A Progressive Alamedan

Various writings from a resident of Alameda regarding the political scene. The local perspective of local, state and national politics and a few other odds and ends of local concern. May not be particularly interesting to people outside of the Alameda area.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Why I'm Running for Delegate Today

If you are reading this blog on its publication date — Saturday the 8th — and you are a registered Democrat, and you live in Alameda, parts of Oakland, or Piedmont — The 16th Assembly District, represented by Sandré Swanson — I hope you can come head over to Laney College's Theatre building today, arriving after 2 PM but before 4 PM, to vote for me, and the progressive slate that I am a part of:

6 Women: Nwamaka AGBO, Pamela DRAKE, Susan HARMAN, Jessamyn SABBAG, Margaret SCHULTZ, Esperanza TERVALON-DAUMONT

6 Men: Sean DUGAR*, Joseph J. GEORGE (Jakada Imani), Abel GUILLEN*, Robert PECK, Sean SULLIVAN*, Dan WOOD

* = additional candidates recommended by the slate

I am also running for the position of EXECUTIVE BOARD. One person from the twelve winning delegates is eligible to become the E-Board representative for our district. As one of the most inveterate delegates in our district, I feel that I'm qualified to step up to this additional level of responsibility. Thus, there will be a second ballot; please write my full name on that additional ballot and turn that in.

But the main reason I'm writing this is to talk about why I'm running. It's very easy to get caught up in the calling, emailing, team-building, endorsement-collecting aspect of running a campaign ... whether it's a big campaign or a tiny campaign like mine. But more important than that is the original reason that a candidate is running in the first place. For me, there are so many reasons to run for delegate, to do what I can to make the California Democratic Party become more progressive.

I am running because the Party should not be helping out those Democrats-In-Name-Only who are just Republicans in disguise, just because they are the incumbents. Democrats stand for something, and when there is a "Democrat" in office who does not stand for something, they should be shown the door. I'm looking at Congresswoman Jane Harman, and at Senator Diane Feinstein, for instance.

I am running because as delegates, we have the ability to vote on which candidates for primary elections get the endorsement of the party. We got to have great candidates like Dave Jones, Kamala Harris, and Debra Bowen on our November ballots due largely to their backing by the Democratic Party in the corresponding June elections.

I am running because, when enough progressives get together and build up a Party Resolution, it's possible for the state party to get a message out that is not being given attention at the national level. For example, the Party's message just over a year ago was a resolution called End the U.S. Occupation & Air War in Afghanistan. This would have been unthinkable just a few years ago.

I am running because we all need to put a stop to rampant corporate control of our media, of our politicians, of our government, and of us - including our children.

I am running because we need to put a stop to the powerful, out-of-control military forces. Our entire current military operations are based upon lies. I'm in the middle of an amazing book about the presidency of JFK, and how hard he had to fight against his military advisors' constant pressure upon him to go with a military solution. (It's astonishing that JFK was able to keep us from nuclear annihilation!) Fast forward 50 years of rampant military-industrial-complex growth, and I can imagine that it must be nearly impossible for even the most liberal President to have any control over this. Wikileaks' recent disclosures have shown how horrible things are in Iraq and Afghanistan, and there doesn't seem to be any end in site.

(What can we do as mere delegates to the party about this? Only a little at a time, but it's better to try than to throw up our hands!) We have to do something to put an end to our Naqoyqatsi.

I am running because we need to do something about our economy, which is in shambles, and perched on the edge of a precipice. The State of California is close to bankrupt, mostly thanks to Proposition 13, which has protected corporations from paying their fair share of taxes. And thanks to our latest propositions from the November ballot, the legislature has no way to raise new revenues without getting held hostage by the Republicans (who would prefer to see the state budget go down in flames). And things are even worse at the Federal level. Our country is deep in debt; our dollars would be worth nothing if they weren't the international standard — and this artificial support could crumble any time — and there is no end in sight to the hemorrhaging by the military on our budget.

I am running because our health care system is still in a horrible state. The well-publicized, heavily debated congressional reform ended up being just another giveaway to the pharmaceutical industry.

I am running because we need to put pressure on our President to do actually implement some of the things he promised. [Broken Promises] We still have the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. We still have corporate give-aways. We still have torture. We still have the USA PATRIOT act. (You know, it feels like we still have George W. Bush!)

And I am running for so many other reasons. We're running out of time, in our economy, in our climate, in our oil supplies (the other inconvenient truth), in our constitutional freedoms. I want our kids to have a future.

A single delegate who cares about these issues can only do so much. A swarm, however, can be pretty effective. Let's hope that we get a swarm of progressive elected across the state today.


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