Well, actually, no... no I'm not! It's just that I'm planning to vote, support and if they'll allow, volunteer for Republican candidate for the 7th Congressional District, Gabrielle Campo.
I'm honestly not sure if the State Republican party sees her as a true candidate or just the latest sacrificial lamb going up against the venerable and powerful grass roots Carson Machine. She enters the race without a lot of fanfare. At 27, she's young, politically inexperienced and is socially left of moderate for a typical Hoosier Republican politician. In an August 11, 2008 Indianapolis Star profile about Ms. Campo, political science professor at IUPUI Brian Vargus has this to say about her campaign:
"This would be a big long shot," he said. "This county has voted Democratic in the last two presidential elections and congressional elections. It's been solidly Democratic in the 7th District . . . (Campo winning) would be a major upset."
The local political blogs have been more than dismissive of Ms. Campo and believe she has made the proverbial pact with the devil for some future reward. After reading as much about her as I can (there really isn't much) I get the impression that she's not the type of person who would allow herself to be used that way. I hope she believes herself to be a real candidate, running a real and substantive race.
I must sate, as should be fairly obvious by this blog, I'm an Obama supporter. I don't usually vote the party line, some elections I have, but only when I have thoroughly vetted each candidate. I vote for the best person for the job, even if they don't always neatly fit into my political comfort zone.
I must also state that I knew and loved Julia Carson. I knew her many years ago when I was a young intern working at Indiana Common Cause and she was a legislator. Common Cause worked closely with Mrs. Carson and others on both sides of the aisle interested in enacting Sunshine Laws. Miss Julia would chat with and listen to me when she was around and had a few minutes. I came to a crossroads in my life and she gave me the extra bit of guidance to confirm what I knew to be true in my heart. I'll never forget her kindness and I remained loyal to her even when I knew in my heart she had stayed too long at the party. I have no such loyalty to her 'seed' Andre Carson. I don't really dislike him, I don't know him. I'm certainly not against him because of his religion, I kinda think it's amazingly progressive of good ole Indiana. I just believe he has no business being there. I don't believe he is serving my interests nor the interests of the 7th District or the State I love so dearly.
With that said, I'm planning to cast my vote for Ms. Campo in this election, though I'm not sure if they'll even let me lick an envelope with my open support for Obama.
I'm currently learning her stance on the issues. Campo seems socially committed, has experience out of state and out of this country, is committed to human rights issues, education and is from Irvington, a community I lived in for 6 years, so her deep family roots in that community is a plus in my book. I'm very interested in what she thinks about: Mass Transportation improvement in Indianapolis, homelessness, the budget deficit, the War in Iraq, Russia's aggressive stance towards the West, alternative energy plans, charter schools, No Child Left Behind with it's focus on rote instead of creativity or imagination, Global Warming, Drill here and Drill Now and the use of the Internet to drive issues and contact directly with constituents.
She does have a Twitter account, though only a few in-personal posts so far. I would direct her to Rep. John Culberson, R - Texas who is using Twitter and other Web 2.0 apps with great effectiveness reporting to his constituents. He even holds weekly Q & A's on Qik.
Speaking of Irvington, one of my favorite local blogs, The Irvingtonian (welcome back!!) just blogged about Ms. Campo. Here's a quote from The Irvingtonian, admittedly a bit biased, but clearly believing Ms. Campo should be in the race.
As a social worker, Campo has dedicated her career to servant leadership and direct service. Campo coordinated youth programs helping children in low-income families, managed post-adoption cases, worked on publications dealing with issues facing Hoosier families, and served on many local committees, including the Indiana Disproportionality Committee, the Indiana Coalition to Improve Adolescent Health, and the Marion County Underage Binge Drinking Task Force. Campo is a member of the National Association of Social Workers and the International Society of Child Indicators.
So to quote from Mr. Magorium, "That was oddly strange and strangely odd!" I just feel strongly that Mr. Carson, whether he's Democrat, Independent or Republican; man or woman; child of dynasty or lone wolf; has all the wrong interests and motivations for being in Congress and I wish to do my best to ensure that the best person gets the job. In this case, I believe that person to be Gabrielle Campo.
*UPDATE And a Rant*
Here's a link to an interview she did with WIBC and another she did with Hoosier Access Radio. Listening to these interviews, I still think she is the right candidate to support. She equated herself well with two fairly offensive interviewers and Greg Garrison (UGH!!) I would have loved to see Mr. Garrison's face when Ms. Campo said she sees beyond race and that it will play itself out and most of the African American community now sees beyond race. He's of that certain Southern Indiana Hoosier generation (as are my parent's) and they can only seem to see race and danger simultaneously.
By 2040, when my daughter is 37 and my son is 45, the 'minority' will be the majority. My children, still young and my grandchildren, in school. How do 'we' want to be treated by the majority? I also like what she said about no child left behind and being an activist legislator. If you get yourself elected to Congress, no matter how it happens, take it seriously, have convictions and accept all your constituents.
As a Quaker, of course I'm against the War and I can argue quite effectively that there is no 'War on Terror' other than in the Bush Administrations collective heads. Is there a terror threat? YES! Many, from various areas of the Globe. How do we deal with and address that threat? What other ways can we, as a people, we as a democracy, present ourselves to the World to help ease the anger, bitterness and hatred? We need people in Congress who can try to answer that question. We need people in Congress who can, ask those questions. This quote from that August 11th Indianapolis Star profile speaks to that point:
Bill Stanczykiewicz, Indiana Youth Institute president and chief executive officer, said he wasn't surprised when Campo decided to run for office.
"Gabrielle is known as someone who's always willing to ask the bigger questions," he said. "I could definitely see that this is something she would want to do."
As someone who was adopted, I'm against abortion. I still think it needs to be kept legal, for a while. The image of sanctimonious politicians celebrating while hundreds and thousands of women and babies die or are mutilated in back-alley abortions scares the Hell out of me and needs to be factored in.
I've lived long enough to learn, there rarely are things so neat as black and white, right and wrong in the issues that plague a modern, open and free, democracy. It's part of the price we pay. Vladimir Putin is offering Russians moderate prosperity and better freedoms than under the Soviet Union in exchange for simple black and white issues. The tumultuous 90's nearly tore the fabric of Russia apart and they now seek the simple reassurances the State and Putin offer to have some money, some freedom with fewer problems with the mafia, drugs, gangs, homelessness, terror and war. This is where I and many others stare into our collective magic eight balls and see the United States in a few years if we want to win that War on Terror. Safe, at what price? Culturally stagnant? At what price? Big stuff. Hard stuff. Controversial stuff. In my opinion, we need to stop demanding that our politicians walk their left or right lines without wavering. We need a broader spectrum of accepted political positions. We need someone in Congress that understands this, may not agree with all of this, but understands this and can think independently when need be and see beyond the issues and take her responsibilities very seriously. My gut tells me it's Ms. Campo.
Photo: Indianapolis Star