Wednesday, May 26, 2010

MarcyWatch 2010 - Winograd for Congress June 8 - Why I Support Marcy Winograd, and Why You Should, Too - Even If You Don't Live In California

Today is the day of Marcy Winograd's fundraising goal - the campaign is aiming for $50,000 towards a final media effort to get Marcy on TV, radio and the Internet in these closing weeks before the election.

We have less than two weeks until June 8.

I contributed today to Marcy's campaign, even though we are squeezed financially. Some things are worth biting the bullet for, and right now I can't think of a cause that's more important than getting a true progressive leader - Marcy - into Congress.

Right now, our country is being hobbled by Democrats who are not acting like Democrats. We cannot begin to slow down, much less repair, the damage that has been done to America by eight years of George W. Bush and the complete implementation of conservative and neoconservative political and social values unless we change course. The election of Barack Obama, while definitely preferable to a McCain presidency (and the possibility of a tragic snowmobiling accident), has not been the waving of a magic wand.

What we have seen so far with a Democratic majority and a Democratic president has been Republican-lite - corporatist Democrats who are bought and paid for by the same interests that own Republicans, and are afraid (or not permitted) to put forth any ideas that might meet with disfavor from the very industries that have brought America to its knees - the banking industry, the credit-card industry, the oil industry, the coal industry, the defense industry, the health industry, the pharmaceutical industry, the insurance industry. These Democrats are afraid to take a stand with Democratic values, and instead are seeking to appease those industries, hoping for their approval so they won't have to fight.

Sorry, Dems - that's not going to happen.

I understand the rationale to a certain extent, even though I don't condone it. It's like this: the reality of politics is that getting into office and staying in office, as our system is set up now, depends upon corporate money and corporate influence. Even well-intentioned Democrats find that it's not so easy to stick to your guns when you're asked to look at an issue from the perspective of the businesses and industries who offer the huge amounts of money necessary not only to get elected, but to stay in your office. And not only that, if you choose not to support the corporate view, but the view of those who can't afford that sort of largess - regular American people - not only will you not receive the money for your campaign chest - but these corporations will look for and support your opponent! It becomes easier, you say to yourself, to go along with those who control the purse-strings and try to do what you can within those parameters - after all, your opponent might not be as progressive as you are. If you brand yourself as hard to do business with, you won't be chosen for any important committees, and left out of the sphere of influence.

And, with the revolving door between political office and corporate lobbying, you will be cutting yourself out of any chance at money and influence when you leave office if you don't have good relationships with these corporations. This is more than just running for office; this is a lifetime lucrative career in Washington - in and out of office. Your connections as a Congressperson are coin of the realm on K Street.

This is the harsh reality of politics and government. And until we can fundamentally change the process of running for office and running for re-election, this is how most politicians end up doing business - Democrats and Republicans alike.

There are only a handful (with fingers left over) of Congresspeople who have the independence and the courage to stick to their progressive values in the face of this kind of pressure - Dennis Kucinich, Al Franken, Bernie Sanders, Alan Grayson, Donna Edwards, Barbara Lee (and my namesake sister, Georgia State Representative Alisha Morgan, an up-and-coming young progressive leader - watch for her!). Love them or loathe them (and I love them - but, then, I'm a liberal), they stand up for their values regardless of convenience and so-called 'bi-partisanship'. It is time to add one more name to that list:

Marcy Winograd.

I first became aware of Marcy when she challenged Jane Harman in the last 3 months of the 2006 Congressional race. A complete unknown, a high-school teacher and peace activist, she garnered close to 40% of the vote against the extremely wealthy and entrenched long-time incumbent, the hawkish Jane Harman, who has called herself the 'best Republican in the Democratic Party.' As I had begun blogging in 2004, I found myself needing to become active on a local level as well as on the Internet, and I started by joining Progressive Democrats of Los Angeles, of which Marcy was the co-founder and president at the time. I phone-banked for Marcy, and the more I found out about her, the more certain that I was that here was a real progressive worth getting excited about. Marcy's mother Teddi Winograd was a longtime progressive activist, and Marcy proudly followed in her footsteps and forged her own path in public service - real public service, not government glad-handing. Teaching, caring for the environment, supporting labor, working for peaceful solutions to conflict - this has been Marcy's way her entire life. From a young age she was active in progressive causes, and has always 'walked the talk' - not with an eye on public office, but a dedication to making working people's lives better, working for peace, social justice and a healthy planet - all of those 'old-school' liberal values that seem to have fallen out of fashion in the national discourse and derided as 'socialism' even by those who are most damaged by their absence.

But Marcy is so much more than progressive ideas - Marcy is a fighter. Her life demonstrates that her values are not for sale to the highest bidder; she is not looking to enrich herself, but to fight for what she knows to be right. Marcy knows that we need jobs, not wars; healthcare, not wealthcare. She knows that we must rebuild our nation from the bottom up - the poor, the working class, the middle class - not shower money on those at the top and hope that it will trickle down. We have seen what happens when we do that - they take care of themselves and give the rest of America the middle finger. And if you don't believe that, try getting a loan modification.

As I have gotten to know Marcy over the last four years, I am more and more impressed with her integrity, her determination, her willingness to take a politically uncomfortable or unpopular position and stand up for it. I am also impressed with her compassion, her ability as a community leader to work with people in all walks of life to get things accomplished, and her formidable leadership skills. She fights hard for the things I care about. Her honesty, integrity, and passion for justice make her a force to be reckoned with - a force that we so desperately need in the Democratic Party, and in Congress.

You do not have to live in California or Los Angeles to support Marcy! As a Democratic member of Congress, Marcy will be able to be a progressive voice for all Americans - and she is one of the very few people that I know I can count on to be who she says she is, to fight for us - for jobs, for the environment, for health, for peace, for justice - even in the face of the pressure of the go-along-to-get-along Washington status quo.

Wherever you are, if you are a progressive (or even if you aren't - you'll benefit too!) please consider supporting Marcy Winograd for Congress with a contribution to her campaign. Or, you can volunteer - you can phone-bank from your cell phone; if you're local, you can canvass the district - contact the campaign for more information. There are so many ways you can give Marcy support! Marcy does not take corporate contributions, so we need your help to get the word out to the people of California's District 36!

This is the time to take out Blue Dogs, and replace them with real Democrats - a fighting Dem like Marcy Winograd.


I was honored to be asked by Marcy to sing at her campaign kickoff, and I can't wait to see this campaign culminate in victory - not just for Marcy, but, more importantly, a victory for America.

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2 comments:

Cindy said...

I don't (live in CA) and I just did (contributed to Marcy!)
I will live my vicarious progressive dream via her candidacy, as the troglodytes pretty much have a stranglehold here in FL. ;-)

Alicia Morgan said...

Yay! Thank you, Cindy! At least there is Alan Grayson. I remember fondly when our fair state was not completely overrun by the crazy, but stayed picturesquely out on the fringe where it belonged.