Thursday, November 5, 2009

"I know you're angry. I'm angry!"

After Anita Bryant successfully lead the effort on a referendum that repealed a law in Dade County, Florida that made it illegal to discriminate against people based upon their sexual orientation, there was a crowd of people on Castro Street in San Francisco were about ready to riot. Harvey Milk came out and addressed the crowd by saying “I know you’re angry. I’m angry!”

32 years later, I can’t help but think of Harvey Milk’s comments because I’m angry too. I’m angry that hate won up in Maine and people were stripped of their basic right to be with someone they love. I’m angry that there were some candidates that ran away from Democratic values, which not only caused them to lose their race but depressed the Democratic base so much that we ended up losing 5 (and potentially 6) seats in the House of Delegates. And I’m angry that some people claimed progressive activists shouldn’t publicly express our frustration until the election was over.

So now the question becomes; What should be done with that anger. The answer lies in what Harvey Milk told the angry crowd a little later after they had marched on City Hall. Milk told the crowd that “Anita Bryant did not win tonight. Anita Bryant brought us together.” In other words, the anger that the group was experiencing should be directed at working on a productive cause. So as I’m now among one of so many progressive activists who are disappointed with yesterday’s results and the attitude of many people that lead to those results, I strongly believe that we must join together in order to work towards an important cause.

We can no longer put forward candidates who will simply run away from Democratic values and assume that they’ll win just because they have a D beside their name. Creigh Deeds proved that. We cannot have national leadership that refuses to stand up for equality just because we have a great campaign on the ground. The results in Maine prove that. And we cannot simply remain silent like some people advised because that obviously didn’t help in this week’s elections.

As we move forward, I want to hear from everyone about what they believe must be addressed. So feel free to send me an email (leftofthehill@gmail.com) or leave a comment here if you have something to say or want to help make sure that Democratic principles aren’t completely abandoned again by our candidates in the future and that hatred isn’t allowed to succeed in stripping people of their basic rights.

2 comments:

  1. On a state level:
    Addressing issues of equality rights but leaving everything else the way it has been. Quite frankly, Virginia doesn't need radical change (although a few awesome environmental changes would be nice). We are in one of the best states to live in, with the top education systems, and Forbe's Best State to do Business in. Quite frankly, we already rock.

    On a national level:
    No more partisan crap. We need effective healthcare and environmental legislation- stat. I strongly believe that the answer to both these issues is somewhere between the Republican and Democrat propositions, if only they stopped screwing around and playing politics. If they did, we'd probably have a good, economically sustainable solution to both.

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  2. On the state level I think we need to ensure that we fix the basic problems that the party I had. We have to tools to win these races at all levels but we just aren't putting things together. The volunteers and activists are out there to have an overwhelming ground game every election. I don't think the disaster that occurred this week is a sign of the party or state in trouble. They simply did not connect when and where it was necessary and everything else was pretty much downhill from there. Sadly, the rest of the ticket suffered and we lost a lot of great candidates. For me, Steve Shannon was rough for me to see go down. I've supported him since his fun run for Delegate and think he is exactly what Virginia needs as Attorney General.

    Either way, I think we know what the problems are. It is imperative that we get those problems fixed prior to 2010 because as I predicted our failure to win this cycle is going to give the GOP all over the country further motivation to win and fight hard. We have a lot of good candidates in Virginia who we cannot afford to lose and after talking to a GOP statewide staffer at the Coopermine precinct they are going after Tom Perriello with everything they have! He's made a lot of solid decisions and now we gotta have his back!

    Also, a special election up in Fairfax in 37 is going to be the best sign as to whether we can reorganize quickly to ensure that everything isn't lost in Virginia! It's pretty obvious that McDonnell is going to appoint a few Democratic state senators from conservative areas to gain a majority. Every special election counts from here on out in my opinion! Just like in mixed martial arts, there is no shame in losing if you put up a good fight but we didn't do that so now we have to come back to put up a good strong fight. If we fight and work the way Democrats have in the past then there is no stopping us!

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