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With local elections coming up, now is the time to support citizen politics, where "commoners" among us run for public office and get the united support of the progressive movement.

For far too long, we have voted under the false assumption that we should only elect those with the "proper" background, in most cases lawyers, to represent us. There was the misguided notion that government was too complicated for the average citizen and that only those with the proper experience and education were qualified for office.

By handing over responsibility to those with "education and experience," we have put into power a group of perhaps the most corrupt, self-seeking individuals ever to run our local, state, and national governments.

Those in power have completely lost touch with their constituencies and live in a "bubble" of power and greed.

Both the 2006 and 2008 elections were a mandate from the voters to end the war in Iraq and for prosecution of those in the Bush administration who lied us into war and who carried out war crimes of torture and secret rendition. Our politicians, however, are taking the position that they know what is best and to hell with the voters.
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Almost six months down the road, we now have no doubt that the Obama administration is part of the same corrupt system. He starts out by saying he will close Guantanamo and everyone applauds. Left unsaid is why Bagram prison in Afghanistan is still in operation and, on May 20, the Senate voted to block funds for closure of Guantanamo prison, conveniently giving Obama an "out" for another broken campaign promise.

We can see the handwriting on the wall that there will be no justice for those war criminals in the past administration as the current administration is continuing those same policies, despite their rhetoric. Health care is yet another example where voters thought they were electing a President that would bring single-payer health care, only to see him sell out to the insurance and medical lobbyists.

The only way the progressive movement is going to change the political system is by uniting behind a candidate who exemplifies the passion and dedication for social justice issues, not just by words but by deeds. We need activists who have been on the front lines carrying protest signs, marching in the streets, attending organizing meetings, facing arrest, and otherwise showing by example what we should all be doing.

It does not matter if they are not lawyers or do have the clout of being part of the "inner circle" of our communities.

The progressive movement can no longer sell its soul and support the Democratic Party as they have done in the past.. Neither of the two mainstream political parties represents the working class and none of the third parties have the money to run a successful candidate or the ability to unite the progressive movement under one umbrella.

Therefore, the progressive movement must get behind individuals in their community who are part of the movement and who are willing to run for local office.

Citizen candidates may not win and may in fact be spoilers against a "lesser of two evils" candidate, but this should not be the focus and certainly of no concern. The primary goal would be to break the back of this corrupt, corporate-owned political system and to willingly choose not to vote for either "head" of this two-headed monster.

These local races are an opportunity for the progressive movement to flex its muscle and show the Democratic Party it is willing to put its vote where its mouth is and prove, once and for all, that the progressive movement can no longer to taken for granted.

Unless we can unite behind individual candidates from among our ranks, the U.S. progressive movement is dead.
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Political activist living on Vashon Island in the state of Washington. Former Chair of Green Party of Washington State (GPoWS); member of Green Party Peace Network; member of StandUp! Seattle; and Jewish peace activist supporting a one-state (more...)

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