On Tuesday morning I will walk into my local polling booth here in California and vote proudly for John Edwards. I'm doing this to support the possibility of generating delegates for him at the Denver Democratic Convention in August should this next few weeks not lock in the nominee. I've also submitted to be a delegate to the convention for Edwards on the unlikely chance that a deadlock go to a 2nd, 3rd or 4th ballot and the party choses to turn to a viable alternative who can win in November... something I have doubts about both Clinton & Obama achieving considering what lies ahead as the Republican's roll out their Rovian machine of character destruction and fear mongering. Something we too have only just tested on our own candidates with little viable consideration or thought by their own followers.
For those of you who are choosing to vote for either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama I thought I'd provide you with an 8 minute video from The Real Networks website looking at them both should you care to watch it.... How different are Obama and Clinton on foreign policy? If you are open minded you will get value from it. If you have already picked your candidate, you will likely miss the points.
Of course like many of you, I was saddened to learn of John Edwards suspending his run, and am not completely confident in the remaining two who still have many viable qualities and problems. If it should come down to either one, I will support them against which ever out of touch candidate the Republicans put up. I'm also going to say that our two party system, as flawed as it is, always leaves the door open to an insurgent, the likes of which could be Bloomberg or Nader, and that places even more focus on our Progressive Agenda and the need to keep it front and center.
I've personally had the good fortune of meeting and talking with John, Barack and Hillary over the past few months. They are all good people, they all care about our nation and where they want our nation to go from here. They all operate from different perspectives yet frankly all share, in the end, the same vision we progressives have, a fair and just America... its just that all have been flawed with whom they have either aligned themselves with, positions they have or failed to take in the past, the baggage they bring to the effort or how they communicate their message.
Personally, I was disappointed with both MoveOn, PDA and other groups and individuals rush actions to try and jump on the endorsement band wagon, leaving out the choices to vote this past week for either Edwards or Kucinich... all perhaps in a an effort to establish relevance in a perceived movement behind either candidate yet undefined. Oh well, so it goes.
My message is simple. Neither candidate is ever going to satisfy you completely, they need to be driven to the Progressive Agenda, by our growing size, strength, vision, rational logic and compassionate solutions to the many problems we face. Only by constantly reminding them that our needs are not those of idol-ology, but of specifics and solutions fitting our agenda will they continue to move in our direction. As we grow and spread our insights, they will see it growing and work to bring it into their arsenal of political proposals. They have both done much in this way, and we should take to heart it was because we have the right agenda and they are in fact, coming to us. At the same time, we Progressives must not become so enamored with 'our candidate' that we lose sight of our goals and destroy the possibilities of what we can achieve with whom ever ends up being the nominee of the party.
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We can thank Dennis and John for empowering us in this process, and we can benefit ourselves by continuing to question the authority of all, after all, is this not a democracy?
No candidate is going to solve our problems overnight. Those who are new to this electoral process with their support of Obama must not run away angry and leave the scene if he should not win. You must stay engaged, focus on the importance of anyone but a Republican in the White House. Then stay on them to stay true to our vision. Here too, Edwards and Kucinich supporters must not walk away either.
Now, whether you like it or not, the one thing Clinton people understand is that you have a responsibility to stay and fight, and should she win the nomination, she will not win the general unless she reaches out to our needs and goals, for with out all of us, A REPUBLICAN will win again. If you saw the debate this past week, heard her speeches in front of huge crowds here in California you would be as impressed as I was. She reminded me that she is the woman I remembered her to be in the early 90's who was our voice for change. Who knew she would find that voice again, she is stronger and more determined than you realize.
Should Obama win, he must show far more backbone and specifics to move from his many weak positions, no matter how flowery his words make us feel. Our demanding perspective must keep them both focused on our agenda. Then no matter which candidate wins, the winds of change for the progressive agenda continue to be the lighthouse for all to steer toward.
American's do not in general know what we Progressive know. They do not stay focused on issues as we do, nor care about all those things of detail we care about. Their lives are far simpler yet more difficult to fathom. Should they get out and vote, their vote will decide this election, not ours. On the vision thing, it's Obama, on the get it done page, it's Clinton, both have advantages and disadvantages. In the end, its going to come down to who gets the most of the largest block of a particular voting group... women, at 56%. If this block goes to Hillary by as much as 60%, she wins, no matter how many inspired progressives and kids come out to support Obama. Why? Because we Progressives are not yet the majority, and our message hasn't yet spread as widely as it must. We have traveled far and have learned much, but this is a game of political number counting, and as long as we deceive ourselves in thinking it is something else, we will lose our power and fall into disarray.
This past week, after Edwards and Kucinich dropped out, I've watched progressives swarming like bees from a hive that just got dropped from a tree to the ground. We are all flying around not knowing what our job is, who do we follow, and the rush to solve these questions has put us into a panic and fear mode that isn't keeping constructive action or relevance front and center. It is about the Progressive Agenda, not the candidate, in that regard, its about Democracy and how best to preserve it. I have no doubt both Clinton or Obama will be on our side in the end, but only if we constantly let them know where they need to stand... not the other way around.