2008 Elections: Bill Clinton Wants Me to Vote for Obama

2008 Presidential ElectionsBill Clinton left me a voicemail yesterday, asking me to support Barack Obama. The one call on the day before elections was not too bad compared to the daily (sometimes twice a day) calls I was getting from John McCain’s camp, which felt more like a bill collector than a friendly persuasion call. Plus there are the other tons of local political recordings from Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Janet Napolitano, corporate commission candidates, and so forth. All in all, my phone is ready for this day to be over with.

My words of advice for today is to know that:

  • Your vote does count. I’ve heard several people say that their state is projected to go for one candidate, so they were not going to bother with voting for the other. This is just silly. Put your vote in anyway. Be a part of democracy.
  • On the flipside, if you do not like any of the presidential candidates, do not vote for someone you do not believe in just to say you voted. Do not vote for someone just because your parent/boss/spouse is supporting them. Vote for someone because you believe in what they stand for and that they will do what they say the will do.
  • Remember that local elections are important too. Read up about the propositions on the 2008 ballot and make decisions about your school district, reforming the payday loan system, defining marriage, increasing renewable energy, promoting cleaner fuels, helping disabled veterans, and more.

To see what people are saying on election day about Obama, McCain, Biden and Palin, check out Twitter’s Election 2008 coverage, Plurk the Vote, or do a Twitter search on local candidates and propositions.

Happy Voting Day!

Blog Action Day 2008 – Poverty

For Blog Action Day 2008, the topic is poverty. There is poverty at every level: locally, nationally, and globally. When we think about that, the thought that typically goes through a person’s mind is what can one person do?

In terms of monetary donations, bloggers are asked to donate today’s earnings through these organizations to track the fund-raising success of Blog Action Day. You can also donate to a charity of your choice. If you are not sure which one to choose, you can find various charities and their ratings at Charity Navigator.

You can also help on a local level. Whenever you are planning to get rid of clothing, blankets, or other necessities that are still in usable condition, instead of just throwing it in the trash, find a nearby donation bin, church, or other organization that collects these things for those in need.

If you come across someone asking for spare change, give it to them. Sure, some have the argument that some people may ultimately use your spare change for alcohol or cigarettes instead of food and shelter, but not all are that way. For example, once I was approached outside of a fast food drive thru, and was asked for money. I did not have cash that day, but offered to buy him food instead. I got a couple of value meals, and when I picked them up, him and his family were all waiting under a tree nearby, and were very thankful.

So keep in mind, there are always ways you can help. If everyone did just a little, it would add up to a lot in the end. If you have other suggestions, please feel free to add it to the comments. And if you have a blog, get involved by publishing for and promoting Blog Action Day 2008.

Remembering September 11th

9/11 September 11th World Trade Center Lights Memorial

It is interesting how sometimes I cannot remember what I was doing just an hour ago, but I can remember the morning of September 11, 2001 like I had a log of it somewhere in my head.

For weeks, I had abandoned listening to the radio, opting for some mix cd’s instead. But that morning, something told me to eject the CD and listen to the radio. The dj was describing what had happened in New York. Both buildings had been hit. I thought they were reading an excerpt from a novel or describing a scene from a movie. When I got to work, no one was working. There was a little tv set up, and everyone was huddled around it. I could not believe what I saw. It was surreal.

Even now, recalling the feelings, it is hard to describe. It was not all just about myself, fearing the threat of terrorism or what could possibly come next. It was about seeing the faces of those people on the ground, the ones who barely got out of the area alive. Imagining the fear of what it would be like to be there, near Ground Zero. The thoughts that were running through the minds of those people on the planes. What it would be like to be in the upper floors of one of the towers, with no other option but to jump. The terror of knowing that a spouse, family member or friend was working in or around those buildings at the time, and not knowing whether they made it. The anxiety of knowing a fireman, rescue worker, or policeman and wondering if they would make it out alright once they went in to help all those they could.

While all the major news networks got to the point of repeating the same video over and over, and objectively analyzing the situation from every angle, I wanted insight on what it felt like to really be there, living through it. So I turned to blogs from people living in New York. A comment on one of those blogs led me to getting interviewed by the LA Times in an article “Personal Web Logs Put a Face on a Faraway Disaster“:

Kristi Johnson, a 22-year-old Web designer, checked likeanorb.com, along with CNN, and her local newspaper and radio stations in Phoenix. Blogs whisked her into the whirlwind of events. “The Web logs just supplied details that the media didn’t have time really to broadcast,” Johnson said in an e-mail interview.

“Long journalizations about how it felt to wake up, hear what was going on, give their feelings about knowing that a huge chunk of what they saw on a daily basis all their lives was destroyed. The media pictures were like scenes from a horrible war movie; the Web logs were like your best friend, sitting down and telling you what they saw firsthand.”

For me, what mattered most was the people directly affected. Victims, and the family and friends of those victims. Today, we should remember those people – not the conspiracies, propaganda, politics, etc., but the people – and keep all of them in our thoughts.

Blog Remembrances:
(I’ll be updating this throughout the day. If you have or know of a good site, please add it to the comments.)

More Films Provoking Profound Questions

In continuation of What Films Provoke Profound Questions, I am adding the following movies:

Invasion
This quote from the movie really sums it up: “All I am saying is that civilization crumbles whenever we need it most. In the right situation, we are all capable of the most terrible crimes. To imagine a world where this was not so, where every crisis did not result in new atrocities, where every newspaper is not full of war and violence. Well, this is to imagine a world where human beings cease to be human.”

Would it be better to live in a world of peace and harmony, but in exchange lose our basic human feelings, urges, desires, instincts and so on?

Final Destination
If you were offered the chance to know when and how you would die, and the opportunity to change fate, would you take it? Even if knowing that your decision would alter other lives further down the road?

Also, I had several reader submissions for this topic from my previous post, including:

from Patrick Sweeny of Black Leaf Media

American History X
“Can criminals be re-habilitated? When do you cross the line from being a xenophobe into being a racist?”

A Clockwork Orange
“Can someone truly be rehabilitated? Come to think of it, any Stanley Kubrick movie makes you think.”

from Jen of Semantically Driven

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
I agree with Jen on this pick. Would I want to give someone access into my mind to erase memories I no longer wanted to have? I can understand that some memories are so heinous that we would want to completely forget them, but could some of those memories also be beneficial in either teaching ourselves lessons in things we do not want to become or do, or helpful to someone else when shared?

from Rosella of Ma che ti sei mangiato

The Kite Runner
“From the moral perspective, I would defend my friend, but from the personal perspective (what would I do in the same situation?) I have some doubts on my courages. Just for my sister I know I would for sure risk to defend her, for other people?”

The Truman Show
“How many questions it raise about true human relationships?”

from Kw

Afterlife
“The concept being that after you die, you go to this form of purgatory and look back over your life, choosing the one moment from your life which you will spend your afterlife in. So you must pick the one moment when you were most happy, content, proud.”

I will continue to add to this list, with my own comments and those from readers. Although there are times when movies are great just for entertainment, I believe that it is an added bonus when they also open your mind to deeper thoughts.

What Films Provoke Profound Questions?

Previously, I hit on the topic, using the Dark Knight, of movies that challenge your morals and values. The ones that make you question why you relate to or despise decisions that a character made based on your own beliefs, and how you would respond in the same scenarios. Then this weekend, I thought of some more movies that also have the same effect.

Thought Provoking Films

The Brave One
What is so wrong with a person who takes out the criminal element? If this person knows the criminal is guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt, and knows that the likelihood of the criminal to harm others long before the legal system can catch up with them is high, how is society harmed by a good vigilante?

V for Vendetta
How easy would it be for the government to be buying the media into saying just what they want them to? Does it take a seemingly mad person and violence to open society’s eyes and spur political revolution?

The Island
Although not created the “natural” way, who would be able to determine if a clone had a soul, and if it deserved rights? Would your conscious be clear knowing that another existence of yourself was made to be used and destroyed for your benefit alone?

A.I. – Artificial Intelligence
Is it possible that machinery could be created to mimic all the things (thoughts, emotions) that make us human? Could it be programmed to not only mimic, but actually feel these things? Is it possible to love something without a heartbeat or soul?

Closer
How much honesty is too much? Is there such a thing as too much honesty? Why do we ask questions that we know we really do not want the answers to, but feel driven to ask anyway?

Boleyn Girl
Who was the better woman? The one that gave herself to someone who she knew could never fully be his because she loved him, or the one that used herself as a bargaining chip to get what she wanted? In societies with a separation of church and state, why does society get bent out of shape when a politician does something morally offensive in their personal relationships? Could their choice in spouse/lover affect their ability to do their job?

Your Favorite Films

So how about you? What movies have you watched that have really made you leave the theater (or your couch) scratching your head and pondering the deep why and what if types of questions? Or what other questions (and maybe answers) did you come up with from watching the movies I listed above? Please let me know in the comments…

Group Writing Project

Also, I have submitted this post in the Group Writing Project over at ProBlogger.net. If this title attracted your attention, or you have an awesome post title on your blog, drop by and submit it.

A continuation of this topic can be found in More Films Provoking Profound Questions.