Getting Out the Vote While Staying Safe At Home

I didn’t used to be a particularly political person. I was raised in a moderate family; my parents never voted a party line. Growing up and into early adulthood, I didn’t find politics particularly consuming, though I have been an avid, informed voter since I turned eighteen. Until relatively recently, I was able to understand both sides of political points of view. The irony is, now that I am eager to become more involved, to do more to return our country to some kind of sensible, civil normalcy,  my own health issues and the pandemic limit what I can do.

But the Sierra Club gave me an option that allowed me to help get out the vote from home, when I had the energy to do so, even in the middle of the night: writing letters to voters who tend to vote on Election Day, rather than during early voting.

I had hoped to write an even hundred, but we were told to print rather than to use cursive because so many people can no longer read running script. I hadn’t done any extended printing for maybe twenty years, when my second child was learning to write. I had to think about each letter as I wrote it and I could feel different muscles in my hand, ones that had become accustomed to a life of ease and indolence, coming into play. I was surprised how much printing slowed me down. I managed to write only seventy-five of these letters (they came in sets of twenty-five), so I was a little disappointed with my output, but am still very grateful have found a way to have, I hope, persuaded some more people to vote.

If you’re eligible to vote here in the United States and haven’t done so yet, please please PLEASE find your ballot if one was mailed to you and send it in or get out and vote in person. Lives hang in the balance.
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Note to fountain pen users: After I wrote my first set of
letters, I realized that I wanted more fountain-pen-friendly paper on which to print out these letters. I found recommendations for sugarcane paper on BestFountainPen.com, reddit.com, and MountainOfInk.com (see the comments section for MoI). I got a ream and it was a vast improvement. Not only did my inks show their sheen and shading nicely on this paper (not to Tomoe River levels, but still noticeable), but also, when I used the paper in the copier, the print was both sharper and darker. I’m pretty happy about it. The brand I got was Treefree from Staples.

(For what it’s worth, this post contains no affiliate links, no one asked me to post my opinions, and the opinions here are my own.)

Thirty Reasons to Vote: #7

 

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  1. Foreign Affairs. “Present at the Disruption: How Trump Unmade U.S. Foreign Policy.” September/October 2020.
  2. The Conversation. “Trump’s foreign policy is still ‘American first’ — what does that mean, exactly?” August 27, 2020.
  3. VOA. “Trump’s ‘America First’ Agenda Shapes GOP Foreign Policy.” August 25, 2020.
  4. New York Times. “Trump Abruptly Exits NATO Gathering After Embarrassing Video Emerges.” December 4, 2019.

 

 

Thirty Reasons to Vote: #6

Back in April of this year, the National Geographic magazine for Earth Day was a double-sided issue. One cover bore the title, “How We Lost the Planet”; the flip-side offered “How We Saved the World.” The issue pretty much embodies how I exist these days: in a constant state of flipping between despair and hope.

Today, here in Colorado, the smoke from our own fires mixed with that from California. Early in the afternoon, the air reminded me of growing up in L.A. in the ‘sixties and early ‘seventies. We had “smog days” when we couldn’t go outside, when recess was held indoors and we played “Thumbs Up, Seven Up,” sitting at our desks with our heads down and a thumb up while a classmate would go around and tap a set of kids on the thumb. Once these children were chosen, we would be allowed to pick up our heads while the selected seven tried to guess who had tapped them. It was every bit as exciting as it sounds.

But even on the days when we allowed to play outside, our chests would hurt and sometimes we couldn’t get a full breath. We didn’t think too much about it; that was all we knew. But our parents did and for a while there were effective efforts to mitigate air pollution. The air in L.A.got better, as it did in other cities in America.

 Today, my lungs thought they were right back in the L.A. of my youth. Breathing ached; my throat felt scoured; my head ached; my stomach turned sour. And however poor the conditions are here, they are fractionally as awful as California’s.

My husband and I had planned a drive today, just to get out of the house. We made it up high enough to be away from the smoke briefly, but most of the time the cab of the truck was smoke-imbued.

 

 

It was difficult to come back down where the smoke blanketed everything like fog, and nothing like fog.

By early afternoon, I was no longer thinking of Los Angeles; I was thinking of Pompeii.

Ash on the window
Ash on the windshield


Ash on the hood of the truck 

Ash on the red bud leaves

 

 

 

 

I write this late in the day and ash is still falling. A plume from the Cameron Peak fire spiraled up thirty-five thousand feet (that’s a 35 with three zeroes after it. Think airplane-cruising altitude).

And these fires are not caused by a lack of raking. They’re caused by the climate changes brought on by humans. We must acknowledge that we have caused and are causing this damage and then work to undo it. Remember how quickly the air cleared when we were all on lock-down?

Wildfires are far from the only disasters caused by global warming. Plastic is raining down across the country, including in our delicate, protected preserves; hurricane season is far more dangerous now. The disdain for science so proudly promulgated by politicians and voters will cost us our lovely planet and guess what? There’s not room for all of us on the International Space Station.

In addition, a lot of us are going to be denied the opportunity to be grandparents because of climate change. The next generations are reluctant to bring children into a world that might not be around long enough for their children to live to old age or that will mean they have to live in a wasteland. I don’t have an effective counter-argument for them.

The setting sun and the moon have been orange and lurid for weeks now.

 

 

 

 

But this evening was the sun was new kind of eerie.

And tonight — tonight the moon is red, a mourning red, an angry crimson.

So vote for our lives, for our home, for our environment, for the continuation of our species, for leaders who will push us to evolve into stewards of the Earth. Vote. Please vote.

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  1. Union of Concerned Scientists. “The Connection Between Climate Change and Wildfires.” Updated March 11, 2020.
  2. Gavin Newsom on climate change and California’s wildfires. August 20, 2020.
  3. WBUR. “Meet Allie, One of the Growing Number of People Not Having Kids Because of Climate Change.” September 16, 2019.

Thirty Reasons to Vote: #2

 

Noodler’s Luxury Blue Eternal Ink

Please write your senators, your congressional representatives, your secretaries of state, and your state attorneys general to urge them to keep voting safe and accessible and to stand up to everyone who is trying to undermine the postal service. Public pressure matters. Apply some daily.

The Rest of Rivka’s Story

 Well, I’ve had a difficult two months, with my M.E. surging. Hot weather, whether I’m out in it or not, often makes it worse. We seem to be cooling off a bit now, despite the fires here in Colorado. I did finish up Rivka’s story; Meredith is thinking about rounding out Emma’s portion with a story of her own. So for anyone who is wondering how this tale concludes (spoiler: no one dies), read on:

Rivka’s Story #30Inks30Days; 29 June, 2020

Lamy Amazonite

  

 

Rivka’s Story #30Inks30Days; 27 June, 2020

Diamine Cult Pens Iridescink Robert

Rivka’s Story #30Inks30Days; 26 June, 2020

 

Krishna Jungle Volcano

Rivka’s Story #30Inks30Days; 25 June, 2020

 iroshizuku momiji

Rivka’s Story #30Inks30Days; 24 June, 2020

The last two inks I used came from a Special Edition set made for Goldspot pens, a pair that’s intended to be blended together. So here’s a mix of Colorverse Solar Wind and Magnetosphere.