If It’s October, This Must Be Ohio

I’ve heard a lot of New Yorkers recently wondering aloud about what they can do to beat back the right wing in this year’s election, with the presidential campaign nearly moribund in the Empire State and Sen. John Kerry looking like a lock here.

The swellest among us, hopefully, are opening up their wallets to support the Democratic candidate’s campaign or perhaps to help fund the effort to defeat the dozen constitutional amendment efforts nationwide aimed at banning same-sex marriage.

For the rest of us who are accustomed to contributing our public service through sweat equity, the Empire State Pride Agenda has come up with a wonderful, constructive alternative.

Go to Ohio, one of the very largest of the so-called swing states, and help register gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered voters to ensure a big turnout within our community in that state.

On Friday morning, October 1, the Pride Agenda will launch a bus brigade to Cincinnati, the Ohio River’s Queen City, for three days of voter registration and—crucially—identification aimed not only at enrolling new voters but also building a database of names to follow up with in the weeks remaining until the November 2 election.

For anyone who envied the lives of the Deaniacs, not to mention the Gephardt, Clark, Edwards and Kerry volunteers who flooded Iowa and New Hampshire during last winter’s cold, the Ohio excursion offers a long weekend version of that grassroots political experience.

Pride Agenda volunteers will attend a Pride Night celebration at Kings Island, a Cincinnati theme park, where there are likely to be many unregistered young queer Ohioans. The rest of the weekend will be spent canvassing other gay-friendly areas around town.

The Pride Agenda effort is part of a carefully orchestrated effort by America Coming Together (ACT), a political group formed to build grassroots support for turning George W. Bush out of office in the 17 most competitive states in the nation. ACT is partnering with progressive groups such as the Pride Agenda across the U.S. to bring the most important resources in the electoral process—human energy—where most needed.

If you are available the first weekend of October, by all means call up the Pride Agenda at 212 627 0305 and talk to Chris Cormier, who is shepherding the Cincinnati effort.

If you can’t make it then, check out ACT’s website at actforvictory.org and find out how else you can get plugged into the most important political moment in our lives.

The presidential election is less than seven weeks away. When it’s all over, won’t you want to feel as though you did everything you could to play a constructive part?

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