Trump is not on our side

Trump is a profound risk to individual liberties, our national identity, and our collective futures. Forget about his narcissism, his deeply insecure view of himself, his need to be adored and his bizarre and offensive obsequiousness toward Vladimir Putin.

If possible, try to allow the rule of law and the wheels of government, in both the executive and legislative branches, to grind along and investigate who on Trump’s team colluded with Russian President Putin and his intelligence services during the 2016 Presidential election. Whatever Trump did or didn’t do or know, it will be revealed. And it won’t change the fact that he has now held office for nearly one year and the damage being done is real.

Collectively, we must be prepared to switch gears, look ahead, and take back Congress with elected representatives who will serve our people, communities, and nation in the long struggle toward liberty, justice, and equality for all.

Focus on how Trump and the GOP leaders in Congress are advancing the politics of the powerful at the expense of the vulnerable.

Focus on their agenda that maximizes near-term personal gain at the expense of our long-term collective good.

Grasp the terrible truth of this administration: it is out to wreck the vision of a land of liberty for a nation of immigrants.

Resolve to support candidates for Congressional office who love our country, talk about what kind of a future they hope to create, and know what it means to go to work every day.

Support candidates who love the people and places they hope to represent.

Support the candidates who are willing to fight back against powerful special interests when the best interests of the many are at risk…who are willing to fight for the U.S. Constitution, the rights of all people, and the commitments our nation has made to international communities where family, friends, and colleagues live, work and play.

For all our flaws and failures to live up to the vision of a place where we pledge allegiance to “one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all”, we the people historically have elected Presidents who seemed to hold a shared vision of our national identity and the path to our future. These Presidents over centuries seemed to take their oath of office seriously, “to protect, preserve, and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

And then there was Trump.

Now it’s not Trump versus Mueller, or Trump versus Congress, or Trump versus our allies, or Trump/Putin versus the Chinese, North Koreans, Iranians, or hopeful immigrants and frantic refugees.

It’s Trump versus the American people.

He’s not on our side.

When the President of the United States attacks our public institutions and our public officials, he is attacking every single American.

When the President of the United States attacks our closest allies and friends around the world, he is attacking our students, family members, and colleagues who live in those countries.

When the President of the United States attacks and demeans women, girls, LGBTQ, and all people of color, he is attacking every parent, child, and grandchild in our country.

We the people must elect representatives who are on our side.

Take it personally, everyone. Take it very personally. And translate outrage and frustration into voting. Rededicate ourselves to being engaged and curious citizens. Be there for our family, friends, colleagues, and neighbors when they need us.

Every day, we make choices.

Choose to make 2018 the year we vote for people who will have our backs.

Our democracy is hurting right now. And Trump doesn’t care.

But we do. So let’s take care of our democracy. It’s the very best resolution we could possibly make.

Don’t complain — be the change

Every time a Sanders supporter shares content from The Observer or gripes about last year’s primaries, a pair of Republican operatives clink mugs somewhere.

I was a proud national delegate for Bernie in 2016. But it’s 2017 now. We’re facing a new reality, and we can’t effectively respond by whining. Whining is simply not one of the habits of effective Democrats.

Complaining is like sitting in a rocking chair: it gives you something to do, but doesn’t get you anywhere.

Ask yourself this: What am I doing now to work for a better future in this country? Posting comments on Facebook doesn’t count.

Are you running for office?

Volunteering for progressive candidates who are?

Organizing your neighborhood by canvassing?

Building progressive media?

Sustaining efforts to develop thought leadership for the left?

Registering people to vote?

Contacting your elected officials?

Participating in litigation to hold the Trump regime accountable?

There are lots of ways to make a difference. Griping just isn’t one of them.

Be the change and take action if you don’t like what happened last year.

2016 Democratic National Convention

A high honor and a distinct privilege

Yesterday, for the third consecutive presidential election cycle, I participated in the 1st Congressional District Democratic caucus, where I was chosen as one of five delegates for Bernie Sanders to the 2016 Democratic National Convention.

I consider this a great honor and as well as an important responsibility, and I am very grateful to my fellow Bernie supporters for their confidence in me. As I pledged during my speech, it is my intention to provide continuous live coverage of all the goings-on at the Convention, offering the local perspective that big media won’t. I am prepared to put more than twelve years of blogging/ liveblogging experience to work to deliver high quality coverage that includes images and audio/video clips as well as text.

As a Democratic activist focused on effective activism, I look at the Democratic National Convention as an unparalleled organizing opportunity. Since I became involved in the Party over a decade ago, I have consistently sought to make it more accountable, responsive, and governed from the bottom-up, not the top-down. I am looking forward to working with other supporters of Bernie Sanders, as well as supporters of Hillary Clinton, to push for a bold progressive platform and for rules reforms that will strengthen our Party and make it less susceptible to the corrupting influence of big money.

Among my priorities for reform of the party at the federal level are:

  • Doing away with so-called superdelegates (I have no objection to including Democratic governors, members of Congress, and other distinguished leaders in our quadrennial conventions, but they should be honorary participants as opposed to unpledged delegates);
  • Making the national party’s charter more inclusive of LGBT individuals (specifically, replacing gender-binary language in Article III, Section 16 requiring state central committees to be balanced between men and women);
  • Ending the absurd “tradition” that the Chair of the Democratic Party be handpicked by the President when the White House is held by a Democrat. The Chair of the Democratic Party should be democratically chosen in an open setting — not selected behind closed doors by fiat.

The Democratic Party cannot continue to operate the way it has been doing business going forward. To win public trust and bolster its brand, it must implement reforms that make it a more open, welcoming, and well-governed party that is truly of the people.

I applaud Senator Bernie Sanders for his resolve to see that the 2016 DNC is used as a launching pad to begin implementing the changes we need.

I am thrilled to be headed to Philadelphia with six other outstanding activists from the 1st CD: Richard May, Varisha Khan, Cat Williams, and Hillary Moralez (also for Bernie), and Olivia Burley and Shahzad Bhatti (for Hillary). We will be on our way to the City of Brotherly (& Sisterly) Love in just two months.

If you would like to receive updates from me by email during the Convention, please sign up here.

Effective Democrats begins…

Today marks the beginning of Effective Democrats, a campaign to improve Democratic Party governance within the Pacific Northwest and especially Washington State.

ED is an effort to help Democratic organizations at all levels – legislative, county, and state in particular – identify best practices for accomplishing the party’s business, and then implement those best practices. Areas that ED will focus on in 2014 and 2015 include:

  • Making endorsements and nominations
  • Harnessing technology
  • Internal controls and financial management
  • Organizing caucuses and special events
  • Recruiting and appreciating volunteers
  • Tracking and taking positions on ballot measures

Any Democrat who would like to assist in crafting model procedures and plans for Democratic organizations to use is invited to join Effective Democrats. To join the steering committee, simply express your interest by filling out this form.

The steering committee will meet periodically in 2014 to begin working on its first sets of model procedures. ED will have a gathering at each state committee meeting in 2014: January 31st/February 1st in Vancouver, June 20th/21st in Spokane, and September 11th/12th in Ferndale. Additional gatherings may take place via Skype or in person depending on steering committee members’ availability. Most communication will be via email.

You can leave a comment or sign up here to express interest in being kept informed of ED’s efforts. I hope you’ll consider contributing in some form or another. As Democrats, we should all be interested in identifying and adopting ways to make our party function more effectively.