Saturday, November 06, 2004

I hope this isn't what we're moving towards. I hate to see my country so divided. I hope that there is a way we can come back together. Although, I have to admit that just allowing the "blue" states to merge with Canada would be much easier than packing up and moving there.Posted by Hello

Finding God

This article by Nicholas Kristoff is more of the "rush to the center" mentallity that I hate.

"Findin' Religion" to garnish votes is more of the middle ground pandering I think we need to stay away from. If middle America found it insincere of John Kerry to suddenly embrace his faith, they'll see through any attempt by the Democratic party to find God all of a sudden. If we listen to all of the pundits from outside we'll be running in circles. Their contradictions are clear and evidenced in this other NYT op-ed by by Daivd Brooks stating that its not values, its issues, stupid. So far we need to rush to the right, rush to the center, fire up the base, blah, blah, blah. Again, if we keep listening to everyone else, we will be letting the right define the political conversation while we scramble to find our voice.

We need to stop the madness. Analyzing why Bush won is constructive, but let's not over do it. We also need to analyze why we lost. We have allowed the right to define us. They use the word "liberal" as a pejorative term. We've allowed the right to imply that only certain areas of the country represent American values. We've allowed the name calling and divisive politicking to take root and haven't done enough about it. John Kerry lost because Bush was able to define him has a "liberal from Massachusettes" who is "out of touch with American Values" and John Kerry was never able to break free from that image. We need to stop letting the right control the conversation.

I think truly defining ourselves and making it clear that it comes from a firm moral center that has the best interest of America and American citizens in mind is the only way out. We need to set our agenda.

First step to redefining the Democratic Party

The first thing we need to do is stop allowing the right to define us. Furthermore, we need to stop embracing the right's message just because they won the election. Allow me to let you in on a little secret...its not working. We haven't won elections by doing that. Every time we rush to the right to embrace one of their issues to garner votes, we are seen as insincere and pandering. And people would be correct by assuming that.

What we need to do is define ourselves and make it believable. And we do that by looking inside ourselves and inside our party and asking the following questions:

  • Who are we?
  • What does it mean to be a Democrat?
  • What makes us liberals?
  • What motivates us?
  • What are our values?
  • Where do we want to take the country?
  • Why is that important?
  • How does this relate to every day Americans?

I think if we can answer these questions successfully, we can define our party and clarify our image. We need to know who we are, embrace our values, communicate that to the American public and show them why our vision is better for them.

We need to know who we are before we can get our fellow citizens to accept our vision as a better vision for America. We will not be able to do that as long as we are allowing the Right to control the dialogue and define what Demcrats stand for.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Election reform

I think the first thing the Democrats should do is push for election reform. The Help America Vote Act, or HAVA, has not actually been implemented everywhere. We need to push for full implementaion of HAVA as well as:
  • electronic machines
  • paper backup
  • more machines
  • independent review
  • federal standards

We cannot allow this sort of ballot rigging to continue:

I don't know if it this had much result in the outcome of the election on Tuesday, but if it did, we need to seriously revisit our election procedures. Imagine the national outrage had this sort of thing happened and a democrat won. Come on, America, we can do better than this.


I decided to start this blog to add my voice to the chorus of progressives, democrats, liberals and other left leaning, forward thinking Americans who are currently suffering from the crushing defeat they experienced on Tuesday, November 2. And unlike many of the right wing pundits, such as MSNBC's Joe Scarborough (see quote and link below), who are smugly declaring the death of the Democratic Party and an end to liberalism, I do not think that this is the end. A serious setback, yes, but not the end.
Michael Moore, “The New York Times” editorial page, and other assorted leftists who awoke this week found themselves horribly out of touch with Americans. And they can keep fighting the president‘s policies all they want. In fact, I think it would be un-American for them not to voice their dissent. But, if they care to be intellectually honest while they‘re doing it, “The New York Times” editorial page and Michael Moore have to be facing this sobering fact, that when it comes to American political life, it is they who are the extremists, not George W. Bush.
And that‘s tonight‘s “Real Deal.”

OK, Joe, I'll take that challenge. I am officially speaking out in dissent. I refuse to accept that defeatist mode of thinking. 56 million people voted against George Bush, if you include the Nader vote. That's 49% of the country. Are you really so blind to think that nearly half of the citizens of this country are extremists? That's a lot of extremists. If that's the case, we're really in a lot more trouble than we know.

Instead of engaging in this sort of mean spirited dialogue, I want to challenge myself and other people in the progressive community to look at the coming four years as an opportunity to regroup, rethink and reemerge stronger and more unified. As Kerry was so fond of saying, "We are the good guys. We are the can do people." I truly believe that, otherwise I would not be a Democrat.

Over the next few days and weeks I plan to write about what I believe being a Democrat and a progressive means to me and analyze what I think we need to do next.

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