It 's a New Game in Democratville. The anti-bush election woke up millions of people. How Things are Changing and What You Can Do:
by ROB KALL
Here in Bucks County , PA , the lynch-pin county in PA, that Kerry had to win, we did our job. Precincts that nevcr had a committee person had multiple volunteers and townships that never had a sign of any democratic organization saw organizations with dozens of new volunteers. Some of these people were energized for Kerry, some were energized for the democratic party, but most were energized against Bush, against the republican party that seems to be tilting toward fascism, and is clearly selling the soul and future of America out to corporate gods.
I would stop into the local democratic headquarters ever day or two and it was always bustling with people of all ages -- teens too young to vote would be stuffing envelopes or scanning in data from finished phone bank or canvassing records. There were always a few twenty-something paid Kerry Campaign staffers, a few local fifty through seventy something volunteers and always a few volunteers of all ages who had temporarily moved from Massachusetts, Vermont, Kansas --volunteering for Kerry to save the nation from the potential nightmare --another four years of Bush.
On weekends, throngs of volunteers from New York , New Jersey , Maryland , Massachusetts , Delaware and D.C, would arrive in buses and we locals would come with our vans to take them out to canvas neighborhoods in Levittown, Feasterville, Trevose, Southampton, New Hope .. and on rainy days they 'd still go out, or they 'd work phone banks at local lawyers offices, travel agencies, where the phones and space were volunteered for the cause.
The passion and enthusiasm we political newcomers brought to our phone-banking, canvassing, literature folding, letter stuffing and fund-raising delivered Bucks county to Kerry. In my home precinct, Kerry lost. But republicans are registered 2.5 to one here, and Bush only won by a much smaller margin . We closed the gap enough to help squeak a victory for Kerry for the whole county --the one county everyone said Kerry had to win to clinch Pennsylvania .
Something happened to the hundreds of thousands of people who woke up this past few months --something that will forever change their lives. And that change is also going to affect local and national politics. I don 't think it will take two years, until the next national elections, for the signs to become clear. We will see it on the web. We will see a big difference in fund-raising by political and activist organizations, and in the release of even more political books and movies. Expect to see a big growth in progressive, left wing media. Air America radio is just the beginning. We will see big growth in the numbers of cities covering their syndicated message, and we will see many more talk radio and TV formats developing. I wouldn 't be surprised to start seeing local politically oriented print publications too. Let 's face it, a lot of the local newspapers are so right wing, there is a crying need for left wing news coverage and columnists.
Locally, we have a wonderful situation --newly energized activists who have shown clear leadership and organizing abilities. These are the future candidates in local elections that were formerly ignored. Locally, we also have an important new asset --that list of voters who supported Kerry. It 's a list that should be kept alive and active in the coming months --and that should be continued to be updated with phone bank people and canvassers who really nail down all the people in each precinct.
Here in Bucks County , we saw a lot of Republicans who voted for Kerry. It 's important to develop strategies to reach out to them. The Republican party ain 't what it used to be. Conservative economic and ecological policy is now embraced far more by democrats than republicans. As the Bush Republicans continue to dig their own graves, without the ability to blame Clinton for their failings and stupidly incompetent leadership, the left wing must develop aggressive dynamic strategies for recruiting and embracing disgruntled former republicans.
If the national political leaders and organizations on the left are smart, they will start investing in the support and development of this new political growth at the local level, building political infrastructure so it flourishes and becomes an even stronger force. That means helping to fund infrastructure such as web-sites for local organizations, coordination of resources and ideas that emerge from this national phenomenon. For example, I participated in a planning meeting for a new website. The bucksforkerry website that did a lot of good during the campaign is now out of date. It is being replaced by a bucksforchange website. We met to discuss what the function of the website would be. As we discussed bulletin boards, calendars, local articles, listserves, etc., I realized that similar meetings must be going on around the country, or that, in more progressive locales, like Austin, Portland, Berkeley, and Madison, they might have already invented this "wheel. " It makes sense for the DNC, the Green party and other left leaning organizations help local activists by developing templates for websites, leadership, and organization that can be used like cookie-cutters throughout the nation,particularly in Blue states and the blue urban areas in the red states.
Bottom-line --if you became active during the presidential election, then stay active. Keep the energy up, keep the meetings going. Plan meetings, parties, fund-raising concerts. Start reading groups. Schedule lectures. Keep recruiting, keep fine-tuning your voter databases, Keep on contributing in the election off-season. Keep supporting alternative media and organizations that stand up for your vision of the future. The fight has just begun. The right wing may have won some and stolen some elections. But the left has been awakened and things will never be the same again.
Rob Kall is editor of www.OpEdNews.com Read over 150 of his articles at Rob Kall's article archive Read his blog at www.opednews.com/robsblog.htm Rob lives in Bucks County PA, which, went for John Kerry in the 2004 election.
Add your comments below