What We Are Doing And Why!

This past election, I and 11 others got together here in our home and made calls for MoveOn, for candidates in districts other than ours, as far as I know they did nothing for our local Candidate in IL-19, although I was told they would.

As I was reading a script in support of a democratic candidate I know nothing about, who for all I know has been written about negatively else where, it dawned on me that this wasn't the way it should be.

First and foremost we should know about the candidate we are supporting, either with phone calling, handing out literature, or just talking to someone about the election. It made me feel good that I was accomplishing something, but I also felt guilty that we weren't calling for our candidate.

I honestly think that we have to first and foremost support our local candidates before all others. This is where our precinct organizers come in they are the ground troops who support local candidates, our County Coordinators coordinate the various precincts under them so that each precinct gets the most efficient results, the CC can move people from one precinct to another, with out long road trips, or having their members operating in strange towns were they would need maps and have to feel out of place.

State Coordinators who oversee the County Coordinators fill the same functions on the State Level.

Our system alters the way things are normally done, ours forces progressives to talk to non-progressives, and to gain a realistic understanding of how other people see our political world.

Most campaigns identify citizens by party registration, giving workers long lists of names, addresses and phone numbers. But shouldn't we be identifying those other voters, such as a green or middle of the road republican? These are a source of new Democrats, which we as activist have to reach. And new voters are the lifeblood of any party.

One of WeDemocrats goals is to construct a database that not only identifies these voters, but makes up lists, usable lists of for example; say green voters or people who live near a factory or dangerous power plant, then taking these generated lists, produce a phone script with an answer list made up before hand that our members could use, to call those on the produced list, we wouldn't have to fight cost of ads, or worry about how these voters would find obscure websites, if they even have accessibility to a computer to do so. Not only would this improve our members ability to engage people politically, it would advance the progressive movement by leaps and bounds.

Don't get me wrong, I think that the netroots is a wave of the future in politics, it allows us to communicate and exchange ideas quickly, and we can present our literature online to an unbelievably huge audience. But most of the non-electoral campaigns are more local than are the every four-year Presidential ones. A combination of the grassroots tools and the netroots reach, we can be that new wave in American Politics.

We must communicate with people from other parts of the political spectrum, or work together toward similar goals. I know some of you are not fans of coalitions, but our vote is essentially meaningless if you can't get the voter to also put pressure on their representative after the election is won. The representative will cave in to other interests. Then you'll get the same people coming back, two years later, to 'get out the vote'. Meanwhile, those two years had real consequences... Short-term tactics today begets more short-term tactics tomorrow. Build for the future today, not "after the election". In a coalition of progressives such as the one WeDemocrats.org is building we will be able to apply pressure on those representatives, to keep their feet to the fire as my dearly departed Daddy used to say.

If we vote and don't do the follow up, then the effort is largely wasted, it's the politics as usual for those in Washington. Before you ask, no this doesn't mean we shouldn't focus on GOTV, but it means we must do more.

People ask me "what will that vote actually do for me" when I ask them to vote for my candidate. I can't give them a speech about, its for the good of the Party or of the Country, they want to know what it will do for them now in the days following this election, and if I am not prepared I look like an idiot standing there with my hat in my hand, embarrassed and stammering. I read once "Liberty cannot be given. it can only be taken." Something I think to do with Ancient Rome. If we can't explain to the voter how he has to help himself, how he can't wait for someone to notice and take care of him down the road, then we are going to lose that voter, and the next, and the next.

I think democrats are more likely to listen to the people than republicans are, and therefore this "blue tide" is a good thing. I also think they will do more to preserve civil liberties, and possibly even make some progress on human rights. Although a lot of the Democrats are in a hurry to put a lot of our priorities at the bottom of their lists if they can. But if this is a "tide" we must remember that tides come in, but they go back out. We have to build an organization that will dam up the "tide", make it stay "in".

We've got a war going on, and advocacy groups who allegedly oppose it should stand up to it, not pander to those who do. Why doesn't MoveOn with its 3 million members come out with a strong stand against the war, I don't know but I know in my heart they should.

As a progressive organization we cannot take the easy way and makes peace with war, we cannot abdicate our responsibility as others have done. By doing so groups like DFA and MoveOn have created a vacuum. Ironically, both groups that became Internet phenomena's by recognizing and filling a void, now they are creating one. WeDemocrats.org has emerged to fill it.

Another emerging organization is Progressive Democrats of America, also a new national group with an activist focus on the Iraq war that is laudably straightforward. "We're organizing a new campaign in every congressional district we can to call for the end of funding for war and occupation, and for the transfer of reconstruction assistance to Iraqis themselves," says Tim Carpenter of PDA. He contends "public pressure can awaken Congress to an opposition role." PDA is now an ally of WeDemocrats.org.

What the right-wing elites have done so successfully over the last 30 and more years is to develop their own media outlets and find, develop, and fund the talent that provides the content for those outlets. Meanwhile, on the progressive side, we have gotten along with a few lonely voices that are paid for their efforts, plus a certain number of dedicated people who do the work for the love of the cause. Naturally, most of those who are not paid for their political work cannot do it full time. That is the very reason why there is such an imbalance in media coverage today. We must change the imbalance, but we must have a comprehensive plan to do so.

This country needs an organization dedicated to establishing, developing, and supporting talented researchers, linguists, writers, investigative reporters, social psychologists, speakers, filmmakers, and cartoonists who believe in truthful reporting and commentary, and making sure their work receives wide exposure. Creating and supporting new and independent media outlets is one of the ways of accomplishing this goal, and the very reason that WE! Online magazine was developed. As the Voice of American Progressives.

Won't you join us, support us and help bring a Progressive America to the fore?

Ron McBride

Tags: Coordinator, Democrats, DFA, green, MoveOn, party, PDA, political, progressive, representative, Republican, Voters, Washington DC, WeDemocrats, WeDems (all tags)


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