I am going to "crash the gate"

From the diaries--Chris

This is a copy of an announcement that's being distributed across the Texas blogosphere in advance of our state convention, which begins tomorrow.   Chris and I talked about this in Philly over Memorial Day weekend (after re-enacting the epic "Bowers v Texas" battle), and I told him that I was extremely pleased that he's setting an example for everyone by getting involved with the PA Dem Party.  I am a true believer in the Silent Revolution Chris wrote about a few weeks ago, and this is the next step that I'm taking in advancing the progressive agenda within my own state party.  I hope this will provide other bloggers some inspiration to do the same.  

In advance of the convention this weekend, I'd like to ask all delegates from SD10 to support my campaign for a place on the State Resolutions Committee.  For those whom I have not met yet, let me tell you a little bit about me.  I'm a lifelong Democrat who was born and raised in the south (Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and Texas).  My father is a Korean war veteran and avowed populist from Indiana who taught me from an early age that we are all in this together.  He says he's a Democrat because "Democrats are the party of working people".  My earliest political idol was "Walkin'"Lawton Chiles, a legendary Florida Democrat who never lost an election (he even beat Jeb Bush to become Florida's 41st governor).  I moved to Texas in 1991, and have lived in Arlington since 1993.  My first political experience was gathering signatures for Al Gore in 1991, and currently I'm volunteering for Congressional candidate David Harris and Texas House candidate David Pillow.  I also serve as precinct chair #2217.

As many of you know, I served on the SD10 Resolutions Committee during our recent Senate District convention.  My participation involved attending many meetings, submitting resolutions, coordinating communications between committee members, and helping to craft language on resolutions that were submitted via the precinct caucuses.  During the Senate District Convention, I was elected by the committee to serve as Permanant Secretary.  

I'm running for this position for several reasons.  

First, I want to be able to directly influence our state party platform.  I am liberal and not afraid to say so, and I would like to see the party platform reflect the historically populist stance of many Democrats statewide.  

But my main impetus for running is this:  It seems to me that in recent years, many Democratic voters don't even know what we stand for anymore.  Or worse yet, we have allowed the Texas Republican Party to define us.  Ask any voter what the Republican Party stands for, and they'll tell you small government, lower taxes, family values, and national defense (even if we know these are untruths).  Ask any voter what we stand for, and you'll either get a blank stare or a GOP talking point.

The time has come to redefine the Democratic Party.  We must clearly articulate our values in language that cannot be misunderstood.  I support the concept of "framing" and would like to help advance this concept within the state party.  As defined by the Rockridge Institute, framing is "telling the truth as we see it - telling it forcefully, straightforwardly, articulately, with moral conviction and without hesitation. The language must fit the conceptual reframing -- a reframing from the perspective of progressive morality. It is not just a matter of words, though the right words do help evoke a progressive frame."

I believe that if we are to take back Texas and break the GOP stronghold on our state, we must overcome the problem of Republicans defining what we stand for.  We must incorporate strong, concise language into our platform that reflects our core Democratic values.  This won't happen overnight.  In fact, it will probably take many election cycles to get us where we need to be.  But I assure you that I'm in it for the long haul, and that this effort will pay off if we are committed.

Framing is essential to winning back Texas.  We can't have our candidates running around the state and saying one thing in West Texas and another in D/FW.  We must be able to clearly articulate our values in ways which appeal to all Texans.  For example, while I strongly support gay marriage, I would not ask any of our candidates to go run on a gay marriage platform in (for example) Lubbock.  That might fly in Dallas, but it won't fly in more conservative parts of the state.  However, I would feel perfectly comfortable asking our candidates to discuss equality.  I believe that equal opportunity and equal rights are core Democratic values.  The resolution I helped craft which reflects this core value reads thusly:  "Whereas the Democratic party values diversity and abhors discrimination based on minority status; and whereas such discrimination should never be enshrined in our Constitution; The Democratic Party reaffirms that every American citizen is entitled to equal rights under the law, and that no American citizen should ever be denied these inalienable rights due to their minority status." This is a strong, clear, concise statement which reflects our values.  By running on this basic value statement, our candidates will not be hamstrung by Republican frames ("The Democrats are the party of gay marriage!").  

Again, I'll quote the Rockridge Institute:  "Conservatives have worked for decades to establish the metaphors of taxation as a burden, an affliction, and an unfair punishment - all of which require "relief." They have also, over decades, built up the frame in which the wealthy create jobs, and giving them more wealth creates more jobs.

The power of these frames cannot be overcome immediately. Frame development takes time and work. Progressives have to start reframing now and keep at it. This reframing must express fundamental progressive values : empathy, responsibility, fairness, community, cooperation, doing our fair share."

I believe in those core Democratic values and think they encompass all of the single-issue interests within our big tent.  By becoming your representative, I hope to advance these values and see them enshrined in the state platform.

I would also like to say this.  While I do have my own ideas of what I'd like to see happen within the party, I realise that I will serve as the behest of the voters within SD 10.  I will make these promises:  while I will try to advance the framing agenda, your interests will come first.  I will fight for your resolutions and I will fight for your values.  If you have an issue which you'd like to see in the platform, let me know and I'll do my best to make it happen.  I will answer to you, the voters and dedicated activists who care about our party and our country.  If you need to contact me, I'll be there.  I won't be elusive, as some members of other committees are. Just email contact.annatopia@gmail.com and I'll contact you as soon as I receive the message.

I would be honored to serve as your representative on the State Resolutions Committee, and would be grateful for your support.

x-posted all over the place:  annatopia,  Texas Kos, DailyKos, and BOR


note: I just got a call from a local activist who informed me that there will indeed be a State Resolutions Committee. Apparently that was not a "for sure" deal until the most recent schedule. Since Resolutions is where I can have the most influence (and what I originally wanted to do), that's what I'm going for.

Tags: campaigns, Crashing the Gates, texas (all tags)

Comments

16 Comments

please spread this around.....

...to anyone you know in texas.  i will need everyone's support if i am going to make it onto the committee.

fortunately i got a very important endorsement today from taking back texas, but i need your help to put me over the top.

by annatopia 2006-06-08 09:51AM | 0 recs
Post This On My Left Wing And I'll Front-Page It

If that will help.

by Paul Rosenberg 2006-06-08 06:34PM | 0 recs
Re: please spread this around.....

Anna, you're awesome. I'll blog it too, not that I have any readership who will notice :)

by azizhp 2006-06-09 10:08AM | 0 recs
Concrete Steps

Very inspiring Anna! You are providing another excellent example of how the Democratic Party can be transformed from within to become more progressive.

I have no doubt you'll help to warp the conventional wisdom in Texas in a way that will make voters there better understand both Democrats and Republicans.

Best of luck in your efforts to shape the Democratic Party platform in Texas.

by Curt Matlock 2006-06-08 09:58AM | 0 recs
thanks curt

i sincerely appreciate your kind words, and hope to be able to follow up on this entry in a few days with a victory post!

by annatopia 2006-06-08 09:59AM | 0 recs
Excellent

I agree with your approach, and I'm so glad to hear you're doing this.

Best of luck to you!

by Malacandra 2006-06-08 12:13PM | 0 recs
Re: I am going to "crash the gate"

Go for it Anna! Good luck down there.

by HE 2006-06-08 01:33PM | 0 recs
Re: I am going to "crash the gate"

I like that framing--"Party of the Working People"

"Our Party"

Then let us frame the Republicans as the Party of the "Wealthy Elite"  or Paris Hilton Party.

by jasmine 2006-06-08 04:51PM | 0 recs
Re: I am going to "crash the gate"

So if you're going to stand up for gay marriage in Dallas but not in Lubbock, what does that say about your convictions?

If you're for gay marriage (or higher taxes or against the war in Iraq), then talk about it everywhere, not just where you think it will play well. If not, you're basically lying and trying to pretend to be something that you're really not.

Democrats will never win elections until they own up to the positions they support. Whether you like Bush or not, at least he has the guts to state his positions and then back them up with action.

by Stingray 2006-06-08 09:24PM | 0 recs
Re: I am going to "crash the gate"

I think she is saying that she would stand up for gay marriage anywhere, but phrase it differently depending on where she is.  Some people will be moved by certain phrasings and not by others, depending on what particular values those people hold ahead of time.

Brian

by Brian63 2006-06-09 06:36AM | 0 recs
Politics is local ??

I guess you believe that one size fits all.

It is not good manners or politics to go into someone's neighborhood and start telling them what they should or should not be doing. The people of Lubbock (or wherever) will change their minds about gay marriage (or whatever) when they are inspired to change or have a good reason to change their minds.

The much bigger problem is not holding elected Democrats accountable for their voting record on key issues that we all hold dear.  

by misscee 2006-06-09 08:01AM | 0 recs
Bowers v. Texas...

I would have had your back, Anna... I remember being really pissy about that.

That was a good move shoving a cigarette in his mouth... Kill him slowly... Better than karate.

by NCDem 2006-06-09 04:24AM | 0 recs
don't mess with Texas...mess with the GOP

And of course, keep taking back our Party.

Go Anna!

by Bob Brigham 2006-06-09 10:38AM | 0 recs
Let Us Know

Let us know what we can do to help. When I read MyDD, DKos, etc., I'm usually feeling pretty left out, being a blue speck in the Red Texas Sea. But Arlington's just a stone's throw from me (Dallas). Here's something I can impact directly.

I hope you'll keep us upt-to-date (email list?)

by bkharmony 2006-06-09 01:31PM | 0 recs
Re: I am going to "crash the gate"

As Gregg County Treasurer and Precinct 16 Chair here in Texas, Anna, I will always have your back.

Let me know how I can help.
Sorry I can't be in Fort Worth.

Thanks
Vik Verma
v2aggie2@yahoo.com

by v2aggie2 2006-06-09 09:40PM | 0 recs
Re: I am going to "crash the gate"


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by kimi98 2006-09-18 01:07PM | 0 recs

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