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It's Our Job to Make Him Better

By       Message Craig Brown     Permalink    (# of views)   1 comment

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Editor's note. I have mixed feelings about They took the first article I submitted to them and a few hours after I submitted it, they ran it. Then they ignored the next nine I sent them. As a writer published by national magazines, I was accustomed to, at least, the courtesy of a rejection, but I got nothing. I later learned, that was the norm, on-line (not at though. I made sure of that.)

So, pissed at commondreams, I started my own site three weeks before the Iraq war began. But I kept sending commondreams either full articles or links to my articles. Funny, five and half years and about 1000 articles later, not one has been accepted for publishing there. I guess my writing doesn't cut it. Either way, I don't think I would have started OEN without having been ignored by commondreams. So I owe a debt of gratitude to them.

Yes, I owe it to commondreams for the grain of sand that irritated me to start And so, I am posting this article by the publisher, Craig Brown. It's a beautiful, poignant, moving piece of writing and also a fundraising effort. Let's get something straight. OEN does not permit fundraising by other orgs. This is being published to honor a good website, (even if they've ignored my writing) and because it's a good message. So, by all means, hopefully after supporting OEN, please also consider supporting

Dear Friend of,

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The whole world is watching.

In just five weeks Americans will wake up to a new president-elect.

Will we vote our fears again, and give John McCain/Sarah Palin, Karl Rove and the neo-cons four more years?

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Or . . . will we vote our 'better angels' and elect a young, progressive African-American who offers us 'Change' and 'Hope'?

Last February 10th we held our presidential caucuses here in Maine. In our little coastal town we usually have a caucus turnout of maybe 100 people. This year more than 900 people spent hours on a Sunday afternoon in long lines in an overflowing high school cafeteria.

My wife, Lina Newhouser, was very weak and ill from her long battle with lymphoma - her weight was down to just 85 pounds. But she was amazingly tough and determined. Nothing was going to keep her from making her voice heard that day. She stood in that cramped room for over four hours to stand up for Barack Obama. She was fired up. When she got home, she nailed an Obama sign on the front of our house.

As it turned out, after a lifetime of activism, this would be her last political act.

I know from reading the comments on articles that many of our readers have given up on the Democrats. Some have given up on politics and politicians.

The most cynical have just plain given up.

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Many claim that anyone who supports Obama is 'naive.' A 'Kool-Aid drinker.' A 'Democratic hack.' A 'fake progressive.'

Lina and I talked politics - a lot. And I can assure you that we are none of the above.

We first met as young staffers on Barry Commoner's 1980 presidential campaign - a campaign to start the Citizens' Party, a new, progressive third party. We both spent many years in different trenches as community organizers fighting for social change from the ground up. My years on Capitol Hill as chief-of-staff to a progressive Democratic congressman provided a great experience that confirmed for me that our hope for real change doesn't lie in Washington. It doesn't lie with any one, individual politician. Or any political party.

It lies with us.

You and me, and millions of other progressives who believe we can make the world a better place - and are working to make it happen.

Lina lived her life by her favorite Chinese proverb: 'Don't curse the darkness. Light a candle.'

Throughout her years of work and activism, her cancer battle, her tragedies and her politics, Lina never gave up hope. When 'sh*t happened' she always took the lead in jumping back up to encourage those around her to fight on. At gatherings at our home she always took out her favorite candelabra and urged everyone to light one of many candles with a wish of hope.

Make no mistake. There were lots of issues that Lina disagreed with Obama on: 'Clean coal.' 'The necessary war on Afghanistan.' 'Safe nuclear energy.' 'Unconditional support of Israel.'

Still, Lina believed that Barack Obama is our best hope.

She said: "It will be our job to make him better."

When Lina and I launched 11 years ago our goal was simple: Use the Internet to help build community among progressive Americans by providing a virtual space to share news and ideas.

It's working. Today we have millions of readers around the world.

President Franklin Roosevelt once told a group of activists lobbying him, "I agree with everything you said. Now go out and make me do it."

When President Obama is sworn in next January we at intend to work our hardest to 'make him better' - to 'make him do it.'

But we can't do it without you.

It's been a rough year for my family, and for Our fundraising has slipped. We must get it back on track.

You, our readers, have always provided the bulk of our support. Our quarterly fundraising appeals are our major source of funding. We don't have corporate sponsors. Or banner advertising. No pop-up ads. No selling or renting of our mailing lists.

We are still about $10,000 short of this quarter's goal. Can you help?

Please donate online now. Or, you can print our contribution form and mail a check to us here.

If you've already sent in your donation, thank you! Every donation, no matter how large or small, is sincerely appreciated and put to good use.

Lina's last words to me before she slipped into her final coma in July were: "You guys are gonna have to save the world without me."

I'm going to keep on trying. Will you?

In hope,

Craig Brown
Executive Director
for the whole team.

P.S. I want to thank all of you who offered your condolences on Lina's passing. Your kind words meant a lot to my daughters and me. Thank you so much.



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It's Our Job to Make Him Better