Tag: Democrats Work

Do public service with Gen. Wes Clark, in WA-08, CA-04, CO-04, MN-03, NC-10

The first round votes have been counted and we are down to the final five!  

Thousands and thousands of people cast first round votes in “Serve with the General” – the contest that will send General Wes Clark to one lucky Congressional District to participate in a community service project.  The race to get into the final round was extremely close!

Now it is time to pick from the final five districts: Washington’s 8th (Darcy Burner), California’s 4th (Charlie Brown), North Carolina’s 10th (Daniel Johnson), Colorado’s 4th (Betsy Markey), or Minnesota’s 3rd (Ashwin Madia).

Click here to cast your final round vote!

(Every district starts back at zero votes for the final round, so make sure you cast a final round vote.)

You get to decide where Democrats will roll up their sleeves at a community service event with General Clark this summer.  

So cast your vote today!  The final round of voting ends this Friday, June 6th, at 12:00 midnight eastern time.  

Thank you for your participation and for putting your Democratic values into action.  Spread the word!

Democrats Work & Darcy Burner – Serving Well By Actually Serving

Somewhere along the line the pundits forgot that politics doesn’t begin and end in Washington, DC.  They focus on FOX News appearances and ABC debates and the words of a pastor, but they fail to look at how some of us are making appearances in our communities, finding solutions, and getting beyond words.  

With every campaign talking about change this year, let’s look some of the people who are changing the way they campaign.  Let’s look at people who aren’t just saying how they would act if they were elected, but are showing through their actions the very nature of their commitment and leadership.  

Fires are Burning

This was the evening news from Armageddon…

After discovering a suspicious man in a brush area on the San Bernardino campus  of California State University, police attempted to detain a 27-year-old on suspicion of arson.
Following a chase, officers opened fire and killed him, police said.

“They thought there could be the possibility that he’s an arsonist,” Patterson said. The area “is in the path of the fire.”

Four charred bodies were found Thursday in an apparent migrant camp burned by one of the wildfires raging across southern California, authorities said Thursday.

As wildfires were charging across Southern California, nearly two dozen water-dropping helicopters and two massive cargo planes sat idly by, grounded by government rules and bureaucracy.

A news crew was taping a cabinet meeting at the White House as the president was giving a briefing on the California wildfires. The news crew taped Cheney as he appeared to be nodding off.

“There’s all kinds of time for historians to compare this response to that response,” Bush said during a tour of the state’s fire-ravaged communities.

A lot of people are going to lose their homes today,” San Diego Fire Capt. Lisa Blake predicted earlier.

According to estimates, nearly 1 million southern Californians have been displaced in the biggest evacuation in state history as a result of at least 16 simultaneous wildfires. More than 350,000 houses have been evacuated.

People who need it can get help with “home reprayer – repair,” said the president, handing out the FEMA phone number and Web-site for victims of the wildfires.

“Arnold Schwarzenegger is right. These fires are going to go out… but there are still going to be needs and concerns,” Bush said. “We’re not going to forget you in Washington, D.C.”

These fires are going to go out, and hard work will remain, but I am not counting on Bush to set things right. After the jump, I will tell you what you can do right now to help the people hurt by this crisis.

Raising the Bar on Lowering the Bar

With every new Republican outrage the calibration on my disgust meter needs to be reset, and things that once tipped the scales now barely move the needle. Years ago we left Orwell in the dust. I now watch with increasingly numbed horror as the Administration works its way through Kafka.

We have secret prisons and hidden trials. I keep expecting Harry Reid to show up on FOX saying that the ‘Metamorphose into a Bug Act of 2007’ was as good a law as we could pass, and that without holding 102% of the Senate, the Democrats had no choice but send the President some sort of beetle transformation legislation that Bush will find pleasing to His royal eye.

Government has become like the weather. Most people feel it is too big and too distant to care about our needs or to be changed through our actions. At best it is simply something we need to plan around while trying to get things done for ourselves. “Is it governmenting outside heavily today? Then you better plan a few extra hours at the airport, and hopefully the government will let up in time for your trip.”

I remember when talking about it would irritate my friends. I would come into their homes dripping with politics and they would not want it on their carpets. They are not that way anymore. The government has been coming down so hard for so long now, that people are starting to pay attention. People are looking for a break in the weather.

Part of the mission of Democrats Work is to bring the scale down and narrow the distance between problems and answers. We literally put the tools in people’s hands to change their neighborhoods. With rakes and boots, cans and boxes, we are planting, cleaning, feeding and repairing. Hidden behind poll numbers are people. We walk up to those people and say, “Democrats are not some sort of institution out there in that unreachable realm of Washington wrestling. Democrats are you, me, and the person next door, and today our concern is with that tree right there, in that park right there, and we need a hand with this shovel.” It isn’t about budgets and votes and quotes in newspapers. It is about being the answer when someone asks, “Who is going to pick up that crumpled newspaper now that it is blowing down my street?”

So we work with a thousand small hands in a million small places, and suddenly politics is personal again.

Competition, Collaboration, and Co-Creation

I have a .net head and a .org heart.
I am trying to transform a .com game using .gov players.

The nature of American politics is highly competitive. It is not rule by the majority. It is rule by those who can take power and dig the deepest trenches to defend it. Getting an office is a series of rivalries and victories. At each step another 49% of the voices get pushed aside, and the remaining 51% go on to the next divisive round. Tiny factions get the spoils.

This paradigm of competition is such a deep part of the structure, that to generate participation I sometimes have to cloak ‘all of us together’ projects in the language of ‘us vs. them.’

I think there is a larger point to be made here about cooperative blog projects, the ecology of bloggers each doing their own thing, and the underlying competitiveness of Left vs. Right, Dem vs Rep, DLC vs Progressive, and my blog vs. their blog.

I am not sure that I can fully make that point, but I will nibble around the edges while telling you what I am doing to mess with the system in the Colorado 2nd Congressional District ‘Coats and Cans‘ straw poll.