Monday, March 30, 2009

WaHokie Returns in a blaze of marron, orange, and blue!

Not that this blog is read by more than five people, buttt I'm back! Though I've still been posting on Blue Commonwealth (RIP, sort of), I've done a really poor job cross posting on my own blog. I am going to copy over some of those blogs to blogspot over the next day or so.

Honestly, my problem with blogging is it takes up too much of my time. I love writing longer, more thought out pieces, and my current schedule doesn't really let me do that. I twitter as kylegardiner, so if you're into the 140 character analysis of anything on my mind (which is often politics, let's be honest) then just follow me over there.

I will try to write a quality blog every few weeks, and if something gets my attention or if something local happens, I'll try to break it here. I had a blast live-tweeting at the Virginia Young Democrats Convention at UVA last weekend, and I might try to write a tidbit on that this week. I also plan on live blogging at the Virginia Tech Democratic Gubernatorial debate in a few weeks, blogging on Virginia Tech's Earth Week, and a BIG blog at some point on verified voting and electronic voting machines.

That's it for now!


Sunday, December 14, 2008

Change is Coming, Contd.

Note: This is a follow up on an earlier piece I wrote. Cross-posted to

So I went to a Change is Coming house party, and it absolutely reaffirmed my faith in the American people. Kristin, the hostess and a local community organizer in Charlottesville, opened up her doors to over a dozen people (most of them strangers) on a bright but cold Saturday afternoon, and the results couldn’t have been better. All fifteen people who signed up attended, and the showing was incredibly diverse, in every meaning of the word.

I was fortunate enough to interview Sherman White after the event. Sherman was the epitome of everything so unique about what Barack is doing.

“Do you know the name Emmitt Till?” he asks. Often considered one of the catalysts of the civil rights movement, on August 28th, 1955, the fourteen year-old Till was brutally tortured and lynched for whistling at a white woman. “And August 28th, 1963,” he continued, “That’s when Dr. King gave his ‘I Have a Dream Speech.’ I saw him that day.” Ignoring my look of total amazement, he finished his statement. “August 28th, 2008. Barack Obama gave his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention. August 28th, 1955, 1963, 2008. God’s fingerprint is all over this election.”

Wow. I just met a man who marched with Dr. King, all because our support of Barack Obama, and our mutual interest in building a better community.

Disappointingly, I did not attend the whole event. I was returning home from Virginia Tech, and traffic caused me to be a bit late. I ended up missing our discussion of the actual election itself, which I’m sure was incredibly interesting hearing different viewpoints. However, I was able to fully discuss the most important item on the agenda, the national day of service (MLK day 2009), and that couldn’t have made me more excited. We went around the room, and each proposed an idea for a community service project the group could participate in. From Habit for Humanity, to food banks, to the Free Clinic, to Reading Rabbits, we really left no charity left unmentioned. We discussed social justice, healthcare, affordable housing, environmental cleanup, and mentoring, just to name a few.

Another anecdote Sherman related to me seems relevant here. “From a biblical standpoint, I am reminded of the analogy of Joseph,” he says. “Joseph encountered famine in Egypt. He ran the most powerful economy in the world, however, and with that he fed the world. I see a lot of that in Obama today.”

We ended up deciding to organize a drive to provide food for the food banks that will be in short supply post-holiday season, as well as gather blankets, warm clothes, etc. for the homeless of Charlottesville. While I personally favored the idea of a getting involved in a mentoring program like reading to kids, or the Boys and Girls Club, it is clear that these ideas won’t be left unaddressed. Everyone seemed very enthusiastic to make these meetings regular, and we promised that after our initially trial with the national day of service, we will be able to take up more long-term projects.

Additionally, hearing the diverse charities proposed by the group made me realize that there is no excuse to just dedicate my service to when the group does it; there are too many charities to count that need my (and millions of more Americans’) help everyday to not go on my own time. If God’s fingerprints are, indeed, all over this election, then I think now’s the time for me to give God a hand and give back to those around me.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

My First Internship!

So I just got an internship with the League of Women Voters of Virginia working to establish a database that compiles and sorts information related to verifiable voting in Virginia. I'll be sorting through pretty much all studies, articles, editorials, and any other pertinent information on voting machines. I'm really excited! As I get down and dirty with this, I will definitely be posting updates, especially if I find something really interesting.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

A Petition Every Virginian Democrat should sign...

So I was looking deep in the recesses of the republican blog intertubes last night, and I found a petition that every democrat should sign:

Supported by such august institutions as Black Velvet Bruce Li, has established a petition to save the honorable chairman from being ousted.

Coming off of such brilliant comments as reaffirming it was "true" that both Obama and Osama had friends who blew up the Pentagon, Jeff has helped bring democratic success to Virginia, and at the very least we owe it to the man to help him keep his job.

Protect Jeff! Go here.

Oh, and if you want some video junk food while stuffing the petition with as many names as you can think of, check out Jeff's speech at the 5th district convention back in the spring. While the irony of such quotes as "results are all that count" and "I know how to win" seem eerily pertinent in his campaign for reelection, my personal favorite is "this [this fifth district] is a very republican area."

Whether your a Moran man or a Deeds dude, the best thing you can do to keep the Dem's strong in '09 is helping Jeff get another crack at losing.

Cross-posted on

Update: When I wrote this last night, I was pretty incoherent, so I fixed this to make more sense.

Friday, December 5, 2008

A Cultlure of Service: The Real Change We Can Believe In has been created.

The economy, healthcare, and Iraq are all very important issues, and I am thankful each day that a Democrat will be leading the free world in 46 days (!), brining about a drastic change from the corruption, short-sidedness, and “cowboy diplomacy” we’ve seen with Bush. But no matter how passionately I debated Hillary (or even John) supporters over the intricacies of the candidates healthcare plans or withdrawal strategies, I think I knew deep down that whomever was elected, the world would be a little brighter on January 20th.

So I began to wonder about where was all of the “change [I] can believe in”? Allow an email from David Plouffe, received circa 6:30 PM yesterday evening, to explain:

Exactly one month ago, you made history by giving all Americans a real opportunity for change.

Now it's time to start preparing and working for change in our communities.

On December 13th and 14th, supporters are coming together in every part of the country to reflect on what we've accomplished and plan the future of this movement. Your ideas and feedback will be collected and used to guide this movement in the months and years ahead.

This is what I love about Barack. This is why he won’t just be a good president, but a great and truly revolutionary one. Change is more than policy, it’s about transforming the collective thought of the nation. When I voted for Obama, it was because I care about this nation more than on the second Tuesday of every November. I believe in civic involvement and community service, and President-Elect Obama clearly understands his unique position to capitalize on the dormant social and political capital that lies untapped in this nation.

Barring some of his cabinet nominations, I don’t think anything has excited me more from the Obama camp post-election than this, and its clear that I am not alone. I tried to register for a party being hosted in Blacksburg, but by 10 PM it was already filled up. Realizing that I’d be back in Charlottesville next weekend, I decided to check out some parties being hosted in the C-vile area. By midnight, five people had already offered up parties within 10 miles. One of these had already booked up, and today, the one I’m attending filled up.

So what does this mean?

People aren’t just hungry for change in government…they are ready and willing to use themselves to better their own country. Citizens are letting random strangers into their homes, all for the purpose of becoming more involved in what Washington does and—more importantly in my opinion—“make a difference in the community.”

Just at Tom Perriello in the fifth district tapped into the power of his volunteers by tithing 10% of all hours to community service (1152 hours, last count), Barack Obama could lay out a similar plan. Why not have these sponsored get-togethers once every season, where anyone who is interested can host or join an event to help out charitably in ones’ local community? Imagine the impact if half of the email list (~6 million) showed up every three months just to build houses, serve in food kitchens, or clean up parks? These events would be so much more than a day of service every few months; it would spark new ties and relationships in neighborhoods and cities, bind communities closer together and undoubtedly inspire many to do charity and get together more frequently.

The grassroots potential is immense, and creating a nation more civically oriented has no downside. I personally can’t wait to see who will be at the meeting I am attending Saturday afternoon, and I can only hope it’s as diverse a group of people as the near seventy million who voted for Barack. There’s no excuse to not show up. At worst, it will be an awkward hour of my life, and at best, I could meet people whose ideas could help change the world If we want to make this nation better, it’s the people who are going to bring that about. And that’s change that I can believe in.

Oh and if you are interested in hosting or attending a party, just go to

Crossposted to