Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Our Victory Day for Iowa

We had our Victory Day event and wrote plenty of letters. I wish someone could have taped our conversation.

One person was 69, a reformed Green who has had to return to work fulltime after seeing his retirement slashed by the Bush recession. Next to him was a college student who had just changed her registration from Republican to Democrat so she could vote for Dean. She has a weak immune system and is rightly worried about health insurance after graduation when she won't be covered by her parents anymore.

And then there was my husband, the cynical journalist, who wrote such a beautiful letter about being a dad and how Gov. Dean has given him hope for the first time. It made me cry. Those who think Dean is all about anger should read that letter.

Even my 3-year-old got into the act before his bedtime by insisting that he wanted to write his own letter to Howard Dean. I overheard him earlier telling the babysitter that he was going to vote for Howard Dean and expected the sitter to do likewise.

Writing these letters is a powerful affirmation of hope and commitment. I am coming to believe that the physical act of writing out these positive messages by hand over and over again is somehow powerful in and of itself. If you haven't already please sign-up for a Victory Day event for Saturday.

Here is the text of my husband's letter:

This isn’t a form letter from a campaign office. It’s a personal request from an ordinary Pennsylvanian and father of two small boys who’s concerned about the future of our country:

Please join me in supporting Howard Dean.

I’m 36, a lifelong registered Democrat, and never have been inspired by a candidate— until now. Dean has me excited about a campaign for the first time. Why? Because he’s the best choice to become our next president and help reverse the destructive path the current administration is taking this nation.

Simply put, Dean’s views make sense to me. He wants health care for all. He’s against saddling our grandchildren with a huge debt and squandering our resources on tax cuts for the rich. And he believes in being a world power that works with its allies instead of alienating them.

But sound ideas alone aren’t why I’m behind Dean. I’ve always been skeptical, even cynical, of past presidential candidates. They all droned on about "plans" for the future but rarely seemed to understand them, let alone believe in them.

Dean is different— passionate, direct, and motivated not out of political ambition or ego but by his concern the safety and welfare of all Americans. He’s not promising to be a savior; in fact, he’s quite clear about saying the real power of change lies with people like us. It’s a message that has already energized more than a half a million, including me.

That’s why I think Dean is going to oust Bush in the fall. He’s awakened not just anger, as some reports would have you believe, but real hope in a wide range of voters – from students to labor unions to people like my father, a Democrat and retired business professor who voted for Nader in 2000 in disgust. I look at Dean and picture a brighter future for my children. I see a country living up to its promise at home and abroad. I see better times for America— enough to take pen in hand and ask you to help Howard Dean help us all.

The rest of the letter is about going to Deanforamerica or calling the toll free number, voting in the caucus, and writing back.

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