To Those Who've Fail'd

On this day of relief and celebration, I'd like to take a moment to remember all those in the progressive movement who didn't make it across the finish line yesterday.

All the candidates and campaigns who didn't quite make it, or in some cases didn't even come close despite pouring their blood and treasure into the fight. Being from Texas, I'm painfully aware that not all Democrats won big in 2008.

For those of us who've been involved in progressive politics for awhile it seemed like the interminable Bush years would never end. The bitter losses of 2000, 2002 and 2004 building up layers of scars and heartbreak. But we fought through it and damn I'm proud of my country and my party today.

But there were millions of Americans who didn't live to see the repudiation of the Bush era, despite working so hard to achieve it.

Let's take a moment to remember our fallen comrades and especially to all those lost on 9/11, in Afghanistan and Iraq, to Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Ike and every other disaster of the Bush/Cheney era.

And let's remember those whose loving marriages were suddenly declared illegal in California by Prop 8 and every other state where bigotry has been written into the law. That fight isn't over, we will not forget. We shall overcome.

I'd especially like to remember three people:

Madelyn Dunham, the grandmother of the President-Elect who didn't live to see it, but who did get to vote for him. We all owe her a big debt of gratitude.

Fred Baron, a legendary trial lawyer who won many victories for the little guy in the court room and poured millions of his own dollars into the Texas Democratic Party in the last few years, pretty much single-handedly keeping it alive. He passed away on October 30th.

And Dr. Andy Miracle, a friend of mine who wasn't any kind of big political player but whose passion to end our national nightmare inspired me greatly. Andy had a cerebral hemorrhage just before the 2004 election and never got to vote that year. I think of Andy every election day as I vote.

I'd like to share one of my favorite poems "To those who've fail'd" by Walt Whitman:

To those who've fail'd, in aspiration vast,
To unnam'd soldiers fallen in front on the lead,
To calm, devoted engineers--to over-ardent travelers--to pilots on
their ships,
To many a lofty song and picture without recognition--I'd rear
laurel-cover'd monument,
High, high above the rest--To all cut off before their time,
Possess'd by some strange spirit of fire,
Quench'd by an early death.

And for those of us who only died political deaths this year, you'll be back.

To end on a happy note of political resurrection, my good friend Richard Morrison, whose long-shot 2004 campaign against Tom DeLay was one of the first netroots campaigns waged on the national level got his first electoral victory yesterday. Richard, an environmental trial lawyer who's been representing those that the big developers have paved over, flooded out, and ripped off for more than a decade now has been elected to the County Commission of Fort Bend County , Texas. I have a feeling that there will be a lot less irresponsible development going on during his term. Congratulations, Richard.

Take a moment to make your dedications to fallen comrades and second place candidates in the comments.

Tags: fred baron, Madelyn Dunham, Richard Morrison (all tags)



Re: To Those Who've Fail'd

Stephanie Tubbs Jones.
George Carlin.

Heh, and Jesse Helms is rolling in his grave. Take that, you old bastard.

And my sister, who died last December as a Hillary supporter, but would have been thrilled with an Obama presidency.

by skohayes 2008-11-05 02:06PM | 0 recs
Re: To Those Who've Fail'd

Molly Ivins.

Studs Terkel.

by wengler 2008-11-05 02:08PM | 0 recs
Re: To Those Who've Fail'd

ha, we posted at the same instant!  

good progressive vibes, or molly & studs working through us

by sarany 2008-11-05 02:09PM | 0 recs
Re: To Those Who've Fail'd
Good lord yes.
Still alive, but I wonder what Helen Thomas is thinking right now?
by skohayes 2008-11-05 02:20PM | 0 recs
Re: To Those Who've Fail'd

I'll nominate Molly Ivins and Studs Turkel

by sarany 2008-11-05 02:08PM | 0 recs

My Dad, a WWII vet who was a worker for progressive causes when younger, and a devout follower of progressie politics his entire life, died in 2005, not long after the Kerry election. He was ill at that time and it made me sad to think he would probably not make it to see a Democrat in office.  

Through the ups and downs of this campaign and the joy of last night, I could hear his voice, amazed, fascinated, and vindicated, in my ear.  It made last night very bittersweet wishing like hell he was there to take it all in.

by mady 2008-11-05 02:50PM | 0 recs
Re: To Those Who've Fail'd
Andy would have so loved this election and reveled in Obama's victory.  Thank you for remembering him and his passion for social justice.
by tmiracle 2008-11-05 03:21PM | 0 recs
Re: To Those Who've Fail'd

Sure thing Tina, he was a special man.

by Texas Nate 2008-11-05 04:29PM | 0 recs
Lovely post

I'll say a prayer for your friends, they sound like wonderful people to whom we Dems owe a great debt.

Like others, I say a prayer for Stephanie Tubbs Jones. It breaks my heart to know she isn't here for this incredible moment in history.  

Some others who inspired me this election are loyal Dems in our area who ran in difficult races, worked hard, sacrificed much and didn't win.  Thanks to them and hope they run again.

Gary Kucinich
Bob Belovich
Jennifer Brady

by Betsy McCall 2008-11-05 03:34PM | 0 recs
Thanks, Texas Nate.

I ran for County Commissioner and lost.  Yet I'm way too happy about Obama's (and many other Democrats) victory to let it get me down.

by djtyg 2008-11-05 04:12PM | 0 recs
Re: Thanks, Texas Nate.

Dust yourself off and get back out there! Thanks for running. Its a huge sacrifice to put yourself out there.

by Texas Nate 2008-11-05 04:30PM | 0 recs
Rick Noriega

How I hoped he'd send that Cornyn douche packing.

by JJE 2008-11-05 05:28PM | 0 recs


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