THE BLOG
03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

In the Midst of All This

In the midst of the intense health care battle and the angst about the Afghanistan decision, it's important to remember that there have been some pretty good accomplishments so far this year for progressives. We've moved forward quickly on initiatives like the Lily Ledbetter fair pay act, S-CHIP, a good (if too small) stimulus package, stem cell research. And we are making steady progress on health care.

It's easy to focus on the current fights -- I am focused 110% on health care for example -- and forget the other stuff that comes down the pipeline. Fortunately (or unfortunately as you may see it), our forefathers ensured that democracy via elections happens not just in even-numbered years, but in odd-numbered years, too. That means there are a number of key races coming down the pipeline this year.

You've probably heard of Gov. Jon Corzine in New Jersey, who is in a tight race for re-election, and the Virginia gubernatorial race, too. Those are absolutely critical and impact media stories about how people are responding to Obama and all of that. But there are also races that impact communities directly.

There are tough fights in Washington State and Maine over the awful TABOR initiatives, which strip state and local governments of the money needed to fund important public services. In Washington State, there is a ballot initiative to strip rights away from LGBT couples -- adoption rights, the right to use sick leave to care for one's partner, and more. In Kalamazoo, MI, right-wingers are trying to repeal the twice-passed ordinance to enact housing, employment and public accommodations protections for LGBT individuals. And in Maine, as I wrote here before, we face a key vote on protecting the state's marriage equality law -- a vote that will impact the entire landscape of our movement for progress.

If you haven't heard about these campaigns before or haven't found the time to take action around them, now's the time. Election Day 2009 is under a week away. Some colleagues of mine in the blogosphere have put together an easy to use "who we are, what we need, and how you can help" guide for each of the LGBT campaigns. Click here to check it out. You can donate a few hours or a few dollars. You can travel to Washington, Michigan or Maine, or you can call from home. You can also promote it on your Facebook page or Twitter account. There are all kinds of ways to help, and they need help just as much as we do in Congress on health care.

In 2009, as Obama and Democrats were winning across the nation, our movement was dealt a setback in California, the largest state in the union, as voters stripped away the right to marry for LGBT couples. I remember that night as a wholly bittersweet victory for our movement. Since we're progressives, we know how to multi-task. So let's keep our eye on the ball for health care, and remember to take a second to pitch in for the LGBT movement. Click here to help out.

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