican misinformation, dealt out in 30 second sound bites, can cause is more than frightening.

A few weeks ago the LGBT Democrats of Virginia filled volunteer spots at the Democratic Party of Virginia booth at the State Fair of Virginia. This job was not new to me. In fact, I had coordinated the volunteers and booth for the DPVA for several years after the State Fair moved to Meadow Event Park. I was anxious to go back and volunteer, even though it is not generally an easy crowd. The fair goers are often more likely to be conservative or just uninterested in politics. I had just arrived at the booth and had just started engaging folks walking by when an older man looked at our signs, looked and me and said, “I hate Democrats”. It wasn’t a normal tone; it was chilling. You simply don’t know what to say at a time like that, at least I don’t. My brain freezes at that level of hatred. My immediate reaction was to say, “I’m sorry you feel that way about Democrats. We love you.”

He turned and walked away without saying another word. I’d like to think it caught him off guard and perhaps he will change his mind. I doubt it, but I am hopeful. After he left, I didn’t have time to think about why I said that, the stream of people passing kept me busy. We met an amazing number of great people that day. A promising number of young people came by. Some registered to vote, many asked smart informed questions, more took literature, and some even took voter registration forms to get their friends to register. It was a great event.

I hadn’t thought of that man, full of hate until last Sunday morning. I guess I hadn’t really shrugged it off as “Another Day at the Office.” I thought of my gut response to him. Why had I said that? I realized that it was my truth; our truth. Love as a counter to hate is exactly why I am a member of the Democratic Party and support Democratic candidates. Democrats believe that we all have value, we all deserve equality, and we all deserve respect and dignity. It is the basic tenant of who we are as a party. That is why Democrats want a fair and decent minimum wage, why we want all people to have health care, why we want a strong public education system, and why we support a strong middle class. Democrats want the elderly to live with dignity, we want every child to have a fair chance, and we strongly support freedom of speech and religion. I am proud to be a part of a party that wants a government that creates a better world for its citizens.

There is no doubt that we are in an ideological battle for Virginia. It is imperative that strong Democratic leaders win in the three major statewide elections. It is also equally important that we have strong leadership in the House of Delegates. We need to elect Democrats to House seats across the Commonwealth. We need to create a House of Delegates that works with the State Senate to create better laws for our citizens, not ones that limit growth, stifle equality, and promote divisiveness.

Please join the LGBT Democrats of Virginia as we support 52 strong equality minded candidates this year; a record number of endorsements for our PAC. We need your financial assistance in these last weeks of the campaign so that we can provide support to as many of these candidates as possible. We invite you to join us this Saturday for our last fundraiser of the year, but if you can’t attend, we ask that you still donate to the PAC to help us make the most impact possible. Help us build a more effective government that promotes job growth and equality.

We also ask you to volunteer at one of our two Monday night LGBT call nights in Richmond or NOVA. You can either go to 1601 N. Kent Street, Suite 100, Arlington, VA or 10 East Franklin Street, Richmond, VA, from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm every Monday until the election. If Monday’s don’t work for you, contact a Coordinated Campaign office near you and volunteer your time to call for candidates up and down the ticket.

Also on Saturday, October 19th, the LGBT Democrats of Virginia are proud to support the FCYD Day of Action, but don’t forget that regardless where you live around the state, you can get involved. You can join the Coordinated Campaign in efforts to canvass all around the state on both Saturday, October 19th and on Saturday, October 26th. Please contact a Coordinated Campaign Office near you for more information.

Please volunteer now, and vote on November 5th so we can have a better, more equality minded Virginia.