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Peter Hentges

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November 4th, 2004


05:40 am - Moving on
I think I was the last hold-out. I believed right up to the point that Kerry conceded that he would still win this thing. I posted like a mad-man, doing my part to counter the Republican spin everywhere it was cropping up.

Even after he conceded, I wasn't sad, I was angry.

How dare he send John Edwards out to tell us that every vote will be counted and then give up the next morning? "Christ," I thought to myself, "he is a flip-flopper."

Then I went to sleep and dreamt dreams that, surprisingly, had nothing to do with the election.

When I awoke I was still angry. I stayed angry until about 2:00 a.m. Thursday. It was about then that I read the old fanzine article that fredcritter gave me. It was a series of letters from Asenath Hammond to Fred about her trip to a Minicon (he thinks Minicon 7 from various archaeological evidence in the text). It's written in many different styles and while the original was just typed up and mimeod, requiring Reed Waller to give it a dramatic reading before Fred "got it," Fred prokked this version up in various typefaces that carry the tone of the letters across. It was hilarious and something I needed very much.

Now I've turned all that angry energy into "take positive action" energy. I feel more than ever that I can make a difference. I did this time around. I volunteered. I went to a rally. I participated in subversive activities. It was fun. I liked it.

My opinion is that we are, nationally, at a point where change from the top will be hard. If I want things to be different, I'm going to have to do my part from the ground up. That starts with my school board and city council and moves up to my state legislature and governor and peaks at U.S. Representative and Senator. To make change happen, it's going to have to start at the bottom.

Over in cakmpls's journal, I left a comment to the effect that in order to have a discussion with the people who voted for Bush because of "values," we have to get to the point that everyone agrees that values and government are different things. That's not going to happen overnight and may not happen at all for some. I have to believe, however, that people can be taught; that they are able to change their minds given information in a way that works for them. It'll be a hard, long road, but it's not going to start at the top.

My number one issue now has become education. If the nation is to change, then children have to grow up thinking differently from their parents. I see a lot of this already when I see children interacting with Ericka. None of them think it's a big deal that she's in wheelchair or that she's fat. They think her chair is cool and they innocently ask why she has one and how she got so big. (A little boy at the baptism we went to thought that Ericka was a pro wrestler because she was so big. Not too far off as her size has a lot to do with steroids.) These kinds of attitudes, hopefully, lead to people who expect that everyone is treated equally. People who find it incredulous that women are paid less than men for doing the same work. People who, when they are told a friend is gay, think, "huh, I wonder if he'd like to meet Bob?"

Where I think I can be of most help will be in helping the Democratic Party to organize volunteers. In the efforts I made to volunteer it seemed to me that the process was more chaotic than it had to be. Yes, it's not a fan-run convention but there are certain small things that could make a big difference. For example, I don't know how many times I was emailed during the course of the year by the DFL asking me to help with something the next day. I'm busy, everyone's busy. One day is not enough notice. When I did show up to volunteer, no one knew I was coming and there wasn't a clear idea of what it was that I should be doing. Having one of those would be a big step forward. So I intend to contact the Minnesota DFL and see about getting a full time position doing that sort of thing. Mid-term elections are just two years away, it's a good time to start lining up workers.
Current Mood: determineddetermined

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10:23 pm - More thoughts on moving forward
A friend laid out his ideas for building the infrastructure to bring true liberalism back into this nation's government. In a comment to him, I started these thoughts:

He talked about needing think tanks, policy institutes, and foundations. We need political scientists, economists, and philosophers. I think he left out education. All those other things are aimed at the people that are currently voters. Since the country is largely a middle that's leaning right, we aren't going to make a lot of progress trying to move that mass. (We should keep trying, yes, but the effort will not pay big dividends.)

What we need to tip the scales is to add more people to our side and that means getting them young. Already our education system does a decent job teaching liberal values: share, take turns, don't hit, respect others even when they are different.

We need to build on that and make sure that the people that are becoming voters are leaning more toward our side. This is, in my mind, where the ground war begins. We fight the holding actions, we bolster the local officials, but to win in the long run, we need to change the battleground.

The conservatives are doing this to some extent already. Vouchers for taking kids out of public schools is a way to move the money (read: power) from the public good to personal control. These fights can be won and are the important ones to win for the future.

It starts with the kids.
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative

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