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Here’s how to win. You have a super message. You campaign as hard as you can.

Is that enough to win? No, I don’t think so. You also have to show you care.

This lesson came home to me today after some quiet time pondering the message from the life of a man who died Sept. 5, Bill Davis, one of the early leaders of Vietnam Veterans Against the War.
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Lucky me, I’m a Vietnam Vet, too. Lucky me, I was in Chicago a month ago for the YearlyKos bloggers’ convention -- held at the same time as the VVAW’s convention. I went to a VVAW social event one night and got on their membership and email roster. I don’t believe I met Bill Davis that night, but since his passing I’ve come to know his thought. Today, in rolled an email from VVAW with the full list of YouTube videos from speeches and interviews he gave in recent years. It took an hour or more, but I watched all the way through as a dying man summarized a life of activism and service.

This link is to the VVAW press release with links to the YouTube videos. Take 15 minutes and listen to Parts 1 and 2 of his talk at the VVAW Activists Panel in August. His passion comes through the obvious pain of his illness. Sample some of the older videos, when his voice was stronger.

VVAW seeks to help people. That’s one reason it still is a strong organization -- well, there is an unjust war under way, but that’s not all. "VVAW has never stopped working to protect the welfare of those who served their country," is part of its mission statement.

Davis said veterans kept coming to VVAW because the organization provided counseling and service and lobbied fiercely for veterans’ benefits. "We will provide for others, we will serve the people. We are activists, and activism means work," he said. The organization’s goal was "peace and benefits for all veterans."

That’s why I liked the Miami-Dade Democrats' recent (but lightly attended) work day to clean up North Shore park in Miami Beach. We were doing something to help -- and it was great to hear the thanks we got from park visitors.

Can we do this more often? The Florida budget crisis may lead to less cleaning of the beaches, so in fact we should be getting ready.

Originally posted to Larry Thorson on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 01:39 PM PDT.

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