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David Gaul
Shelby County Democratic Party Co-Chair


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David Gaul
Donna Clothier
Kathleen Cue

APPRECIATE THE MOMENT

Do we Democrats understand that we have an extraordinary President?  Do we fully grasp that fact?  Do we appreciate it?  Do we understand how important this time is?  We are in the moment.  It is happening right now, but all too soon this moment will pass.  This time will slip away, and before we know it, we will be left to regard these days with that wistful tendency that memory affords.  We Democrats have to wake up and relish these days before they're gone.  We have to look at ourselves and ask questions.  Are we doing all we can? Are we standing up for Democratic causes?  Are we refuting those claims from the other side that are not true--that are, in fact, crazy?  Are we staying engaged?  Are we staying in the fight?  Are we being something other than a turtle hiding in its shell?

During the midterm election of 2010, Democrats--pardon the language--got their collective ass kicked so hard that we still can't sit down without wincing.  We let our guard down.  We got beaten badly.  At the very moment the President needed us to stay focused and in the game, we let him down, and in so doing, we let down the country.  When that happened, this thing called the tea party--the most horrendous political entity in American history--asserted itself.  They put a yoke around America's head and drug the country down into a morass of ineptitude and inanity. 

And we let it happen.  We let it happen because we couldn't be bothered to get involved.  We sat idly by as they ransacked the store.  We couldn't be bothered.  There was a game on television.  There was that movie we wanted to see.  There was a party to get to.  There was a meeting to attend.  The kids had a soccer game.  We had to update our Facebook page.  We were too tired.

Tea party crazies rushed in while our backs were turned.  They raised hell at townhall meetings, and we... ran away.  We didn't stay and fight.  We let them do the talking.   We never stood up to the bullies.  And now in 2014 with another midterm election in the offing, it could all happen again.  Can you imagine anything more hideous?  These people aren't going away.  You can say what you want about their intelligence or lack thereof, but they are motivated.  They're tenacious about what they believe in, and if we turn our backs, they will, in the words of Winston Churchill, "snatch the victuals off the table."  

On January 28th, President Obama strode down the aisle in the House of Representatives, ascended the podium, looked a joint session of Congress in the eye and delivered the finest State of the Union address he has given to date.  It was an uplifting speech that didn't seek to denigrate the other side.  It was an appeal to the better natures in all of us.  It was call for politicians, business leaders, corporations and ordinary citizens to do better by their country. 

But how many took the time to watch?  I know few rank-and-file Republicans watched.  Why bother when they can get a quick capsule summary from someone on Fox and Friends?  But how many rank-and-file Democrats actually watched?  That's the more important number.  Complacency is the killer in politics.  Complacency is the prevent-defense in football.  If we're going to be complacent in politics, we may as well stand out in traffic and offer motorists a few bucks to run us down. 

The President gave us the blueprint for winning the midterms.  Income inequality is a winning issue.  The minimum wage is a winning issue.  In fact, it's a hammer, and you can rest assured Republicans will fight it with everything they have in their arsenal.  That's what they'll do because they answer to the overlords of corporate America, not the people who labor for those overlords.  Republicans today lack compassion.  They don't believe in the idea of a chicken in every pot.  They believe in the idea of a gun in every hand.  They don't believe in civil discourse.  They believe in throwing a reporter over a balcony if a reporter dares to ask a tough question.  They are devoid of empathy, and they absolutely hate the President.  That is their primary motivation, and it's a powerful one. We know the dark place from which it originates.  They and their agenda have to be stopped, for they seek to undo every good thing that has ever been done by any Democratic president or politician.

Democrats must mobilize.  To put it simply--again, apologies for language--we have to get up off our asses and get involved.  If we don't do this, they will kick our ass again, and we will feel it for a long, long time.  That's not hyperbole.  That's a sobering truth that should make every Democrat sleep uneasily.  

My warning here is not intended to depress or demoralize, only to motivate.  There's still time, but we need to get ready and brace for the onslaught and prepare to go on the offensive.   There is inspiration to be had.  I saw it the other night during the State of the Union address, but I also saw it much earlier firsthand right here in Shelby County.  

Back on January 21st, we had our Democratic caucus.  It was a cold night, a night so cold even the ice sickles were shivering.  It got down to 9 degrees below zero that night with a wind that could numb skin like a local anesthetic.  It was a good night to stay inside with a warm cup of coffee, tea or something stronger and watch Rachel Maddow dissect the Chris Christie administration.  Turnout was low, but there was one particular Democrat that night who brushed aside concerns about cold weather.  She didn't have to come.  She's earned a night off from political machinations, but she's tough.  She's a fighter, and she's more tenacious and determined than any tea party blowhard in existence.  A cold night won't keep her from answering the bell. 

Alice Carey came to the caucus. 

Alice Carey will soon be ninety-one years old.  Alice knows what's at stake.  We need an army of Alice Careys.  Such an army could never lose.  Such an army would always win.  Alice Carey, I salute you and everyone else who came out to caucus that night.  Now...




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