And so, my diary today is an open challenge to the netroots, and my question is this: What value do you offer to a progressive candidate like me? So far I have to say the consultants have been right, and standing up and showing courage about what I believe hasn't done much for my campaign. Why should I believe you and not them?
I am running for Congress in what is supposed to be one of the most conservative districts in America, against a guy who is a rubber stamp for the Washington culture of corruption and cronyism, and guess what? I can win! But where is my help? I'm not getting it from the DNC or the DCCC. I'm not getting it from the netroots. I'm not getting it from the big money donors in Colorado or around the Country. And yet, I've already raised $200,000 from over 1200 different donors! Truth be told, I'm riding into battle with a grassroots army, already thousands strong, and thus far, everyone else is standing on the sidelines asking one of two questions. The first is "How can you win in that district?" The second is "How can you prove to me that you are a proud, strong, aggressive, progressive Democrat?" Okay, let's take those questions on!
I know there are those out there who say "You can't win that seat, so why try, and why donate money to you for a lost cause?" The first response I have to people who say that is to quote Teddy Roosevelt:
"Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the grey twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat."
I've read Markos and Jerome's book, and it seems to me that part of what they are saying is to go out and stand strong for what we believe in, and fight on all fronts. I believe in that, and I believe that by fighting in my district we will draw republican resources away from other districts. I also believe we have to fight for another reason. As Ghandi once said, "I fight today, even if I cannot win, so that some other person, on some other day in the future CAN win."
But you know what? We can win this race and we can take back a seat that the republican side thinks is completely safe, and when we do, ask yourself what it will mean to America and to the progressive movement! We can win because my opponent's vote totals have decreased every time he has run because every time more people realize that he does not represent our district. We can win because this district is changing every month and changing in our favor. We can win because my opponent is neck deep in the culture of corruption in Washington and people want a change. We can win because the people in CO-06 are not interested in the narrow politics of hate and division any more. They want the same things we all want--a stronger America, health care for all of us, real national security, a rational energy policy, a stronger economy, environmental protections, and yes, an end to the Iraq War that makes America safer. And we can win because I am the right person at the right time in the right place!
And yet many of you want to know how I can prove my progressive and Democratic bona fides, and I understand that. You deserve to know what I stand for, and yet when I stand up for all that you profess to believe in, what will you offer me in terms of support? As other Democrat candidates race each other to the middle and struggle to see who can be more cautious, I stand up for what we believe in.
I stand up for 100%---100%---equality for women in all aspects of their lives. I stand up for the right of women to make their own decisions about what happens to their bodies. I stand up for absolute equality for the GLBT community because I didn't give ten years to serving America only to stand by and do nothing while people are discriminated against simply because they are gay or lesbian. I stand up for health care for ALL Americans and not just wealthy Americans, and I know what I'm fighting for because I don't have any health coverage myself. I stand up for an end to our dependence on oil and alternative energy sources and environmental protection because I know that we are standing on the brink of environmental disaster. I stand up for the Constitution and civil liberties and the idea that the President IS bound by the laws and the Constitution, and may NOT spy on Americans or detain people whenever he chooses. And I stand up for an end to the war in Iraq and an end to the meaningless deaths of our troops to support a failed policy.
I stand for all of these things for many reasons, but perhaps the biggest one is that I recognize that the deck is stacked against most of us in America anymore. I was an orphan, born with a heart problem, and I needed heart surgery before I could be adopted. Babies with those kinds of health problems don't get adopted usually. I got lucky. I got adopted by wonderful parents who gave me a home, a family, a different life. But what about the ones who don't get lucky? What about the ones who die quietly and unlamented? What about the sick and the starving? What about the families struggling to make ends meet? What about the parents who can no longer offer the American dream to their children? What about the widows and the parents who have lost their children in Iraq or in New Orleans or on the mean streets of America? Who speaks for them?
I'll give you at least one answer---I do! Which brings me back to my original question, which I suppose I could rephrase as "If I stand for all this, then who will stand for me and who will stand with me?" And I guess that's my question this morning for the netroots. I'm going into battle for the future of America with a grassroots army at my side and I'm proud to do it and proud of all of them. My question to you is, what will you do to help us, or is it not your problem perhaps? We are going to fight the good fight. I invite you to join us and I look forward to hearing how you can help.
Bill G. Winter
Candidate for Congress, Colorado CD6