Readers Respond

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

We are not defeated


/ Former Congress candidate

The highest appreciation that can be given a person in the Navy is "Well done!" To all of you I give my sincerest "WELL DONE!" I cannot be prouder of all your efforts and your response to this campaign.

I want to share my thoughts about what went right, and what went wrong, so we can learn from events and continue to build a progressive force in the Fifth District, and I need to ask you for a little extra help to close out this chapter. But first I offer some words from an essay by Tim Wise, that describe the work that has just begun with the election:

"...And so it is back to work. Oh yes, we can savor the moment for a while, for a few days, perhaps a week. But well before inauguration day we will need to be back on the job, in the community, in the streets, where democracy is made, demanding equity and justice in places where it hasn't been seen in decades, if ever. Because for all the talk of hope and change, there is nothing--absolutely, positively nothing--about real change that is inevitable. And hope, absent real pressure and forward motion to actualize one's dreams, is sterile and even dangerous. Hope, absent commitment is the enemy of change, capable of translating to a giving away of one's agency, to a relinquishing of the need to do more than just show up every few years and push a button or pull a lever.

"This means hooking up now with the grass roots organizations in the communities where we live, prioritizing their struggles, joining and serving with their constituents, following leaders grounded in the community who are accountable not to Barack Obama, but the people who helped elect him. Let Obama follow, while the people lead, in other words..."

We all know things did not go as we had all wanted and anticipated. It is far too early to get a complete handle on what happened. With the effort you put into our campaign the results should have been better. We did receive more votes then any 5th district candidate has in the past, but the percentage was about the same as in previous races. We had considerable impact with Republican and independent voters--a tribute to your efforts. This was always a major effort of our campaign and we succeeded.

The early indication is that we did not do as well as we should have with Democrats... Democrats across the district and the state did not win where we should have.

The good news is that our campaign leaves a greatly improved Democratic organization in the 5th. There is a new sense of identity and a new willingness to improve on the infrastructure you all built. We have the foundation of a viable two-party system in our district. We can build and be competitive at the local and state level. Clearly we will throw away an opportunity if we do not unite behind our newly-energized party, and position ourselves to do even better than we did this year. These gains can be expanded and I will be working toward making this happen.

The bad news is that we must pay off a remaining debt of $10,000... As a past campaign staffer, I know how many times campaigns close without paying what is owed to staff members. I know it is my personal responsibility to fulfill my agreements with them, but I have expended all of my personal resources already and must depend upon you to help. A $25 or more contribution by you would be very much appreciated...

I look forward to the next two years of helping President Obama to answer the challenges we have been talking about in this campaign, and continuing our vigilant watch on Steve King... Whether King runs for reelection in 2010 or runs for Governor, we in the Fifth must continue to dog him and hold him accountable.

This is not an announcement of a campaign for 2010. I am not going to even think about running again for a long time, if ever. I am making this commitment to stay in the fight, however, no matter who is running for Congress in the election years to come. This race was never about me, it was about real representation for the Fifth District, and it was about you. My commitment to you will not waver.

We have a daunting task before us as a district, a state, and a nation. Barack Obama is a visionary who is up to the task. Senator Tom Harkin, Gov. Culver, Representatives Bruce Braley, Dave Loebsack, Leonard Boswell, our Democratic State House and Senate will all join with our new President to tackle the tasks at hand. We will bring real rural development to Iowa. We will stand with working families, family farmers and ranchers, the middle class and those who have no voice. And as we continue to do our part, collectively, we will bring back the respect the people of the 5th want and deserve. It will not be easy but we have a good start. Let us continue what we have begun and work together to make our district a place of justice and not a national laughing stock.

I hope you will continue with me in our fight. The new page is turning even here. We have taken many steps and we must continue our journey until our job is complete. We were not defeated. We have only been further challenged. We are up to the task. Let's continue till we arrive at victory.

Thank a veteran

From Shelby Meyer / Alta

Tuesday, Nov. 11th is Veteran's Day and I would like to take this opportunity to honor them all. I cherish all of my freedoms and I think we should all take a moment to think about what our lives would be like if we didn't have our freedoms.

American freedoms are kept safe by soldiers' sacrifices.

IF you voted in last Tuesday's elections, thank a veteran.

If you like to express your opinions about the president, governor or any public official, thank a veteran.

If you practice a faith, thank a veteran.

If you believe in the right to pursue happiness, thank a veteran.

And if you didn't vote, or you have no opinions, or you don't believe in any religion and want to make yourself miserable all the time, you can still thank a veteran.

They deserve it all the days of the year, especially on Veterans Day.

From the time this country was founded, the people who wore this nation's uniform have fought and died for the freedoms that all Americans enjoy today. Without them, the rights that people too often take for granted may not exist.

Anything worth having is worth fighting for. Freedom is near the top of the list. The sacrifices made by those who have served their country have sustained a free society and help make America the envy of the world.

Be thankful. Thank a veteran.