Photo of Governor Gavin Newsom from Wikimedia Commons

Ballots will soon arrive in our mailboxes with the simple question: Should Governor Gavin Newsom be recalled on September 14?

It’s a simple question, but the process isn’t straightforward. Let’s break down the options: If the majority of Californians say “yes,” then the governorship gets awarded to the person receiving the most votes, no matter how few votes they actually receive. Confusingly, Californians may vote “yes” to protest Newsom without selecting someone to replace him; people don’t have to cast a vote for another candidate in order to unintentionally support one by voting for the recall.


Leave the oversimplified, maximalist approaches behind.

The purpose of this column is to empower you to channel feelings of anger, despair, and hopelessness into action. You won’t find a treatise on the core issues or how we got here, but rather information on how we can move forward — especially if we want the humiliation and violence of the Occupation to end, the latest ceasefire to be the last, and to understand the meaning of Israel’s new government.

Welcome! For many of you, this may be the first time you are deeply paying attention to what’s going on in Israel…


The author speaking at a teen-led marriage equality rally in Los Angeles on May 29, 2004

When Joe Biden announced his support for marriage equality in 2012, it created a domino effect of how our nation came to view LGBT people as human beings.

A year later, Kamala Harris insisted on allowing same-sex couples to marry immediately (including officiate a wedding herself!) after the Supreme Court struck down the malicious and bigoted Proposition 8 that she had refused to defend.

And in so many ways, both Joe Biden and Kamala Harris took actions that reminded me that years of my own hard work was worth it.

I came out in 2003 at the age of 14…


The Reichstag Fire, started by a lone actor, was utilized by Nazi Germany with the suspension of civil liberties and arrests of all of the Communist Party’s parliamentary delegates. Having removed its main opponents, the Nazi Party gained a majority in parliament, enabling Hitler to consolidate his power. Picture courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

I’ll admit it: despite being a former campaign field director and holding multiple degrees in politics, I absolutely hate phone banking (and pre-pandemic, knocking on doors). But whether it be over the phone or other avenues like text banking and writing postcards, we have to do it. We have no other choice.

You need to start getting out the vote. Now. Everything we hold dear is on the line.

Adapting to and combating climate change. Overcoming COVID-19. National leadership on Black Lives Matter. Babies separated from their parents at the border. Letting immigrants of any kind come to America. Women…


The tweet exchange above stopped me in my tracks. My family lost a loved one when police failed to protect her from domestic violence. Every time I hear of an unarmed black person murdered by police, I’m deeply saddened that yet another family must endure the inconceivable pain brought upon them by the very people who are supposed to keep all of us safe. These unforgivable, violent deaths have awakened a need within me to advocate for a revolutionary change in our understanding of creating and maintaining public safety, and I see it among many fellow white Americans today.

My…


The author hiking Mt. Carmel near Haifa during his 2009 Birthright Israel tour.

My 2009 Birthright trip changed my life for the better. I fell head over heels in love with Israel, inspired by Jews controlling their destiny after centuries of discrimination, exile, and genocide. Following years of struggling with my Jewish identity, I finally felt at home with myself, the Jewish people, and the world’s only Jewish democratic state.

Birthright would consider me a success story. After returning home, I co-founded a pro-Israel group at my alma mater and launched a career largely at the nexus of politics and the Jewish community. In fact, I fought the BDS movement for 4.5 years…


Photo courtesy of Reuters

After the Kavanaugh hearings, I want to add my voice to the growing chorus of men in our country who know that we need to talk. What we saw was a grotesque display of patriarchal resentment.

America witnessed the rare moment of a wealthy white man being held accountable for his actions. During a hearing that politically amounted to his job interview, a man thought it was acceptable to cry during the first 20 minutes (if a woman did so in this context, she’d be considered too “emotional” and lacking temperament), frequently refused to answer questions, resorted to blatant partisanship


Because this flag belongs to us, too. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The past few weeks have particularly been devastating for all of us who believe in an America in which its diversity and liberal democracy are its biggest strengths. From Justice Kennedy’s retirement announcement to our continued internment, abuse, and separation of asylum seeking families alongside blatant racist and fascist authoritarianism from Trump and the GOP, living in the Upside Down is unbearable.

Though I’m displeased with how Obama and the Democrats handled Merrick Garland in 2016 (and building out the Democratic Party in general), I agree with our former POTUS when he says “enough moping.” And as much as there…


Image Courtesy of the Oregon History Project

The New York Times reported today that Trump Administration is rejecting its own studies showing that refugees have brought $63 billion to our economy. Its decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program for the over 800,000 young adults brought to this country illegally as children — who have since proven themselves to be among the best potential Americans — is a startlingly callus move, even for this presidency. It is the same formalized racial profiling as the Muslim ban. …


“Love Wins Celebration in the Castro,” Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

As a member of the board of the Jewish Film Institute (JFI), I know firsthand how art can be extraordinarily political. Freedom of expression is paramount in any flourishing democracy. This ethos promotes collaboration and mutual understanding, and is anathema to the tactics of anti-normalization that prevent people from humanizing one another. In this spirit, I’ve been deeply dismayed by the news that organizers of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement have successfully pressured filmmakers to cancel trips to TLVFest: The Tel Aviv International LGBT Film Festival. According to a report in Haaretz:

Pinkwatching Israel, which is an arm…

Joe Goldman

Social justice advocate, proud LA native and resident by way of SF and DC

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