Many political candidates don’t just have a fear of commitment. They have a fear of engagement. But with 2013 being a local government election year, voters should pull no punches in putting the question about committing to public engagement to the people who want their votes. Contrary to the immortal words of the ultimate Meatloaf song, we can’t just sleep on it. We want to know: what’s it gonna be, yes or no?
So often, we clamor to know how a candidate will vote on an issue he or she hasn’t yet faced. We provide hypothetical circumstances that we want them to imagine are real. Sure, plenty of politicians pick and choose issues about which they will shake their fist and blurt out a reliable yes or no (consider how few elected folks waffled on the Affordable Care Act; most knew what they wanted, the issue was whether they’d vote for what came before them). But mostly, we’ve come to accept as routine a refusal to comply with such a demand. It’s truly rare to see courage rear it’s head and and expose itself through the voice of a political wannabe as he or she, instead, silently calculates the local vote count that can be earned by resisting commitment.
Now, with the fear of engagement, there is hope. At least, I have hope.
Read about why I have hope here and add you thoughts in the accompanying conversation.
This topic is all the rage this week. Use the comments for discussion. Again, I go back to the esteemed Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sandra Day O’Connor (comes at the 30 second mark) and their comments to Diane Sawyer in 2010. Btw, the whole clip is worthwhile to recall just how hard reaching parity has been and how nonpartisan this issue is:
Nine. I love that answer.
The video’s up for the most recent Feagler & Friends appearance:
I swish my hair too much, but I also never get seated in the last spot – see, Michael Heaton’s hair doesn’t have to swish at all – well, you know, Michael – the hair that’s there?
Diane Sawyer reports on the milestone met this year as 20 women come to serve in the U.S. Senate, the most ever:
But we can do better and we should. The U.S. House of Representatives is the most diverse ever, in part because the Democratic Caucus is, for the first time ever, is more than 50% women and minorities.
Why does this matter? Some people can’t help but ask that question. Read this article from National Journal about the insane difficulty reauthorization of VAWA (Violence Against Women Act) is experiencing and note in particular:
The 113th Congress, which gets sworn in today, will be the most diverse in our nation’s history. It will include 19 new people of color, the first Hindu representative and the first Buddhist senator, the first openly gay congressman of color, the first openly bisexual congresswoman, the first openly gay senator, and more female members than ever before. It still doesn’t come close to accurately representing the country it will govern. But it’s better than what we had before—and where the 112th Congress failed, the 113th very well may succeed.
The women in the clip above also address the question of why it matters. Honestly, though? I’m tempted to just say, “Because.”
Well, when it came to talking Browns. Sort of. You’ll see. Here’s the blurb:
Guest Analyst: Kevin T. Jacques, Boynton D. Murch Chair in Finance at Baldwin Wallace University—Congress and the President managed to avoid the ‘fiscal cliff’ but the tax bill for most working Americans is going up. A deal that raises marginal tax rates on the highest wage earners also allows a payroll tax break to expire, affecting wage earners at all income levels. Also going up are taxes on business and investors. Without a deal marginal tax rates would have gone up for most workers. Still looming are new debates over the federal debt ceiling and discretionary spending.
Roundtable: Michael Heaton, columnist, The Plain Dealer; Jill Miller Zimon, blogger, Writes Like She Talks; Ned Whelan, Whelan Communications.
Fiscal Cliff—the panel continues discussion about the fallout from the fiscal cliff resolution on New Year’s Day.
Browns Seek New Field Management—the new ownership team is shopping for a head coach and a general manager after the house-cleaning that followed the end of another losing season. Team president Joe Banner is busy interviewing head coach candidates, including University of Oregon’s successful coach Chip Kelly and Ken Whisenhunt, who once lead the Arizona Cardinals to the Super Bowl.
Armed Teachers? Hundreds of Ohio teachers signed up for firearms training in the wake of the latest deadly school shooting that took 26 lives in Newtown, CT. The gun owners’ advocacy group Buckeye Firearms Association offered free training for teachers and administrators, with the first class expected in the spring. The Association’s president says interest has exceeded expectations.
On the Way Out for Good—The Plain Dealer’s Minister of Culture, Michael Heaton, writes that many cultural icons are headed for the ash heap of history. Among utilitarian items on their way out are wristwatches, replaced by a multitude of tools that tell time; alarm clocks, made redundant by cell phones that have built-in alarm functions and the local post office, a business model that’s quickly fading in a digital world.
Please join me, Plain Dealer reporter Rachel Dissell, my Civic Commons colleague Dan Moulthrop, Thor Wasbotten, director of Kent State’s School of Journalism, Angie Schmitt, former daily reporter and current blogger at RustWire.com, and Afi-Odelia Scruggs, former PD columnist and current multimedia journalist who writes at PDNowWhat.com Tuesday evening, December 11, 2012 at 7:30pm for a discussion about the our metro paper, its future and more, no doubt. From the event’s Facebook page:
The Plain Dealer’s owner has slashed staff and publication frequency at other daily papers, and some at the PD are speaking out in advance of possible cuts here. Dan Moulthrop of The Civic Commons moderates this panel discussion, which so far includes Rachel Dissell of the PD; Thor Wasbotten, director of Kent State’s School of Journalism; Jill Miller Zimon, Pepper Pike council member and political blogger at WritesLikeSheTalks.com; Angie Schmitt, former daily reporter and current blogger at RustWire.com; and Afi-Odelia Scruggs, former PD columnist and current multimedia journalist who is covering the PD at PDNowWhat.com.
Please come join the online live chat tomorrow (Thursday, November 15, 2012) with me and Cuyahoga County Director of Regional Collaboration, Ed Jerse. Many of you may recall that I love live chats, so I’m very excited to be doing this with the Civic Commons (my day job).
To add more fun, I’ve known Ed for many years and it is going to be an honor to moderate this conversation about the County’s efforts in shared services, collaboration, consolidation and yes – I’ll say it – merger. Please come lurk and engage from 11-12noon.
Can’t be there? Leave a question or comment now and Ed will respond later.
You can watch the event unfold here.
I’ve been writing for a lot of other places – I know. From my post-election night BlogHer column:
What might the United States political world look like in 2016? The predictions began to roll in even before 2012 votes were counted, with Vice President Joe Biden being one of the first to tease about being a candidate — for something — in that year.
My first thought is, just how long is four years anyway? In four years, my second of three children will be starting college and my youngest will be a high school freshman. My own re-election for City Council, should I choose to run again, is next year — and for me, that’s a nine-month birthing event as it is since, with kids, a full-time job, being on Council now and still doing writing and speaking. In case President Obama’s win didn’t demonstrate this axiom enough, planning a campaign out in excrutiating detail is mandatory if you also want to plan on winning.
Only 1458 days left until Election Day 2016! Go read the full post here and get ready!
Wow – that is one of those words that if you say it or spell it too many times, it’s not even a word anymore. Here’s a snippet from my latest Civic Commons blog post – stick til the end at the full post for the twist:
According to the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law, “Thirty-nine states elect at least some of their judges, and the vast majority of cases in the United States are heard by elective courts.” But the experience and results of this year’s judicial races in Ohio’s general election demand that we ask: Is it time for Ohio to join the eleven states that don’t elect judges?
The first question: Why is the selection method even an issue? Let us count the ways in which our current manner – partisan primaries followed by nominally non-partisan general elections – can be attacked:
Yeah, you’ll have to go read the full post for the analysis. And I really wanted to make the title something that played off Al Franken’s Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them but I couldn’t quite figure out the words. Judges and the Judging Voters Who Judge Them? Nah…
A teaser from a piece I wrote for USAToday.com last week during election night:
So rather than watch the tick-tock around the swing states of Virginia, Ohio and Florida, I’m following the record number of women who are running for office this year. If you are not familiar with that statistic, check out the 2012 Project (which has corralled women to run in this first post-redistricting election, a time when the increase in open seats also increases the chance of women winning those seats).
Where might this history be made? In New Hampshire. Its situation reminds me of the 2010 Diane Sawyer discussion with United States Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sandra Day O’Connor. During the conversation, Sawyer asked Ginsburg, how many women would be enough women on the bench.
“Nine,” Ginsburg replied with a smile. “There’ve been nine men there for a long time, right? So why not nine women?”
Something approximating Ginsburg’s prophecy has come true this election eve in the Granite State because its voters elected the first all-female congressional delegation.
So awesome – New Hampshire did indeed become the first state to have an all-female congressional delegation, with a female governor to boot. So coveting them.
Ohio – you’re next. No, really. I told Henry Gomez, so you know it’s going to happen.
Back in 2008, I spent a night in the NPR DC blogger warroom with a bunch of other social media political junkies – here’s one post from that evening. And this year, I’m very excited to again be part of the social media activity at NPR’s DC headquarters. They’ve posted a very nice intro to the occasion here, including the twitter handles and names of all my compatriots who’ll be there.
How can you follow along? Several ways:
1. On Twitter, search on the #nprmeetup hashtag
2. Follow me on Twitter – @jillmz
3. Check out the Twitter list, https://twitter.com/JuanSaaa/npr-election-night
Now, if you really want to dig in, the Civic Commons backchannel live-chat with my colleagues Dan Moulthrop, Jason Russell and probably a few others will be the place to be. You can follow that action here. If you haven’t had civic engagement courtesy of a Civic Commons backchannel conversation, you will not want to miss it there tomorrow night.
At NPR, we’re going to have a chance to meet Ken Rudin, the Political Junkie, if anyone has any questions, and Andy Carvin, NPR’s senior social media strategist, really is a rock star in his own right for many reasons but perhaps he’s best known for his coverage of the political and civil movements in North Africa and across the Middle East.
Please read the full post at the Civic Commons (and add to the conversation) but here’s the teaser:
If someone is offering to send me to Seattle, Washington to attend a four-day conference dedicated to talking and cogitating, does anyone who knows even the remotest thing about me believe I would ever say no?
Precisely. With a blog called, Writes Like She Talks? Yeah. No.
And so it was that I spent October 11 through 14 in the Pacific Northwest at the 5th National Conference of the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation. Being an itinerant backgrounder, before heading out, I dedicated a good chunk of time to researching the sessions, speakers and attendees, as I tried to assess whether my perception that I’d be among rooms full of kindred civic engagement enthusiasts would be borne out.
Within a very short time of reviewing the materials, my anticipation of the conference developed into almost a hunger for being among others who “get it.” Organization after organization listed included words like “civic” “democracy” “public” “engagement” or some meaningful combination of those words in their names (although initiatives with titles like “Portsmouth Listens” and “New Hampshire Listens” relayed the same notions).
Seriously? I was like a kid in a candy store from even before the pre-conference activities began. And, just as with each of the three formal conference days, there were dueling good options (and I’m not including the Vice Presidential Debate). My highly annotated hard copy brochure tracks my struggles with narrowing the choices as I tried to figure out what to attend and who I wanted to hear and meet and caucus with if at all possible. But here’s the way it broke down ultimately:
From the very engaged, ever-active, nonpartisan The 2012 Project:
Women currently hold 73 House seats and 17 Senate seats and make up 17 percent of the US Congress. In this election, there are a record 163 women nominees for House and 18 for Senate. The 2012 Project’s campaign to hit “20 Percent in 2012″ requires women to hit 87 House seats and 20 Senate seats after Election Day.
To make the most educated guess, consult the 2012 Election Tracker. Predict how many women you think will win on Nov. 6th and be eligible to win fabulous prizes!!!
First prize: $250 Gift Card
Second prize: a Nespresso coffee machine from Nestlé
Third prize: Swag Bag from Lifetime Television
Contest deadline is Friday, November 2nd at 5:00 p.m. EST.
If you are into fantasy football, this might be for you. It is not as easy as it looks. You might also check out Real Clear Politics and FiveThirtyEight for an assist. Not sure if I’ll give it a try – need sometime to brew over it. What does your gut say – can we break the record?
Love this story in today’s Plain Dealer about how SB5 has led to a record number of teachers or former teachers running for the Ohio statehouse. An excerpt:
Fourteen teachers and former teachers – including two incumbents – are running as Democrats for seats in the Ohio House, and two for seats in the Senate. Some cite SB5 — passed by the Republican-dominated legislature — as their main motivator, and others the drastic cuts in education funding. But all of them agree that the legislature could use more people passionate about education.
I particularly love that some of these races are very likely to result in loss for the educators but rather than just get mad, they’re working to get elected.
Just this morning I opined with a group that it’s great for people to get organized and try to influence electeds. But wouldn’t it be even better to have electeds who didn’t need the mountain of persuading that often times comes to naught despite its critical mass and critical message in order to be the kind of public servants that, you know, serve the public, publicly?
I am so radical about voting that I don’t even have a problem with mandatory (also called compulsory) voting. This isn’t new for me and I’m familiar with the arguments about why, in a so-called free society, we wouldn’t mandate voting. But we incentivize so many other activities with rewards and punishments. Why not voting and why not to the extent that we could actually get national voter turnout rates closer to at least 75% (look at this history of voter turnout rates in presidential elections – even 2008 was not even 58%!).
Please not only read it, but GO VOTE. Starting this Tuesday, October 2, you can VOTE. So do it.
And if you haven’t kept up with my work at the Commons, you can catch up here.
For your reading pleasure (or displeasure, I’m afraid), check out my latest Civic Commons blog post on the he said, she said of women, journalism and political coverage. It includes the PowerPoint presentation with embedded video examples of just how egregious the slings have been.
I still think one of the Mystery Dates should have been in church or synagogue but that really wasn’t PC in a Milton Bradley game, circa 1965. Enjoy, apples and honey, sweetness – L’shana tovah to all (and happy anniversary to my husband, who was my mystery date on Kol Nidre in Park Synagogue 22 years ago).
Where do you get your fix? I visit Real Clear Politics, Political Wire, Five Thirty Eight and the Huffington Post. I also check a list on twitter that aggregates multiple Ohio news sources and I read Chris Cillizza’s emailed newsletters that come from the Washington Post’s The Fix portal. I receive, in print, the Plain Dealer, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal and get alerts from the first two regularly (I’m not a fan of the WSJ but I like to see what they cover and how they cover it). For my women’s political perspective needs, I access BlogHer.com, MsRepresentation, Women’s eNews, the Broad Side, Women’s Media Center and a few others.
Who and what are you trusting, liking, panning this election cycle?
So first – there were plenty of great speeches, we’re told, that came from non-female orators, and that’s great. Slate has posted the full video of four speeches if, like me, you missed them or most of them, including San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, Former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland (read the swooning over his speech – nice job!), Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and FLOTUS, of course. I only caught the last 10-15 minutes of Michelle Obama’s speech and from what I’m hearing, I did well to do that because it started out slow, some are saying.