About a month ago we looked at a 30 second TV spot that shook up the congressional race in Orlando, Florida. Readers here at the Huffington Post and across the blogosphere were inspired and excited. Today Alan Grayson has a hard-hitting follow-up ad-- and a two hour live blog session at Firedoglake starting at 2pm, EST. Take a look at the new ad:
Blue America's first pick of 2008 was Grayson and this Tuesday he faces recently "converted" Republican Mike Smith and an establishment hack and wealthy clownish shill from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party, Charlie Stuart, in the Democratic primary. After a very tough race Alan looks like the prohibitive favorite to win Tuesday and go into the general election campaign against incumbent rubber stamp Ric Keller with a full head of steam. Alan looks to me like one of the big progressive success stories of 2008. If you've missed our earlier chats with Alan, I want to recommend you read the Vanity Fair feature about his efforts fighting Iraq war profiteers or go over and watch some of the TV shows he's been on talking about these efforts.
The other day I asked him to help me understand the whole concept of "change" in a political context.
Barack Obama won the Democratic nomination by being the candidate of change. Now John McCain says that he's the candidate of change, and we bite our lips and try not to laugh out loud. But since the promise of change crosses the whole political spectrum, we'd better start thinking-- what will change... and how?
What will change are our priorities. Specifically, we will concentrate on meeting human needs, our needs. Health is a human need. Education is a human need. Public safety is a human need. Affordable transportation is a human need.
Here are some things that are not human needs: Making sure that you can own a gun. Preventing two people of the same gender from uniting. Insisting that other people speak English. Instigating unnecessary wars. When our priorities change, these issues take a back seat.
I, for one, would like to live in a place where the hungry are fed, the homeless are sheltered, the children are educated, and the sick are healed. That's what we've been told, for around 3000 years, that a just society tries to accomplish. Only recently has anyone suggested that a just society is one where everyone is packing heat.
And when that change occurs, the economy will improve dramatically. Why? Because meeting human needs keeps money in the country. If the bridge that fell down in Minneapolis-- which is still down-- were rebuilt, then the construction worker who rebuilds that bridge will make money. He will use that money to pay his rent, and his landlord will make money. The landlord will go to dinner in a restaurant in Minneapolis, and the waiter will make money. The waiter will get his hair cut, and the barber will make money. Meeting human needs means putting more money in the hands of Americans. And spending it on the war in Iraq means it's gone, forever.
The U.S. trade deficit is $2 million a minute. Under the Bush Administration, money has gushed out of this country. No wonder gas is $4 a gallon, the cost of living is rising, unemployment is up, and the housing market is down. It's the worst case of economic mismanagement in American history.
And that will change. Because people with a conscience are coming together, and saying "we need to take care of each other." People with a conscience are taking power in America. And people are letting their conscience guide them.
We're changing. And that's real change.
I have no doubt Alan is going to win on Tuesday. After that he faces a well-financed incumbent with nearly a million dollars on hand-- a well-financed incumbent who has been faithfully serving the special interests who have given him millions of dollars and have every intention of shelling out whatever they have to to keep him in office. But Orlando is a very changed district and Ric Keller has never been up against a candidate like Alan Grayson. This could be one of Blue America's most important achievements. Take a look at the clip up top again. In case you've forgotten, our Blue America page is here.