So You Want to Reform the Democrats from Within? Part Two

    If you are still determined to reform the democrats from within and ignore their performance as documented by over 6,000 references in Part One, then here are some guidelines written by Anthony Noel back in October of 2010 on FireDogLake when the New Progressive Alliance was also trying to reform the democrats from within. See About NPA. Anthony Noel is a founder of the NPA and an award-winning writer, editor, and small-town journalist.

    Though written in 2010, it is just as valid today as it was then. Anthony writes,But it can’t happen – can’t even begin – as long as we are willing to patronize the Democratic Party, no questions asked.”  Patronizing democrats with excuses such as  “Give them one more chance and then hold their feet to the fire,” “Politics is compromise,” “We have to be pragmatic,” “Half a pig is better than none,” “Avoid purity tests,” “lesser of two evils,” “We can’t afford republicans at any cost,”  etc. just extend the status quo. Recall what Bush Jr. did with economy, war, civil rights, and the environment with both houses of congress solidly democratic. He did anything he darn well wanted to do. Certainly the democrats could have their way if they chose to. Between 2009 and 2011 democrats had a majority that the republicans had not had since prior to World War I. Not before World War II, before World War I! For the first six years of the Obama administration democrats had the majority in the senate. Saying the minority republicans had them helpless is nonsense. The democrats have no motivation to change as long as they can count on support regardless of their actions and votes.

    How do the Democrats get away with continually betraying their base? By using a variation of lesser of two evils all the time to prevent accountability. Anthony Noel describes the process  here. Names and dates may change, but the process does not.

    Near the end, Anthony Noel writes, “No matter who is in the White House or who controls Congress, the Left must begin to always view midterms as its opportunity to penalize bad Lefty/Democratic Party practice and reward good practice. This is how our electoral system was intended to work. By simply repeating the steps detailed above in the appropriate electoral contests (midterms and presidential) our influence will be quantified – and new parties will rise to fill the persistent voids.” This is in fact what the New Progressive Alliance is doing. For details see:

    We remain open to backing Democrats or even Republicans based upon their support of the Unified Platform. So far loyalty to Party has exceeded loyalty to country. Neocons and neolibs have replaced what used to be genuine conservatives and liberals.

     Below then are the four articles by Anthony Noel on “Retaking Our Party” compiled here for your convenience.

“Retaking Our Party” – A User’s Guide

Tomorrow, the first of a three-part series will appear exclusively here at The Seminal. Called Retaking Our Party: One, Two, Three, the parts will follow on consecutive days, concluding Tuesday.

I offer this user’s guide in advance of tomorrow’s series debut, with two goals in mind: (a) To establish in advance my intent in writing the series, and (b) To help maximize your time efficiency in reading, commenting on, and enacting the strategy the series lays out – all of which I sincerely hope you will consider doing.

If I had to write an overall mission statement for the project, it would be:

To set true lefties in this country on a strategic course of action encompassing the next three national elections, aimed at the Democratic Party’s rebirth through re-commitment to the core beliefs which have been at worst abandoned and at best negotiated into meaninglessness by the erstwhile progressive and lesser-of-two-evils leadership of the party at the national level.

Or, more succinctly:

To set in motion an energetic, determined progressive initiative to purge all DINOs from the Democratic Party, and keep them out.

Much has been written and commented on here at FDL in recent months conveying the broadly held belief that the Democratic Party, at the national level, is a corporate-owned, co-opted organization which no longer represents the Left.

Re-Taking Our Party: One, Two, Three begins with "From Whence I Came," unearthing what led to one man’s lifelong dedication to activism and dissent. Part Two, "How We Got Here," is an ambitious aggregation of much of the recent discourse at FDL – crucial insight on current progressive thought, preparing the reader for Part Three: "A Three-Election Strategy," detailing a path for re-establishing true progressivism as the overarching tenet of Democratic Party principle and practice at the national level.

As a guide to those who follow the series – who I hope will choose to actively participate in Retaking Our Party – I ask only the following:

(1) A fully opened mind. Not merely "open," but opened – an eagerness to try new tactics, since repeating what we’ve done for the past 30 years has clearly failed, and continuing to do it whilst expecting different results is the definition of insanity.

(2) A belief in Margaret Mead’s dictum that "… a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." – and the will to act on it.

(3) A willingness to fully assimilate all of the aggregated diaries and comments in Part Two, "How We Got Here." It’s a lot of reading, but my hope is to bolster resistance to repeating points already made as the discussion has unfolded. These selected diaries are being highlighted purposely, for all to consider as we move forward. Let’s not get bogged down. It’s time for positive action.

Do you agree that the national Democratic Party’s evolution into a corporate-owned entity can be largely attributed to the practice of voting Democratic first and asking questions later?

Do you believe this evolution has led to a veritable one-party system, from which progressive thought and action has been fully excised?

Are you a true activist, seriously interested in re-establishing the American Left – or do you merely pretend to be one, on your computer?

If you are ready to take concrete steps toward returning progressivism to the prominence it warrants, I hope you’ll read and act on Re-Taking Our Party: One, Two, Three – tomorrow through Tuesday, here at The Seminal.

Thanks very much for your interest.

Retaking Our Party, One: From Whence I Came

"I don’t know what your parents did to you."
- Elaine Benes to George Costanza, Seinfeld

For Starters…

Right off the top, one thing must be made clear: I am not now, have never been, and can scarcely imagine a situation in what’s left of my lifetime whereby I will ever become a registered Democrat. (But I can imagine it if everything works out just right – and taking the first steps in that direction is what this series is about.)

Throughout my eligibility to vote – which has just eclipsed the (traditionally defined) generation mark of 33 years – the party has simply never been far enough Left for me.

So who am I, who never considered the party mine in the first place, to write about retaking it?

Well, I take a few things as "givens." Chief among those things is this: Where each of us stands politically at any given moment is the culmination of our singular journey up to that point in time.

Informed by our experiences, the full array of our life’s pursuits – education, work, family, friends, religion, recreation, exposure to other cultures – we look at the reality before us and perceive certain things as "good," others as "bad," and assign to countless more any number of middling values along that continuum.

For a long time – all of it before I was eligible to vote – I viewed the Democratic Party at the national level as a "good" thing; a force for positive change in our society.

I don’t anymore.

I state that not as some test you might use in deciding if this series is for you. It’s just an acknowledgment that my politics are as uniquely mine as my experiences. You might disagree with me completely. You might understand and appreciate my point of view to the exact degree and in the exact way I do – almost. But never fully. That would require in you the ability to be me, which you can no more do than I can be you.

So before I lay out the mutinous course I think we – the vast and varied universe of folks not just willing but proud to say it belongs to the American Left – should take across the next three elections in order to return the party to its progressive roots, I want to take a page from Rayne’s excellent series of recent diaries (which will be referenced generously in tomorrow’s installment of this triptych; no need to go looking now) and let you know something about the foundations of my politics.


Political life began early for me – and involuntarily.

It was April, 1965, and my biggest concern was how – oh how?! – would I, the shortest kid in kindergarten – reach the cartons of milk at the bottom of the horizontal refrigerator down the hall, when sent to gather them for my classmates at snack time, without falling in? And would that smart ass my "helper buddy" Scotty Brewer simply slam the lid shut on me, return with the cookies, and inform the class that the milk had been been spilt, and no use crying over it?

Unbeknownst to me, our elementary school’s administration had bigger fish to fry, and had already set them a-sizzling – provided you accept mimeographed sheets of paper as a metaphor for the fish, and the schoolbags in which those sheets found their passage home as the cookware.

The ditto sheet (I can still smell the ink!) announced the school’s intention to mount a K-through-6 observance of May Day – maypole, streamers and all. We children, in "joyful" costumes of our choosing, would process out of the school building, onto the playground, and dance, streamers in hand, around decorated poles. That’s right, pole dancers, aged five to eleven – replicating, and thereby exposing ourselves (so to speak) to faraway cultures where (in our hemisphere, at least) the First of May is exuberantly greeted as the symbolic beginning of spring.

By her simple act of slipping that mimeographed page into my schoolbag, my teacher, Mrs. Malkinson, set in motion the event that would most define my politics, even to this day. For, me being the first of three kids in my family not to attend Catholic school, administrators were not yet (much) acquainted with my always-itchin’-for-a-fight mother.

Nina (correctly pronounced NIGH-nah; only a fool would risk the embarrassment visited upon those saying NEE-nah) was a docile Swede, born and raised of Italian immigrants on the edge of the Montanan Rockies. And full of all the spit and vinegar customarily associated with that ethnic group she was.

A patriot of the "My Country, Right or Wrong" persuasion, Mom immediately recognized this little foray around the maypole for the commie plot it was, perpetrated by public school educators to inculcate in our youth the notion that an eight-hour workday was workday enough for anyone.

Never mind that…

- The fight for the eight-hour workday began in the heart of her beloved America;

- More than 80 other countries around the world had reserved May One as a day to honor workers; and not least,

- THE SCHOOL SAID IT WAS A CELEBRATION OF SPRING. As it had been in Germanic, Roman, and Gaelic cultures for. Hundreds. Of. Years.

No, what mattered to Mom was that seven years before that ditto-sheet landed on our kitchen table, Congress had proclaimed May 1 in this country as "Loyalty Day" – because one of those 80-some countries honoring workers on that date was the Soviet Union. And three years before that, the all-knowing Catholic Church had proclaimed the same date as the feast of "Saint Joseph The Worker," in response the day’s growing association with communism.

When you thought about it just right – and Mom clearly did – what could a dance around a maypole possibly represent but something other than loyalty? Well, she’ll tell you what: fealty - to Communism!!

Not about to see her boy so indoctrinated – nor to miss an opportunity to make her particular flavor of conservative patriotism – seasoned, just so, with the Body and the Blood – known throughout the public schools, Mom hatched a plan to show these Eastern ideologues that they were messing with the wrong Montanan. Maypoles? Good lord, what was next – Montessori schools??

"They want a costume?" said she. "I’ll give ‘em a costume!"

Being five, I of course had no concept of the political subtleties at play, let alone the conspiracy theories careening around Mom’s head. All I knew was I was my costume was totally neat-o: red-and-white striped pants, a nifty blue coat with a long back – Mom called it "tails," which I thought was hilarious, I had tails! – and a red-and-white striped top hat with a blue band of stars.

That’s right. She dressed me as Uncle Sam.

As I marched happily out to the playground, Mom hooted and hollered her approval, nudging the other moms.

"Whaddya think of that? Made it myself! I’ll give ‘em May Day!"

But sometimes things backfire.

This was one of those times.

"Really?" another mom asked. "Do you still have the pattern? My Billy would love that!"

Not quite the reaction she’d expected, but no matter – it was the school’s commie leadership she was trying to teach a thing or two, and as our class filed by, Mrs. Malkinson took the bait. She paused and set her hands on Mom’s shoulders.

"Your son’s costume – what a beautiful job you did! It’s the envy of all the other kids. What a great idea to be sure our country is represented in the maypole dance!"

Seems Mom saw so much red Red in the May Day concept that she’d forgotten – we were in the midst of a Space Race, and nation pride was running strong. Even in the Communist public schools.

I was too distracted – what with trying not to step on the outsized pant legs – to notice (and too young to care), but as the story goes, Mom accepted my teacher’s compliment with a shit-eating grin on her face, as the realization dawned that this May Day celebration really was about spring and renewal and childlike joy. (The little girls in their white dresses with flower garlands, and the little boys in lederhosen, knickers, and other traditional garb probably also helped clue her in.)

Still, Mom wouldn’t realize the full effect of what the family now calls "The Uncle Sam Episode" until years later, when, through countless telephone arguments discussions lasting long into the night, she slowly realized that her boy had become exactly what she feared he might: His father.


That’s right, her husband, George. My Dad, who had grown up in the very Midwestern city in the heart of America where the idea of the eight-hour workday was first given voice.

Who had paid his steel-working employees in the heart of unionized Philadelphia so well that when the union rep made his annual stop, the workers themselves would say, "Good to see you again, and thanks – but no thanks."

And who, years after the Uncle Sam Episode – as if to crystallize for me all that he believed (and likely hoping to undo any damage wreaked by my later realization of Mom’s motives that fine spring day) – introduced me to an essay by Father Daniel Berrigan. A scathing indictment of this country’s wanton disregard for the world’s resources and addiction to niceties the likes of which most of our international brethren could scarcely conceive, the tract was penned long before Daniel and his brother, Father Philip Berrigan, Jesuit priests both, earned notoriety – and prison time – for numerous acts of symbolic vandalism and civil disobedience targeting the military-industrial complex.

Dad’s understated but clearly progressive morality helped me understand that Mom’s penchant for populist messages like "America, Love It or Leave It" and "My Country, Right or Wrong" were born less of pride than of fear.

In his most trenchant comments during the 2008 campaign, Barack Obama correctly asserted that guns and religion stave off such fears in the more remote areas of our country. The Right’s howls over the statement are perhaps the best indicator of just how perfectly he captured the truth, and the closest we are likely to get to an admission of the Right’s own complicity in instilling those fears in its rural base.

While Mom’s huge family were hunting and fishing – and genuflecting – in Big Sky Country in their youth, the equally large brood from whence Dad came was trying to scrape out a living – fatherless; the grandpa I never met had long since run away from the reality he helped create – in Cicero. The same Cicero, at the same time, that the Capone gang called it home. Dad saw plenty of guns growing up, always in the wrong hands, and it scared him straight. He’s never owned a firearm in his life, and is damned proud of it.

With Dad’s influence, I learned that we learn more – and grow stronger – by doing hard things, and never giving up until they’re done. By taking unpopular stands when we believe we are right, even if it means ridicule, or worse. A Catholic as devout as Mom – but willing to question what she would not – Dad crashed the Knights of Columbus in my hometown just long enough to get them wondering how Christlike their misogyny could really be. Such acts taught me that a little well-timed activism and dissent can go a long way, and I’ve been a proud practicioner of both throughout my life.

Though Nina was a social climber, Dad was not. He had no time for bullshit and called it out when he saw it – no matter who was spewing it – sometimes to Mom’s embarrassment. The dinner dances with a table of eight, followed by card games at the nearest couple’s house, were tolerable to Dad mostly because of those card games. Fiercely competitive and smart as a whip, Dad knew how to have a good time: Beat the pants off somebody at cards. Soon to turn 88, he’s still terrorizing wannabe card sharps in Florida casinos, all the while with a joke on his lips and a grandfatherly smile on his face.

Dad’s belief that government should do good, not just do the basics, further shaped my own politics. But wouldn’t you know it? The first presidential contest in which I could vote was in 1980. The National Democratic Party that existed then is long gone.

I can think of no worthier objective than leading it – through strategic activism, dissent, and non-participation – back to its roots.


Though she made me a political pawn in kindergarten, my mother factors heavily in my earliest memory, one also fraught with politics, and which speaks directly to the downward ideological and policy-enactment spiral Democrats have traversed most of my life.

I was four years old, and sat on the floor of our den as Nina ironed altar cloths for the church. The house was quiet but for the occasional hiss of steam from the iron – and a slow, steady drumbeat from the black and white TV nearby.

I looked up from my playthings and saw she was crying.

"What’s wrong, mama?"

"It’s… oh, it’s just so sad."

It was Monday, November 25, 1963.

Retaking Our Party, Two: How We Got Here

I do not propose to write an ode to dejection, but to brag as lustily as chanticleer in the morning, standing on his roost, if only to wake my neighbors up.

Henry David Thoreau, "Walden; or, Life in the Woods"

What "Enthusiasm Gap"?

As the 2010 U.S. Senate and House primaries have given way to the general election season, calls on the Left for action by disillusioned, disheartened, disgusted progressives have gained in volume and frequency, refuting the party line that Democrats are unenthused. …Fact is, for the past two months and then some – and right up to now – ideas have vigorously percolated here at FDL and throughout the Lefty blogosphere about how best to register our displeasure over the the past two godforsaken years of establishment Democratic Party “leadership” at the national level.

From an outright boycott of the midterms to dutifully marching, lemming-like, to the polls and voting straight into the sea Democratic – since, the logic goes, Democrats remain the "lesser of two evils" (I disagree) – the full spectrum of tactics has been fleshed out, up to and including writing off the midterms altogether and focusing instead on a 2012 “Dump Obama” campaign.

This second of three parts collects much of the writing and user commentary along this continuum. As stated in the user’s guide to the series, I hope folks will take the time to read (or re-read) the diaries and comments linked here, in preparation for part three, which goes up tomorrow and calls for individual commitment to very specific action. Merely repeating the things we’ve already discussed will get us nowhere – even faster than we’re headed there now.

The Ideas

There appears to be growing consensus, voiced here by Pogue, that “lesser-of-two-evils” voting is futile, and we need to stop doing it. I agree wholeheartedly. hctomorrow made a terrific contribution to this facet of the conversation too, and readers certainly responded.

Staying home is a longtime favorite of many Lefties, Democrats and otherwise. It is a tactic I’ve practiced and promoted at various times, and I wondered whether we are brave enough to do it.

But these are midterms; low turnouts are the norm, and even a lower-than-the-normally low turnout is going to be characterized, as it always is by our surface-skimming mainstream media, as “Voter Apathy.”

Or, “The weather.”

Or, “Disillusionment with the fact that Bud Selig is still the Commissioner of Baseball.”

In a word: whatever.

Three weeks before the election, the narrative is already taking shape. "Apathy" was a theme in an NPR report I heard just this morning, in which at least one young interviewee in Philadelphia made clear that she would not vote this year because, referring to President Obama, she "was hoping for someone more liberal."

This is the group we must mobilize if we are truly interested in pushing this president to lead based on his campaign rhetoric. And we need the final message conveyed to be so clear that even the MSM can’t fuck it up in translation.

So, how to do that?

The third-party route has been noted in numerous diaries, and is, I believe, one of three tactics mutinous progressives must put to work at the polls next month in sending the kind of "even-a-FoxNews-anchor-can-understand-it" message I’m talking about. As rossl detailed here:

…[there are] three U.S. Green Party U.S. Senate candidates who stand a real chance of doing well this year and who can certainly use your help to pull off wins or, failing those, enough of a showing to send a clear message where voters want Democrats to go.

Another of those three tactics would be to vote for "real progressives." My litmus test is anyone running as a Democrat who primaried and beat the IncumbaDem by running hard to his or her left, which Jason Rosenbaum pushes regularly.

But then, in a comment on Jason’s diary, TheCallUp crystallized for me the third tactic, one which large numbers across the diverse left can get behind:

I do think it would be a better idea to go to the voting booth and write in [...] a word like ‘public option’

This is sheer genius as far as I’m concerned. "Public Option" is a clear non-participation message, to Democrats, from the Left that cannot be misconstrued. Others seemed to agree on my subsequent diary, and since then, several pups have mentioned their intention to do it.

The "Dump Obama" idea is one in need of longer-tern strategic focus, in the words of it most vocal proponent here, Jeff Roby. A primary threat is something we must hold over this president’s head – beginning November 3, if there is any hope of moving him to lead based on his campaign….

Retaking Our Party, Three: A Three-Election Strategy

The youth of today
The youth of today
We’re under heavy heavy manners, yeah.
We’re under heavy heavy manners, yeah.

- Musical Youth, “The Youth of Today”

"Non-cooperation is a protest against an unwitting and unwilling participation in evil."
- Mohandas Gandhi

Can you hear that?

The Democratic Party’s guilt machine is grinding back to life, once again hoping to cajole the faithful – and we who have lost faith – into giving the party just one more chance to do the right thing.

It’s really no different than the come-on of a TV evangelist, and until we, who make up this country’s Left, resolve to view the party as we do when considering whether, say, a local business has earned our patronage, it will continue to cow us into voting for it at election time, and to abuse us unremittingly for the ensuing 18 months.

Some believe the only answer is a viable third party, and there is nothing I’d rather see – along with equally viable fourth, fifth and sixth parties. The kind of coalition building such a paradigm would require could only increase the quality of our political discourse in a time when erstwhile intelligent people are taking the Glenn Becks and Rahm Emanuels of the world seriously.

In three weeks, we progressives have an opportunity to take a huge step toward righting the ship, whilst simultaneously pushing ensconced Democrats back where they belong: to the Left.

Every four years we elect a president. Every two we elect all representatives and one-third of the senate. Midterm (a.k.a. off-year) elections are the perfect opportunity to register our dissent – or pleasure – with both Congress and the President. But for too long, we’ve failed to seize it.

Instead, the minority party, be it the Democrats or Republicans, usually makes gains in the midterms, after which the majority (or former majority) party embarks on "soul searching." The script has played out so many times, people my age – I’ve been a voter for a full generation, 33 years – have it memorized.

It’s time for a rewrite, and I herewith present a strategy for doing so – with a heartfelt tip of my cap to all who have help shaped it, as detailed in parts One and Two of this series.

Election One: November 2, 2010: Take a VOW

First and foremost, go to the polls this November. Lack of engagement will not get this rewrite done. If we keep doing things the same way, the media will stick to the same old script.

In the voting booth, in each race for U.S. House or Senate, do one of the following three things:

1) Vote for true progressives: Candidates from third parties like the Greens, Socialists, Working Families or other decidedly Lefty parties.

2) Only vote for Democratic candidates who have ousted incumbent Democrats in the primaries by running to the left of those incumbents.

3) Write-in the words “PUBLIC OPTION” (or, if you prefer, “MEDICARE FOR ALL”, where the option exists (its availability will vary from state to state). Phrases like "Obama Sucks" could come from anyone; we must be sure to clearly state independent Lefty and registered Democrat anger. Relating that anget to the party’s most visible failure during its two years of congressional and White House control is the most media-savvy way to do it.

Progressives turned out in droves two years ago. Since then, we’ve been disappointed. We must depart from our predicted behavior of staying away and instead turn out, just we did then, to quantify our disappointment. If each of us shows up and exercises one of the above options, the combined votes for this VOW will do just that – and might, maybe – wake this self-described progressive president up.

Do not:

1) Vote for any IncumbaDem, no matter how persuasive the party guilt machine might get. We voters did not squander control of the congress for the last two years, and must now demonstrate our power by purging from congress those who did. And that’s all of them.

2) Buy into any notion that the departure of Rahm Emanuel and Larry Summers, nor the appointment of Elizabeth Warren, has changed a damned thing. Proving or disproving that is a day-to-day process that will play out over the next two years. And speaking purely for myself, and as long as Bernanke and Geithner and Gibbs and Kaine are still in the picture, it’s a long shot that anything has changed – or that it will, over that period.

3) Worry about any "Dump Obama" strategy during the next three weeks. Worry about it – and begin using as a threat to his incumbency – on November 3.

Election Two: November 6, 2012: Dump Obama?

We will know pretty quickly after these midterms whether this president has had his moment of clarity. Campaign 2012 begins in spring of next year, and if threats of primarying him are necessary, we need to make them – and to begin searching in earnest for his opponent.

Simple as that.

In the interest of exploring all possible scenarios, let’s say – and this is the longest of shots, as most of us realize – but let’s just imagine that Barack Obama reverses his current course in the coming two years, to such a degree that it warrants re-election and another chance at a majority in Congress in 2012. Let’s say he fires Gibbs, Geithner, Bernanke and Kaine and replaces them with true progressives. Let’s say he and the expected Democratic congressional minority re-opens the health care debate, even if the GOP blocks any bill from the floor. Obama ends DADT by Executive Order. Closes Guantanamo. Brings the troops home from Afghanistan.

Even if all this and more occurred, and we were to re-elect him in 2012 with a fresh majority in Congress, the two years between 2012 and 2014 will show us how much he’s learned, and whether the Democrats have finally awakened. But…

Election Three: November 4, 2014: Which Will It Be?

No matter who is in the White House or who controls Congress, the Left must begin to always view midterms as its opportunity to penalize bad Lefty/Democratic Party practice and reward good practice.

So in 2014, and in every off-year election thereafter – regardless which party controls congress and the White house – we progressives must pursue the same strategy of holding Lefties (and DINOs) responsible to the Lefty ideals we favor.

This is how our electoral system was intended to work. By simply repeating the steps detailed above in the appropriate electoral contests (midterms and presidential) our influence will be quantified – and new parties will rise to fill the persistent voids.

But it can’t happen – can’t even begin – as long as we are willing to patronize the Democratic Party, no questions asked.

Will You Commit?

The two quotes at the top of this diary point to what’s next – what must be next – if our rewriting of the script that keeps us down is to succeed.

“Heavy manners” is synonymous with “state of emergency.” First used in Jamaica, it refers to Prime Minister Michael Manley’s imposition of martial law in 1976 in order to allow his party to retain power. Eventually, that repressive regime was defeated.

Though more subtle, the Democratic Party has used “heavy manners” in trying to contain the progressive movement that seemed ready to be unleashed with the election of Barack Obama. The turnout that took place in 2008, led largely by the youth of today’s America, must now be repeated on November 2, and we must enlist those same youth in making that happen.

The Gandhi quote, of course, speaks to the difference between NOT participating and non-participation. If we don’t go to the polls at all, if we don’t participate, we can’t be counted. If we go but make non-participation in the co-opting of the Democratic Party our message, we reject unwitting and unwilling participation in evil (even if some insist it is the lesser of two evils!).

If you can see the sense in the above-detailed strategy – and are willing volunteer perhaps 20 minutes for each of the next 20 days in order to further it – we can begin to consolidate at the national level the same kind of change progressive activists at the state and local levels have pursued and continue to pursue to great effect.

If you worked on the Obama campaign, you doubtless had contact with many of the youth to which I refer. Will you commit to tracking them down, conveying our strategy to them, and then asking them to make the same commitment to contacting and informing others?

November 2 is not far off, but here in the Internet age, there is still time. We waited too long for the chance to bring fundamental change to America to let it slip away now, overtaken by a narrative from the same old mainstream media script.

It’s said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing time and again but expecting different results. It would therefore follow that only a new approach, created by the generation that is all too familiar with the old-hat system which has kept progressivism down and passed to the next generation – which seems poised to play into that same old system – stands a real chance of producing different results.

I hope we progressives still retain an ember of the optimism we felt on Inauguration Day, 2008, and will fan it with e-mails and phone calls to the youth of today, who so inspired so many of us.

Will you join this effort?

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