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Monday, August 6, 2012


That we progressives have serious work ahead of us in order to re-elect the President, vote out as many Smackwaters (aka Tea Partiers) as possible from both Congress and the state legislatures and replace them with progressives, is obvious. But even when (I'll be bold here) our efforts pay off on November 6, that will not be time to stand down. No, the real work will still be ahead of us regardless of who wins the election. A Democratic victory will make that work easier (not to mention it'll save our country from the resurgent Slave Power) but will by no means remove the necessity for it.
As of this moment, the polls tell us that 90 percent of us have already made up our minds which way we'll vote. But one thing we don't know is, even assuming the courts do their duty and strike down the odious voter ID laws passed by the Slave Power's minions, what percentage of those eligible will vote? If I recall correctly, some 64 percent of us voted in 2008. Far fewer voted in 2010, which gave us a House and too many state legislatures controlled by the Slave Power. This needs very much to change, and it's a change we, as progressives, must bring about. We need to increase voter turnout bigtime and across-the-board, for all elections from local to national.
How can we do that? We should probably start by looking over the registrations and seeing who's voted recently and who hasn't. In any case, our target here is those who haven't voted, either recently or for a while. We-you-coming-to-get, P.J.!! We need to find out who and where the non-voters are and ask them why haven't they voted for x amount of time. If their answers run along lines such as 'My vote makes no difference' or 'Big money buys the election anyway' or 'What's the difference?'--there's our 'target market'! Next, we ask our non-voters as to what would bring them to the polls. If they want their votes to at least have a chance of making a difference, find out the difference they'd want their votes to make. If the difference they want to make is largely in line with the changes our country badly needs--the repair and renewal of infrastructure, including educational and the 'greening' of it so that we rev up the switch to cleaner, renewable energies, the democratizing of capital and the economy, the shoring up of the wall between religion and the state (and the encouragement of state secularizers abroad) and above all the bypassing and then the breaking of the power of big money over our electoral process--then these are the people we want to organize!
We'll have to begin with a hard truth: the only way to counter the power of big money is with relational power. We all need to spread the message and do whatever we can to help these citizens organize. Yes, it's work. But maybe many of us can find some time to do less of such work than if we were doing it fulltime. And we may have to make time for the sharing of the message and the forming of relationships which will form the 'threads' in the 'honeycomb weave' of the progressive network we need to form. There are many progressive organizations that can help in this work--if they reach outside of the 'silos' into which many have put themselves and look beyond their particular pursuits and/or passions. This too is essential; we all need to work together. The cords of strong, honest and respectful relationships are what can form a strong progressive network that can both pull the Democrats away from Wall Street back towards Main Street and also be an independent progressive constituency. Next, we agree that too much money spent puts any candidate under suspicion of trying to play the squid (hiding his/her real agenda) automatically. The two essentials of such a network are active and respectful engagement with our fellow citizens and thinking for ourselves. Both are work, but if more of us do it, we each need to do less. And part of engagement can be asking each other the kind of questions that will encourage us to question the images fed to us by political admen. This is work, but if we want to not only keep what democracy we have but to make it flourish again, perhaps as it never has before, it is necessary work and we must all do our part! If we have it in us to do this, we could have a progressive, nationwide, local-to-national-office campaign ready for 2016 and, God willing, we may retake the Democratic party that year!
I can already hear a lot of snide observations from hammocks, followed by the clink of ice cubes as the cynics down another on the rocks. Let's try and prove them wrong, shall we? Let's get rolling on the real work ahead--now. Right now.

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