Living in a Ring of Fire

The future of this country is too important to observe the social niceties of quiet chit-chat.

I live in red country. My home is a doorstep to the country. The housing market is booming here, pushing farmland ever further afield. But though the area is growing fast, I can still see stars at night. And thunderstorms seem louder and more epic than they ever did in the city. (Just ask my cat.) This is rural suburbia surrounding a metropolitan living – often called the ring of fire because my county and the other surrounding counties are dominated by republican voters.

I have an Obama t-shirt. The one with a shamrock and O’bama 2012 on it. When I wear it around here in red country, I get quite a mixed bag of reactionary commentary. One man saw fit to tell me there was no way “Obama” would get reelected, saying, “We’re gonna put him out.” Other people repeat the veiled racism they hear on Fox news, some of these characters being more colorful than others.

But then there are those people who have got President Barack Obama‘s back. Even living in a seemingly terminally red county, I run into Obama supporters everywhere.

Yesterday, I finally became an active member of the Obama for America grassroots campaign. I’ve made phone calls and canvassed, and I am encouraged at how many people are supporting the President in 2012. It is truly uplifting to knock on someone’s door, tell them I’m a volunteer with the Obama campaign, and learn they too are totally for the POTUS in 2012. It’s funny because I inevitably get the comment, “Good luck finding any other supporters around here.”

People living here tend to believe they are surrounded by a glut of Romney supporters. That simply is not the case. I rarely encounter someone that is a true Romney supporter. I even spoke to an evangelical woman who could not bring herself to support Romney because he is a Mormon. (I must say, I can’t blame her. That shit is cray! But I think all religions are.)

One thing that resonates to me is how many undecided friends and neighbors I have. Some many voters are unsure how they’ll vote, are waiting for the debates, or simply don’t follow the issues. This means the election, far from what the media might tell us, is far from decided. This spells OPPORTUNITY!

So, if you are an Obama supporter (or a Romney abhorrer), now is your opportunity to open the lines of communication with your family and friends and even strangers. Don’t be afraid to talk about politics! The future of this country is too important to observe the social niceties of quiet chit-chat. When the discussion gets heated, you know you are getting someone to question what they think they know.

Knowledge is power. Spread the word. Talk about Obama’s record – tough budget cuts, education reform, increased pell grants, keeping student loan interest rates down, health care reform, supporting economic growth, tax cuts for small businesses, tax cuts for the middle class, ending military discrimination, equal pay for women, strong support for Israel.  And GET OUT THE VOTE!

Immigration: Not Always a Burden

I came across the most interesting article today. A nonpartisan think tank called the Migration Policy Institute recently issued a report providing a profile of Napa Valley’s immigrant population. The report provides estimates of immigrants’ influence on local economic health.
The report shows that although the Latino immigrant population in Napa County has increased 35 percent since 2000, the poverty rate among Latino immigrants had fallen dramatically. A high percentage of employers offer health insurance to their immigrant employees, reducing public costs of Medi-Cal, and from emergency rooms and clinics for the uninsured.

Sure, Latino children get free education in our Napa’s public schools. (GASP!) But their parents pay taxes at the same rate as other demographic groups.

The researchers recommend the county invest in their immigrant population (well, shucks!), maintain quality education in the public schools, incentivize private health care coverage, offer more citizenship programs, and invest in affordable housing for their large commuting workforce.

Thus the burden on social services due to a high immigrant population that conservatives in this country contrive as an excuse to fire, deport and separate families becomes a non sequitur when immigrants are treated respectfully and are offered the benefits everyone else gets. I think Mitt Romney and his cronies would balk at such evil socialist ideas. But these ideas are working all the time all over the country! Napa County is proof there is more than one way to solve our economic problems.