I see a big problem here in Senate District 36, and I think it probably applies to other “conservative” senate districts. People have bought into the myth that Democrats don’t live here. People are letting that idea influence what they do and how they act when it comes to politics and social justice. People are afraid to act as individuals or fearful of being “outed” as a liberal to their conservative neighbors.
The problem with that is that we are letting the conservatives tighten their grip on our district. Every time a conservative political leader in our community makes an outrageous partisan comment and we let it go unchecked, an independent voter accepts it as reasonable. Every time a Republican sign goes up in a neighborhood and we don’t counter it with a Democratic sign, an independent voter takes that as an indication of who to vote for. Every time a donation is made to a Republican candidate, and a donation is not made to the Democratic candidate, an independent voter is hit with unmatched propaganda.
But I am here to tell you that there are Democrats in our district. 13,686 people voted for me, the DFL candidate for Minnesota Senate in District 36. That is a lot of people! True, it wasn’t nearly enough to win, but what if we could have gotten our message out to a couple thousand more people? What if all the Democrats had voted? What if 10 more people had door knocked? What if we could have afforded 100 more signs? There are 50 more things we could have done, and what if it all happened in a year that wasn’t a “wave” election year? There is no reason to believe we could not have swayed a few thousand independent voters, after all, all those voters are not Republicans.
Districts like Senate District 36 are not unwinnable, they are just challenging. It might take years to challenge the political status quo, but we can change it. To do it, we all need to take a role in the transformation. We are Democrats, and a democracy works best when everybody participates. So take an active role over the next two year, and let’s work to change the attitude in this district.
I know it can be a pain to volunteer for a couple hours. I know that the never-ending phone calls at election time are annoying. I know that money might be too tight to donate. I know that neighbor down the block might quit talking to you because of your sign. But accept it as part of the price we need to pay for better schools, more jobs, a little more social justice and a brighter future.
Take the next step and be a part of the transformation. The Senate District 36 DFL is holding a meeting at the Lakeville Heritage Library, Thursday, December 9, 2010, at 6:30 PM. Show up, be a part of the democracy and make a difference.