We Are All In This Together

As part of my duties as a Democratic committeeperson, I just spent three or four hours canvassing my neighborhood. It is hard for me to type right now because my hands are so cold, but was it ever worth it. It was a crisp, clear day here in West Philly, and the reception was amazing. Every single person I talked with said they were going to vote, and they all specifically mentioned how happy they were that Santorum was finally going down (even though some prefaced their comments by saying they weren't thrilled with Casey). I dropped off about 200 pieces of literature to houses and apartments where people were not home, and just had an absolutely fantastic time. I really am happy with where I live--it is a beautiful neighborhood. My precinct alone has one of the city's best public schools, an arts league, two coffee shops (both locally owned), a Vietnamese restaurant, two pizza and sandwich shops (both locally owned, with great beer selections), and a nice local bar. And the big, colorful, turn-of the last century houses out here in West Philly are really a sight to behold.

My ward, the 27th Ward, (there is a picture of our Thursday meeting below and on the left) is famous for being the only "free" ward in the entire city. The Philadelphia Democratic machine does not operate out here. Last year, we unanimously recalled our ward leader, and we often endorse different candidates in primaries than the city or state party would like. Hell, we even managed to sneak two people, myself included, onto the State committee, because the machine wasn't running anyone out here. Still, we are working just as hard, if not harder, than any other ward in the city to make sure that all Democrats win their elections. We ourselves are a healthy mix of students, long-term residents, new yuppie arrivals, black, white, old, young, you name it. But we are all fighting together.
Earlier today, I posted on House district polls, which give us an overwhelming chance to take control. This evening, not long ago, I got word from a well-placed source that Democrats are ahead or tied in at least six Republican-held Senate seats according to their internals (the info wasn't clear--it could have been more than six--maybe even eight). So, even taking the Senate seems quite possible right now, although I refuse to ever predict that will happen (unless there is a big polling break in our favor in two of the three toss-up states: Missouri, Virginia, and Montana). If this does turn out to be a huge Democratic landslide, everyone is going to try and take credit for it: Blue Dogs, New Democrats, Progressives, the netroots, unions, Emmanuel, Schumer, Dean, Pelosi, Emily's List, and on and on and on. The truth is, however, that we will have all pulled it off together. I still insist that the netroots and the progressive movement supplied more vital resources and infrastructure improvements than any other faction of the party, but even we needed a lot of help from other sources. It will be a group victory, and a Democratic victory. Considering that Republicans have raised more money, conducted better voter contact programs, had more favorable maps, and passed more of their agenda than in any other election cycle in decades, it will most definitely not be because of so-called Republican mistakes.

There are those Democrats who think they have to run against the party in order to win, or even in order to save the party. It is my honest opinion that those Democrats well, suck, and do real damage to the party. Everyone else should be free to share in the spoils, and free to share in the credit. That is because, in the end, we did this together. We worked together, we were active together, and we are looking like we will at least win the House together. If we spin it any other way, we are going to begin to encounter real problems in early 2007. The familiar "Democrats divided" will be everywhere. The sense that Democrats won by default, and have no positive agenda, will be everywhere. Most damagingly, the sense that we can't fix the problems that led to Republicans getting tossed will become rife, and then we will be in real trouble. Our danger after we win thus becomes Democrats who want to continue to run against the party for their own benefit (LiberDems), and a faction-based craze for everyone to want to take credit. We have to restrain ourselves on both fronts.

We are all in this together. Those of us who see it that way will win together. Those of us who do not see it that way, well, it could easily lead to disaster, ala the theocon right after 2004, or the DLC after 1992. Because those individual groups received credit for their entire party's victory after their respective victorious elections, their respective parties were served up a giant can of whoop-ass two years later. After all if Democrats won by hating other Democrats, who is left to actually defend Democrats? And who really wants extremists running the government anyway, except other extremists? Yes, I believe we--the progressive movement--made a key difference, maybe THE key difference, but we still didn't do it alone. We you are out working for Democrats tomorrow, keep that one line in mind--we are all in this together. We are doing this together. The longer we remember that, the better off we shall be.

Tags: 2006 elections, Activism, Blogosphere, Democrats, netroots, progressive movement (all tags)

Comments

15 Comments

I Know I've Asked This Before, But...

I lived in Powelton Village near the end of the Rizzo Era, about a block and a half away from the Move house on Pearl that he had cops surround and eventually invade in '78. (I was damn lucky.  They were shooting from helicopters, and I was asleep in a converted attic, wiped out from an all-nighter silversmithing.  If they'd been a bit more cowboy about it...) I used to shop at a food coop on Powelton and Lancaster. Where's Ward 27 in relationship to that???

by Paul Rosenberg 2006-11-04 01:41PM | 0 recs
Re: I Know I've Asked This Before, But...

Not far. Try this map and the linked pages.

by Adam B 2006-11-04 03:39PM | 0 recs
Oh, UP, Drexel...

That was my cultural backyard.  Course, with the public transit, so was South Street & all relevant parts of downtown.  Did quite a few poetry reading thereabouts.

by Paul Rosenberg 2006-11-04 04:32PM | 0 recs
Re: We Are All In This Together

   Spent the whole day canvassing myself today in Frederick, Maryland. I am happy to report that the Frederick Democratic headquarters had more volunteers than it thought it would be getting today, and we collectively covered nearly twice as many houses as we expected to. (Yes, guys, you still need to show up tomorrow. And Monday.)

  I had a blast. My favorite experience was with a twentysomething young man, a big white guy with tattoos, exactly the guy you'd figure would be someone whose main vocabulary is "Duuuuude"... but when I engaged him he said, quietly, "Things are so screwed up with Bush. I hope we can change things. I don't know if I'm a Republican or a Democrat, but I do know things are bad." He had heard about the how-to-build-a-nuke-on-the-internet story, and was disgusted. I said "Bush will keep on doing whatever he wants to unless we get a Democratic Congress." He agreed and eagerly took my lit. I think I made a sale there.

 Most people were friendly. (I much prefer door-to-door over phone contacts because people are much nicer face-to-face.) Just about everyone I talked to said he or she was voting, and "couldn't wait". I appeared on a local-affairs TV show a week ago, and someone recognized me. That was pretty cool. (Cue up the ego rush!) I talked up our less-publicized local candidates.

 And I am dead tired now. But it's a good tired...

by Master Jack 2006-11-04 01:46PM | 0 recs
Re: We Are All In This Together

Had an amazing day in the NH-02.  Talked to an elderly woman who told me she is a republican but is voting for the dems this time because she has had enough!

Now for a glass of wine, a hot bath and a good night's sleep so I can do it all again tomorrow!

by MoonWomyn 2006-11-04 01:55PM | 0 recs
Great report....

...and uplifting too.

Thanks for sharing it.

by tonymoco 2006-11-04 01:59PM | 0 recs
Re: We Are All In This Together

Chris YOUR the man!! Keep up the hard work and have a cheesesteak for ME!!!

by nzubechukwu 2006-11-04 02:21PM | 0 recs
Re: We Are All In This Together

I've done a lot of canvassing this year.  One afternoon my team covered an entire 4 square block public housing project, Greenleaf Gardens, where there are few trees, almost nothing green, no gardens and lots of cement.  In the shadow of the Capitol dome & $700,000+ condos I've never seen such grinding poverty, up close at least.  A lot of folks clearly should have been in nursing homes but were, essentially, being left to die alone.  The onl people happy to see me were very lonely -- a smile and a little respect seemed to brighten thier day.  Voting is about hope.  There were at least two crack houses too -- they employ kids, 10, 11 or 12 years old, who call the crack house dealers with thier cell phones when anybody official looking approaches.  Guys in ties mean trouble, for the most part, in Greenleaf Gardens in Southwest Washington.

Anyway, it was a reminder about why we are in this and what politics should be about -- a way to lift up people with no economic power.  We are the real pro-lifers, pro quality of life & pro health care for people who are not getting decent medical attention. Democrats had a chance to really do something about health care in the early 1990's.  I hope we don't fail the next time we get the chance.

by howardpark 2006-11-04 02:43PM | 0 recs
Re: We Are All In This Together

C'mon Chris, I canvassed in Burlington, Vermont today and although it was a bit cool, my hands were warm and toasty without gloves.  

The Sanders for Senate campaign is organizing the GOTV drive in Burlington for the Vermont Democratic Party.  The canvass coordinator at Sanders' headquarters said that volunteers were really turning out this year and so, the Democrats have extended their target lists beyond their original plan.  The first night of their GOTV drive was Thursday and by the end of the night, they had completed all of the phone calls they had planned for Thursday and Friday.  So they expanded their list and essentially doubled the number of people they had planned to call in the first two days of the GOTV drive.

The Democratic strategy in Vermont statewide races is to win big in Burlington and surrounding Chittenden County and to basically stay even in the other parts of the State, using Burlington to provide the margin of victory.  So GOTV in Burlington is key to victory, especially for Peter Welch, who is in a close race for the open at large Vermont seat in the House.  

If you are interesting in volunteering, call the Sanders for Senate HQ at 802-862-1505 or the Vermont Democratic Party HQ at 802-861-2747.

by gunnar 2006-11-04 03:06PM | 0 recs
Re: We Are All In This Together

No idea about how windy it's been up there in VT, but I can vouch for Chris on how ridiculously windy it's been down here in Philly.  I was out, for my job, last weekend for a few hours and came back with a windburned face.  It's cold!

by Albert 2006-11-04 04:11PM | 0 recs
Re: We Are All In This Together

"The truth is, however, that we will have all pulled it off together."

What a wonderful statement to read on a blog.  Thank you for that outlook.  It is uplifting.

by aiko 2006-11-04 03:21PM | 0 recs
Back from Tracy CA

where four of us walked a precinct for Democrat Jerry McNerney in Richard Pombo's home town.

It felt good. It was a perfect day and folks were receptive.  It was my third time out there canvassing for Martha Gamez, a great grandmother of six, who is Richard Pombo's worst nightmare and one hell of an organizer.

It was great...I did a blind invite on dailykos and got two folks who'd never canvassed before out to Tracy.  Little by little, this is how we make big changes. Together.

by kid oakland 2006-11-04 04:43PM | 0 recs
Re: We Are All In This Together
Unlike most years, this is one where there is very little going on as far as elections for our area.  But, there is a great deal of republican dislike.  The 2 races that are going on the republicans don't even show thier party affliation.  
This is an unusual area.  Farm and a little big town.  We had great inspiring black activists 20 years ago.  Now they are gone or very old and the new community doesn't care.  The latinos are by themselves and not active.  We have 2nd and 3rd generation southern god, guns and gays types who's parents or grandparents came fromt the south for the factories and carry that tradition here.  And the suburban box store and suv types.
20 years ago we had a multi term black dem mayor and now we have a revolving door of bland republicans.
It use to be a dem area and now is repub. and religious.  I call it a beige town.
somewhere the political tradition left.  Our political action committee place is no longer here.   There is really nothing.  It reminds me of congress.
by vwcat 2006-11-04 04:58PM | 0 recs
Re: We Are All In This Together

I'm a bit embarassed to admit it, but I'm 52 and I just spent my first real day of canvassing (NY-20).   It was a great experience.  As I was visiting people the campaigne felt were possible/likely to come out and vote, there were very few(but a few) who were hostile. I was canvassing a distict that was significantly covered by public housing.

I can say that I was completely humbled by a number of people who said, more or less, that the fact that I rang their doorbell and spoke with them made them feel like somebody actually cared about them, about their vote.  They were very grateful.

For people who haven't done canvasing, or wonder if it's time well spent, I would say that if you pay attention, you will find there is a huge population out there that is really at the tipping point, and your coming to their house and talking with them makes a huge, positive difference for them.  You may not see it on the spot, so to speak, but canvassing has a huge impact.    

by SaratogaProf 2006-11-04 06:01PM | 0 recs
Re: We Are All In This Together

I'm glad to hear you had a good time canvassing. I was out canvassing part of a swing precinct on the east side of Portland, Oregon, on the border of a suburb called Gresham, in the pouring rain. It was good fun but MAN did I get soaked!

by Oregon Bear 2006-11-04 07:17PM | 0 recs

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