Who Are “The Democrats?”

I often write that “The Democrats” are the people who show up at local meetings and vote. There is a great diary at DailyKos today by a blogger who attended the recent Democratic National Committee (DNC) conference, and talks about some of the people there. Please read Daily Kos: Pulling Back the Curtain: Your DNC.
The Democratic Party is the people who show up at local meetings and vote. It is not some top-down corporate-run secretive conspiracy organization that issues commands that the rest must follow. Anyone who actually goes to local meetings would know that.
Even Thomas, the Green who blogs here, could quickly rise up and become one of the people who set policy for “The Democrats” if he wanted to.

8 thoughts on “Who Are “The Democrats?”

  1. This is the way almost any organization works (setting aside the Republican Party) – leadership comes from active participation, and organizations are typically open to rapid promotion of energetic new participants. There’s nothing unique in the Democratic Party’s openness this way (except relative to the Republican Party, and that’s hardly a standard to measure anything by) – it would be unusual for it to be otherwise. …and yet, despite the openness to participation, and grassroots mandate, the end result of your participation in the Democratic Party, Dave, is the pathetic and generally spineless result you see in Washington D.C.

    Whereas the end result I see is anything but pathetic and spineless: at the local, state, national and INTERNATIONAL levels, the Green Party as an institution is at the forefront of the movements I’m concerned about. I think I can safely say that I’m more satisfied with the results I get at the national level, than you are Dave. Plus I get the bonus of seeing my Green brethren and sisters across the world do their work – they are as relevant to me as a representative of my party as a Democratic Senator from another state would be.

    Can you draft a press release, and have a reasonable chance of having it released by the national party? I’ve done that, several times, and could do it more often if I wanted to put the energy into it.

    Is your specific language and phrasing in the state and national platform? Mine (and that of friends) is in the California state platform, and I have a reasonable expectation that it will be in the national platform the next time around.

    Are you an officer on a national level committee? I’ve been repeatedly selected by my peers within the National Lavender Greens Caucus to serve on multiple national Green Party committees and working groups. My peers at the local, state and national level all regard me as a valued and productive contributor. Here’s a quote from one today, in response to some language I formulated: “We are fortunate to have you on the committee.”

    Do you have the power to organize a National Identity Caucus representing your community of concern? I’ve participated as a founding member of one already, and am likely to participate in more in the future.

    It is no picnic being inside the Green Party, it ain’t perfect by any means, but I don’t have to look at the elected leadership of my party and wince in embarassment (at least nowhere near as often).

    Instead, I get to be inspired by people like Australian Senator Bob Brown, a true hero of monumental integrity (and an openly gay man). People like the late Rod Donald of New Zealand, or his co-leader in Parliament, Jeanette Fitzsimons. Or Robin Harper and Patrick Harvie (an openly bis*xual man, like myself) of the Scottish Green Party. Or Claudia Roth and Petra Kelly of the German Green Party. Or Dr. Wangari Maathai of the Mazingira Green Party of Kenya.

    My party is absolutely and unconditionally committed to the values, policies and principles I believe in – and it is acting on them across the world. There’s damn little to apologize about, relative to, say – the Democratic Party’s platform, and their performance in office.

    I could go on – the list of ELECTED and EFFECTIVE and UNABASHEDLY PROGRESSIVE Green leaders and heros and heroines locally, statewide, nationwide, and worldwide is a mile long. These are my role models, and they are making a difference, TODAY, on issues I care about.

  2. Well, sure wish the democrats would act like a political party and press an agenda that’s, well, em, DEMOCRATIC

  3. “the end result of your participation in the Democratic Party, Dave, is the pathetic and generally spineless result you see in Washington D.C.”
    My entire point is that the Democrats have started changing from that, as a result of the blogs and the grassroots “netroots” movement since 2000 or so. We have elected Dean and started clearing out the “old blood” that didn’t see what the Right and corporatists were doing.

  4. Dave,
    Well good. We can compare notes five to ten to fifteen years down the line as these changes percolate up, “bad” incumbents leave office or are booted out, “good” Democrats rise in the ranks, etc. and see whether or not your efforts bore fruit. 🙂
    In the meantime, we Greens will continue hounding and haunting the Democrats and giving the better elements in the Democratic Party an excuse to push it to the “left”, until you either reform the electoral process to include ranked choice voting (San Francisco) and “clean money” (Loni Hancock’s AB583) so that we can work in collaboration without “spoiling”, or you manage to successfully convince our electoral and activist base that the Democratic Party is a better option.
    There’s also the possibility that the Green Party might simply implode, but I won’t go into that. 🙂
    P.S. If you don’t think I’m serious about the time line, well, here’s a lesson in patience my mother taught me: yesterday, after FIFTEEN YEARS of patient work by my mother and other veteran neighborhood activists, my home town of Santa Monica FINALLY re-opened the redesigned and expanded Virginia Park (major park in the neighborhood where I grew up). FIFTEEN YEARS worth of meetings, fundraising, grant-writing and re-writing, design plans, community feedback forums, etc. etc. etc. FIFTEEN YEARS it took, for the plan to finally take shape and be realized. I graduated from high school the year they started the expansion and re-design.
    My personal political horizon for substantial change *STARTS* at twenty years, and goes up from there.

  5. Thomas – this is exacly my problem with Greens. Here we are in a national emergency from the right-wing takeover of democracy, threatening the entire world. Torture, aggressive war, gobal warming, massive debt and the gutting of our infrastructure. And the Greens are interested in “hounding and haunting the Democrats.”
    Unions learned the hard way that we have to stick together to fight the moneyed interests. But the Greens broke the coalition. And in Florida in 2000, 90,000 people voted for Nader. Now 100,000 Iraqis are dead and our democracy is gone. Good work Greens!

  6. I can’t help but wonder how much better the Democratic party would be if it had a lot more progressives in it. Gary linked to the Progressive Democrats of America on MyDD the other day and I was surprised that I hadn’t heard of them before although they are more like me than the DLC.

  7. My problem with the Greens is precisely that they are so lacking in real infrastructure and base that they are easily used as a platform by any unprincipled, grandstanding egotist. Remember Audie Bock — and more controversially, Mat Gonzales, who bailed rather than stay and fight.

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