I want to organize Democrats and other progressives in Palatine Township. Too many people think that everyone is a Republican except themselves. We need to change the perception that this is a Republican township. President Obama received 55% of the votes cast in Palatine Township in 2008 and 49% in 2012. Secretary of State Jesse White received 67% of the vote in 2010. Representative Melissa Bean received 64% of the vote in 2008 and 56% in 2010. More than 22,000 Palatine Township residents voted for President Obama last November. They may not call themselves Democrats, but they’re progressive.
Many suburban voters are independents. We need to show them that the Democratic Party represents their mainstream values. (See the page titled <a href="http://mattflamm.org/are-you-a-democrat/">“Are You a Democrat?”</a> on this website.)
Demographic changes are sweeping America. Palatine Township has an increasingly diverse population including Hispanics, African-Americans, Muslims, Sikhs, other Asians, and LGBT people, but they have no place in the local power structure. We need to reach out to women and young voters, who are increasingly progressive.
The Obama campaigns have reminded us the power of volunteers organized for a cause. I want to apply the lessons we learned from the Obama campaigns to local issues. Those lessons are summarized in the slogan, “Respect, Empower, Include, Win.”
I will be a spokesman for Democrats and progressives. The local media report the extreme views of our Republican elected officials. We need to stand up for mainstream, progressive policies. For example, we need to communicate the benefits of the Affordable Care Act and counteract the mischaracterization of that law.
Too many people hear only about what government does wrong. We need to publicize what government does right. Democrats believe that government is the means by which we make our society more just, more prosperous, and more progressive. We won’t make excuses for abuses, which hurt all of us. But we need to counter right-wing propaganda that says we shouldn’t try to improve our society because we can’t do it perfectly.
We must work to restore civility in politics. We can disagree without disrespecting those who disagree with us. If we want politics to become more positive, we must be the change we seek.
Sociologists say we don’t have the same sense of community our parents did. They’re right, but we have a new sense of community. Instead of people who live within walking distance, our community consists of people who share values and beliefs, whether they live nearby or far away. We will continue to build that community. This will be good for us, for our communities, and for America.