It’s been over three months since I signed off from writing a weekly commentary. But last Sunday I attended the New Trier Dems’ Endorsement Meeting and the experience sparked some thoughts that I want to share. I won’t get into specifics about the meeting results since that’s been covered nicely in another post on our website. My thoughts have more to do with a ”refreshed” perspective that the endorsement meeting gave me.
I have to confess that over the past year, the acceptance of President Donald Trump’s behavior by large segments of the American public as well as, it seems, every Republican officeholder, gnawed at my faith in the future of our democracy. I think that was one of the reasons I needed a break from writing about this discouraging situation week after week.
The truth is, it’s hard not to feel at least a little pessimistic about the state of our nation when the daily headlines and nightly news stories consistently underscore the divisions in our democratic (small “d”) society. It can seem like there’s little hope ahead. I suspect that many of you may sometimes feel that way too.
But Sunday’s gathering reminded me that grassroots political involvement is still an estimable force. And I was also reminded that the values and goals of the Democratic Party are, more than ever, worth fighting for.
I was inspired by the team of New Trier Dem volunteers at the meeting, each focused on their specific task, all ensuring that everything would go smoothly. It’s a cooperative spirit I’ve seen time after time, canvassing for voters, at rallies, on election day. And it’s a spirit that has power.
And when I heard the candidates and their representatives make their presentations, I heard speakers who put people and justice first. — A far cry from the divisive appeals and regressive goals of the Republican Party and its candidates.
So although we aren’t living in a state that’s in the midst of a crucially important presidential primary contest or one that’s an electoral vote battleground, we need to start feeling the energy Democrats in those states are feeling.
We cannot delay getting involved in the fight against forces that would see the United States abandon its vision of a better life for every American. We cannot allow power to remain in the hands of leaders who maintain that power by seeding disharmony and mistrust between regions, races and religions. We must turn back those forces who dismiss values established by our founding fathers as no longer relevant.
Right now, here in our part of Illinois there are plenty of opportunities to become engaged in what I believe may be the most important election year in my lifetime. There are newly won Democratic congressional seats in our region that must be held, and potential Democratic voters in neighboring states who must be reached. And of course, there is a disastrous president in our White House who must be defeated.
Throughout this campaign year, the New Trier Dems, the Tenth Dems, the Democratic Party of Evanston, Sister District New Trier and the Indivisible movement will all be offering potential avenues for your involvement. A scroll through our Volunteering Opportunities page now and in the weeks to come will give you a selection of actions you can take. I hope you’ll get involved in whatever way your can.
Nels Howard, NTD Member Since 1973