Keep the Change

You know how sometimes things look so bleak you just want to give up? Well don’t! The Republicans seem to be resurgent; ultra-radical tea-party candidates are winning primaries and the mood of the nation is dark, to say the least. Anger and frustration are the words of the day.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. After the Obama campaign in 2008, a group of activists took the reigns of Manhattan Young Democrats and, using the grassroots organizing tools of the campaign, grew it from 30 members to over 300 in barely a year. That year MYD went from in the red to over $10k in surplus, garnered national attention for an online campaign to get marriage equality passed in NY and put nearly 80 young people in elected office on County Committee. At the same time, Queens Young Democrats grew its membership nearly twice over and Brooklyn chartered a new club.

Underneath the rhetoric and gruesomeness of modern politics is a renaissance on the way. The change that Obama promised wasn’t for him. He wasn’t going to change Washington as a lone man – how could he? No one else had changed. The change Obama promised was for us. The change was that he opened the eyes of a sleepy and cynical nation to the reality that something is very, very wrong. But, whether he knew it or not; whether we knew it or not, the struggle to make America a better place would fall to people willing to fight for it. People willing to get up and organize themselves.

I’m not going to lie. That’s the tea-party. They are community organizers, going from town to town, appealing to people on the issues that matter to them and inviting their input. Inspiring them to take up the job of organizing in their own communities with their own friends and elect their own candidates. Yes, they have some big name help, but they are winning elections person by person.

But it’s also the Young Democrats. All of us who came off the Obama campaign learned through the primary and the general that bottom up activism, small dollar donations and most importantly enthusiasm for everything you do for your cause, not just the glamorous stuff, turns an underdog into a champion. Unfortunately we don’t really have big name help like the Tea Party. So we’re just going to have to make ourselves a big name.

Please join us Tuesday 10/19 for the Keep The Change mega-event. All of the Downstate Chapters of the Young Democrats are coming together to raise the money that will make our organizing strategies for the remainder of the election and 2011 a resounding success. The people who organized this event are just normal Young Democrats, just like you reading this blog. By volunteering their non-working hours for 3 months we were able to make this even happen. And without any help from Glenn Beck we’ve managed to secure donations for an open bar in the first hour, comedy acts and an amazing musical performance picked as CMJ’s band of the day. And when that’s over, we’re going to hit the field and I hope you’ll join us. Because if we’re going to win it means we have to win at everything – we need the best party, the best policy and the best campaign. And that means we need you.