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Julie Ide

Oh Boy! I'm so excited! We are online!


David in Va

The core issue for me in any mission statement is that we are gathered around Howard Dean as our leader and that we support the positions that he takes on the issues. Maura in Va has said something like 'The only thing that all Dean supporters have in common is that they all support Dean.' If we are to keep Dean supporters active and organized together then we have to organize around the only thing we all have in common using the key ingredient that energized us to act together up to this point. That one common thing, that key ingredient is Dean. For me to stay involved here, Dean's agenda has to be the focus of Democracy for Virginia. I would like for Democracy for Virginia to be the state chapter of Democracy for America. I would like for this to mean that we are a group of Dean Democrats that are gathered together to help develop and promote the Dean agenda in Virginia.

I want to resist the temptation to try to transfer the energy of the Dean grassroots organization to any particular agenda that is not in sync with Dean's agenda. Progressive or liberal does not equal Dean.

I want this web site to be a focus of our energies as a clearinghouse for information and as a tool to enable local coordination and action. I want this site to talk about what we are going to do in Virginia to define and advance Dean's agenda in support of Democracy for America.

I want the question to be whether this issue or this candidate is something or someone that Dean would support. Discussions about the issues are very relevant on this web site but mostly as they would influence or define the Governor's opinion about them. If Dean has a position on an issue, then I want that to be the position that DfV takes and advocates for. Discussions about the candidates in state and local elections are very important but I want the key issue for DfV to be whether this is a candidate that Dean could strongly support. Without this focus and this discipline, I believe the organization will factionalize and dissolve.

A big attraction for Dean is that he takes reasonable, balanced, and practical positions on many of the social issues that are before us so that something gets accomplished in government. This is why he is a great politician and leader. Liberals and conservatives can find common ground with him. I don't want DfV to be defined as a liberal organization or a Democratic Party organization. I want DfV to attract diversity and not polarize.

If DfV drifts to become defined by issues or causes other than our support for a Dean agenda then I think we will have squandered the potential of the existing grassroots, Dean organization that we still have.

kathy in virginia

Has everyone seen this?
It's a resource some dean supporters have put together. It has links to DFA 2.0 sites in Minnesota, Oregon, Washington, Iowa, Alaska, Michigan, Colorado, North Carolina, Missouri, and Vermont, and some great grassroots "how to run a campaign" stuff.
I agree with David to a point. I want DFA to keep up the Dean banner and work on those issues that originally drew us to Dean's candidiacy in the first place. That said, I think muting the "democratic" angle would be helpful; a lot of dean supporters don't identify as democrats and don't want to join something that presents itself as a mouthpiece of the party.
That being said, thanks for the link to my site (http://www.myownbackyard.blogspot.com) which is taking a slightly different approach. Despite the completely deanish slant to my posts, and the deanish goals (getting deanish people to run for office) I'm also trying to use it as a very very big umbrella for any central va group that's progressive, deanish or not. hell, I even put kerry stuff on the calendar, and the man gives me the dreaded umjums.

David in Va

Kathy in Virginia

I also am very sensitive about being identified with the Democratic Party. Before now, I would never identify myself with any party because I simply don't fit the mold. I have joined the Democratic Party now and I always qualify my participation as a Dean Democrat.

In my post above I almost left out the Democratic part and said that we are simply Dean supporters. I am very aware that there are plenty of Dean supporters who are not traditional Democrats. I am one of them. Your post makes me wonder if I should have left it out. What if we say that we are a group of Dean Progressives, Dean Democrats, Dean Republicans, and Dean Independents that have come together.

I am thinking about the position that Dean has taken. He wants to reform the Democratic Party from within. He wants us to join the Democratic Party to change it. That is the only reason I joined. I think we need to talk about Dean Democrats but if we add to the group, then that's great with me.

Your BlogSpot is very good as a big umbrella. I keep up with it because it is so relevant. I hope you can find a way to add to this DfV site to help balance Maura's Northern Virginia focus ;-).

See you at the Meetup.

Dave in Franklin Co

I'm joining the discussion...

I think one thing we need to keep in mind is the difference between democratic (small 'd') philosophies and the Democratic Party. The democratic ideal is best defined by a distinguished member of the Republican party as "government of the people, by the people and for the people". That contrasts with the government of the monied interests that both political parties are now tending toward. Our founding fathers were mindful of a "tyranny of the majority" and enshrined certain rights and freedoms to protect against that; the concern in our day should be the "tyranny of the minority" which are controlling our government, disenfranchising the rest of us, and reallocating public resources for their own benefit.

I would hesitate to push specific policies in our mission statement for several reasons: 1) there are so many issues and policies we could take a stand on, the statement would grow cumbersome. Policies and the arguments for them best belong in a platform document; 2) agreement on any particular policy would not be universal, even among Dean's supporters. People, including elected officials, can have honest disagreements about what policy best serves the public good. 3) issue-advocacy organizations abound (Sierra Club, NARAL, NOW, NRA, etc.). Any attempt to cobble together the issues they advocate in some separate organization, doesn't do the issue much good (guilt by association) and certainly doesn't help to clarify our mission. People can belong to DFA and also to the Sierra Club; 4) we would be precluded from supporting candidates who don't subscribe to our mission statement, even if their opponent was *>aagck<* Tom DeLay; 5) what? you need more than four good reasons?!

In fact the only issue I think should maybe be included (if we have to include any), would be reform of our electoral system so that the 'powerful' interests have no more voice than any other citizen. But I don't think we even need that.

We just need to ensure that our government(s) establishes policies that promote the "general" welfare and respects the principles on which our country was founded. I'll draft and post something to that effect tomorrow. What has DFA (national) established as their "mission statement"?

Dave in Franklin Co

Okay, nobody has commented in three days (and I thought my post would stir controversy!). Oh well, here's a draft based on the ideas from my last post. Please provide feedback!!...

We, the members of Democracy for Virginia, commit ourselves to working to improve our local, state and federal governments
by ** Ensuring the integrity of the electoral
** Enhancing public awareness of the issues
that affect our lives;
** Promoting policies that improve the
general welfare of the citizens;
And ** Supporting the candidacies of leaders of
character, vision, and moral purpose.

To these ends we dedicate ourselves in common purpose and a spirit of community, to effect a renewal of the ideals on which our nation was founded.

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