I am going to "crash the gate"
by annatopia, Thu Jun 08, 2006 at 08:58:04 PM EDT
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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.