Let me set the scene: it was 2005, and I’d been working in the domestic violence field about six months. It was my first real job as an activist, the realization of a hazy, amorphous dream I’d left a Ph.D. program to chase (albeit in a roundabout way). I was in that exciting phase when you first start something new, and everything’s novel and fascinating just for its own sake. I was constantly amazed by what I was learning. I’m telling you this because the key thing to understand about me back then is that I was still capable of being shocked: [Read more...]
Today the Senate votes, again, on the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), so everyone brace yourselves to read a lot of bad reporting on it. It’s not all the reporters’ fault; political reporters have a problem, which is that people who like to write about policy tend to be wonks, whereas the people who end up reading their stories mostly aren’t. [Read more...]
So! “Get Out of My Crotch,” the awesome collection of essays I’ve told you about, came out last week, and there were readings in Portland and South Lake Tahoe to kick things off. I figured, eh, the office can probably manage without my brilliance for a week, so I took time off and went to both events. I am SO glad I did, because as much as I enjoy sitting at home in sweatpants, pecking at my laptop and bouncing ideas off the poodle, getting out and actually talking to people about this stuff is way more fun. [Read more...]
The Violence Against Women Act is dead. Defunct, extinct, “expired” in both the legislative and the Victorian senses of the word. At least that’s what you’d think if you read headlines about it in the last day or so, many of which emphasize the drama of the bill’s expiration, without describing what will happen to domestic violence victims as a result. [Read more...]
When I signed on to be a full-time activist, I didn’t realize how many phone calls would be involved. I don’t have the kind of job that requires me to show up in person to protest things—I’ve probably done that twice in nearly a decade of anti-domestic violence work—mine is more a “sit and think about policy” and “write position letters” kind of a gig. But phone calls are another matter. During the course of the average week I receive huge volumes of emails of the “Take Action!” variety, and while my first response is to mutter “I took action by coming to work, what do you want from me?” I do still often feel moved to act as an individual citizen and dial those 1-888 numbers. A polite if rather stilted conversation ensues, in which whomever was lucky enough to answer the phone in Congress Member X’s office gets to hear me read (eloquently, one assumes) from the script provided by whomever asked me to call them. [Read more...]
I’ve been looking forward to the Vice Presidential debate ever since Paul Ryan’s candidacy was announced, because I fully expect that Joe Biden is going to eat that smirking plutocrat for lunch. The media narrative of Biden as America’s Daffy Uncle belies the accomplished legislator and ass-kicking partisan he really is. But so much the better; low expectations, plus Ryan’s entirely undeserved reputation as a policy wonk can only work to Old Uncle Joe’s benefit. He will smile genially, wave to the crowd, then rip Paul Ryan a new one. I cannot wait. I heart Joe.