Sunday, May 13, 2007

Summit County Progressive Democrats

Last summer, upon volunteering for Sherrod Brown's campaign, I began hearing about a group called the Summit County Progressive Democrats. Nobody came up to me and gave me a spiel and loaded me up with pamphlets worthy of the Jehovah's Witnesses, so I took that as an initial sign that this group might be of interest. Groups that indulge in massive self-aggrandizement turn me off every time.

I picked up another clue as to what this group is all about at a campaign event where I was assigned to blowing up balloons with another worker, an older lady who introduced herself and then immediately asked me if I was "one of those Summit County progressives." I told her I wasn't, and she said with a firm nod and smile, "Good!" "Aha!" I thought to myself, Summit County Progressives are not beloved by the mainstream." I took this to be a positive sign and thought I should check further into the group.

By the time the fall election was over, I knew a little bit more about SCPD, including the fact that they meet every 2nd Tuesday of the month at the Main Library downtown. I made note of that and determined to attend a meeting. But the school year, with all its demands of time and energy, made it impossible to get there until this month.

I didn't really know what to expect, perhaps a handful of folks left-over from the fall's election looking far far ahead to '08. Instead I found a room full of warm and vibrant people, well-organized with an interesting agenda of timed segments addressing several issues. One member presented a summary of his paper on what is the difference between a "liberal" and a "progressive" which is something I hadn't really considered too closely before, other than "progressive" sounds cooler and has an air of sleeves rolled up and action being taken. For those who are interested in the historical background of progressives, check the issues page of the SCPD web site. There are other interesting papers there as well. I like the idea of an organisation that encourages its members to write issue papers.

A woman from the Friends of the Crooked River gave a Power Point presentation on their progress fighting the proposed hydro-electric plant on the river in the Falls. I was glad to see an environmental issue put forth on the SCPD agenda, and indeed the environment is included in their mission statement:
Mission Statement

The mission of the Summit County Progressive Democrats (SCPD) is to create a more just society by advocating issues and candidates who advance progressive ideals, where people can work together to articulate domestic and foreign policies that support human rights, equal economic opportunity, social justice and environmental stewardship. We work to expand grassroots participation in the political process and to return the government of this nation to the will of the people.

I'm considering joining the group, even though I know I can't contribute as much time as other people. At least I have the summer months, which proved useful in last year's election. I can parade and I can pass out stickers and campaign materials.


Anonymous said...

Wendy - thanks for your comments. We would welcome you as a member of SCPD. Not all of us can be as active as those presenters you saw at the meeting, but every like-minded person can help in some way. I like the group because the members believe in getting educated about issues and candidates, taking responsibility and taking action. We are not a bunch of lemmings blindly following the party line. So be Progressive and join us.


Village Green said...

Vicki, I will do my best to help out whenever I can. The progressives I met while working on the Brown campaign were all great folks -- well organized, out-going, knowledgable and passionate. I think it is really cool that your group got together "officially" after the Kerry loss in '04. Out of despair into positive action!