The line against hate is drawn in Oakland, Iowa

Thanks to Glenn Hurst for sharing this inspiring story of local activism. -promoted by desmoinesdem

Not long after Charlottesville, the Nazi menace attempted to slither into peaceful rural Iowa; Oakland, Iowa to be precise. As I laid fingers to keyboard, another ugly head attempted to sprout in northwest Iowa’s heavily Republican Sioux County. We took the same tactics spelled out here and successfully reproduced the protest in this Republican stronghold.

I had just emceed the vigil for Charlottesville held in Omaha a few weeks prior to the Oakland event. I was also providing the media coordination for the upcoming DACA event (scheduled for the following week) when murmurs about an anti-Islamic group snaking into Pottawattamie County started to get louder. Rallying against hate was becoming all too common.

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How three new activists got involved in Scott County

Guest posts on local political happenings are welcome at Bleeding Heartland. -promoted by desmoinesdem

In the last year, we have seen a flood of new energy and political involvement throughout the country, from the Women’s March, to the Indivisible movement, to protests, letter-writing campaigns, and citizens showing up at forums to confront their elected officials.

We have also seen a great deal of new people get involved with the Scott County Democratic Party since the election. We spoke with a few of our newer activists to ask how they decided to get involved and what their experience has been like.

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Hey Democrats: Where’s our leadership?

Democratic volunteer Jonathan Wilder feels Iowa party leaders haven’t been welcoming enough to young activists who could help change our state’s political direction. -promoted by desmoinesdem

“I don’t think people want a new direction, our values unify us and our values are about supporting America’s working families.”

Those are the words of Democratic House minority leader Nancy Pelosi speaking on CBS’s ‘Face the Nation.’ Pelosi’s words seem to ring of confidence, but how can she be filled with so much confidence, when, while under her watch, Democrats have lost over 1,042 state and federal Democratic posts since 2008; including major governorships, Congressional, and state legislative seats?

The question that should be on everybody’s mind… Especially in the minds of party leaders like Nancy Pelosi, is why? Why have people stopped turning out and voting for Democrats? What has allowed the Republicans to gain so many positions in so little time? Why are the people of this country, who when polled issue by issue, are shockingly more in line with leftist thought; are choosing to vote against their own interests and giving their support to the Republicans?

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SERENITY NOW! Forget unity; Dems need a strategic alliance

Practical advice from Lauren Whitehead, a Solon City Council member, longtime Democratic activist, and Indivisible organizer in Johnson County. -promoted by desmoinesdem

Y’all, we’re about to hit the anniversary of the worst day ever and I’m maxed out on rage. I’m beyond maxed out. I’ve reached a level of chronic underlying frustration and anger that is simply unsustainable, and I know I’m not the only one.

As a recovering addict AND a person with a diagnosed mental condition, I’m familiar with what “unsustainable” feels like. It impacts work, relationships, and ability to take care of your basic shit. It traps you in what feels like an inescapable situation of being unable to stop but also being unable to keep going on. So I know when I’ve hit a point where this is just not going to work, and I know I’m there, and I think a lot of other people are there, too. Rage is not an unlimited resource. It is the fossil fuel of our movement. It’s gotten us this far but we will run out. And it’s not good for us.

So here’s my proposal.

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Facts matter, but not if they fall on deaf ears

Matt Chapman’s advice to activists engaging with potential allies on the left: “If your conversation starts out by denigrating someone they worked hard for, you can’t expect them to listen.” -promoted by desmoinesdem

I have read quite a bit and have noted a few workshops on how to talk across the aisle. A lot of folks who canvass or have political conversations to influence voting habits focus on talking to others on the political left, since trying to convince hard-right voters seems like a waste of time.

The strategy for trying to break through to Republicans was to take the facts out of the conversation and focus on the morality of positions. The idea was that people who hold Christian values as their moral compass should be persuadable on issues such as poverty, bigotry, and a host of other issues.

I want to focus on how we communicate on the left from moderate Democrats to progressives and other allied parties, including the Green and Socialist parties as well as independents all across the spectrum.

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Social capital and party building

Scott Thompson, a rural sociologist focusing on social capital and community development as well as an active volunteer for the Democratic Party, was inspired to research the condition of our party’s “social capital.” -promoted by desmoinesdem

I am engaged in a research project stemming from my personal observations and social interactions. Full disclosure: I am a Democrat and I possess partisan views. I’m also concerned for the long-term health of the party for which I am a part. I felt compelled to write this, not to point fingers, place blame, ridicule, or complain. In this brief, you will not find the names of candidates, past or present.

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