OPINION / COLUMNISTS
By Jesse Gordon
Wednesday, October 8, 2003
Around the country this evening there are over 100,000 people at Dean Meetups, at 600 different venues, including 150 people in Cambridge and 500 people in the Boston Metro area.
I've been involved with lots of campaigns -- all the way back to when Sen. Paul Simon ran for President. This is not just a campaign -- it's a movement.
How many of you attended some of the war protests last winter and spring?
That was a movement -- hundreds of thousands of people with one common cause. I attended several. It felt good to be part of a movement.
Now we have another common cause -- unseating George W. Bush.
Hundreds of thousands of people are rallying to that common cause.
We're tired of being lied to by our own government.
We're tired of being spied on by our own government.
We're tired of being told we should live in fear.
That's what this movement is about.
Hundreds of thousands of people are tired of Bush and Cheney. And we're angry.
We're angry about the 2000 election that disenfranchised blacks and Latinos and the poor.
We're angry about spending billions in Iraq on no-bid contracts that go to Dick Cheney's company and then being told that there's no money for social services, for education, or for health care.
Howard Dean is tired of Bush and Cheney. And he's angry at Democratic politics-as-usual.
We saw that anger in Dean, so he ended up as the figurehead of this movement.
The Dean campaign is about electing Howard Dean. The Dean movement is about unseating a president and taking back our country. The Dean movement is grassroots and spontaneous. There's no one here from the Dean campaign -- we're all local volunteers. We organized on our own, locally, without pay, without very much guidance from the Dean campaign. That's the way it is in hundreds of Meetups across America. Dean summed it up in his campaign announcement speech: "You have the power."
He meant that no one person can do it, not even Howard Dean. To unseat a president takes a grassroots movement.
Bush has raised $100 million so far for his warchest.
Dean has raised 100 thousand people in his volunteer army.
And that's more valuable than Bush's money.
The Republicans don't get it. And the other Democrats don't get it yet.
Kerry is a fine Senator. But his Meetups are organized by campaign staffers. We have the energy and enthusiasm to do it all ourselves – that’s real grassroots.
Kucinich is a fine Representative. But he only has 10,000 volunteers – we have 10 times that, and we’re growing faster.
Kerry & Lieberman and the rest are trying to take on Bush on his own terms. On Bush's terms, Bush is unbeatable. On Dean's terms, we can take on Bush, and we can win.
They say Bush will raise $250 million in this campaign.
Dean will raise 250 thousand volunteers.
No amount of money can stop 250 thousand people who all want the same thing.
We have the power.
We in this room -- we are the Dean movement -- the grassroots campaign is right here, in Cambridge and all over Massachusetts and all over America.
We have the power, in meetings like this in 600 places, where 100,000 volunteers will unseat a president and take back our country.
Welcome to the movement.
(Jesse Gordon is the co-founder of Mass For Dean and runs DeanVolunteers.org. This spech was presented at the "Dean Meetup" in Cambridge last Wednesday evening. Dean Meetups take place in Cambridge on the first Wednesday of every month -- see www.MassForDean.org for details.)