Democrats in July: Action Items

It's a little more than a month until the Democratic National Convention and almost four months until the November election. It's time to put on the sunscreen, get some bottled water, put on some nice comfortable, cotton clothes, and get to work! Here's a few action items to get your thoughts going on a summer to-do list...

Some random thoughts:

1) Does everyone lived in an organized precinct? If not...what can we do to help make it organized? (Only takes five!) I know some people who have taken on the thankless task of precinct reorganization in my county. Not only does it help focus all the people who wish to get involved in Election 2008, it also builds the party for the coming year, gets people engaged, ensures that county parties don't get "fined" under the Sustainment Fund, and helps make our state party stronger and more representative of modern Democratic voters! Under the North Carolina Democratic Party's Plan of Organization, there's plenty we can do to help combat unorganized reason to wait until 2009!

2) It's (past) time to do some fundraising for our Denver delegates (if only I knew one...) who may not be in the best position to afford that travel and those daily Denver hotel rates. We all knew it was a "self-funded" enterprise going in, but we are fortunate this year to have delegates who are young (and not-so-young), who are not part of the good ol' boy "clique" and who need financial aid. If you know of any delegates in your area, take time to organize a rally/party builder/fundraising event and help send them off to a historic convention! And please take pictures and videos, so we can hear from our great North Carolina delegates about why they are excited to go to Denver, what they hope to accomplish, and will they get us a souvenir t-shirt (size L, please!)??

3) In a year of change, when we (supposedly) struggle to establish a new kind of politics, what can we do to put this rhetoric into action? Keep holding everyone's feet to the fire, BlueNC, and let's keep supporting good candidates...and creating some of our own! Everyone ask for a digital camera for their birthday and start getting to work on building BlueNCTV, so we can see your action in, um, action!

4) County party websites are just one small dimension in party building. In y'all's opinion, what content does it take to make a "great" county party website? An up-to-date calendar? Contact info for local officials? Precinct info? Blogs from party leaders? Just interested. Feel free to name names (for the good ones!) and link, please!

5) Communications. How many people hear from their elected officials via e-mail or snail mail on a semi-regular basis? It hurts me to admit, but Rep. Robin Hayes (R) actually sends me the most correspondence (e-mail) than any other of my federal, state, or local officials. Basic communication means so much...whether you are an elected official or party leader.

As a member-elect of the DNC, I hope to take the next month to establish a communications network with local, district, and state political organizations, as well as elected officials, to help communicate what the heck we do once I take office on August 29. It's funny (actually, sad...) how excited some state legislators are when I tell them I'd like to send them e-mails. No one has ever bothered to do this before, I guess! (Any county/district chairs, PM me!) Whether it's elected officials or party leaders, everyone mostly gets D's and F's on communications. Please give a shout-out to whom you think does a great job of this!

In case anyone needs some motivation, here's one of my favorite "action" heroes:


LOVED that Clinton clip

He nailed the contradiction and the primary problem -- totally. Another great one for the email chain! Thanks, capt. :)

And good questions:

Precinct reorganization has been a priority for our current County Chair for years. She started the task as a new party member years ago and is still steadily working at it. It's made more difficult for us because we are such a fast growing county that we have 2-3 precincts split every other year. But you're right ... Precinct organization is a beautiful way to gently bring new "actives" into the party and hand them very doable but very necessary and rewarding political work.

I hear ya!! Somebody plan a fund raiser and I'll do my best to get myself there and drop a little cash in the hat. It's pretty much all I've got to give here, since I am extraordinarily BAD at "get-together" planning.

Seeing "action-in-action" IS powerful. Pictures are worth a thousand words and videos are golden nuggets, but borrowing may be my best hope for getting video any time in the next oh... four, five years. (Kids in college.;)) Other than that ... Amen to everything.

For county websites ... First: An up to date calendar is essential. Second: A front page frame that is constantly updating with new content/ commentary/ news/ pictures on the front page. Third: Contact info (email) for party leaders and precinct leaders. That's my list, anyway.

I hear from Congressman Etheridge but the best email communicator I know of is Rep. Margaret Dickson. Her office sends out regular legislative updates. I don't know any lawmaker in Raleigh who does electronic communication better. Everybody else needs to send their staff to classes with her staff.

"It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit." - Harry Truman

"They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum Then they charged the people a dollar 'n a half just to see 'em. Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone? They paved paradise and put up a parking lot."

Summer's here and time is right for working the streets

Went out again registering voters Sunday and once again, for the second Sunday in a row, had a great time ... and success. Five of us got 15 registered in two hours, and may have gotten six to eight more because of forms left with folks who wanted to do the necessary paperwork at home.
Most rewarding was a fellow who'd finished his probation but didn't know his right to vote would be restored. He was on the floor of his apartment with an adorable daughter sitting on his legs, and he seemed truly amazed that he would for the first time in some while be eligible to cast a ballot, and for someone - Barck - he believes can make a difference in his life and in the nation and world.
North Carolina, in my opinion, is in many respects a very progressive state in terms of voter registration and voter access. We truly do make it easy to register and to vote. But the state should, if it does not already, take great pains to make sure that those who have been convicted of crimes but who have served their sentences know that their voting rights will be restored.
After all, the right to vote is fundamental, and nothing is more important in a democracy than making sure that all those who can vote know they have that opportunity.
We also registered a fellow who, at age 46, had never voted. We told him we were from the Obama campaign, and we was immediately eager. When we asked him which party he wanted to register with, if any, he wasn't sure; he said he doesn't follow politics closely. He did, however, want to know which party Barack represented, and said he wanted to register with that one.
In two hours, we had only a few negative experiences. One lady thought we inappropriately tried to convince a registrant to vote for Barck, since all we were doing was registering voters. But the registrant had said she had voted for Hillary in the primary, and we thought it was only proper to inform her that Hillary was working for Barack, and that Hillary's positions on issues are infinitely closer to Barack's than to the elderly Republican whose name I shall not mention here.
Eventually, I calmed the objector by telling her that although we had advocated Barack, we registered the woman as a Republican, as was her choice.
As on the past Sunday, we had a few good conversations with undecided voters about Barack's positions, highlighting the strengths of his positions relative to the elderly Republican's on such things as environmental issues, health care, education and acceptance of money from corporations.
I continue to be amazed at the warmth we are received, both as Obama supporters/volunteers and as people out on hot summer days bothering people on their days off. Only one door shut in our faces in four total hours of "work" over the past two weeks.
I'd knocked on doors before for Kerry/Edwards and Gore/Lieberman, and the difference between how "tuned in" and eager people are to participate this time around is striking. People seem to realize we are at a major crossroads in America, and that it is, perhaps, more important than at any time in their lives to participate.
Summer's here, and the time is right for working in the streets. We'll dance in November.