Thursday, August 11, 2005

By cracky, where are all the young folks? I'm too old to put up signs!

I sent this to my email list, but there's a great post by Shaula Evans at BOPnews regarding the AGING of the Democratic Party. This is one reason that I have been pushing for acceptance of the DFM crowd; it would be nice to attend a Democratic Party event where the median age was under 35.

This is no slap at our wonderful pioneers, people, it's just that we don't have anybody lined up to replace us!!! I can't speak for anybody else, but I'm past the point where I will put up signs or go door-to-door. We need to be training YOUNGER people for this, and DFM seems to be heading that up in the Memphis area. We need to support them, because we have to build a strong foundation for the future.


soandsodem said...

Not a problem. Stage an event with 10 people aged 60 (slightly younger than yourself) and 10 one year olds. Median age is 30.5.
Getting the one year olds to put up the yard signs is going to require some coaxing.

Steve Steffens said...

I'm glad I wasn't drinking anything when I read this, it would have gone right out the nose...LOL

polar donkey said...

Thanks for the DFM plug Leftwing Cracker. There are young people active in local movements, they just don't trust the Shelby County Democratic Party. To be honest, they shouldn't. Rebecca Jordan and Jacob Flowers are some of the most capable people in this city. DFM has and will continue to work with them. They progressive groups with all the young people just get sickened by the backstabbing and corruption of the party. What differentiates DFM from these groups is that we always knew politics is down and dirty. We didn't come in with Mr. Smith Goes To Washington idealism. Some goals are more important than my personal sensibilities. I've already been disgusted by local politics several times in the last two months, so I go home, spray myself with lysol, and get back in the sewer.

DemoBitch said...

Poor old polar donkey, waaa!! Cry me a river why don't you. You obviously reek of some sort of idealism. It might not be the Mr. Smith Goes To Washington variety but it is idealism and naiveté all the same. Do you think for one second that the backbiting and corruption of the political parties is new? If so, you have just proven that you know very little about political history, Memphis or national.

Regardless of what Pollyanna smoke you are inhaling you need to accept that politics is just like any organized team sport – a competition. It is a competition between people from the same party and people from opposing parties. It is all about who can get to the finish line first and finish the strongest. And just like all of those high school, college and professional rivalries it is dirty. Like it or not.

But instead of whining about it maybe you should try working it to your advantage to fire people up or develop candidates that are willing to hit the gridiron and work for their constituents.

As for the Cracker’s original question, where are all the young folks? The young people are out there and they want to become involved, much like they did in the last election. However, if it is not on MTV 24/7 they are not going to recognize that this is an ongoing effort and not a project to take up every 4 or so years. It is our responsibility as older Democrats to mentor young folks and yes Cracker that means getting your ass out there putting up signs and going door-to-door. I challenge every Demo that reads your blog to become more involved in their neighborhood organizations (i.e. Germantown Democratic Club, Coalition, DFM, etc.) and encourage your organization to adopt a high school civic class or senior class and mentor them on the political process in a non-partisan format. This will give young people the opportunity to exercise their right to choose the party that best suits them.

See ya at school…

Steve Steffens said...

Frank is away from his password, he asked me to post this response to DemoBitch above.

Well Demobitch, thank you for proving my point. With attitudes like that it's a wonder anyone new takes part in the party. As for idealism, I certainly have some. In a perfect world I would have joined the green party, but it's not and that's why I'm a Democrat. As for Memphis being a particularly nasty political playground, it is. It is one of the last major cities with remnants of political machines. Plus, we are blessed with having two.

mitsugomi said...

Thanks for the link, LeftWingCracker.

I had the pleasure of visiting Memphis, far too briefly, a few years back, while on a raod trip that originated in Dallas where I was living at the time. I need to go back with enough time to do it right.

You can pass on to soandsodem for me that I have actually had the conversation in a campaign office on the merits of using the under 12 month set as volunteer paperweights...problem is they tend to leak. :( But yes, everyone has their contribution to make. :)

The anecdotes I've read on blogs in response to the original article have, unfortunately, been consistenly along the lines of "Locked out by local party? No kidding! That's whyI work through DFA...." I'm grateful for the great work and the existence of DFA, but we need to address the bigger problem that has created the urgent *need* for DFA.

PS You have a great blog here. :) I hope you'll be leaving some comments in the future when you're reading on BOP as well--you are most welcome in the conversation.

DemoBitch said...

As usual, folks who rather complain than take action or say that because of opinions like mine (i.e. that Polar Donkey is a whiner), or “that it is a wonder new people want to join the party because of my attitude”, I say this, shut your pie hole and put your money where your mouth is and organize an organization of people who want to take real action and make things BETTER for the Party and not run around like zealots with their heads cut off.

But if you are naïve enough, yes, I said naïve, to believe that the political players are going to listen to someone who would rather point out the negatives in our political system instead of being pro-active and producing results like encouraging young folks to participate in the process, GOTV, canvassing and etc. you have no business in politics. Not saying that you should not participate by voting but maybe you should leave the real intellectual pursuits to those who understand the game.

Oh yeah, Polar Donkey how come you had to go on the defensive instead of comment on my idea about mentoring young folks. I guess that is the way to be inclusive…hum, sounds like the pot calling the kettle black.

Steve Steffens said...

I think you miss his point. The rules of the game as it is currently played do NOT favor progressive ideas. Therefore, we can either play the game according to the rules, which may favor people who kowtow to the current regime (hint, hint).

Or we can attempt to change HOW the game is played by making politics less dependent on money and more dependent on people. I sense from your argument that it's all right for young folks to come in as long as they don't try to change things.

Changing things, and for the better, is EXACTLY what we need.

DemoBitch said...

I do not have lots of time at the moment to fully comment on your remarks, however, I do want to comment on one thing you said regarding the money.

If these so-called progressive thinkers are more about getting people involved and becoming less dependent on the money then why were they the ones bitching about how the money was spent during the Kerry campaign and using funds for all demos in races at the time because Kerry didn't shuttle money into Tennessee. I guess you forgot about that Cracker.

Steve Steffens said...

Let's, for the moment, separate the MSDIA (who were complaining about the money and then turned on DFM in the SCDP officer elections)
from the DFM, who seek to change the rules.

I agree that the coordinated campaign did a fine job with no money, I've said that until I'm blue in the face and I STILL don't know why some of the MSDIA were upset.

The DFM, on the other hand, did NOT complain about that, to the best of my knowledge.

Becky said...

To my knowledge, you have said on two occasions "MSDIA has problems with how the SCDP spent their money". As a member of Midsouth Democrats In Action and a former volunteer for the Women for Kerry GOTV effort, I would like to clarify something. Any problems I have heard voiced or that I myself have voiced, concerned monies ddonated during the presidential campaign. MDIA did not exist at that time, so we (MDIA) could not have taken a stand on this issue. However, some volunteers for WFK who are now members of MDIA, myself included, had problems with the fact that many people who donated money during the '04 presidential campaign thought that they were making a contribution to defeat Bush. They were not informed that their money might be spent in some other way. We can all remember the furor after 9/11 when it was discovered that the Red Cross had received "too much money for 9/11" and was holding back some of those donations for other needs. Transparency was/is the issue. As a long time non-profit professional, I am acutely aware of the fact that many people want to designate exactly where their money is going to be spent while others will say "spend it where you need it the most". But everyone needs to be made aware that unless otherwise designated, their donations will be used as the organization sees fit. Your statement that DFA did not have "similar complaints" doesn't register because DFA was non-existent at the time as well.
One more clarification I'd like to make regards your statement that Midsouth Democrats In Action "turned on DFM during the SCDP officer elections". I did not run for a seat on the EC so I did not have a vote but I was at the meeting at which officers were elected and I do know that there is more than meets the eye on this one. I also know that DFM member David Holt, who by all appearances has no personal agenda, was elected as an officer with the full support of MDIA members of the EC.

soandsodem said...

Gee, I'm almost sorry I responded.(not really) The original idea was how dems get younger people involved. We ended up with an argument about the MSDIA and DFM about the SCDP.(one day I will know what that means) The only thing I don't see is an idea of how dems provide a coherent philosophy that means something to those people who aren't sure about which party represents their interests. Very few voters care about the in-side fights.

polar donkey said...

Hello leftwing cracker, thanks for posting that for me today. I really don't want to get side tracked from talking about ideas. In the past 2 weeks on this site, I have posted my thoughts on hispanic outreach, the living wage, trying to get young democrats clubs up and running again in the area high schools and colleges, using the headquarters as a place for democratic clubs to meet and establish themselves, and clean money elections. If use of sewer images was too extreme, I am sorry. But the local democratic party has a perception problem in the activist and progressive community. Until the party develops the ability to look at itself through the eyes of those outside it, the party will continue to alienate these groups. Most of whose members vote democratic but don't participate in the local party. The simplest piece of advice I can offer the party is to listen to what people have to say about the party.

Steve Steffens said...


many of you (as I did) made contribution to the kerry/Edwards campaign. However, in their infinite wisdom, THAT MONEY NEVER CAME BACK TO TENNESSEE

KE2004 wrote off Tennessee, leaving the SCDP to raise money ON THEIR OWN to promote the Democratic ticket, which was more than just KE2004.

Your money DID go to attempt to defeat Bush, it probably went to ohio instead of here.

Regarding my comments on DFM, I know I'm more upset about the officer elections than anyone in DFM; I felt this was to be about blowing it up and starting over, not just cozying up to one side or the other, which is exactly what happened.

In the end, the 2005 convention wasn't about change at all, it was about revenge, which was obtained. We'll see where the party goes from here. Trust me, I'll be watching.

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