We’re Not Whining, We’re Just Not Settling For Mediocrity This Time
I’m sick to death of hearing that we liberals should stop whining and get on board. I recently read a left leaning blog that suggested we should choose to be inspired rather than looking to candidates to inspire us. Really? I think that’s what we have done every election cycle for as long as we can remember. We’ve chosen to be inspired by what we’ve been handed, mediocre candidates, but that’s simply not enough anymore. Even if it was, it hasn’t had the promised result, namely Democratic wins, now has it?
One thing that liberal activists haven’t done enough, but are beginning to do more, is infiltrate the Party we want to change. Instead of trying to change the Democratic Party from the outside, it is becoming increasingly effective to change it from within, by attending local Party meetings and voting for challengers to entrenched power. Recently in California, incumbent Democratic Congresswoman Jane Harman, was denied an automatic endorsement by the State Party because progressive activists attended the meetings and voted instead for the challenger, Marcy Winograd. Instead of thinking of ourselves as outsiders, we have to become insiders.
In Portland, Oregon, the Multnomah County Democrats chose not to endorse their Democratic Governor and instead chose to endorse both of his primary challengers. Governor Kulongoski didn’t bother to show up at the meeting and therefore didn’t get the endorsement. Incumbent Democrats are often far too sure that they’ve got the support of the Party apparatus all locked up, but when liberals who are decidedly uninspired by their leadership actually show up to the meetings and vote, they are exercising their power as members of the Party and making a difference in who gets Party support. There’s a lesson in here for all of us. Instead of choosing to be inspired by mediocrity, we can vote for the candidates that really inspire us. We are told that these candidates have no chance of winning, but that is only true if we don’t vote for them, don’t give them money and don’t go to Party meetings where we can hopefully, get some Party support behind them.
In that spirit, I will be voting my best hopes in the Democratic Primary. There are many great candidates for local, state and national office in my district, some of them incumbents that I’ll be happy to continue supporting, and some of them challengers to decidedly uninspiring leaders currently in office. Incumbency isn’t bad, but mediocrity is, and if they want my vote, they’ll have to inspire me. Sorry if that’s expecting too much, but democracy should result in the best rising to the top and I’m done enabling candidates that have low expectations of themselves. I’m also done with their scare tactics, “the challenger can’t win in the General Election” and “you’re wasting your vote” crap. I’m only wasting my vote if I vote for a candidate I don’t really want representing me, which is why I’ll be voting for what I want from now on, not what I can get. I’m choosing inspiration over ambition. In the long run, it’s the far better choice and might even result in a better slate of “viable” candidates for the next go around. After all, it’s votes that make them viable and it’s the only leverage we’ve got. It would be a shame not to use it.