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"America has two great dominant strands of political thought - conservatism, which, at its very best, draws lines that should not be crossed; and progressivism, which, at its very best, breaks down barriers that should never have been erected." -- Bill Clinton, Dedication of the Clinton Presidential Library, November 2004

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Thursday, November 13, 2003


We Have Not Yet Begun To Fight

posted by Dana at Thursday, November 13, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
The Washington Cynics have a new meme.

Howard Dean's war for the nomination is all over. But the PostWar will kill him.

I just got my ya-yas out on this one over at the Dean Defense Feed and I feel better for it.

But one point cynics are making today is well-taken. Celebrations are premature.

This fight has barely begun. What we have launched is the kind of political battle that comes along just once in a generation. It came in 1968, when the New Deal was overthrown. It came in 1932, when the New Deal replaced Herbert Hoover. It came in 1896, with William J. Bryan's Populists.

And it came with the Civil War.

When the political assumptions underlying a generation's habits prove unable to handle current events, we have epic political battles in which new assumptions are built. New myths are needed, so new political values are created, and new paths to power are forged.

This is the fight we have chosen. It is time. There were 36 years between 1968 and 1932, 36 between that year and 1896, 36 more back to the Civil War.

It is time because the assumptions of the Nixon Generation don't work anymore. We can't just kill everyone who doesn't like us, we must find new ways to turn hearts and minds. We can no longer ignore the contradictions between the great wealth and corruption of a few and the increasing poverty of the honest many. We cannot conquer the world, we must find ways to lead it, and to trust our democratic allies.

More important, this is no longer a Vast Planet of Unlimited Resources, to be ripped-apart and used by the strong. It is a small lifeboat on the ocean of the universe, overloaded and hungry, which will sink if we don't work together.

Every other democracy on the planet has recognized certain truths, except ours. Health care is a necessity. The path to prosperity is paved with education. If you pee in the stream you drink your own piss. You can't kill everyone you don't like, and who doesn't like you.

Canada has learned this. Mexico has learned this. Europe has learned this. Even most of Asia has learned this.

We must learn this. And the way we learn, as a society, is through the shared struggle of politics. This is how we make our choices. This is how we set our course. This is how we forge our destiny.

You must know this. Everyone must know this.

We have not yet begun to fight. Taking our country back requires that we convince the vast majority it has been taken from us, and that our candidate will fulfill his promise to give that power back.

The next election is November 8, 2004. By my reckoning, we have 361 days in which to turn this country around.

Let's get to work.


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About Nation-Building

Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.