I was expecting, as i'm sure many people were, for both Democrats and Republicans to have settled on a presidential nominee last night. That didn't happen.
Now that Democrats look like they're going to the wire, and that North Carolinians, especially me, are going to cast meaningful votes in May, here's what the contenders have to do to get my vote.
First, an explicit recognition that Democrats are not running against each other. This means a declaration from each of the campaigns that their opponent is fully qualified to lead the nation and expresses all of the values of the Democratic party: equal justice, equal opportunity, and equal rights in a society that is not governed by fear. Grassroots Democrats get this. We know that we have two strong candidates capable of leading America out of the morass that 4 decades, and especially the past eight years, of mostly Republican rule have left us in.
Second, now that the Republicans have selected their candidate, it's time to start running against him, and his stated intent to continue the failed policies and fear mongering of the Bush administration. That's the contrast that's most important, not the policy differences between Obama and Clinton.
Third, enough with the fear-mongering. And yes, i'm talking to you, Mark Penn and Hillary Clinton. We can't continue as a free people if our leaders are constantly trying to keep us living in fear. And if we aren't free, how can we expect any other nation to follow our lead? History flows towards freedom. The more we reject freedom, the more likely it is that we get left behind. Embracing fear reduces the distinction between the two parties, and as Truman said, given the choice between a Republican and someone who acts like a Republican, people will vote for the real Republican all the time. We're Americans, goddammit. We weren't afraid of the Nazis, we weren't afraid of the Soviets, why the hell should we be so afraid of a bunch of terrorists that we give away everything our parents and grandparents and Founding Fathers built for us?
Can you do that?
If you can, you'll not only have my vote, but my money, and my labor, and all the energy and support i have to give.