I’m a political nobody. So, I don't expect anyone takes me very seriously. I’m likely dismissed as some sort of gadfly, rather that one who cared enough about the direction of our country and state to donate to various progressive groups almost 5,000 hours the last three years.
It was with some substantial and cumulative frustration about the continued rightward slide of our state and national Democratic Party since last November, that I raised concerns about several policy differences I had with Tim Kaine. I was not alone. Increasingly, I think we (volunteers) are only viewed as free labor -- “good for” staging or hosting events to showcase candidates, phone banking, and poll staffing. In other words, so often it seems it’s what we can do for candidates and not how they will represent us. I never imagined I’d be taken seriously, much less given any respect. The truth is that I’d decided to sit this race out. That all changed a few weeks ago when Tim Kaine stopped in Blacksburg.
Many pols would have dismissed and written off local concerned Dems in our small, out-of-the-way town. Not Tim Kaine. When he met with us to field questions and concerns, he wasn’t just patient with the more vocal among us, but positive, constructive, and supportive. There was no defensiveness, only thoughtful, complete answers to numerous multi-part questions. And the questions weren’t pre-screened. I posed one question during the group session. But I had one more. Afterward, Kaine stayed on to answer remaining questions. And he took the time to sit down and really discuss my concern with me.
In too many Virginia governors’ races to count, I’ve shaken hands with candidates who don’t look me in the eye. They think we don't notice we are just cogs to them. We’ll get a nod about an issue and know we'll never get real consideration, much less any agreement. But here is a man who listens. Tim Kaine treated us as the caring people we are. His sincerity shows. And every single person there left feeling a sense of hope. If the citizens of Virginia get to meet and talk with Tim Kaine as we did, he’ll be the next governor. That’s why his opponent, running scared, hired the same nefarious folks who brought us the “Swift Boat” lies about John Kerry’s record and the despicable equating of war hero and former Sen. Max Cleland (GA), to Osama Bin Laden. The GOP knows momentum when they see it and they also see that it’s our candidate who has a bright future.