I had a dollar-store variety realization the other day. It occurred as I was contemplating who to give my next political contribution to.
My father, the Southern Baptist minister, instilled in me the importance of tithing ten percent of your earnings to the church. Now, on good days, I'm agnostic at best, and on the bad, rather convinced that if there is a god, he/she/it are of the George W. Bush laissez-faire governing style or just a sadistic malcontent (or both), so my ten percent has been languishing, in search of a home.
Instead of doing what any sensible working class capitalist would do and saving that money so I could buy my first home, I am doing what any change the world, naive lefty, is obliged to do, giving to political candidates! Many of whom, if looking at IRS tax returns as a barometer, should be giving their money to me.
So for the last year, I've been emptying my coffers to support the candidacy of Jesu-, oh I mean Barack Obama.
I can take liberal elitist comfort in saying that I supported him way back before it was cool, while all the cool lefties were backing Kucinich or Edwards (I'm sorry anyone who has three million dollar homes is no populist, no matter how well they are able to pull out their southern accent. Hell, I can do that after only one drink).
And as the rest of my real world Democratic friends were telling me about the inevitability of Hillary, I was throwing my money behind the dark horse (not playing the race card), and now I can tell you all I told you so. Na na na. Don't come looking for me if he loses though, I'll pull the race card, quicker than Rick Davis can say Karl Rove.
After giving what I thought would automatically send me into Hilary Rosen levels of gay Democratic elitism, and now still waiting on my one-on-one lunch, phone call, or hell, a free bumper sticker from the Barackstar, I figured my master plan was in need of some finessing.
So I've decided that since the holy one has more money than the other holy one, that I should focus my giving on some folks that could actually use a little extra cash. For that reason, I'm introducing a small sporadic (I can't make a commitment to date, let alone write a column) column, of folks who I wholeheartedly ask that you consider throwing some bucks their way.
Since my early adoption record is impressive (Obama, check, Ipod, check, long hair grunge revival, check, appreciating of chest hair, check), I believe that if you jump on my giving wagon, you'll have a life full of I told you so moments, and renting instead of owning.
So my first, give some moolah to this candidate appeal is for, Oklahoman Jim Roth!
Jim Roth is Oklahoma's newest Corporation Commissioner. The Commission regulates oil and gas industries as well as utilities and communications industries.
I had the pleasure of visiting Tulsa, Oklahoma back in May to speak at the first civil rights convention of the Transport Workers Union. Hosted at TWU Local 517, the folks who make sure American Airlines planes are safe to fly, I was able to meet a wonderful cadre of people looking to make Oklahoma a more inclusive, friendly, and progressive place.
Oklahoma has a rich history including being founded as a state that supported the abolition of slavery, and Jim Roth is another step in that history. As an openly gay man, Jim is running in a state where that is still a controversial and courageous thing to do.
Jim Roth is part of the movement to reclaim Oklahoma's history as a progressive beacon, making the drafters of the Oklahoma constitution proud.
Beyond who Jim is, his policies, can help bring our country to a pathway of energy independence and environmental sustainability. Jim supports wind energy as a way to help working class folks in Oklahoma make a living, and to help the country wane its addiction to foreign oil. Oklahoma ranks 6th in the nation in wind energy capacity, and Jim is committed to seeing that capacity and output grow, to the benefits of those of us far outside the borders of Oklahoma.
This position, which creates energy and working class jobs, has won him the endorsement of the Oklahoma AFL-CIO.
But Jim's re-election to the Commission, even with his admirable positions for the state and the country, is no cakewalk.
There are those who want to make sure that anyone who is lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender need not apply for elected office in the state of Oklahoma.
Recently, one of his opponents took the high road (no actually they skidded off the road and into the ditch), and published a cartoon, inferring that Jim was in league with the devil. One would hope that if this was even remotely accurate, that his opponent, who we would infer is in league with God, could get God to employ better cartoonists. Seriously though it shows what anyone who wants to push a progressive agenda in the state is up against, and why we should support him.
Jim is one of the next wave of out politicians who are speaking out, educating, and pushing a progressive agenda in the heartland. He needs our support to continue on this important path.
Jim has been endorsed by the Victory Fund and you can donate to his campaign here.