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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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Friday, January 09, 2004


Active Voice, Passive Voice

posted by Dana at Friday, January 09, 2004 permalink View blog reactions
Politics is conducted in the active voice. We say things and do things.

But the biggest problem in America today is most citizens only use the passive voice.

I got a taste of both today when I went to my local YMCA. One friend, a Kucinich supporter, said his new fall-back position was Clark. I said Clark has no strategy, that he can't stand against the $200 million Bush onslaught coming this spring. "That's up to the people," he said. "If Clark is the nominee are you going to support him?" he added.

Sure, I said, but he stands no chance. Only Howard Dean has a strategy, of matching Bush dollar-for-dollar with small contributions, of standing up to Bush every day, of running to Bush's right on key issues, like the deficit and homeland security.

A woman came by, about to start her own workout, and said, "I hope he can do it."

My response. He can't. You must. We can. Only We, The People have the power to throw these bums out. Howard Dean is just the candidate. The Dean campaign can only give us the tools. It's we who have to do the work.

That's the point that is hardest to get through. Politics has been conducted by others all our lives. We have passively watched their tactics, their gotcha games, their bogus charges. We have shaken our heads, said that is too bad, but we haven't done anything about it. Except, maybe, complain about "those other" people, the ones who are fooled, the ones who buy what they're being sold on TV.

Well, that won't work this time. The passive voice, this year, is liable to get you, or a loved one, killed in an unnecessary, distracting occupation. It's liable to get you killed from foul air and water. It's liable to cause you to die, because you lack a job and/or health insurance.

It's going to, unless right now, you here highly resolve to use your birthright of freedom, and act, to make sure that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the Earth. It's going to, unless you find your active voice.

That is the message we need to take out, right now, to Democrats in response to these press games, these bogus charges, these manipulative ads. They make us angry. They make us active. And we need to get others activated in turn.

Howard Dean can't win this nomination by himself. He's only one man. Only We Have The Power. The time has come to go beyond our friends, our neighbors, our co-workers, our church, and activate total strangers. Get others to feel the power within you, help them make it their power too. Because it is. That's the only way this thing is going to work.

So my advice is to ignore the trolls, to ignore Gephardt, to ignore the media, to ignore the Club for Growth for a while. Those are distractions.

The nomination, and the fate of the Democratic Party, is in our hands.

Seize the day.


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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.