When I tell people I'm a surrogate for the Obama campaign, I usually get a bemused smile, a cocked head and the question, "What does that mean?" to which I jokingly reply with a straight face, "I'm carrying the President's baby."
I signed up in July because I thought my little bit of celebrity and the fact that I'm fluent in Spanish could be of some help. Four trips to swing states and many early morning radio interviews later, I'm beginning to see how true that "carrying the President's baby" joke really is.
I'm beginning to experience a lot of the perks and pains of pregnancy. I have the glow, the gratitude and courtesy of people (usually reserved for pregnant women), the swollen feet and backaches from hoofing it door to door or standing all day at local campaign offices, as well as the morning sickness which I felt the day after the first debate. Not to mention the barrage of calls and emails from everyone wanting to make sure "the baby" was all right.
So why do it? I have a busy enough life; I'm on a TV show and have a day job as the west coast fundraiser for GLSEN (The Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network). Plus I have a husband and a family of three critters that require lots of care.
Simply put, I'm gay, Latino and an immigrant so this President has displayed his love for me many times over, I though it was my turn to give it back. I have two sisters and a mother who's a senior and depends on her hard earned Medicare and Social Security. If I did not do everything within my power to stop Romney/Ryan from taking office, I would be a traitor to everything I hold dear, my husband, my mother, my sisters and my country. Yeah, I think they are that bad!
The setback that Romeny/Ryan would bring to women, gays and seniors, not to mention the middle class and the poor, are untenable to me. Plus I'm worried about my Republican friends who don't seem to realize that unless they are millionaires, Romney's economic plans are not in their best interests either.
So I've been out stumping. I always show up with a prepared speech, which inevitably goes by the wayside when one of the local volunteers shares a personal reason for fighting the good fight and I find myself fumbling my way through why I'm there since they seem to have matters well in hand.
Such was the case two weeks ago in Colorado when a man in his late 40's, who is a block leader, got up and shared how he and his partner, who had AIDS, had been traveling when his partner became ill on the trip. His conditioned worsened and this man was not allowed to go to his love's bedside to say goodbye before he passed. He was told, "Family only in the ICU."
Having lived through something similar in the '80s during Reagan's shameful handling of the AIDS crisis, I was almost too moved to speak. This local hero is volunteering seven days a week to make sure Obama gets re-elected. He eloquently outlined all of the monumental progress we have made on gay rights in the past four years and there was not a dry eye in the room.
The bottom line is that Romney is cynically and dishonestly hiding his real positions on an array of critical issues, but voters won't be fooled because he's been running on them for years. Take, for example, Romney's abortion lie yesterday, which makes this fact particularly clear.
So how are we going to make sure this baby is delivered safe and sound on November 6th?Work, work, work. Contribute, volunteer, talk to other voters and tell them why this is the most important election in our lives. It's time to stop wringing our hands over Romney's dance around the truth at the debate and use those hands to start ringing some doorbells.
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