Sunday, October 21, 2007

Be The Change That YOU Believe In, Here in YOUR Own Community

At the end of the day, whats at stake in this election is a very simple
thing: whether we're going to live in a moral, fair and just America, where
everyone has a chance. Whether American is going to lead in a moral, fair and
just world.

To paraphrase Ghandi, you have to be the change that you believe in.
The idea that you can vote in the election and the next president, including me,
is going to solve all your problems is a fantasy. The truth is that the power in
America is not inside the beltway in Washington, D.C. The power in America is
in communities just like this.

That was Presidential Candidate John Edwards speaking at the Truman Dinner on Friday. And you know what? He's right. We must be the change that we believe in. Oh yes, and John Edwards is also correct in noting that the power in America is not just in places like Washington and Sacramento, but also in our own communities here in Orange County.

OK, so why am I talking about this? I want to talk about a commonly held misperception that we can't make change here in Orange County, and that Democrats make no difference in such "red" locales as OC. You know, there are actually ways for us to make a big difference here at home, a big difference that will ultimately not just be felt in our communities, but also felt everywhere.

Follow me after the flip for more...

Here I am at the Truman Dinner with two of my best friends, Gila and Giovanii. Of course, we all know my fellow LibOC co-blogger Gila as the Democratic Dynamo who always seems to be busy growing the Democratic party in South County. So often when folks here think of South County, they think of a region filled entirely by Republicans. However, this isn't true. And thanks to all the good work and all the organizing by South County Democrats, they're making their presence known.

Oh yes, and I shouldn't forget abolut Giovanii. He's been our fearless leader of Obama OC, the grassroots group of local people supporting Barack Obama for President. When others snickered at the thought that a Democratic Presidential Campaign could excite so many people in Orange County, the amazing folks at Obama OC organized locally and took action. And now that the Obama Campaign is ready to come in and organize throughout the county, they have something quite good to work with.

Here I am with Irvine Mayor Beth Krom. Now Mayor Krom had plenty reason to smile on Friday, as her colleague on the Irvine City Council, the legendary Larry Agran, received the Truman Award that evening. It's just mind-boggling to think that in such a supposedly "Republican" city like Irvine, the Democratic majority on the Irvine City Council (Krom and Agran, along with Suhkee Kang)
has been able to accomplish in protecting its natural resources, providing affordable housing for working families, and ensuring a safe community for everyone to enjoy. But of course, none of this could have been accomplished without a whole lot of grassroots campaigning. On Friday, Larry Agran talked about houses being turned into campaign offices, 6:00 AM literature drops, and all the rest of the hard work that led to victory on election day.

Here are two more of my best friends in the whole wide world, Paul Lucas and Mitch Star. Paul Lucas courageously ran for State Assembly when others thought that Van Tran couldn't be challenged. And while he may not have won a ticket to Sacramento last year, he gave Democrats in AD 68 a good reason to get fired up and going. Oh yes, and he also made great inroads into the various communities of West OC. He's now planning a run for Garden Grove City Council next year, and thanks to his great work last year, folks are taking him seriously.

Mitch Star recently moved back to Orange County from the Bay Area, and he's already making his mark "behind the Orange Curtain". He's now the Political Director for the Orange County Young Democrats, and he's a doing a great job in working with his fellow OCYD leaders to get more young Democrats in Orange County and get them more involved in the community. They've been awfully busy putting on terrific events, and I look forward to seeing what they will be doing in the near future.

OK, so why am I going on and on about the activist friends I saw at the Truman Dinner and all the good work they do for our Democratic Party? Well, I'd like to see more of them here! For far too long, we've been told that there are no Democrats in Orange County. And of course, this has resulted in Democrats hiding in "the political closet" out of fear of being "caught in the act of voting Democrat". Well, you know what? It's time that we all jump out of that "political closet", and start getting active in making the change that we want to see.

Believe it or not, there are brave Democrats that run for local office... AND WIN! It's been done in cities like Irvine, and it can be done in your community as well. Believe it or not, there are Democratic and progressive groups for you to join and work with! Join our local DFA. Join the local organization of your favorite Presidential Candidate. Join a local campaign for local office. Join a local Democratic Club. Oh heck, just take a look at the OC Weekly Progressive to find out what's happening in your community!

Oh yes, and there are plenty of opportunities to take action locally. On November 3, the national Democratic Party is doing a weekend of local grassroots organizing, and they're encouraging us to get out in the community, meet our neighbors, and talk to them about why we're Democrats. On the 3rd, there will be walks in Santa Ana and Irvine. And if you're not near these areas, why not create an event in your own neighborhood? OK, so you aren't too exxperienced at campaigning? No problem, just sign up for the next Precinct Captains training that will teach you how to build the Democratic Party in your own neighborhood!

Yes, we're still living in troubling times. Bush is still in office. The Republicans still seem "dominant" here in OC. However, we can put an end to these troubling times. If we ever want to see change happen here, we must be the change we believe in. :-)

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