Stepping Out of My Safety Zone

Four years ago, I voted for Kerry. That’s about it. I was really wanting him to win, of course. But I didn’t think there was a chance in hell and other than walking in and casting my vote – I didn’t really do or say much else. I barely even followed the campaigns. MrZ ordered bumper stickers, but I didn’t want one on my car. I was scared. I mean – I’m in a red state. Why would I want to stick out like that? Hell – I even felt stupid for voting – I’m in such a red state. Like my vote meant anything.

I was a wee bitter and very intimidated.

Somewhere along the way – in the past four years – something happened to me. To our country. I started caring deeply about politics. DEEPLY. I started worrying about whether my poor friends would be insured, whether my gay friends could get married, whether any of us would lose our homes and in what state we were leaving this planet to our children. I started reading the pundits, following the campaigns, and picking my candidates.

Then, fast-forward to this year. Suddenly, people are proud to be blue dots in red states. I can get a t-shirt declaring that some in my red state are for Obama. I see others on the road with their blue dots and their Obama stickers. I want to stop them and ask if they’ll be my BFF. I haven’t (yet) – but I want to.

Also? I donated a small bit to Obama’s campaign ($15 for my Obama/Biden magnet!), I have also donated to one of my favorite groups of women (Another bumper sticker!) so that they can continue to spread the word and help me feel empowered by educating me. I’m suddenly involved. And it feels damn good.

But until tonight? It’s all been from the comfort of my home. From behind my computer or from inside my van. Tonight? Is my first big step. I’m attending a function. I have hated missing the speeches this week, only to read about them and watch videos the next morning. I do NOT want to miss Obama’s tonight. I want to watch it live, and with others like me. So, I’m getting out of the house and going to a restaurant where other local blue dots are gathering to watch it. I’m on mailing lists, so I know this event is happening. But – I’ll know no one there. No one but myself.

I’m SCARED. You all know how socially inept I am. Not only is this a group of strangers, but I’m new to this scene. I don’t know what to expect. Will we be burning Republicans at the stake? (Kidding!) Will there be cheering? I want there to be cheering. Will there be tears? I cried (I don’t mean teared up – I CRIED) just listening to Hillary call for the end of the roll call last night. Will they be as moved as me? Will they be as excited as me?

Maybe I’ll just stand in the corner alone and watch the crowd and the speeches and go home. I may not find the courage to introduce myself or mingle. But at least I’ll be there. I’ll be part of something that I believe in, even if it’s just for an hour. I’ll watch the man I’m voting for speak to other people just like me. My kids will know that’s where I went, they’ll know what I believe in. They’ve heard me talk and talk and talk about what I want for their futures. Now, they’ll see me actively try to participate in making that happen. Because, as much as I like to talk, it takes more than that.

Time for a change. Not just in the administration – but in ME. That is where it starts, after all.

42 Comments

42 thoughts on “Stepping Out of My Safety Zone”

  1. Congratulations. What you are doing is totally badass and brave. I am in VA – a very blue part of VA- but VA none the less. I have always known that I will vote for the Democrat running but with all the debating and back and forth of the past few months (hundred years) I had become less excited.Until Hillary the other night. She totally rocked. I was excited, inspired and engaged again in this election. Go, Blue Dot, Go!

  2. Hey.. I’m proud of you. :)

    The lady who is stage managing our show is a FIRM supporter of Obama (has the whole nine yards “Hot Women Vote for Obama” buttons and whatnot), and she is heartbroken that we have rehearsal tonight. :)

    Y’all would totally be BFF.

  3. I think that is awesome. I actually saw Kerry speak when he was running and I thought he was very inspiring. I had never had the opportunity to see a candidate speak before up until that point. Go and enjoy.

  4. Sounds awesome! If you feel really intimidated going alone, maybe you could bring LilZ? It might be a little late on a school night, but think of it as an educational experience!

  5. Hello from one blue dot in a red state (IN) to another. Go out there and have fun tonight–good girl!!!

  6. I think this is awesome (and you made me cry a little).

    My Obama bumpersticker has be languishing on my desk (talk about a red state, I live in TX) and I’m going out right this very minute and slapping it on my bumper. You inspired me.

    Have fun tonight. I think you are probably a lot more awesome than you believe – I bet you a dollar you have a blast and meet some cool people. Good luck.

  7. I still mostly try to keep my politicial opinions to myself. I work in a very red office, and my inlaws are red-bloods, and FIL won’t let the political discussion die if it gets started. AAAAHHHH the ignorance and pig-headedness. But I love the idea of being a blue dot. Hubby and I are definitely blue dots in a red state. I’ve found the speeches very inspiring and I’m looking forward to tonight’s. Hope you have a good time out with all the blue dots in your area.

  8. Just read Ashley’s comment about seeing Kerry–I made it to a Kerry rally in 2004, too, and LOVED it! I got to shake his hand, and was totally inspired. I’m so upset he isn’t president right now.
    I also got to attend an Obama rally this year–INCREDIBLE. I was a mite bit farther from him (the nose bleeds seats of a huge stadium), but my 5-month old daughter and I rocked it out! It was incredibly wonderful, and I hope he comes back to my area during this fall election.

  9. I’m a brite blue dot in a (temporarily) red state (swinger! go Nevada!) and I too desperately want to watch Obama live tonight (have missed all the other nights too), though I don’t think I could leave the house. So props to you there! I hope you find some other brite blue dots to celebrate with.

    I also went to a Kerry rally in 04. I saw Wesley Clark speak. I was INTO it. I thought NO WAY would this country reelect BUSH. (then they did and I died. the end)

  10. I was a blue dot in a red state for 6 years, it was hard. I hated it. Good for you for getting out there. I hope you have a great time and meet some new friends.

  11. Me too! I am also a blue dot in a red state (Texas) and for some reason am far more interested in political goings-on this time than ever before. I even sat down with my hubby last night and watched the coverage of the convention. That is a TOTAL first for me.

  12. So pumped and excited after watching the speeches last night. Have fun tonight.

    From another Bright Blue Dot in a “Ridiculously Red State” of Texas

  13. I got invited to watch the speech tonight, but I’ll be doing preschool open house at the same time. I can’t wait to hear about it though.

    Blue dot in a Nader state, lol.

  14. yay, i’m so proud of you!

    i’m pretty sure the dems could put a ham sandwich against mccain and still win. of course, i said that in 2004, too. so, here’s to hoping.

  15. Go Zoot and have fun! I worked on campaigns back in college and I miss the feeling of being in that atmosphere of hope, challenge and excitement. You are going to in a room with people who are all thinking the same way you are, and yes there will be cheering and crying. and if you are nervous, just watch the speeches. Now get yourself to a party on election night – those are crazy, nerve wracking, exciting viewing parties!

  16. Yeah Zoot! I am excited for you!

    I live in Denver and will be watching from home! :( Kudos to you for putting yourself out there!

    GO OBAMA!!!

  17. MissZ:

    You don’t have to ask. Your ARE our BFF.

    Good on you, dear, for stepping out of the closet. Helping all the timid blues gently into the light is what the dot is all about. Thanks for articulating the angst and the argument so well.

    As for tonight, we say go ahead and kick it up. Everyone will most likely be in the same boat as you. Just waiting for a leader at the pep rally. Based on what we’ve seen, you make a pretty damn good one.

    Take care. Keep the faith. And for all our sakes, keep it up.

    JB for Bright Blue Dot

  18. It was so weird when I first moved to a red state…I was confused for awhile….but I have since discovered my like minded friends. ;) Have fun!!!

  19. Oh Miss Zoot, you go girl! I feel exactly the same way, except I have to watch the speech in my own house because any time I even turn on the convention I just flat out weep and that might be kind of embarrassing in public. But damn! What a great time to be a Democrat. I just keep doing fist pumps and yelling “YEAH!” because it so awesome and fabulous and exciting to see, to be a part of.

  20. Delurking to say Go you! (From one blue dot in a VERY red state (TX) to another.) I was cut off in traffic yesterday and was mumbling some not-so-nice things under my breath…Until I saw that the guy had an Obama sticker on his bumper. Then I totally forgave him. :)

    I take some solace in knowing that my city (Austin) is usually a little island of blue in big, red Texas.

  21. thank you for your blue dot. Everytime I’m in LA (lower Alabama for you yanks) I consider ramming the car in front of me because it was a “W- he’s the president” sticker on it. I’m always in a rental or the in-laws land boat so I think, “a little tap will do them good.”

    We’re going to an even tonight too – I’m giddy.

  22. Have fun! I think you will enjoy it a lot! I personally am extremely red, but I get along with blues just fine. :) Can’t wait to hear all about it!

  23. Although my red dot might have a slight tinge of blue, i’m still red – and will vote that way. But I am so happy for you that you are going tonight and I hope you enjoy it. Be proud of what you believe and that you have educated yourself to back those beliefs. Have fun tonight! If I ever come across your van though I may have to stick a little red dot on it hehe :)

  24. I am in Denver and tho I tried, I did not get on the list to get into the speech tonight. Soo disappointed. I can’t wait to watch it tho. Benadryl for the kids – it’s mommy time!

  25. Sorry to go AWOL on you. I have such a bad attitude about this chorus function tonight, you wouldn’t even believe!

    I’ve been swooning over Barry for exactly four years now — it was his 2004 convention speech that won me over. I’m so ecstatic that he’s the nominee I can’t even begin to express it in words. Even if he ends up losing, I’ll still be happy that somebody I cared about and respected 100% was our nominee for once.

    Talk about stepping out of your comfort zone — I went door to door for the Obama campaign in N. Huntsville in the days before Super Tuesday. Then I spent countless hours phone-banking to all of the battleground states in the weeks that followed. It was horrifying, and waaaay out of character for me, but also life-changing, amazing, profound, etc. To me, there’s no better feeling in the world than working together for something you believe in.

    OK, off my soapbox! Wish I could be with you tonight!

  26. I was a Hillary supporter, who has always really, really liked Obama. I haven’t had as much of a chance to campaign for him so far, just doing my part to try and sway those close to me. But this past spring I stepped completely out of my comfort zone and went to events featuring Bill and Chelsea Clinton all by myself this spring. It was so worth it. I hope you have fun tonight! Yay for bright blue dots!!!!

  27. Good for you! Go and have a great time! And meet some people you can do it with again next time!

    I live here in Denver and wish I was there in the middle of the crowd. To know it’s all happening about 15 mins away from me– aaagh! :-)

    Have a great time tonight!

  28. I think that no matter which side you pull for, it is FABULOUS to be involved to whatever extent you feel comfortable. It’s a great example for our kids too. We all need to take an active role in our government. Yeah for you!!!

  29. Zoot- I am a Republican and have always been. With that said, your entry moved me like no other. People like you are what make me proud to be an American. Please make your voice me heard tonight! I am sure everyone will love you as much as your loyal readers do!

  30. I’m watching the DNC right now and have teared up. It made me think of you and this entry and I had to let you know, you are not alone in your tears of hope for the future!

  31. I am so jealous. I am a bright blue dot… just moved to a purple state (wi) from a dark red state (tx). I am so excited about being able to meet more people like me here, but am too new to the area to have done so.

    When the primary came through texas though, we went and voted and then went to the caucus… with our kids (5 and 2). They loved it. The could feel the excitement of being in a room full of people standing up for what they believed in. Then they came and visited me when I went on to be a delegate to our regional caucus.

    Today if you ask my five year old who he is voting for he will tell you I already voted for Obama! I don’t have the heart to tell him that his vote didn’t count!

    You can see a picture of his vote on our blog and read about the experience of the local caucus… http://web.mac.com/dewaldfam/Home/Family_Blog/Entries/2008/3/4_Texas_Two-Step.html

    You can also read about the experience of the regional convention and caucus… http://web.mac.com/dewaldfam/Home/Family_Blog/Entries/2008/3/29_Welcome_to_the_Circus.html

    I hope you went and had a fantastic time!

  32. Hey-

    Last night I ordered the Utah for Obama shirt. I can’t believe they even make them. I feel v. ironic now. A t-shirt makes me feel good since and I felt like I deserved SOMETHING to make up for the fact that my blue vote won’t count in this the reddest of all RED states.

  33. I want a “Barack out with your caucus out!” t-shirt!

    I’ve since read your latest update, and am glad the function turned out so well for you. Good for you for going, and participating. You’ve done more than I have!

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