Just what the hell is this “Democratic Party” that various people on this blog are threatening to leave?

Look, in the 70’s and early 80’s Democrats were losing elections right and left. The Reaganauts were dismantling everything they could of whatever was left of the New Deal and the Great Society and the War on Poverty and the Civil Rights movement as fast as they could. Most of the Democrats in office and in visible support roles were supine, rolling over. They had no new ideas. They had the enthusiasm and energy of overcooked broccoli. All they cared about was protecting whatever crumbs of their own personal power they could.

So some Democrat governors got together and made an alternative to the entrenched party structure. They called it the DLC. They had some good ideas. They had some bad ideas. But they didn’t like what they saw and got to work making an alternative to it. They won elections.  

Now the DLC is the entrenched, moribund wing of the Democratic Party. Fuck `em. Their time is past.
In January, I went to my first DFT meeting. This was a few weeks before Howard Dean was elected to chair the DNC and one of the speakers was a DNC member telling us about the behind the scenes of the race for DNC chair. Explaining what the DNC is and how it works. How he got to be a member of it – it’s an elected position. He ran for it. He campaigned, just like for any other elected position.  He won.

Some guy got up and started ranting about how the Democratic Party needs to do this, and the Democratic Party had to stop doing that, or else he was leaving the Party, he wasn’t going to give “them” another goddamned penny until they started . . .  whatever. Two hundred people shouted him down. DLC guy explained it to him. YOU are the Democratic Party. You don’t like what “the party” is doing? Fine. Then get to work doing something else. You’re it.

The DNC is not the Democratic Party. The DNC is an organization that raises money for Democratic candidates and distributes that money in the way that they think will be effective. Howard Dean is adding distributing organizing skills and field workers – the 50-state strategy – to that. I like his ideas. I’ve given them some money. You don’t like it – don’t give them money.

Look, folks, the “Democratic Party” is not some group of politicians and consultants presenting a product we can sit back and watch the ads for and decide whether or not to “buy” or not. If it looks that way to you, perhaps it’s because we’ve all been so programmed to be passive consumers that we have a hard time seeing that democracy is not a product.

Democracy is what we do. If we don’t do it, someone else will. Someone else is going to be running our lives. DC consultants. Vichy democrat politicians. The DLC. Even worse – Bu$hCo and the neo-cons.

So if you don’t like what they’re doing, get to work. Do democracy. Yes, you. Run for office. Become a precinct chair. Be a delegate. Work for a candidate whose values you believe in. Join a progressive group. Organize a coup of your local county party if it’s filled with spineless hacks. Donate money if you can afford it. Donate time and energy if you can’t. Can’t get out of the house? Use your computer – the party needs website maintenance, data bases, on-line organizing tools. Inform yourself on local issues. What’s your state lege up to these days? Your city council? Your school board? Write letters to the editor supporting progressives and blasting the right-wing nutcases. Talk to your neighbors, your coworkers. Stand up for liberal progressive values. Say it out loud, “I’m a liberal and I’m proud!”

The presidential election is three years away. Getting ourselves all worked up about, – if Hillary runs I’m outta here – is a waste of energy that could be put to better use at the grassroots. Hillary could be run over by a bus before ’08. In the meantime, grow some progressive grassroots. Give voters in your city, your congressional district someone to vote for who will fight for them.

What BooMan said.

Take our country back. Yes, you.

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