Friday, August 08, 2014

After action report

[UPDATE: Like this.]

There were about 135 people in attendance at last night's screening of Citizen Koch. Thanks to all who helped spread the word about this event. The Marcus Theater, especially, was very helpful and welcoming; I think they would love to have more Tugg events at their facility.

There were some glitches, to be sure. Ticket-taking turned out to be more intense than I had expected. While most people had no issues, a few slowed things down a bit - those who printed their ticket confirmation rather than their ticket, those who left tickets for others to pick up later, those who just showed up and expected to purchase tickets at the door, and one who came with no ticket, confirmation or receipt (and wasn't on the list) but insisted that a ticket had been purchased! 

With all this going on, the movie started before I had a chance to make announcements, including the announcement that two people would be handing out literature just after the film. 

[Ok - here's the deal. You worked hard on the recall? Deja vu. Here's another chance to get rid of the criminal Walker. But it's not going to happen unless we start doing the door-knocking and phone calling that all of us love. So - Volunteers can come to the Dem office at 126 Fifth Ave. S., La Crosse (across from the Hollywood Theater and three doors south of our 2012 office). The office is open 1 to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and between 5 and 8 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday nights.   TOMORROW there is canvass and a phone bank at 10 a.m. from the office at 126 Fifth Ave. S. It will take many people to get out the vote.]

I guess many movie goers are trained to split just when the credits started rolling and that's what happened last night. It's fine, people can leave when they want, but many missed the door prize drawing (I am still seeking #077!) and the speaker.

Mike McCabe has a great deal of experience tracking and uncovering money spent in Wisconsin elections. His organization, the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, maintains a very valuable Follow the Money Campaign Finance Database, for example. I had hoped the post-film conversation could focus on this fall's election money and recent changes by the Government Accountability Board based upon the Citizens United ruling.

About half way through the session, in answering a question from the audience, Mike moved to talk about some other aspects of our political realities. (His new book, Blue Jeans in High Places, is available for pre-order now). I think what he was saying is that, basically, both parties need a "in-party" and "cross party" movement to bring (what used to be called progressive) ideas that benefit the majority of people in the  lower half of the economic system (such as universal health care and universal free education through college) into the steering room, much as the (Koch created) tea party did within the Republican Party. This is not a new argument.

In fact, this is happening. And independent Senator Bernie Sanders is considering entering the Democratic primary in 2016, since Elizabeth Warren says she will not run. Warren may be the kind of "fourth door" candidate McCabe has in mind. She's a progressive and a populist, working to hold big finance and regulators accountable and questioning some of her own party's policies.

Time after time, polls show that the majority of Americans - even those who consider themselves "conservative" - support progressive/populist programs and agendas. Progressives have been vocal about their dissatisfaction with timid Democrats, including the President. The House Progressive Caucus' budget plans are never revealed in the media but usually win in the polls.

I agree with much of what Mike said and I think many people in the audience did, too. But I think what many people heard was, Democrats are scared, timid, and ineffective. And that made some people mad.

His point, that there are thousands of potential (old term: progressives/populists; McCabe's preferred new term: blue jean rebels) voters out there and we need to engage them and offer a home that's not already stunk up by old party perfume that turns them totally off - is, to me, exactly right. And we need to encourage and support progressive/populist, honest, and passionate candidates who can bring people in, no matter what their political/non-political/a-political label. I think.

Unfortunately (back at the movie now), hackles were activated by those interesting trigger words, non-judgmental consideration was trumped by emotional party affiliation or something, and a dissatisfying time was had by some.

But, the movie was thought-provoking and many people attended and enjoyed themselves (or at least got fired up) and so, I guess, Mission Accomplished.

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