That Constitutional protections have crumbled under the crooked, conservative executive and legislative branches of government isn't a surprise. Conservatives have wanted to diminish civil rights in this country for decades, and they have decimated them with ease. However, it is surprising when an organization with the stated mission to stand for democratic principles acts similarly to the autocracies it purports to fight. Democracy For America, the left-leaning political action group founded by Governor Howard Dean, has recently pushed several of its members out of an affiliated national group because of the gains it has made in the last six months.
The affiliated group, WeDemocrats, was founded by Ronald McBride Sr., a long standing democrat and activist who has been a member of DFA almost since its inception. McBride founded WeDemocrats as a national group back in July, and since then the membership ranks have swollen to nearly 1500 DFA members from across the country, many of whom would like to see DFA be more representative of their concerns. In late November, McBride was contacted by Charles Cunningham, who said that members had told him and Director Jim Dean that WeDemocrats was "trying to compete with DFA." Cunningham went on to say that none of the other DFA affiliated groups were organized the way WeDemocrats is (they're a registered PAC instead of a 501 (c) (4) non-profit group). The mission of WeDemocrats is to "support fiscally responsible candidates at all levels of office across the nation by directing our grassroots network to get these candidates elected and work towards positive change from the bottom up."
Cunningham further stated that the national affiliate groups were intended to be issue or constituency groups, and that DFA would cut access to WeDemocrats. On December 7, DFA did just that. WeDemocrats is now listed on the DFA site as a state group with only 119 members. DFA didn't bother to contact the other 1300 members of WeDemocrats to say their membership in WeDemocrats was no longer valid.
Perhaps McBride wasn't aware of the parameters involved in being an "issue or constituency" group. Or maybe DFA hasn't defined those parameters well enough yet. Whatever the problem is, 1300 DFA members that joined WeDemocrats have been left in the cold by the main organization. And DFA isn't talking.
It's bad enough that we have to contend with a president that seeks to divide the country by whom he perceives as a 'threat'. That Democracy For America is following his lead with its own membership not only further divides the Democratic Party; it also goes against the very tenets the group was founded upon in the first place.
If we are truly serious about making democracy something to be admired by people in other nations, we must first honor our own commitment to its principles. Instead of viewing one of its affiliates as 'competition', the leaders at Democracy For America might look at such a group as a positive augmentation. Enabling the group to spread the principles DFA espouses and create progressive action through this group would be a much better example to others what democracy means than the concern DFA shows about protecting its territory. More importantly, if we as a people act democratically towards those who maintain similar goals, we might have a chance in making our own and other governments act more judiciously as well.
And if so-called progressive Democrats can't act democratically, who in the hell will?
To join the national WeDemocrats group, please sign up at: http://wedemocrats.org/blogs/user/register