Category Archives: politics

Please support No on Prop 8

In California, we have a proposition on the ballot that seeks to enshrine discrimination into the state constitution. As one of the first states in the country to legalize same-sex marriage, California took a step in the right direction towards equality. Proposition 8 would unravel that.

Much to my horror, the folks behind this measure have been preying on voters with the least information to get this proposition to pass. They’ve been spreading malicious lies (equivalent to the idea that being gay is a spreadable disease). They’ve primarily targeted the non-white, non-English speaking, low-income voters who are expected to turn out for Obama, saying that if this measure fails, homosexuality will be encouraged in schools, churches will lose their tax-exempt status, and religious believers will be sued for hate crimes. In a letter encouraging the passing of Prop 8, Senator Dennis Hollingsworth states that “unless Proposition 8 passes, acceptance of gay marriage is now mandatory for all of us.”

What happened to tolerance? What happened to non-discrimination? What happened to the erosion of a culture of hate? Senator Feinstein is rightfully pointing out that passing Prop 8 is pure descrimination. Bill Clinton is asking all California voters to reject this measure.

The proponents are very well funded and the No on 8 people are reaching out and begging for your support. They want to run advertisements all weekend to make sure that people are informed. I’ve donated money to this cause on numerous occasions and now, I’m begging you, please contribute.

If you’re a U.S. citizen or permanent resident alien (regardless of what state you live in), you may contribute to this cause. If you have a few spare dollars or believe as strongly as I do that this proposition must be stopped, I beg you, please contribute. I’ve set up this donation page to encourage you to do so. For me. For all of the LGBTQ people out there who deserve to be treated equally under the law. For all of the beautiful couples who have committed their lives to loving and cherishing their partners who risk being told that their love is not real.

No on Proposition 8: My Donation Page

my views on California propositions (vote NO on 4 and NO on 8)

Voting is absolutely critical. It’s especially important that youth get out and vote so let me begin by sharing this brilliant video:

Now… with respect to CA state propositions… While voting is a personal act, many people choose to vote based on what those around them are voting. For this reason, I think that it’s important to share your opinions and, as appropriate, research. Thanks to my proposition party, I have a decent sense of all of the different propositions and I thought that I’d share what my ballot will look like on local issues in case this is helpful to those of you who aren’t sure what you’re voting. I’m happy to respond to comments if you’re confused as to why I’m going in certain directions. (As for president, I’m DEFINITELY voting for Barack Obama.)

State Propositions:

  • Prop 1A, Safe Trains: YES!
  • Prop 2, Confining Animals: yes
  • Prop 3, Children’s Hospitals: no (yes if you’re in favor of bond measures)
  • Prop 4, Waiting Period: NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO!!!!!!!!
  • Prop 5, Nonviolent Drug Offenses: still not sure…
  • Prop 6, Police and Law Enforcement: no
  • Prop 7, Renewable Energy: no
  • Prop 8, Definition of Marriage: NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO!!!!!!
  • Prop 9, Criminal Justice System: no
  • Prop 10, Alternative Fuel Vehicles: no
  • Prop 11, Redistricting: torn…
  • Prop 12, Veteran’s Bond Act: YES

Proposition 5 is a bit tricky… It’s based on Prop 36 which is really good and really effective, but it also seems to take the choice out of the hands of judges rather than simply making it feasible for more drug offenders to take the rehab path. Additionally, it seems to re-classify violent criminals as non-violent criminals which I have a mega problem with. I’m leaning towards ‘No’ but still looking for more information.

Proposition 11 is also a bit tricky… It’s generally a good idea, but there are some flaws in the actual proposal. Many Democrats argue that you shouldn’t vote for it because it would weaken the Democratic party. I think that’s a lame reason. That said, the randomness factor to the redistricting proposal worries me. There’s good reason to believe that this will have a negative impact on people of color, communities of interest, and other minorities. I’m leaning towards voting ‘no’ because I’m worried about this, but I am still looking to be convinced otherwise.

Btw, for anyone who looks at Prop 7 and Prop 10 and thinks “weee… better energy” think again. These are really screwed up propositions that look good on surface but actually fuck over progress towards green energy AND make a handful of people shitloads of money, including the sponsors…

And for goddess sake, vote NO NO NO NO NO on Propositions 4 and 8. They are evil, downright evil. Proposition 4 is the third attempt to limit minors from the right to choose without parental consent (even when their parents are abusive). Proposition 8 is an attempt to legalize inequality in the form of banning marriages for loving couples of the same sex.


  • Prop A, Gang & Youth Violence: yes
  • Prop B, Update of Low Rent Housing: yes
  • Measure J, Community College: yes
  • Measure Q, LAUSD: torn…
  • Measure R, Traffic Relief: YES

Regarding Measure Q… I don’t like bond measures at all. That said, our schools are in dire shape. That said, Measure Q doesn’t really address the systemic problems or put structures in place to move forward. That said, our Governator is going to further cripple schools on November 5. Way way way torn.

how to throw a ballot party (for American voters)

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you know at least two of the candidates running for President. You might even know the Congresspeople running or if you have a Senator race this year. But do you know who is running for city council, school board, state legislature, or judge? If you have propositions, do you know what they are? Do your friends? Sadly, for most Americans, the answer is a profound no. This can be fixed.

Our democracy is most effective when we have an informed citizenry. This does not just pertain to federal elections, but elections at all levels. Often, the local elections are the most important. The judges that you elect to superior court might be nominated for Supreme Court a few years from now. The people you send to state legislature may be running for federal office in no time. Who you help get experience at the local level shapes what happens at the federal level in all sorts of direct and indirect ways. Furthermore, it affects your life directly.

Wading through information on local elections is undoubtedly a pain in the ass. Sure, you’re about to be inundated with pamphlets telling you which way to vote and if your local newspaper is still functioning, they will inevitably list who they want you to vote for. But is this really what it means to be informed? I think not. Rather than waiting to be told what to do, I vote that each and every one of you hosts a party where you leverage the collective intelligence of those around you.

Steps for throwing a ballot party:

  1. Find your local ballot and make a list of all items that you need to know something about. Make sure to include state legislature, county supervisors, city council, school board, judges, and all local and state propositions. Include anything unique to your area. And if it makes sense, include the federal races, although I usually skip those altogether.
  2. Invite your friends to your house for a ballot party… promise alcohol. Encourage them to indicate which items they’d prefer to research and to invite a friend or two.
  3. Assign all items on the ballot to attendees. Double up or assign multiple if necessary. Try to give people a mix of races/measures.
  4. Ask all attendees to research their assigned items. Encourage them to document the pros/cons, the people who are supporting and protesting each, any and all information they can find about the issues at hand.
  5. If it’s your thing, buy a lot of alcohol. Wading though a hefty ballot can be better with alcohol and there’s nothing like being tipsy while debating with friends. Finding a comedian also helps tremendously. This eases tension. If all else fails, record The Daily Show or Colbert.
  6. When everyone is gathered, go through the ballot, item by item. Have the attendee(s) who researched it detail what they learned, what they couldn’t find, and what their impression is based on their research. Discuss. Document the discussion.
  7. After the party, put together a “cheat sheet” from the night, listing each element, the key issues, and the collective consensus. I usually use YES, yes, mixed, no, NO and make a special note if case statements are necessary [e.g., if (pro_bond_measures) YES;]. Send this document to all of your friends who attended and those who didn’t. At the top of the sheet, indicate the election day and last day for registering in your community. If you’re a geek, put this up on a wiki and share it with everyone in your local area.
  8. The day before the last day of registration, call up all of your friends to confirm that they’ve registered. If not, volunteer to drive them to where they can register.
  9. The night before the election, resend the list to everyone and encourage them to vote.

I’ve thrown ballot parties for years now. Not only does this result in a fun excuse for a party, but it’s also an ideal way to make sure everyone knows what the hell they’re voting for. Even if you and your friends don’t agree, at least an informed decision is being made. This also results in network effects. Your vote might not shape an election, but if you get 30 of your friends to vote one way through information and they get 30 of their friends, … well, that changes the results quite quickly, especially for local elections where decisions are often made based on hundreds or tens of votes.

Many of us (self included) are actively working to become global citizens. Often, this means that we know more about what’s going on in Darfur or Georgia than we do about what decisions are being made at our school board. Don’t get me wrong – being a global citizen is really important. Yet, while local politics may feel unimportant in comparison to world crises, the decisions made at a local decision affect your life in so many ways. Who fixes your potholes? How does your trash disappear? How are your hospitals structured? Who makes sure you have water, power, and gas? We always bitch and moan about the state of the union, but too often, we forget about the importance of local communities. They matter. And being an informed citizen really matters. Democracy isn’t about presidential races. It’s about engaging in civics at all levels to make society a better place. It’s about knowing who’s running, what they stand for, and how they will make your community a better place.

If you’re reading this, please, I beg you, get informed and vote. This election isn’t just about Obama and McCain and you shouldn’t think that you’re relieved of civic duty because your state is not a swing state. Sure, your vote might not matter when it comes to the presidential election, but it definitely matters when it comes to local elections. The vast majority are decided by very small margins and if you engage and encourage others to engage, you have the power to shape those. Throw a ballot party, spam your friends, hell, drive them to the bloody polls. Just get involved. Our democracy depends on it.

Update: For propositions and ballot measures, check out Ballotpedia, a great wikified resource of information on ballot measures.

As a woman, I’m offended.

As a woman, I’m offended by John McCain’s decision to select Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate. It is clear that the decision is primarily driven by politics, by the belief that to get Hillary’s supporters, all you need to do is play the gender card.

I respect what Palin has done in Alaska in terms of calling out corrupt politics, and I’m sure that McCain does too. But being a whistleblower and working towards a clean state government are not qualifications for the (vice) presidency, especially not in times like these. We need whistleblowers and we need people who will work to clean up the government, but we need so much more than that.

McCain is not a young man. The most important quality in a vice president is their ability to be the president should something happen. It’s one thing to say that Obama is not ready because he hasn’t spent enough time in Washington, but he has worked on issues at many levels and he is very well connected globally and engaged in global political issues. There’s nothing that indicates that the same is true of Palin.

Palin is the Governor of a state with severe economic issues. What has she done? She played protectionist politics to keep a dairy company in business when it was clear that they couldn’t compete and they still failed. Trying to protect failed business plans is not the path towards economic growth. Her current plan, although not yet implemented (thank god), is to destroy the environment and put at risk future generations for economic prosperity today.

As a woman, I’m offended. Women have long borne the responsibility to protect the environment and future generations. How can she turn her back on this to reap short-term political and economic rewards?

Palin marks her identity by noting that she’s just a soccer mom. She is respected politically for questioning powers that be. She is respected by evangelicals for not aborting her son after learning that he would have Down Syndrome.

As a woman, I’m offended. Palin has the right to choose what she does with her body, and I respect her decision, but I also demand the right to make my own choices. Feminism isn’t about aborting – feminism is about the right to choose and make decisions about our bodies based on what is best for everyone involved in the social context in which we live. A woman’s personal choice alone does not make her eligible for presidency.

I voted for Barack, but I deeply respect Hillary. I am in awe of the work she has done and that she continues to do. In 1992, I would’ve (could I have) voted for her in a second over Bill. 2008 is different and I think that Barack is bringing to the table something far more important. My choice of Barack is not a diss on Hillary. For the first time in my life, I made a choice about who to vote FOR not who to vote against.

Palin is not Hillary. Palin lacks the experience, the connections, the political stature, and, most importantly, the deep respect for women and women’s issues that Hillary has.

As a woman, I’m offended. I’m offended that McCain is choosing a woman who is clearly ill-equipped to be the president of this country in an effort to woo over Hillary’s supporters. I’m offended because McCain’s decision is one of the most misogynist ones I’ve seen in recent history. Does he honestly believe that women in this country are so stupid as to believe that any woman is a substitute for another woman? That all that us women boil down to is our XX chromosomes and estrogen? C’mon now.

Don’t get me wrong – I want to see women in the highest positions of power in this country. But I don’t just want any woman. I want women in power who have earned the respect and worked to achieve said power. I want women who are chosen because of what they have done, not how they look in a political power game.

I was expecting McCain to choose a woman. I figured that’s why he waited this long. I was expecting him to go outside of the DC circuit and my latest musing was that he’d choose Meg Whitman. Sure, she’d be controversial as hell, but damn is she a professional power house. And, unlike Palin, she actually knows something about economics. Her experience as CEO of a major international company has given her tremendous experience that would complement McCain tremendously. She’s financially self-sustaining and appealing to the economic conservatives that the Republican party lost under Bush. Sure, she’s controversial and I’d hate to see that kind of corporate-ness inside the White House, but she’s beyond qualified and capable. Palin is an entirely different picture. She appeals to the social conservatives because of her personal views, but she lacks anything resembling the qualifications to be president.

As a woman, I’m offended.

I wasn’t going to vote for McCain before, but I had at least respected him and what he’s done for this country. He’s completely lost any ounce of respect in my mind. His decision to choose a vice president based solely on her gender is absolutely antithetical to every value I hold dear. Our sisters, mothers, and grandmothers did not fight for women’s rights only to have a woman toted around as an accessory in federal politics. I am confident that Palin is a smart, compassionate, and capable person, but she lacks the qualifications, experience, and long-term thinking to be president. This isn’t about DC. She hasn’t even done anything worth mentioning in Alaska. For McCain to tap her for this position is just outright offensive.

On the anniversary of women’s right to vote in this country, Hillary asked the crowd if they voted for her or for the people that she’s trying to serve. In asking the audience to vote for Barack, she asked them to move beyond individualist-politics and focus on the issues at hand. My hope is that women everywhere took that message to heart. This isn’t about getting a woman into the White House. It’s about creating a future that we want to live in.

with great privilege comes great responsibility

Just as the Olympics was a spectacle of physical prowess, the Democratic National Convention has been a spectacle of political aspiration. As best demonstrated by my preference for Fantasy Congress over Fantasy Football, I’m much more of a sucker for the political. And this week’s convention was most definitely a 10.0.

Each speech addressed a different American anxiety around Obama’s candidacy. Michelle Obama began by taking back the idea that Republicans have a stranglehold on the meaning of family. Hillary Clinton’s brilliant articulation of the need to rise above individual candidates and move forward as a united party went straight at the efforts by Republicans to leverage a divided party. Bill Clinton reminded us that he was attacked by Bush Sr. as being the young upstart with no experience. And then Barack, oh Barack…

Barack articulated the problems that we are currently facing and the costs of the last 8 years. He made light of his “celebrity” status, noting that his experiences and connections to people aren’t quite what one might imagine a celebrity lifestyle to be like. He then offered concrete moves he intended to make as president, dead-on facing the attack that he’s all dreamy and not-at-all concrete. And then… oh and then… He laid out why dreaming and moving towards a higher purpose is more than political bullshit, making it clear that government cannot fix society alone. He asked everyone to take responsibility for their actions and to work together to make this a great nation. He set out what government can do and what people must do. He asked people to engage and promised to work for them in return.

In my work, I am constantly reminded of the costs of hyper individualism. The publics that we know are driven by consumerism, not collective goods. The politics we live with are power-games that capitalize on sound bytes and psychological diversions. The information culture we inhabit is driven by fear and sensationalism. I’m not looking for nationalism, but I wouldn’t mind a culture that recognizes that we are our brothers’ and sisters’ keeper. I would like to see a culture that concerns itself with the public good, that makes decisions that and words towards what benefits the collective. This can’t be done with policy. It must be done through inspiration and mindfulness. And good policy must be integrated with efforts to right ourselves in this direction. Barack’s speech asks everyone to realize that politics as usual comes from our collective apathy and obsession with minutia. Details are important, but we must be moving towards a meaningful goal for any particular policies to matter.

Policy is important, but that’s not why this election matters to me. I don’t think that the intricacies of politics can be laid out in a policy speech and I don’t think that being an informed voter is about policy. I think that it’s about the direction we are headed, about the higher goals, about the things that we all have a stake in and can contribute towards. I want a leader who can lead, not just one who passes laws. I am interested in the philosophical question of how you can motivate a population to work towards a common good and achieve great things.

I know not everyone is inspired by Barack, but what excites me is how many people are. I see people engaging for the first time. I see young people getting excited that they can do something. Of course, I also see a lot of bitter, angry, and cynical people. I’m not sure if Barack is going to be able to help them turn those attitudes around, but I am confident that he’s going to try.

At the end of the day, I live in a country with tremendous wealth, power, and privilege. And thus, I’m reminded of the Noblesse oblige: with great privilege comes great responsibility. Many individuals have used that call to drive them to do good, but now I think that we must find a way to make that our collective mission both domestically and globally. My hope is that Barack’s candidacy (and ideally presidency) may help people recognize their place in this networked world and their responsibility to it as well. Whether we’re talking about the environment, terrorism, education, health care, or the economy, we need to be talking about networks and networked peoples. These are systems and systems cannot be managed individually.


I have a dream… that one day the people of this nation will open their eyes and see their neighbors as brethren once again and work to make sure that they too are happy and prosperous.

I have a dream… that one day the people of this nation will let go of their selfish desires and work towards the collective good, caring for those who are in need, and helping other achieve to their fullest potential.

I have a dream… that one day the pursuits of knowledge, innovation, and happiness will be the gross national product we seek to maximize.

I have a dream… that come this November, we put a halt to being an arrogant, controlling, greedy, and aggressive global actor, that we ask our allies for forgiveness, seek humility, and work to right the wrongs that we have inflicted on so many peoples for so many years.

Let communities rise… Let people come together as one… Connected at last.

Rebooting America

For those who haven’t seen it already, Rebooting America is out. Edited by Allison Fine, Micah Sifry, Andrew Rasiej and Josh Levy, this book contains a collection of essays from a bunch of super awesome folks, including Yochai Benkler, Susan Crawford, Esther Dyson, Newt Gingrich, Craig Newmark, Howard Rheingold, Doug Rushkoff, Clay Shirky, David Weinberger …. and moi. You can download the whole book here or buy it here. If you just want to read my essay, check it out:

Can Social Network Sites Enable Political Action?

This essay complements “Digital Handshakes in Networked Publics: Why Politicians Must Interact, Not Broadcast” from Ben Rigby’s Mobilizing Generations 2.0.

FISA, Obama, and the Internet People

FISA (the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) is a thorny piece of legislation. It started out relatively sane back in the 70s, but in a post-9/11 culture, it got all FUBARed. It was amended by the PATRIOT Act and then there was a revision done called the Protect America Act (gotta love the naming here, right?) Well, this last bit expired and there’s a new amendment act that’s pending in Congress (and likely to pass today).

The biggest problem with this piece of legislation is that it would provide immunity for the big Telcos against all sorts of lawsuits where they’re being sued for violating people’s privacy. (Think: warrantless wiretapping, AT&T turning over all customer records, etc.) The rest of the legislation is rather murky but it’s set in a political landscape where there is good reason to question governmental decisions wrt surveillance. There are good reasons to provide adequate tools for intelligence, but one must raise their eyebrows when private enterprises are getting immunity for breaking the law at the request of the government.

So, Obama was initially against this piece of legislation. For some combination of political reasons that I’ve lost track of, he’s compromised and is backing the new FISA extension while just verbally lamenting the immunity provisions [1]. Well, folks are pretty pissed. Tens of thousands signed up for a Group on MyBarackObama called Senator Obama – Please Vote NO on Telecom Immunity – Get FISA Right, following a Facebook-style protest. This type of digital collective action is piquing the interest of all sorts of folks, including those behind the Personal Democracy Forum. Micah Sifry’s analysis is a must read and there are other good ones there: [1] [2] [3]

As fans were throwing more and more public hissy fits, Obama was forced to respond. Members of his staff posted his response to their blog and took comments, resulting in an onslaught (more than 600 comments in 90 minutes). Obama tried to defend himself and what it means to make unpopular decisions to compromise.

It’s not likely to do any good. Obama is going to vote for this piece of legislation and, even if he doesn’t, all of the Republican Senators and most of the Democrats will. (And any moment now…) Still, what I find fascinating is how many people have gotten up in arms about this. FISA is not the kind of legislation that most people get their heads around. Yet, I talked to all sorts of folks in the last week and while they had no idea what FISA was, they thought that it was bad and were worried that Obama was backing it. They had heard about FISA through the collective mobilization efforts. They may not have seen or signed the Care2 Petition or the Night of Facebook Action or the Facebook group or the Get FISA Right website, but they’d heard about the rumblings even though the media coverage has been downright lousy. They had a sense that there was a disconnect. More importantly, folks felt empowered to speak back and they were able to raise their voices loud enough to demand a response. Even if that response wasn’t what they hoped for, that’s still fascinating.

As I watch this unfold, I’m both in awe of the collective mobilization efforts and utterly confused about the actual dialogue. I still can’t figure out why Obama is backing FISA (and “compromise” isn’t a reason). I don’t understand why Congress thinks it’s so important to pass this bill even with the immunity provisions. Every “Get FISA Right” website, petition, and call to action tells me to encourage my Senators to stop FISA without telling me anything about FISA other than the immunity provision. Only Wikipedia is articulating the provisions. There are more in-depth discussions, like Tim Ferriss’ interview with Daniel Ellsberg, but they are few and far between. So I find it interesting that there’s a lot of mobilization without a lot of articulate information, dialogue, or debate. Even the politicians seem to be avoiding getting into the details.

As we think about the role of the Internet People in political actions, I can’t help but wonder what it means that there’s more mobilization than information. The conversation seems to circle around “compromise” rather than focus on the dynamics of the provisions and the logic behind them. This seems quite odd to me.

PS: In a tangential, but related political reality check, the Telcos are now suing cities that have decided to provide Internet access as a public good. So on one hand, the government is providing immunity to Telcos and, on the other, the Telcos are now suing to stop the government from serving the people. Gotta love it.

Update: Moments after posting this, the NYTimes reported FISA passed. Obama voted for the bill. Attempts to eradicate the immunity provisions failed. And, much to my irritation, the age old privacy myth was voiced by Senator Bond who said there was nothing to fear in the bill “unless you have Al Qaeda on your speed dial.” ::grumble::grumble::

politics of terrorism studies

Years ago, I subscribed to Newsweek to get a source of lightweight magazine news that was relatively mainstream. I don’t expect in-depth coverage, but I still enjoy seeing how certain things are being framed. Plus, it’s fun to read Steven Levy, knowing that he’s making tech culture broadly accessible. Lately, I’ve also been enjoying columns by Fareed Zakaria. I don’t always agree with him, but I find his essays far more provocative than I’d expect from such a mainstream column. Thus, they always make me smile.

This week, in “The Only Thing We Have to Fear…”, Zakaria dissects different studies on the frequency of terrorism. He points out that the definition of “terrorism” varies by region such that what’s being measured is inconsistent and meant to return desired results rather than a real portrait of what’s happening. For example, civilian deaths at the hands of militia in Iraq is considered terrorism while the same practice in Sudan is not. This has significant policy implications. And, of course, it is part of the culture of fear.

I’m curious if any of you scholars/researchers out there know anything about these various studies and what the politics behind them are. I can certainly make my guesses, but as I spend more time analyzing quantitative studies, I’m really curious to know more about the politics behind controversial quantitative studies. Who’s involved in deciding how terms are defined? How do funders affect definitions and framing? What happens when researchers and funders disagree? Or when funders don’t like the results?

I feel very lucky to be backed by a Foundation who does not engage in pressure tactics and is infinitely supportive of hearing things that they don’t want to hear. I wonder… are there any ethnographic studies out there about social science scholarship/funder relations?

this ain’t about sexism

Driving home yesterday, I listened to Pat Schroeder and NPR talk about how people are not voting for Hillary Clinton because of sexism. I swore at the radio and then apologized to my car.

As everyone who knows me knows, I’m SICK AND TIRED of this election. I’ve been disenchanted, frustrated, depressed, and irritated. Lately, I’ve just been downright angry. I am a third wave feminist and I’m proud of it. Gender issues have been central to my identity for as long as I can remember. I am ecstatic to think that a woman might be in the White House in my lifetime. But I refuse to vote for someone solely on the basis of their gender and I resent being told that this makes me sexist.

I have absolutely no doubt that sex, race, age, gender, religion, class, and other factors are at play in this election. Talking to teens, I was always fascinated by their discussion of “that black guy” and “that woman” running for president. At least those labels were relatively accurate. “That Muslim” (Obama) and “that polygamist” (Romney) were a bit harder to stomach. I am very frustrated by how intolerant much of this country is, but I don’t have a lot of patience for when people suggest that one intolerance is better or worse than the other. I’ve always appreciated the second wave feminists for what they did for women in the 1970s, but I identify as a third-waver because I think that it is irresponsible of feminists to seek power for rich, straight, white women at the expense of other women. So when Gloria Steinem wrote an op-ed in the NYTimes about how women are never front-runners, I shuddered. She argues that sexism is not taken as seriously as racism and that sexism is a bigger barrier. I’m not quite sure what world she’s living in.

My instinct was to list off all of the ways in which race is more of a barrier. Like the racial make-up of our jails. Or the racial make-up of the tech industry. Or the racial dynamics in LA. But this would be counter-productive because I don’t believe that comparing such intolerances is effective. And besides, they are tightly entwined and interwoven. So I mediated and just decided that Steinem doesn’t represent me or my generation of feminists.

And then there was Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania killed me. Going into PA, I believed that I could vote for either Democratic candidate in November. After PA, I decided that I’d rather vote for Mickey Mouse than Clinton. I have no tolerance for politics as usual and I’m pretty annoyed with all of the candidates at this point for falling into such disgusting crap. But how on earth did Clinton manage to convince the press that she’s “more working class” than Obama? After his (admittedly foolish) statements in Appalachia, she went on and on about how he was an elitist condescending fool while nothing that her husband was the first black president and aligning herself with the working class. How on earth is a millionaire with an amazing pedigree and unbelievable social connections able to convince working class America that she’s one of them? Grumble. I think we all need to do a bit of owning up to our privilege at this point. But, oh right, that won’t get us elected. Grumble 2.0. This was just one of the many charades that convinced me that Clinton is more determined to win by any means possible. And that worries me. I don’t trust that she’ll do what’s best, but what’ll make her look good. Gas tax holiday? Hello!

Lately, it’s been the whole sexism issue. I have no doubt that she’s been treated unkindly in the press. And sexism is part of that story. But how can she say that sexism is the reason that young, educated voters aren’t voting for her? She’s done extremely well with older women and white working class men and Hispanic/Latino groups. Sure, there’s still some sexism in here… I’ve heard plenty of older voters say that they’ll vote for her because her husband will help her out. But they still voted for her! She’s not done so well with young, educated groups or with black voters. How is this sexism? Frankly, if this election is about sexism, I wouldn’t have expected her to do so well with traditionally macho and misogynist populations. So is my refusal to vote for her a sign of my self-hatred?

I keep hearing that she’s not leaving the race because she doesn’t want to signal defeat, that she doesn’t want to let the sexists win, that she feels like she needs to stay in so that the next generation of women will feel as though they have the power to go for it. I am the next generation of women. I don’t feel disempowered by her not being the nominee but I do feel embarrassed by her refusal to step aside and her ongoing efforts to crack the party into half. I don’t like her speaking on behalf of my generation of women this way.

In her justifications and explanations, she refutes any critique that she’s not being a team player or that she’s doing damage to the party. In some ways, time will tell. But I hope to goddess that when she finally steps down, she works as a senior Democrat to help heal the party and bring people together. If she does this, I will give her a second chance. But right now, I’m absolutely positively disgusted. And please, can we get off this sexism story? It’s embarrassing.

Thanks for letting me blow off a little bit of steam.

Mobilizing Generation 2.0

Ben Rigby and Rock the Vote have put together a book for activists, politicos, and organizers called “Mobilizing Generation 2.0: A Practical Guide to Using Web 2.0.” It is a how-to guide to help those who want to mobilize using the web, focusing on how organizers can leverage blogging, social network sites, photo/video sharing, mobile phones, wikis, maps and virtual worlds. Interspersed between the directly practical and usable are a handful of “Big Picture” essays which are intended to help organizers put the practical and usable into a broader context. I had the honor of writing one of these based on my talk last year at Personal Democracy Forum. My essay is called “Digital Handshakes in Networked Publics: Why Politicians Must Interact, Not Broadcast.” In short, I outline why it is important the politicians treat the online world as another form of public space where direct outreach and interaction is critical. If you see networked publics as a modern-day street, it only makes sense to login to the street and start shaking hands.

If you’re only looking to read what I’ve written, you can check my essay out here. If you’re an organizer or activist, you might enjoy it better in the context of the whole book.