A couple of weeks ago, at a house party for LA City Council candidate Mike Bonin, a friend asked me why I was supporting Mike over other candidates running to replace Bill Rosendahl in the March 5 election.
"That's easy," I told him. "He's the best candidate to get us through the Zombie Apocalypse."
Before you think I've lost my mind, let me explain :)
I've known Mike since I first became active in local politics in 2003. Back then our relationship was cordial, if distant - sometimes we weren't always on the same side of issues.
All that changed in 2008 when we became co-regional field organizers for the Obama campaign. Together we managed hundreds of volunteers who made hundreds of thousands of phone calls to voters all over the country. It was a massive operation unlike anything either of us had experienced - it took everything we had and then some to get through it.
Then election night happened. As the rest of us celebrated Barack Obama's victory, I'll never forget the look on Mike's face when he realized Proposition 8 had passed, and with it his rights to marry.
It would have been easy for Mike to give in to despair and cynicism, but that's not what happened. What happened was this - Mike organized.
First, Mike helped create and run Camp Courage - workshops teaching activists how to talk about and organize for marriage equality. Then he took the show on the road - to Fresno and Sacramento, San Diego and Oakland, East LA and Washington DC. Activists trained in these workshops organized their own networks, taking the fight for marriage equality to states all over the country.
Then another election night happened. This time, in 2012, four states made history when voters in those states affirmed the rights of same-sex couples to marry. In California, the state court had overturned Proposition 8 and victory looks possible in the Supreme Court. And finally, after much pressure from activists - many of them trained by Mike at Camp Courage - President Barack Obama "evolved" on marriage equality.
So yes, I'm voting for Mike Bonin because he's the most experienced and has the best positions on public transportation, the environment, development, and job creation - but mostly I'm voting for him because he's the best person to get us through the Zombie Apocalypse.
Because if you're talking about someone who won't give up and won't give in no matter the odds, who'll fight for what he knows is right, and who'll empower others to create real and lasting change, Mike Bonin is that person.