Saturday, February 18, 2006

Happy Presidents' Day!

Tomorrow, in Madison, Wisconsin, and Los Angeles, California, the first official Russ Feingold for President Meetups will occur; with another taking place in New Brunswick, New Jersey, on Monday. Monday, of course, is Presidents' Day and I can think of no better way to celebrate it than a Russ Feingold for President Meetup, and I wish I had the energy (and St. Louis had the progressive community) that I could have set one up.

Presidents' Day has its origins in George Washington's birthday, which is this Wednesday, so perhaps it is appropriate that I found some inspiration for our Feingold for President movement in this quote from a speech Jane Addams gave in 1903 at a celebration of Washington's Birthday:

What is a great man who has made his mark upon history? Every time, if we think far enough, he is a man who has looked through the confusion of the moment and has seen the moral issue involved; he is a man who has refused to have his sense of justice distorted; he has listened to his conscience until conscience becomes a trumpet call to like-minded men, so that they gather about him and together, with mutual purpose and mutual aid, they make a new period in history.
I don't know if there is a better example in recent American politics of looking through the confusion of the moment and seeing the moral issue involved than Senator Feingold's original lone Senate vote against the PATRIOT Act. And I don't think there is a better description of what is occurring on Feingold blogs and at Feingold Meetups than the part of that quote that I put in bold.

I was skeptical, at first, of the idea of starting Feingold for President Meetups this early, but now I see why they are needed: it's time for like-minded men and women to gather together in their communities and reach out to others there, spreading the word about a man of conscience from Wisconsin who, with our help, could take our country forward to a new period in history.

I look forward to hearing about the Meetups; I'll be there in spirit.

My usual apologies for not posting more often, I hope to post a longer update soon. Of course, I have lots of hopes, not all of them are realized...

(And, to give credit where it is due, I found the Jane Addams speech I quoted in the book Lend Me Your Ears: Great Speeches in History collected by William Safire, which my Mom bought me for Christmas and has quickly become one of my favorite books.)

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