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"Activists and candidates"

[2/25/09]

It takes both activists and candidates to make our political system work well. Each new era brings in new generations of both citizen categories. Matt Blizek at Democracy for America recently used that phrase in his e-mail to me. It was striking to think that we all could be trained together. That activism was used in the same breath with candidacy was a pleasing thought. To quote Matt’s piece:

When Gov. Howard Dean founded Democracy for America, he insisted that one of our core missions would be training a new generation of activists and candidates in states all across the country.

And that’s exactly what we’ve done.

The DFA Campaign Academy has trained over 10,000 activists and candidates at nearly 100 weekend trainings in 38 different states — we’re not going to stop now.

The election is over, the 111th Congress is working successfully to pass legislation, and last night our new President spoke to the Congress and to all of us about his plan for next steps. CQ Politics has the story: “Obama pledges an America ‘Stronger than Ever.” Craig Crawford’s blog Trail Mix at CQ Politics adds a nice touch today. “Introduction inflation grips Congress.” And, like thousands of activist bloggers, a fellow member of the Political Voices of Women Blog Community covered the Presidential Address last night.

President Obama talked about the economic recovery legislation just passed by Congress last night. And there is much more to come regarding energy, education and health care. President Obama expects a healthy national debate on reforming health care. Democrats.com has a way for citizens to “Tell Congress we want single payer health care” (2/16/09), if that is your preference. Mitch Stewart at Organizing for America, the new iteration of the Obama campaign website, now under the DNC sent an interesting e-mail on Monday that really pertains to those of us who helped get the stimulus bill passed. He said,

“Your representatives need to hear from you when they vote for the change you mandated in November. Doing what’s right can be thankless when the culture of Washington tries to make political games out of the issues that matter to everyday Americans.

You’re part of a powerful grassroots movement that can change that dynamic.

[regarding calling your legislator] Here are some suggested talking points for your call:

– I’m calling to thank [Congress member’s name] for supporting the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
– I’ll be watching closely online and in the news how taxpayers’ money is spent in the implementation of this Act.
– I encourage [Congress member’s name] to continue working with President to lift America out of this economic crisis.

Activists also write in addition to talking to your Senators and Representatives. And we link to each other more than to newspapers, it seems. I recently found this at blogasm:50% of links on Technorati Top 10 blogs lead to other blogs. Only 4% lead to newspapers” (2/22/09). One of the most successful bloggers, FDL‘s Christy Smith wrote a piece that I highly recommend, “Bloggers as watchdogs: Liberal blogging in a Democratic administration” (2/21/09).

Activists in my state of Texas usually have our hands full. For example, ACLU of Texas supports the Fifth Circuit suit challenging the Texas legislature’s addition of the word “pray” to activities permitted during schools’ mandatory moment of silence, because it is already protected in the Constitution. In another case (2/11/09) ACLU of Texas wanted help: Please contact the Office of the Inspector General at the U.S. Department of Justice and request that it conduct a full investigation of RCDC, the Reeves County Detention Center.

Reference — ProPublica introduced Change Tracker: Tracking Change in Washington (2/19/09). It “watches pages on whitehouse.gov, recovery.gov, and financialstability.gov so you don’t have to. When the White House adds or deletes anything— say a blog post, or executive order—ChangeTracker will let you know, if you sign up for the alerts.

See also Behind the Links, for further info on this subject.

(Cross-posted at The Reaction.)

My “creativity and dreaming” post today is at Making Good Mondays.

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