What a year

I sent my first e-mail to the Dean campaign on September 1, 2002. Increasingly frustrated with the lead-up to the Iraq war (Congress voted on the war resolution just a month later), I was intrigued by Governor Dean’s principled stance on our policy in Iraq. More importantly, I was impressed with his ability to articulate a vision for what our country could be. In the year since then, he’s focused on a couple key phrases that have stuck with me: proclaiming a need for the “restoration of democracy”, telling us that “you have the power” and labeling his campaign “people-powered Howard.”

In each case, Governor Dean has put the emphasis not on himself, but on us. Each and every one of us are capable of making a difference. As I’ve become more involved in the campaign, I’ve realized the truth of Governor Dean’s message. I’ve met hundreds of my neighbors who are united not by anger but by hope: hope that we can together shape a future that is built on trust, compassion and hard work.

The past seven days for me are evidence of what has been happening around the country. Last Monday, I went to a seniors center to speak to a group of seniors about Howard Dean. On Tuesday, I joined 3500 fellow Illinois supporters to attend the Chicago stop on the Sleepless Summer Tour. On Wednesday, I had lunch with a friend of a friend — who, it turns out, is also active in the Dean campaign. Thursday, several of my neighbors got together to build banners and signs for our town’s upcoming Labor Day parade (and got their picture in the paper for doing so!). Friday to Sunday, Dean volunteers staffed the local Democrat booth at the annual Labor Day festival in town — handing out bumper stickers, buttons, and sharing information about the Dean campaign.

Tomorrow, one year to the day after I first contacted the Dean campaign, I will be joining 20 neighbors (who I now consider friends) to march in our state’s largest Labor Day parade. Our message? “Picture a Better America.” Volunteers throughout our county have worked on collecting thousands of empty film canisters, and are inserting mock film strips with photos of Governor Dean and bullet points about his policies. (The design work was donated by a fellow volunteer.) We’ll be marching with two 3’ x 8’ banners — again designed by a volunteer and paid for by local volunteers — to encourage parade goers to “Picture a Better America.”

I know I’m not alone — that what I’ve seen happen in the last year is happening all over the country. Ignore the press when they say that what fuels this campaign is anger. They don’t know what we know: that what fuels us is each other, led by a man who will be our next President.

Happy Labor Day.

Rick Klau

4 responses to “What a year”

  1. Rick,I was quite inspired by your posting on the Dean blog. Thank you for your commitment and dedication which I am trying to emulate. We're going to have our own Dean contingent at a Labor Parade in Albany, NY on Sep 20th. Any suggestions as to what to wear, chant, sing, or carry?Thanks,Sandy SteubingAlbanyForDean Activities Coordinator518-658-0018

  2. Hi, RickNo, you're not alone. I am sure many Dean supporters enjoyed your posting and enthusiasm as much as I did. After volunteering at the Walpole, NH, meeting last Saturday, which brought an incredible 1,200 people from NH and Vt and many other states out to a farm way out in the country, I got reflecting on how and why I've gotten swept up in this grassroots activity. Once and only once before I was caught by this kind of enthusiasm for a candidate. I remember riding around a couple of Illinois suburbs north of Chicago yelling “I like Ike!” while my little brother played the only song he knew on his new trumpet (Twinkle twinkle little star, it was). So this isn't the first time, but it does suggest something of the appeal of Dr. Dean. I admit, it is not this wonder full campaign that has hooked me. I have been a Dean enthusiast since the day he took over as Vermont governor and had the grit to say that Republican Governor Snelling, who had just died that morning, had been elected to put Vermont's financial house in order and that he, Democrat Howard Dean, felt that he was obliged and had a mandate to do just that. Many of his fellow democrats were shocked, but I, as an independent, was astounded and delighted. Dr. Dean in that instance and on issue after issue during his long tenure in the Vermont state house was as good as his word. I am reasonably well read in American history and I am pretty sure that Lincoln, Ike, and probably Harry Truman would all have liked Dr. Dean; that is a funny thing to say, I know, but you see he has been a very human man-of-the-people with a gentle humor and a gift for putting big ideas simply, for standing tough when he thinks he is right, and yet for getting a great deal done, even when working with divided legislatures on difficult issues.So, no, Rick, you're not alone. Keep up the good work locally and we'll see what happens.

  3. Hi Rick,Great post on how you contribute to the Dean campaign and make politics your own agenda. Have been following Dean with great interest here across the pond in what Rumsfeld calls old-Europe.As I wrote in my blog the day the Iraq-war started, I'm not worried at all by a powerful America, I'm worried by a powerful America with a government that succeeded in alienating almost the entire world population within months after the biggest outpour of international sympathy on 9/11. So I hope you guys keep momentum!Cheers,Ton

  4. Hello to everybody!As a man from Germany/Berlin (which is important because Berlin people like me are usually very very thankful for all the help we got from Amerika)i like to say that i warmly wish full success for all Dean supporters!The overwhelming majority of germans love the american understanding of human rights and democracy – we learned a lot from americans – and because of this it is very annoying to us to see what Bush and his Neokons made of american values.In our history we learned that a politician should never (conf)use military power and fear as a political principle. The german word for his way of international politics is “Kraftmeierei” – that means that someone is not strong but does everything to look like strong. He abuses the american army for his poor neokon conception of the world and he is surely unable to deal with the future. Instead of fixing problems he acts like a hard alcoholic who can not fix his alcoholism: He needs again and again expensive and useless wars to safeguard his presidency against criticism – exploiting the patriotic feels of the americans.Bush means war! The next Bush presidency certainly means a new and a much bigger pre-emptive war, maybe against Iran or Syria. And that will truly result in more hate, more dead americans and more terrorism. Yes, as president he is quite unable to answer to the reasons of terrorism. Dumbbell-Bush ignores them.He has pathetic economic principles: Flat tax! Tax cuts – payed by your childs! You know his tax cuts are always helful – for his friends. He is unable to balance a budget or to support working people. His vodoo economics are even a disaster for the rest of the world. Recession has become a american export hit…It disturb us to see the way the Bush administration try to suppress their allies and how they act to divide Europe, it distub us even more that they only have a tactical understanding of human rights and international democracy. His attitude to national security is hysterical non-pragmatic and shows some neo-fascistic aspects.Six months ago i discovered Howard Dean because of his courage to ask the right questions about the pre-emptive Iraq war. I felt that moment this man is a true american and a true leader. Now i feel he will be the next american president. You can prove that people-powered-Howard ist stronger than money-powered-Bush.His democratic campaign is a campaign of hope giving the americans new dignity: the dignity of true american values. The foundation of his statements is astonishing – not only compared to brainless Bush.You have the power!And i wish you good luck!Jorg-Thomas Hansche

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