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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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Saturday, October 25, 2003


Keeping UpThe Pressure Together

posted by Dana at Saturday, October 25, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
A little success can be misleading. First because it’s little. Second because it’s success.

It’s important we put the size of the Dean campaign’s success so far in perspective. We are now nearly a half-million strong. But this is a nation of nearly 300 million. To win the 2004 election we must scale by a factor of 100, and beyond. That’s the goal. Next to it our mountain is a molehill.

But we do have success. We have more troops in the field than our Democratic rivals combined. Our troops are well-funded. We can go on TV. When the press (because it seems like a better story) or other Democrats (because they must do it to win) seek to take someone down, it’s our guy they’re talking about.

The question becomes one of maintaining momentum. Obsessing on the extremists or extremism of the other side won’t do it. The only way through is a positive motivation. Our challenge is to find it.

And here’s why I really like Howard Dean. Because he has already found it. He delivered it in his announcement speech, and repeated it in Boston. We’ve just been obsessed with our own issues – Iraq, the economy, the Gropenfuhrer –we missed it. Fortunately Garance Franke-Ruta found it, and reminded me of it last week.

"We shall be as one. We must delight in each other, make others' conditions our own; rejoice together, mourn together, labor and suffer together."

It’s a vision older than America itself. It’s from John Winthrop, first Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, in 1630.

Here is what it means, and why it is so powerful.

America isn’t I. America is US, all of us. This was our vision, it’s why we came here, why people suffer to come here still. There’s a big, dangerous world out there. It can’t be won through division. It can only be won when we are “as one.”

The implication of this vision cuts across every single issue we face, as Democrats, Republicans, Americans. What must each of us sacrifice so that all of us can unite? What must we let go of in order to win the War on Terror?

Well, we must let go of our terror. We must let go of our hate. We must let go of our contempt for one another. We must let go of our selfishness. We must all let go of our small, individual agendas to find a common cause worth dying for.

See the power? Bush can’t respond to it. The election becomes a battle between two visions, one of division, the other of unity. And guess which one America will choose? The one America has always chosen.

"We shall be as one. We must delight in each other, make others' conditions our own; rejoice together, mourn together, labor and suffer together."



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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.