DOs and DON'Ts for Progressives in 2010

Happy New Year! That is, if you think the year is still new. Which, in some respects, it is; the Super Bowl hasn't been played yet!

At any rate, what will 2010 be like for Democrats? What will 2010 be like for our communities, Michigan, America, and our world?

Of course, none of us knows for sure. What I do know is that each of us has a part to play in how this year (and the future) turns out. Nothing will happen if all you do is sit back and criticize/praise/comment on Obama, Congress, state or local officials, businesses, the media, etc. Rather, change will happen because people make it happen.

So here are some thoughts on things we as Progressives should and shouldn't do this year. I'm sure you have your own ideas, as well!

DO get involved in your local Democratic Party group or club, if you aren't already. Believe me - our Party needs our progressive voices! Not being involved because of the weakness of the healthcare bill or lack of focus on this issue or that? Big mistake. If you get involved with the Party and progressive Democratic campaigns, you will have a great opportunity to speak out in favor of progressive values. Plus, you will have a good shot at a leadership role within the Party in the future.

DO get involved in your community. You'll do a big favor for yourself - and for those you help! You'll meet new people, make great memories, and make a good name for yourself. All of that will be very important if you ever want to run for office! Serve.gov is a good place to get started. Oh, and speaking of running for office...

DO think about running for office - if not this year, then next year or beyond. Yes, that's right; if you have a chance, maybe it's time for you to consider trying to make a change from inside the system. Keep in mind, running for office is not something you simply decide to do just like that; it's a commitment. You still have four months to decide if you want to run for Congress or state or local office; the filing deadline is May 12. If you don't run for one of those offices, you might want to run for Precinct Delegate; more on that in a few weeks.

DON'T be silent or sit on the sidelines.
What happens when someone isn't involved or doesn't speak their mind? No one listens to them. Decisions are made with out their input. In effect, that person is assenting to the status quo.

DON'T become cynical or give up. Change takes a while! As Paul Wellstone said, "I think the future also will not belong to those who are cynical or those who stand on the sidelines." If that young band of colonists had given up on liberating themselves from tyranny, the USA wouldn't even exist. Thank goodness they didn't give in to cynical attitudes; may you have the same resilience!

We are all human beings - just like Barack Obama, Albert Einstein, the Founding Fathers, the Abolitionists, the Suffragettes, and those who have fought for equality for all human beings. If they can do big things, so can each and every one of us!

So that's my challenge to each of you for 2010 - to make this the most productive, fulfilling year you've ever had. This year can be an amazing year - or it can be a year you'd rather forget. It's up to you and me to make it great!

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