Thursday, February 5, 2004

Power to the People

One Dean supporters report from talking to voters in Fargo, ND.
    ...Most importantly, we talked about the state of democracy in this country. We both shared our concern for how we seemed so disempowered, as though someone else made our choices and all that was left was our rubber-stamping them. I talked about how democracy had become an exercise in calculation, not participation. And how when Howard Dean says “YOU HAVE THE POWER” – what he means is that you have to power to participate again; to talk to friends and neighbors and total strangers in the arctic wilderness of mid-west; to make your vote an accurate reflection of your vision for a better community and not just your best speculation on who the media can sell.

    And she teared up. And so did I.

    And she went into the polling room, cast her ballot for Howard Dean, came back over, ripped off her Kerry button, gave me a big hug, and went to talk to the press.

    Folks…she was only one person. But there was nothing unique about [her]. She is a middle-of-the-road Democrat from a speck of a state. A teacher. Concerned about electibility. She wanted to vote for Howard Dean, but her head (and all the press) told her that Kerry was going to win and she wanted to pick the winner, the person most likely to beat George Bush.

    But there’s a place where heart and head meet. It’s called your gut. And it is only in these one-on-one, face-to-face talks about who we are as a party, what we believe and what has been taken from us that we can convince people to vote with their gut.

    If Wisconsin is where we make our last stand, this is how it must be done. Not in phone calls or door-to-door canvassing (though those are good things), but in the places where communities talk – in restaurants and offices, pubs and bowling alleys, at supermarkets and hardware stores, in schools and hospitals.

    We are better at this than DFA [deanforamerica] is. We are.
    Say that in your head again, slowly: WE ARE BETTER AT THIS.

    It is up to us…person-to-person…on our own. With our own creativity and our own passion, our own time and our own money.

    We can appeal to people’s guts. We can make democracy an act of participation, not calculation. We can get folks to take a leap of faith. We can make them believe again.

    Posted by Chris Cooper on blogforamerica at February 5, 2004 05:16 PM

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