I want to thank Ray for the last 18 months that he has been in the leadership of Democracy for Washington. We come a long way, baby! Don't go too far away, my friend, we're going to need your contacts and experience. But I fully appreciate the need to rebuild a personal foundation of family, work and life before reaching out to make a difference.
My hat is in the ring. I'm running for the position of Executive Director of Democracy for Washington. I've been contacting the DFA Linkup Hosts, and gotten some feedback on what they would like to see from DFW, and I'm looking forward to sharing that with everyone who can come on Saturday.
The biggest issue that people have pointed out is the lack of communication and cross-pollination of ideas between the Link-Ups around the state. Even groups as close as North Seattle DFA and Emerald City DFA have no way of knowing what we are doing less than 10 miles apart. We need to fix this, and we will.
We have a lot of other groups popping up around the state, trying to get people's attention while being focused on their own issues and goals. The Progressive Movement needs to find common ground and come together wherever possible. Right now we are as splintered as the Conservative talking heads accuse us of being. We need to fix this, and we will.
I'm going to see how we can coordinate with the Grassroots Democrats' Volunteer project and I want to revive the Democratic Volunteer Corps, a statewide group like DFA Corps and one of the original ideas that we came up with for DFW. We don't have a lot of visibility beyond the Linkups, so people who are not already clued in to what we are doing don't even know we are there. We need to fix that, and we will.
I'm going to introduce a new term. We have Mimes running our party, and running our government. They don't speak clearly about our values, and they put their hands against invisible walls that prevent them from reaching out to us in the grassroots. We need candidates and elected officials that are not afraid to be heard, and we need to show them that those walls don't exist and that we are the ones reaching out.
You all know me, but you don't know me that well. I need to fix that, and I will. I look forward to seeing you on Saturday if you plan to attend, otherwise I'm looking forward to working with you whether I win or lose. I didn't go away when Howard dropped out of the Presidential Primary; and neither did you. I didn't go away when John Kerry lost last November, and neither did you. I'm not going away now, and I hope neither will you. We have a lot of work to do between now and the '06 and '08 elections. Let's get it done, and let's get it done right so we don't have to do this again in another hundred years.
The Progressive Movement is the face at the base of the Democratic Party. For the last hundred years, we've been watching and waiting. We campaigned for Teddy Roosevelt in 1912. We fought for Suffrage. We voted for Franklin Roosevelt 4 times. We voted for JFK and LBJ, and we fought in the War on Poverty in pursuit of the Great Society. We stopped the Vietnam War. We stood by our African American brothers and sisters to grant them equality and civil rights. Some of us voted for Ross Perot in 1992 looking for someone who could balance the budget. Bill Clinton gave that to us in the 90's. Some of us voted for Nader in 2000 because we didn't like what we saw in the top two campaigns. This is the Progressive Movement that was engaged by Howard Dean and Dennis Kucinich in 2003. In 2004, we couldn't gain the clout within the Democratic Party in time to get the nomination.
We are the Progressive Wing of the Democratic Party. We've gotten a taste of making a difference in our Party and our Country. We're not going to quit, and we're not going to give up or get scared off. We're here to stay.
The Conservatives have been consciously fighting a war for the last 30 years. Against us. It's time we fought back. And we are.
Questions and comments welcome, as always. Here are some links to follow to learn more about me:
Progressives put the concerns of People and the Planet before Corporate Profits