Blue America: A New Day and Green Day
I was on Nicole Sandler's radio show this morning and we were chatting about what liberal activists should do in the face of disappointment in the establishment and the President. I said, to support progressive candidates. There are good people who are willing to run for office and fight the good fight on behalf of our values. Sometimes they have their own money, but for the most part they depend on the generosity of average people to fund their races. Either way, they aren't going to get any from the usual sources. After all, hard core progressives aren't the type of candidates that the Party establishment or the Big Money Boyz back --- they aren't on the same side.
So, if you are a disgruntled progressive, there is still a way to influence national politics in a positive way. In fact, it's more necessary than ever. The Right has just shown us in living color that we have entered a new era of hardball parliamentary style politics that the Democratic centrists aren't able to counter (even if they wanted to, which it appears they don't.) We had better find some ballast on the progressive side or things are going to go from bad to worse.
It won't happen overnight, but as I told Nicole, this commitment to electing progressives to congress is the most mature leg of the movement and the most invested for the long haul. We have the patience and the commitment to go beyond these various ups and downs and we keep our eyes on the prize from election cycle to election cycle. 2010 was brutal. But we're in a period of political disequilibrium and there's good reason to believe that we can come back from that.
And anyway, what choice do we have, aside from moving to another country? (And right now, there aren't a whole lot of safe havens --- the whole world is in turmoil.)
So, Blue America continues its long and arduous quest to elect more progressives to congress and help them form an independent bloc, answerable to their supporters. It's not easy changing a Party's political culture but we believe it's essential that we try.
Looking for the silver lining in the passage of the Boehner debt ceiling bill?
There is none.
Okay, okay. There are some bright spots we can look to amid the current Tea Party madness. That's what Blue America is all about. And one of our brightest glimmers of hope comes from the campaign of Ilya Sheyman, who is running for Congress up in Illinois’ 10th District (Chicago’s northern suburbs)-- the most Democratic district in the country currently held by a Republican.
We’ve written about Ilya before, because he’s a serious progressive with a real chance to kick out Rep. Robert Dold, a Republican freshman who has shown he’s more than willing to put anything, including Grandma’s Medicare, on the chopping block, if his Tea Party so dictates.
In the midst of the House debate around this fabricated debt ceiling "crisis," Ilya was one of only a few Democratic candidates around the country willing to take the potentially risky position against the debt deal, saying, very clearly, he would have voted “no” if he was able.
In the 10th, Ilya was the only candidate with the chutzpah to take the right position. The only other Democratic candidate, a business consultant named Brad Schneider, sided with incumbent Dold and Republican Sen. Mark Kirk in supporting the bill. I should mention that Schneider has also donated big bucks to Kirk over the years. Oh, and, he says he’ll not only be more “bipartispan” but also “pro-business” if elected. Not the kind of Democrat we need in Congress, especially if we hope to win back the Democratic Party for the Big Business special interests.
Ilya, on the other hand, stood with neighboring Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky in opposing the bill, which he called “a bad deal for the American people.”
“It would be irresponsible to support legislation that reduces the deficit on the backs of struggling working families and the most vulnerable” Sheyman said in an article published by the local Patch site yesterday. "By putting at risk Medicare and other core services, this plan will make conditions worse at a time of tremendous economic strain."
So here’s our point of optimism. We can seize this moment and reject the Tea Party politicians who hijacked this process (and the Blue Dogs who proved their willingness to sell out working families once again). Let’s support Ilya and other candidates who actually took the right position, even when it meant standing up to powerful forces within their own party.
Here’s the Act Blue page we set up for him and the other progressives who are standing up for working families against the corporatocracy. Now’s our chance.
Off the topic, we'd like to raise $2,000 for Ilya's campaign in the next 24 hours. I don't expect any one person to contribute that much, of course, but if enough people give $10 and $20 contributions, it's going to mount up fast-- and that will set off the trigger. Trigger? A different kind of trigger from the one in the SatanSandwich bill. You see, I used to run Reprise Records, Green Day's record company, and Ilya mentioned to me that he's a huge Green Day fan. So, when we hit the trigger, someone will be eligible to win an autographed-- like in signed by Billie Joe Armstrong, Trey Cool and Mike Dirnt-- Fender strat that the band gave me around the time they were recordingWarning. So who gets the guitar? If we were Republicans, we'd give it to whoever gave the most money. But we're not. So everyone has an equal chance. As soon as we reach $2,000 we start a random drawing. We'll pick one name out of a bowl on Thursday at 6pm (PT). and I'll send you the guitar. Enter here.