Monday, October 11, 2010

Fall for Greenville 2010 - Vote for Tom Clements!

There I was, wringing my hands, wondering how I was going to pass out Green Party leaflets for the election.

Fact is, I had no leaflets to pass out. We are a POOR party.

In particular, I wanted a leaflet highlighting Green Party candidate Tom Clements, who I believe may have a tiny shot at the SC Senate seat... or he might, if we could afford a commercial, which we can't. (NOTE: Complaints about SC lefty poverty have been repeatedly addressed on this blog--hint, hint!) But since the Democrats are stuck with the talented Mr Greene, while hard-core, right-wing incumbent Jim DeMint is waaaay out there on a Tea Party limb, I figured Tom might at least score some protest votes. But people must first LEARN HE EXISTS.

And there I was, wondering what to do. Must do something. But I simply had no time to do anything and desperation was settling in.

Think, Daisy. You have to think.

Okay, I thought, what did people do back in the day? How did these things get done?

Well, they called ME, that's what they did.

Wait, WHO called me?

OLDER, ENTRENCHED ACTIVISTS with no time to do anything; people with children and grandchildren called me, since I was often unemployed with bundles of energy to spare.

Light bulb: I need a young person!

I realized, we must get the kidz involved. It's time to pass the torch!!!! The Circle of Life (cue Elton John) and all like that.

And so, like magic, the chosen young person POPPED right into my head. The only young person I know locally who could make the easy connection between capitalism and Green Party values; a vegetarian who gets it. A bit shy, but we can work with that. (But if he should be asked a question by someone after presenting them with a leaflet, I was certain he would be knowledgeable enough to answer it.)

Thus, I contacted South Carolina Boy (herein known as SCB), whom I have only met twice before. And the marvel of youthful energy took over. SCB actually KNEW HOW to make leaflets (on green paper!) and designed and made them for me within two days, pausing only to get a tattoo. He brought them down to our wild and woolly upstate street festival, Fall For Greenville, where we met for our third time. I was dazzled by his efficiency, bowled over by his lefty enthusiasm. (I seem to recall I had some of that, once!) And we then had a delightful time talking about anything and everything, as we sat in front of Quiznos and taped lollypops to the green leaflets advertising TOM CLEMENTS FOR US SENATE ... and then proceeded puttering around... weaving our way through the heavy crowds, offering them to the kids or anyone else who seemed likely to take them. Saturation, was the objective. (I made sure the Greenville News people got two.) One woman donated a whole dollar to our campaign!

Yes, I am quite aware it isn't GREEN to tape suckers to paper that will likely be tossed out, but I knew I couldn't get anyone to take my leaflets any other way. This is DeMint country, okay? (In fairness, I stole that idea from the 90s Clinton-campaigners, who also faced a semi-hostile local electorate.)

The place was packed, but as you all probably know, I ain't shy, and I plowed onward. SCB followed me somewhat tentatively, but jumped right in after a couple of minutes. Everyone likes suckers! Instead of the usual, expected greeting of "Tom Clements for Senate!"--I decided "Would you like a sucker?" was more hospitable. Then I'd say, "You hafta take the paper if you want the sucker," and they would usually laugh and agree. Good humor counts!

I don't know if we successfully spread the word or not, but we rained green paper on the place. Hopefully, people have now heard the NAME of Tom Clements.

As for me, I am doing well in other respects.

I first met SCB when his name was Rachel. For this reason, it's been hard for me to switch pronouns when I discuss him, say, with Mr Daisy. I've noticed when I meet trans people who have already transitioned, I don't have any problem with pronouns. For SCB, it has been more difficult. I think this may also be true because we met specifically in Feminist Blogdonia, which tends to be 'female territory'... I now understand how difficult transition can be for family members and lifelong friends of the transgendered individual; not necessarily due to any disapproval or hostility, but simply out of habit. Gender is very ingrained in our minds, and when we meet people, we file them away instantly as male or female. That habit-of-mind is hardwired over a lifetime and is very hard to break, especially if you're in your 50s; changing something as simple as "he" or "she" can be tough, after someone is already 'established' as one or the other in your mind. Luckily, SCB is very sweet, amenable, and doesn't sweat that stuff, which is good. (At one point, I blurted out, "People probably think you're my daughter!" for example, and then instantly felt like a yahoo.) Actually I did think of Rachel that way for awhile, and now I'm starting to think of SCB as my son, or specifically, as my political son. Both of us talked about how people admonish us "not to get upset" when we address political issues in a detailed, wonky manner. (Here in the south, people think all lefties are crackpots, while right-wingers are regarded as simply concerned and patriotic Christians.) We enjoyed relating stories to each other about that... I hoped I sounded older and wise, but probably not! It was fabulous to talk to someone who is as political in their thinking, and in the way they view and analyze the world, as I am. Here in the upstate, we are an endangered species.

We had a great time, and I think we helped get Tom some votes!

At left, Mac Arnold and his famous gas-can guitar.

In addition, we saw some great bands! On this page, photos of my favorite local band, Mac Arnold and Plate Full O Blues... he was FREAKING GREAT, his trademark gas-can guitar making indescribable sounds while his bad-ass bass player kept up the chunka chunka chunka; too awesome for words.

We also saw/heard: 5th and York, The Calvin Edwards Trio, Plain Jane Automobiles, Dangermuffin and the always-amazing Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, who serenaded our departure. (You could hear em from three streets west.)

If you are in SC, for godsake, VOTE FOR TOM CLEMENTS FOR SENATE!


You've never heard old gas cans that sound like this. I'm sure you haven't.

Mac Arnold and Plate Full O Blues - Blues in a Holler (from Bele Chere video, 2008)