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Ground Game

October 24, 2012

When I rear-ended an SUV at the Hollywood on-ramp to I-95 on Thursday afternoon, I had no traction. Really. That’s not an excuse. There were at least 4 inches of water — seawater — on the road. I-95 is 3 miles from the ocean, but there it was flooding up and out of the storm drains onto the freeway entrance. On streets from downtown Miami to Palm Beach, the water was more than 6 inches deep in some places.

October 10, 2012

Barack Obama won in 2008 because volunteers registered record numbers of voters and those voters went to the polls. Since then 31 states have passed restrictive voter ID laws, ostensibly to prevent voter fraud. Early voting now requires an excuse in Kentucky. Same-day registration was ended in Maine. Ohio stopped Sunday voting and prohibited election boards from mailing absentee ballot requests to voters. Locations to vote have been cut in targeted precincts in Colorado. I don’t think even God is eligible to vote in Pennsylvania.

October 3, 2012

I sat in the Walmart parking lot in Fulton, Ky., talking to Darnell Green, a verified undecided voter. She won’t watch the debates that begin this week or be influenced by the attack ads on TV, because she doesn’t own a television. She doesn’t take time to read the campaign mail delivered to her doorstep or listen too much to what she hears at work. And she doesn’t know how she is going to make her choice for president. 

September 26, 2012

I sit in the Free State Brew Pub in Lawrence, Kan., trying to make sense of what I have just seen on Main Street. That’s what Kansans call the 424-mile section of Interstate 70 that dissects their state: “America’s Main Street.” It’s a reasonable marketing ploy for a straight stretch of road through the geographical center of the U.S., but as I drove the first 386 miles of that stretch today, I was reminded that, politically speaking, I am not at all in the middle of the country.

September 19, 2012

I took a detour on a dirt road off Highway 6 in the Castle Country of Utah to capture the sunrise just beginning to outline the spectacular rock formations in the distance. I stopped on the side of the road, grabbed my camera and stepped out of the car. Not more than 6 feet in front of me, the sage rustled on what was a windless morning. Most likely it’s a pine chipmunk, I thought, and quickly adjusted my camera settings for the sunrise. The bushes rustled again and rather than a chipmunk, I was startled by a coyote jumping straight at me.

September 12, 2012

The question came just as I was loading the last bag into a car packed with everything I would need between now and Nov. 6, Election Day. 

“Which grater do I use to make coleslaw?” my husband, Bill, asked.

I knew that he really didn’t want me to get in the car. My grown children and even the dog looked forlorn. Leaving Oregon in the fall to go help register voters in Florida may be a fool’s errand, but frankly, I’m wondering why we all aren’t heading east to do the same.