Our shared future is at stake

Kurt Meyer is chair of the Mitchell County Democrats, the Tri-County Democrats and the Iowa Democratic Party’s Finance Committee. Earlier this month he was elected president of Americans for Democratic Action. He delivered these remarks to delegates who braved a snowstorm to attend the Mitchell County Democratic convention in March. -promoted by desmoinesdem

Good morning, Democratic friends and neighbors.

As you see, this morning I brought with me this gavel, not because I think we’ll get unruly – I don’t think we will – but rather because of what this gavel symbolizes: a system of justice, the rule of law, and a social code committed to process and fairness. We need to be reminded of these things every so often. Indeed, let me suggest this is one of those times.

You know me and you know I’m an incurable optimist. It’s true… guilty as charged! In addition, I am a student of history, a field of study that generally undergirds my optimism.

It’s this historic perspective I want to touch on for a moment. Despite considerable optimism, my read of history suggests we are now in an unprecedented and frightening time. Our country, and yes, even our state, are in peril. By their actions, elected leaders at multiple levels indicate they have minimal interest in actually representing us. It’s all very sobering, especially the thought that we may well be approaching a tipping point, a countdown of sorts to something even more disastrous than what we’ve seen in the last 15 months.

We owe it to our community, to our state, and to our nation to be informed. But even more than this, we owe it to society to be involved. Your presence here today, specifically your willingness to confront this snowy weather, is a strong indication that you agree with me.

A reminder: So much of politics is relationships. It’s small scale person-to-person, especially at the local level. Today, we come together as Democrats. But between now and November, we must also reach out and connect with Independents and with Republicans and with all those who tell us they have no time for such things.

We must do so calmly, rationally, and reflectively. We must do so factually and confidently, in part because the facts are with us.

We must reach out with reason and fairness. Yes, there are outrageous aspects to what takes place both in Washington and Des Moines, nevertheless, we must connect with others without shouting. It’s quite simple: if we raise our voices, we are unlikely to be heard.

We must engage.

We must be civil.

We must persuade.

And in many cases, we must metaphorically take neighbors by the hand and walk them over – ultimately WIN them over – to our point of view. While outrage may be justifiable, bear in mind, we do best when we are positive and encouraging and supportive. We do less well when we are negative and critical and angry.

In closing, let me point out that our shared future is at stake. Our community, our state, and our country all need us. We can do this. Now, let’s get started.

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  • This sounds great -- however, to be honest...

    …I cannot even remember the last time I engaged in personal political discussion with a friend or neighbor or relative except for those whom I already know agree with me. If others are reaching out to Republicans and Independents successfully and actually changing minds, three huge cheers for them. I don’t think I could do it, and these days, I don’t even want to try. I’d much rather support efforts to get those who already agree with me to the polls.