Thursday, July 14, 2005

Why are we here?

No, this isn't about our purpose in life, not on an individual basis, any way.

I have had conversations about the Democratic Party, at least nationally, with friends of mine who are liberal Democrats and on my email list. Two things that have hit me hard are these comments: 1) "The Democratic Party hasn't had an original idea in 30 years" and 2) "does anybody know what the Democratic Party stands for? At least, with Bush, people have a clear idea what he stands for."

THAT'S sobering.

Right now, we are having a discussion all over America over those very things. Howard Dean (correctly) rips the Bush administration for their mismanagement of the war and their attempts to destroy the New Deal protections for the American working man.

What do our Democratic congresspeople do, except for Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi and a handful of others? They slink away in shame and suggest that the chairman of the Democratic National Committee doesn't speak for them, even though they are Democrats.

Great, just great.

Is it any wonder that the American people wonder what we stand for, or if we do at all? Our problem right now is that we have a base that seeks a strong definition for our Party in EVERY area of life, versus elected officials who are too afraid of offending anyone to support even basic Democratic principles, at least if they can remember any. I say that more at the national level, our legislative delegation in Shelby County still tends progressive.

These Senators and Congresspeople are about one thing and one thing only: getting re-elected in the current political climate. What the newly energized base is about is one thing and one thing only; CHANGING the current political climate in order to make it easier for a progressive agenda to be enacted.

That same battle is being fought at the local level in Shelby County right now. You have the two existing factions, who have fought esssentially over the control of an ever-shrinking pie, and a new group, who wants to make the pie BIGGER.

David Upton, who has taken lots of heat here in recent days, is one of the best people to know if you are running for office. He can raise money exceptionally well, he can direct you to others who can provide workers for your campaign, and, in short, is a good ally to have when you are seeking office and you are a Democrat.

Naturally, he is highly concerned that his folks might not be in charge of the party the next two years, especially when we have Democrats to elect. However, just as at the national level, leadership of the Party is about more than winning elections.

You do have to win elections in order to have any power to change society for the better. However, we ALSO need to be out organizing people in every neighborhood in Shelby County, and not wait for them to come to us, we MUST be seen as a group where all are welcome, and we need to be able to help them become effective in the political process. NO CHAIR has been able to accomplish that in recent history.

So, I am hopeful that there will be completely new leadership at the end of the day on July 23. And, as for the two factions that have been there before, please don't leave; you're needed as well, to provide your thoughts, and to LISTEN.

In the end, either we will come together and work together for the good of the party and the county, or we'll fade away like the Whigs.

It's our choice.


Richmond said...

I think, still, that our national folks are playing the Republican game of good cop, bad cop. That's why the Republicans attack Dean so viciously and essentially leave our other folks alone: they know what we are doing and it screas them that we have finally caught up. They know, as you have said, they cannot win an ideological struggle, so they demonize and deflect. Dean's efforts, God bless him, are meant to scare them and that's how the Republicans are acting.


David Robinson said...

Is there a candidate for Shelby County Democratic Party Chair who is both strong enough to deal with the diverse passions of local Democrats AND is not associated with one of the currently dominant factions? Give me a name, then tell me with a straight face that he/she is "independent." Of course, we don't know if a new candidate will pop up at the Convention (but we know who he/she will represent, don't we), once all of us new-comers have been persuaded to split up our votes among the declared candidates (and especially persuaded NOT to vote for one particular candidate).

The prescription that we have "completely new leadership"--if that means no one who has led the Party in the past--may be a prescription for defeat at the hands of the Republicans, who would never do anything so suicidal. It takes people hardened from experience to cope with the lying and character assassination that are standard fare in elections (real-world ones, that is)--and we have a lot of them coming up. I know the Chair doesn't run campaigns, but he/she is in a position to coordinate money and volunteer help for many of them, especially those where constituencies overlap; and, like it or not, the media don't interview a group, so the Chair is the official voice of the local Democratic Party.

A look at the Chair candidates' resumes will show who has been a constant, tireless worker for an effective party--and for the benefit of all Democrats. If you don't know who I mean by now, it's David Cocke, who I worked with and around during the 2004 campaign. The "chaos" at SCDP headquarters was a lot of dedicated volunteers doing an enormous task for several candidates, taking resources out of their own pockets and personally seeing them well-spent.

Any Chair must have the cooperation of the Executive Committee to accomplish anything, especially in bringing volunteer non-Committee-members onto the Party's committees that will do the on-going work. (The EC is only the board of directors, not the Party.) Executive Committee members whose only goal is to defeat anything a Chair they don't like is doing must be persuaded otherwise or ignored. A few on the out-going Executive Committee apparently contributed little or nothing to the party's work, even hindered it, so if they're not re-elected, they won't be missed.

So by all means, bring on new people dedicated to Democratic, progressive principles and goals. But don't throw out the folks who know how the machinery works (especially if all you know about them is from whisper campaigns by people with undeclared loyalties), or we'll be stuck out on the road, going nowhere.

Anonymous said...

As a member of the Democratic Party,I would like to comment on the fact that everyone says the Executive Committe didn't work together. This is complete Bullshit ! This committee started with less than $2 in the bank and two nice size debts. We( as a party) have paid these debts off, maintained a headquarters for a year ( which by the way the rent is paid), have had a newspaper, website and an active phone number--- and still have money in the bank.If you don't see this as working together, then ya'll are blind as a bat or just plain stupid. This "new" coalition as they call themselves claim they don't want to be part of a "faction"- wake up people they are their own faction. One that is ill-informed about how the executive committee works. Maybe they should learn from the old guard first, then volunteer for committees and work with seasoned Executive Committee members, before they become committee members- a training session so to speak. This way everyone can learn to work together for a stronger, more active Shelby county Democratic Party.

autoegocrat said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
autoegocrat said...

(This comment was deleted and re-posted by the author to include one sentence that helps prevent the author from making himself out to be the negative the-previously-half-
empty-glass-just-got-drained-by-that-bastard-over-there bastard that he actually is.

Oh so you're hot shit because you got a phone number and a website? I'm either blind as a bat or just plain stupid?

Excuse the fuck out of me, what you describe is a job well done for your average twenty-something bachelor fresh out of Mom's basement, but it is piss poor when measured against the colossal problems facing this community and this party.

You're acting like you've made some political coup by overcoming a problem in office logistics. I've done better than that in my own depleted personal budget.

Working together means solving the real problems we face together and not getting hung up on the small stuff.

I'm not going to join your sorry ass party because I've worked at a better greasy-spoon diner, and I quit those bastards, too. Get your head out of your ass, Mister or Missus Anonymous Democrat Executive Committee person. You're up against Old Cotton Money and you think you're hot snot on a silver platter because you got a phone line? You're just a cold booger on a wet paper plate, sonny.

I'd put more faith in a drunk and destitute Court Square street preacher.

Mongo for Democrat Chair.

LeftWingCracker said...

This is why I miss your blog, autoegocrat...

Mongo? Now, THAT would be interesting.

Anonymous said...

You people are out of your f-ing mind. You don't want to help the party- you're just bored professional pot stir-ers.
Thanks, but no thanks.

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