Monday, March 14, 2005


An election!? That's one of those deals where they close the bars isn't it?

Is it 2006 yet?

The 2004 election wasn't simply disspiriting. It was exhausting - even for those of us who did little or nothing to make a difference. That Bush could win re-election, even after the Redskins lost, even after he lost the 2000 popular vote, even after the lost jobs, even after Abu Ghraib, even after WMD not found, even after the DEBATES for godsake ... and consolidate his political power in Congress (in what's still basically a 50/50 country) with folks like DeLay given more leverage to exact their sinistry on an unconcerned public ... it just made folks like me wonder what they point was in participating in this process. It made me question the underpinning of our democracy - that The People, given enough information, can be trusted to do the right thing in the end, that there are self-correcting mechanisms that mitigate against the abuse of power, that the truth in the end will win out.

(In fact, the election debacle is what put me on the road toward becoming a Republican, which happened a couple of weeks ago and lasted for approximately 48 hours.)

All that being said, I feel willing to give it one more chance. The lefty blogosphere has helped in its crazy way to continue to keep me interested and even possibly hopeful. So the question is -- what can I do, locally, to make a difference? And more broadly, what can each of us do?

I think the time has come to recapture the U.S. House of Representatives. And I think a large majority of those reading this blog lives within a reasonable drive of possible swing seats. And I think we (meaning those of us who don't do politics full time) need to start thinking NOW about what we can do to make change happen in the next 20 months.

Our Congress has a wealth of information about various congressional seats, although a lot of their information is from the 2004 election. Still, it's a good place to start investigating what races could be viable in 2006 in your vicinity.

For those of us in the Chicago Metro area, I think it might be time to start thinking what we can do to help Christine Cegelis. She's a progressive candidate in a changing district. She has announced (on dailykos no less) that she'll be running again for Henry Hyde's seat representing Illinois' 6th district (predominantly DuPage County). She even posted a diary(!) on kos, and followed up on the comments. I like that.

I'm going to make an effort to learn more about her candidacy in the coming weeks, but today alone I've found some very promising signs. Illinois Democrats are underrepresented in Congress. Cegelis can help change that. Her candidacy gives me hope that we might be able to turn things around in 2006 and, if everything goes right, start making Bush accountable for his sins starting in January 2007. It's nice to have hope.

Wow, a born again optimist.
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