THE BLOG

A Means to an End: Getting Back to Basics as We Get Ready for the Next Chapter

01/21/2011 01:06 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

I travel around the country a lot. You know that song, "I've been everywhere, man," well, you could say that's my theme song. I am always on the road because Democracy for America is all about working with progressives everywhere who are organizing for a better America. And, if I have learned anything from all of my travels, it's that whether you are in Tuscaloosa, AL, Spokane, WA, or Brooklyn, NY the values that unite us are all the same.

We founded DFA after my brother's presidential campaign in 2004 because we learned that people who shared our progressive values wanted to keep the momentum of the campaign going by continuing the fight year after year. Our campaign turned out to be about more than just an election, it was about an idea.

DFA was created by people who truly believed that if we talk to everyone about the values that unite us, that we could win back voters who were thought to be lost to the knee-jerk conservatism propelled by right-wing radio and religious reactionaries. And, we were right. After just two years of door knocking and phone calling we won back Congress in 2006 and the Presidency just two year later. But, those elections were only a means to an end. The end is the kind of country we want to live in, and we now know that we have a lot of work left to get there.

We are starting a conversation about where you think the progressive movement should go from here. Take a look at the letter from Gov. Dean last night and the conversation we had at DailyKos. We want to get back to basics and talk about what got us here.

We know what we believe.

We believe in community.
We care about our neighbors and we help each other. We can provide a bright future to our children with a quality education AND we can provide a secure retirement free from poverty and dependence for our grandparents. And we can accomplish it within a reasonable budget so we don't leave a burden of debt on the next generation. Democrats are responsible and balance budgets. Democrats lift up the community and make sure that everyone has a chance for a future.

We believe in security.
We will foster strong partnerships with other nations to ensure the secure and safe prosperity for all in the future. We will reduce our dependence on resources that make us vulnerable to attack. We will use our American ingenuity to strengthen our own economy and our environment. We won't start wars of choice and then perpetuate them to keep the military contractors in business. We will fund schools and investment in green jobs over funding bombers and missile defense our military doesn't need or even want.

We believe in liberty.
We respect every American's right to practice their own religion and to live a life free from bigotry, abuse, and harassment. We will fight discrimination and deliver on the promise of equality for all Americans. We believe that no one, not multinational corporations nor the government, has the right to your personal information to keep tabs on you for profit or unwarranted policing.

It is on these common beliefs that Democrats got elected in 2006 and 2008. By delivering on the promise of these ideas Democrats will continue to get elected in the future. So, it's not just about a day in November, it's about getting real results on the things we care about most -- strengthening our community, keeping us safe and secure, and protecting our liberty. The great part is that results that reinforce our core values lead to more electoral victories.

It's also not just about what happens in Washington. There are lots of opportunities on the state and local level this year to make progress on issues that we care about like campaign finance reform, marriage equality, and health care. Not to mention all of the local elections that can make a huge difference in our everyday lives.

So as the work for a stronger America continues, we want to continue to hear from you on what your priorities are. How do our shared values impact you? What kind of America do we want to live in? What do we want to leave behind for future generation to come? Give us your feedback here right now.

Either way, I'll see you out there on the road. Follow my travels this year on twitter: @TheJimDean