I'm a registered Republican in my home state of Nevada. I proudly cast my vote for George W Bush in the election of 2004.
During the summer and fall of 2004, I had occasion to be part of moveon.org in a technical capacity. I can gladly report that everything I observed was completely legitimate and quite contrary to anyone's sinister conspiracy theories.
How did my association with moveon.org come to pass? Fortunately, there was not a political litmus test, and I was not compelled to swear fealty to Terry McAuliffe. At the same time, I was able to separate my personal disagreement with moveon.org's positions from my duty to give them my best effort.
In my position, I received notice of nearly every change to moveon.org's websites and received a copy of nearly every outgoing email to the general membership. Everything I saw reflected only the hard work of people who were passionately dedicated to expressing their points of view. One may not agree with those points of view, but the effort itself commands a healthy respect.
[It is certainly within the realm of possibility that there were activities and communications of which I am not aware, and that my observations are therefore those of a dupe. I'm not the least keen observer, however, so I don't think it's the case.]
I want to especially comment about "Leave No Voter Behind." For those unfamiliar with it, it was a program to contact every potential Kerry voter to get him or her to the polls. I didn't need to agree with the agenda to recognize the nobility of the effort. I'll always have a lot of respect and admiration for the folks who made it happen.
To Republicans: Conservative pundits try to cast aspersions on moveon.org for the things they say and the way they say it, as though there's something wrong with having a point of view and expressing it. Don't believe it! I don't like any of the invective hurled against President Bush, but I do think the nation is richer for having more competition in the marketplace of ideas.
To Democrats: I wrote this piece to help calm the waters after an election in which a lot of things were said to question the sincerity, ethics, and morality of one's political opponents. One thing I love best about America is the spirit of reconciliation and comity that typically follows an election, however intense the campaign. One need only note the concessions of Presidents Ford and Carter, for instance, to see that it's usually the case. I admire Senator Kerry for subordinating his disappointment to the cause of moving forward together.
To MoveOn.Org members: There's a lot of silver lining in a cloud that I hope isn't too dark. Your organization has become a real political force, and I wish you the best in furthering your participation in American politics. Having observed your leadership during the campaign, I can report that you're in capable and responsible hands. Having been on the periphery of the technical side, I can also report that your organization's activities are facilitated by a group of persons whose efforts are literally awe-inspiring.
Copyright 2004 by David Marshall. This article may be freely copied in its entirety with this notice included. Excerpts that reasonably reflect the character of this article may also be freely copied; credit for the source is appreciated but not required.
Comments are welcome! Please send them to David Marshall.