Seriously. This election... I simply didn't do enough (Oh and BTW, this is a rant...)
I just left the Arizona Democratic Party election night event. Some of you on DU for year might know my name. Those who I haven't had the pleasure to exchange posts with, my name is Kevin Spidel. I ran the national Field for Dennis Kucinich' 2004 Presidential Campaign, out of which I founded Progressive Vote by mortgaging my house. That became the field arm of Progressive Democrats of America (PDA.) I became their National Deputy Director and helped to elect several members to Congress including Donna Edwards, Jerry McNerney, and others. We also became the national field arm for the Progressive Caucus. I led Christine Cegelis' battle against the DCCC for what I felt was right for the grassroots. We spent $60k to their $800k and only lost by 1.4 votes per precinct. I don't give this background for any type of bragging or to single me out from the many others on this forum that have also put blood sweat and tears into their vision for the future through he electoral process.
I say these things simply because I wanted to give context to what I am about to say...
I left PDA because I felt the left became to radical and less pragmatic... less strategic. I left and went to work for Amnesty International as their Campaign Director against Torture (Post 9-11, habeas, extraordinary renditions, torture in the field, etc.)
I sat in a committee hearing within the House with my colleagues giving testimony and torture survivors. We went into detail what our US Military was doing to civilians in Afghanistan. Rep John Boehner was bored. I witnessed him yawning as the torture survivor gave detailed testimony on his torture. We showed photos... he rolled his eyes. Let me repeat that... HE ROLLED HIS EYES. Dismissed this all as needed acts in the defense of freedom. At that moment I left politics completely. I gave up on individual politicians, organizations, national strategy... and in that second humanity.
Well today... We now have Rep Boehner as our Speaker of the house!
We lost Senator Feingold for Gods sake. The last Wellstonian voice?! Today in Arizona, my home state I am a resident again of, we elected the person that gave us SB1070! We are nearly losing Rep. Grijalva, as of now looks like we are losing Rep Mitchell and have elected Dan Quayle's kid! Can it get any worse?
With the Tea Party at the helm of what is tractionable change in American politics... with Boehner leading the House... YES!
I ran from politics... I gave up on what I thought was a lack of commonsense in the left. What happened was me, and many like me left the engagement of organizing. Of developing strategic movements where our collective voices can be harnessed toward positive change. What was left was consultants and those (like me) that left to the private sector.
I didn't do enough during the election. I helped where I thought I could with Terry Goddard's campaign. But it was small. I know many more in my situation with my background that did the same.
Shame on me... shame on them.
I love my job currently and will continue to focus on it during the work hours. However... I need to significantly work toward building these networks again. In 2012 I can't feel like this again. We cant give away the ground we have gained to radicals.
The moderates didn't turn out this election. They didn't. Our progressive, equality message resonates with them... just not enough to invoke action that makes them feel apart of a movement.
Obama proved that negative campaign messages are not the only memes that invokes action. We can harness change in the moderate, mainstream, American in 2012. With folks like Boehner in charge... their political "mandate" will be worn out quickly.
Tonight... I am drinking my sorrows away. But let's hold the spirit of Feingold in our vision this is his quote from Bob Dylan tonight:
"You gave me my backbone," he added. Quoting Bob Dylan, he said, "My heart is not weary, it's light and free, and I've got nothing but affection for those who have sailed with me."
What's next? Simple... let's not bitch any more. Let's act. Lets organize... lets strategize! I am reaching out to my fellow recovering political hacks and current political hacks to organize a national strategy. That is my commitment. Let's stop bitching and lets get back to action. Stay tuned... no more sitting on the sidelines... it's time to respond to this election.
No more excuses about "hearding cats"
No more excuses about "lacking strategy"
No more excuses
Let's get on board and do this. Let's rock 2012 with pragmatic progressivism.