Monday, August 14, 2006

Civic (engagement) Democratic Party -- Blue Tiger Dems

Cross posted at MyDD.

For the last few months I've been thinking about this concept called civic republicanism, a sort of catch all counter philosophy for the overarching theme of the Republican Party (which is I got mine). A "greater good" philosophy would cover all the typical Democratic bases, and bring them together in a way that

The argument for a "greater good" philosophy for the Democratic Party has been focused around what kind of politics we should believe. I've even started keeping notes on what I think would be included in a civic republican platform (wiki here).

Last week though, I stumbled on the Blue Tiger Democrats, a group that is convinced (without using the civic republican term) that such a move should go beyond a platform of beliefs, but into how the Democratic Party operates as an entity locally.

It used to be that the Democratic Party was engaged in the local communities where Democrats lived. They supported the poor, acted as a conduit to local government, and provided services to those who needed them. The party acted as a social glue among its members.

From their website:

Blue Tiger Democrats believe that civic engagement must be the first and foremost priority of local Democratic and Progressive organizations across the country.

We advocate channeling the massive volunteerism seen during the 2004 election and recent periods of crisis towards civic engagement just as Democrats did historically from the mid 1800s through World War II.

Far too much Progressive political giving goes to funding 30-second commercials.

Our mission is to encourage you to invest a portion of your funds in strengthening the roots of party organizations at the local level through civic engagement.

By performing civic engagement, local party organizations will regain respect in their communities and therefore be able to play a larger role in vetting and grooming new Democratic candidates and workers.

Blue Tiger Democrats are putting into words something that I've been feeling for awhile now. Even our local Democratic clubs are becoming essentially campaign committees, the main focus is to get Democrats elected, and not necessarily do the things that political parties have traditionally done. Its no question why people see politics are being shallow and self serving, the parties are focused on one thing, getting people elected. If other good acts are taken up, they need to feed directly into what we really know is the real purpose.

I think we should shed this single focus for the local parties, and bring up a second purpose: civic engagement. The party itself needs to do good things, not just encourage others to do good. And, our good acts shouldn't just be cover for our real intent, they should be part of our intent.

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