The Falls Church News-Press was on hand to witness the remarkable display of determination of Virginia progressives during the campaign leadership training weekend in Falls Church on July 9-10 offered by Democracy for America and co-hosted by DFV. An article in yesterday's edition describes the scene:
There aren’t many things that could convince somebody to give up a sunny summer day to spend hours in a high school classroom. Just the idea of leaving the beach blanket to sit in an uncomfortable desk under fluorescent lighting is tantamount to punishment.
Yet earlier this month, as the hours ticked away on a glorious July weekend, over 100 people, from teenagers fresh out of high school to senior citizens now earning Social Security checks, showed up at George C. Marshall High School at 8 a.m. and staying all day for two days, sacrificing their free time in exchange for an education in grass roots politics.
During the day before the training, I was on the phone with a candidate for the House of Delegates, talking about the candidate forum planned for the next day. He said to me, "You're telling me you're expecting more than a hundred people in July to give up two whole weekend days for training on campaign leadership? Did you bribe them or something? That's unheard of."
Nope, we didn't bribe them (although we did feed them). In fact, most participants contributed to cover the cost of the training and to sponsor scholarships for other participants!
Many Democrats and others who fought to defeat Bush are taking this year "off" - regaining their hope, replenishing their bank accounts, re-connecting with parts of their lives that were neglected while volunteering on campaigns. But here in Virginia, we've had to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and get immediately back to work for our 2005 elections. Seeing so many people gathered together to learn to be more effective volunteers and campaign leaders was a real inspiration.
In addition to the FCNP article, blogger Teddy Goodson (an inspirational and feisty ex-Republican) over at Raising Kaine has been describing her experiences at the training in a series of detailed posts. Her first three installments are here, here, and here, with more to come. And lovely Luna over at Liberal Rage has a great writeup, too.