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Our Revolution: Yes; But First Some Questions

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Our Revolution is by now, among other things, a Web page: http://OurRevolution.com. I would have preferred it was an "org" (as I am: nicholasjohnson.org) rather than a "com." But a superficial search suggests "OurRevolution.org" may already be held by someone else. Hopefully, that's someone affiliated with OurRevolution.com, and confusion between the two can be controlled.

At the moment -- from July 26 through November 8 -- Our Revolution is in a kind of limbo. Bernie's enthusiastic throngs have nothing further they can do to get him elected. Many may end up voting for Hillary, but may feel that they never signed up to campaign for her. Moreover, 20 months into a 22-month presidential campaign season (Jan. 2015-Oct. 2016) most Americans inclined to political action have long since committed their time and other resources to presidential and other candidates for public office they probably want to stick with through election day.

After the votes have been counted in the national election on November 8th, and a presumptive president selected, Our Revolution's participants and programs can be more specifically self-selected.

Make no mistake, Our Revolution already has my support; it doesn't have to earn it, it just has to keep from losing it. I certainly want to give it a chance. But I do have some questions for which I will be seeking answers.

What Can Be Learned From the Web Site? The Web site opens with an invitation to "join," "Watch the Launch Event" (which occurred August 24) and to "Help five of our candidates win" with an option to click on "Take Action." Scrolling down further is an "In the News" section with three stories, including the August 29th announcement of an 11-person "board" chaired by Larry Cohen, former CWA President, 2005-15. Although at the "Launch Event" Senator Sanders named the organization's president (Jeff Weaver, formerly Sanders' campaign chair) and an executive director (whose name I can't find or recall), I was unable to find their names, descriptions -- or how and by whom they were chosen -- anywhere on the Web site. (That information may very well be there; it's just that I didn't see it.)

There are four locations on the Web site: About, Take Action, Issues, and Candidates -- along with a number of suggestions that we donate money.

"About" provides three general aspirations: "Revitalize American Democracy," "Empower Progressive Leaders," and "Elevate Political Consciousness."

"Take Action" promotes an anti-TPP project urging us to call and register our opposition with members of Congress. If you think to scroll down there are 7 state ballot initiatives for which a click will take you to the sponsoring organization's Web page or other information.

"Issues" reads like a party platform, itemizing and describing 18 policy areas familiar to Bernie supporters.

"Candidates" lists, with pictures, 62 presumably progressive individuals running for office (primarily state legislatures). A click on a candidate takes you to more information about each.

"Who's on first; What's on second." I'm sure things will become clearer with time, but at this point I'm reminded of the story of the city cousin who visited his country cousin's farm. Leaning against the fence, but wanting to be helpful, the city cousin inquires, "What can I do to help?" He's told, "Just grab a plow and start plowing."

That's about as much specific instruction as is provided those who "join" Our Revolution. Maybe that's enough. Look over the ballot initiatives; if there's one in your state, or elsewhere, that interests you check out its Web site and contribute money or other efforts to assist. Ditto for the candidates. Look 'em over. If you're willing to support one or more on the basis of the information provided, have at it.

But I would think there would be some reason to have a way of reporting back to someone what you did. With the links going directly to the Web sites of the ballot initiatives' organizations and candidates it would appear that's not going to happen. Even if one wished to report what was going on in one's hometown, or another location chosen for action, it's not clear to whom they would report or how.

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Nicholas Johnson is best known for his tumultuous seven-year term as a Federal Communications Commission commissioner (1966-1973), while publishing How to Talk Back to Your Television Set, 400 separate FCC opinions, and appearing on a Rolling (more...)
 

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