Right now, Democrats in Congress are organizing for the new term that begins in January -- the 112th Congress. The heart, the brain and the spine of the Democratic Party in Congress is the Progressive Caucus. In the current term, the Progressive Caucus fought for the middle class, for a public option, for holding Wall Street and BP accountable, for peace, and against the corporate domination of American politics.
Last week, the Progressive Caucus picked new leaders. We elected, as Joint Chairmen, Reps. Raul Grijalva of Arizona and Keith Ellison of Minnesota. I like and I respect both of them. They are steadfast in their belief that the Government must work to meet human needs. And both of them are willing to fight for what we believe.
With right-wing Republicans soon to have a majority in the House of Representatives, the Progressive Caucus will become more important. They will be the voice of people with a conscience. They will fight to uncover and to stop the worst excesses of the Republican majority, to improve bills, and to hold the powerful accountable through hearings and public appeals.
I'd like you to get to know Reps. Ellison and Grijalva, and for them to get to know you. So I've set up a webpage -- RIGHT HERE -- where you can offer a comment, an idea, a suggestion, a hope, or a prayer to these two leaders. I will hand a copy of whatever you have to say to both of them.
A few months ago, I made the same offer regarding President Obama. The ideas and advice that you sent to me, and I passed on to the President, were extraordinarily insightful.
In January, I will no longer be in Congress. But the truth is that whatever power I have had always came from you. From people with a conscience. Reps. Ellison and Grijalva recognize that, too. Let them hear from you.
Why bother? Because you and I and they all have a part to play in a story that has been unfolding for thousands of years: the slow march of humanity toward justice, equality and peace. Toward feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, and healing the sick. Toward making sure that every human being can be all he or she can be, not be defeated by the impediments of prejudice, poverty, disease, ignorance or exploitation. Don't give too much thought or weight to the results of one election. Even in my short 52 years, we have made so much progress together. And the best is yet to come.
Rep. Alan Grayson