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Democracy For The Southern Adirondack/Tricounty Area
Wednesday, March 23, 2005
 
Dean In Tennessee
Governor Dean is drawing big crowds down South again. This is from the Vanderbilt U. Hustler.

"Citizens should run for public office, Dean says


by Gabe Morris

March 23, 2005

Former Gov. and current chairman of the Democratic National Committee Howard Dean said yesterday at Vanderbilt's 41st IMPACT symposium that for change to occur, U.S. citizens have to do more than just vote.

Speaking to a packed Langford auditorium, Dean said that individual participation is important, that Democrats will focus on all 50 states, and that Democratic values are in line with the mainstream.

"If you want to make American democracy strong, you have to do more than just vote. You have to run for office." Dean said.

Dean focused on Democratic plans for the future and the importance of every voter. He said that Democratic positions are the mainstream in America and that Democrats will build a grassroots organization in all 50 states.

"We can win in Tennessee and Mississippi, but there are some things that we have to do in order to win," Dean said. "You have the power to take back this country for ordinary working people.

He said students should donate $10 to $15 to candidates, participate weekly in political campaigns, and refocus on state and local politics.

Dean also addressed current Republican tactics.

"Republicans always talk about running government as a business -- they do: It's Enron ... (we need) more long-term thinking about what we are doing in this country," he said. "We have let the Republicans decide who we are for a long time ... now we will define ourselves."

The former governor also addressed abortion and social-service programs.

"I don't know anybody who is pro-abortion ... nobody likes abortion -- this is about who gets to make up their mind about what kind of health care they get," Dean said. "We ought to welcome pro-life Democrats to the party; if you're a Democrat and you're pro-life, you've made a decision to take care of children after birth; that is pretty important."

Dean made values a part of his speech as well.

"I will never divide this country by race, gender, or sexual orientation -- we need to win ... by appealing to the very best of America and not to the very worst," Dean said.

"Jesus said love thy neighbor as thyself -- he did not say that you will choose which neighbors you will love and which ones you won't," Dean said, in reference to same-sex rights.

Dean also posited that Americans should invest in education and criticized the recent decision to drill for oil in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge.

The chairman did not leave out defense and foreign policy.

Dean closed by saying that that it's important that people view America as the beacon it used to be. He said President Bush undid this idea of America, and that a strong moral foundation is important for national security.

"What we need in international defense policy is someone who understands the big picture ... To define a defense policy as a (willingness) to send troops to Iraq is to not understand defense," Dean said. "

Also, noted the Daily Tennesseean:

"''I don't believe in blue states or red states,'' the former 2004 presidential candidate said. ''I believe in purple states — and some are more purple than others.''

and

"In his speech, Dean told the audience how, under his leadership, the Democratic Party will be made stronger.

The party allowed its opponents too often to define debates and control issues, such as faith and family values, Dean said.

''We need to talk about values and not be afraid of them,'' he said, going on to make two biblical references.

In the first he said Jesus' directive to ''love thy neighbor'' didn't mean one could choose which ones to love. He then remarked that Republicans never brought up the scriptural verse saying it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven.

''We should never let anybody tell us we don't respect faith,'' he said."

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