To all the “Disenchanted Deaniacs”

This is a blog long overdue. I meant to write it last week, after Howard Dean announced his withdrawal from the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.

In years past, I have considered myself to be a “professional-amateur political hack,” if such an oxymoron can exist. I’ve been involved in politics for many years. I’ve worked on congressional, senatorial, and gubernatorial campaigns. I was the president of Young Democrats in college, and was elected Student Body President my senior year (to my knowledge the only liberal ever elected at right-wing ORU).

What I’m trying to say, is that unlike a lot of Dean supporters who were inspired to get involved in electoral politics for the first time, I’ve been through all of this before. What Dean was to many of you, Bill Clinton was to me in 1992, when I first became eligible to vote. He was young, eloquent, passionate about his beliefs, and came accross as a visionary. Had he lost, I would probably still think of him that way (actually, I do anyhow–but that’s another blog). Even though he won, I still remember the crushing despair I felt in 1994 (Newt Gingrich’s so-called “Republican Revolution”) when every single candidate I had poured my blood, sweat, and tears into was defeated. I know how you feel.

I liked him too. Like, you I thought (and think) he was the best choice to beat Bush. And I think I know why we liked him too. It wasn’t really the policies, or the internet, or his record, although they were all good. It was because he had CHARISMA–that spark of romantic idealism that inspires people; stirrs them up. Clinton had it. Kennedy had it. Shoot–even though I disagree with everything he ever said, Ronald Reagan had it. And Teddy Roosevelt, if you’re looking for another Repub. John Kerry? I’m not sure. At least, I haven’t seen it yet. Bush? Never in a million years.

So now Dean is gone, and many of you are disillusioned. You’re considering Ralph Nader, or worse yet, just dropping out of presidential politics altogether, like the McGovernites of ’72.

But remember, even though you were new to this whole whirlwind of idealism and hope–Dean wasn’t. Howard Dean was the Governor of Vermont. To rise to a post of that stature means he had to work his way up through the ranks, dealing with self-promoting, self-comprimising politicians. And defeat–if not of his candidacies, at least of some of his ideas. But he kept going. He didn’t drop out of politics, and you shouldn’t either.

Please, please follow his example. And here’s where it’s really going to hurt: Follow his example in November too, when Howard Dean, as he has promised, will vote for the Democratic nominee for President–whoever that turns out to be. I don’t know, but I’m pretty sure that the reason he has pledged to do this is because he’s learned the same thing I’ve learned over the years of my involvement in politics: Leaders–even great ones–come and go, but it is the party that lives on. Yes, the Democratic party is often slower to act as a whole than some of its parts, I realize this. But I believe that it has carried the country in the right direction, if slower than some might have wanted.

Dean and the first-timers he inspired are like young love–passionately burning…and brief. Believe me, as a high school teacher, I see it every day. But those of us who have been with the Democratic party for a long time have a deep and abiding committment, not unlike a marriage. You have to work at it. Sometimes it’s not what you dreamed about, but sometimes it will still surprise you, and always it will be worth it in the end.

I don’t know if John Kerry will be the next nominee, or if he’ll be the next president. Even though he’s not my favorite, if he’s elected I don’t think he’ll be “bush-lite.” Remember, John Kennedy came from an affluent background, and was actually pretty moderate and non-committal in his campaign speeches against Nixon. The two of them didn’t disagree on a single major issue. In foreign policy, he was conservative. He only barely won the election. But when he took up the office of president, he filled the shoes many thought he couldn’t. I believe that at least in part, it was because he belonged to the right party, and ascribed to a platform that was sometimes even more progressive than he. That platform is still out there, and once the dust settles from election promises and positioning, a Democratic president will always be a Democratic president, and that will always be better than a Republican one. Besides, in the next four years, the Supreme Court will be up for grabs, and that will affect the country for years and years to come.

I know this has been long, and if you’re still reading, there must be a reason. Dean is gone, but your vote isn’t. Keep your idealism and your spark, and they will find another day, another candidate. But while you’re at it, keep your vote with the Democratic party, too.

She Was a Teenaged Blogger

OK, Bloggies:

I made a post about this article before, and it’s still not my favorite, but I’m re-posting it because I want you to read it. If nothing else, so you can see the potential power of your ideas, your voice, your blog, when you use it as a tool to communicate with the world. So go ahead, demonize your English teacher! I ask only one thing. Please, please, please, do it with correct grammar.

Click Here To Read Article on “Teenaged Blogger”

Now Accepting Nominations

Amy had her second visit to the doctor today, and during the ultrasound, apparently our little peanut waved at her. I’m jealous, of course. Well, at least I know for sure now that our child has at least one arm. Which reminds me yet again how irreversible this countdown towards birth really is. So on that note, since the day of reckoning is fast approaching, I will now open the blog floor to suggestions for a name for the little Locke. Here are some guidelines:
1. No strange and ridiculous names that would scar him or her for life, please (consider rhymes, too).
2. Only submit your own name for consideration if you have been a positive influence in my/our life.
3. Cartoon characters are out. Literary characters, however, will be considered.
4. “George” and “Arnold” are definitely out of the question. Don’t even try.
5. Finally, keep in mind that my wife has ultimate veto power on this…

Name away…

A depressing thought

I went to my writer’s group tonight. Emptyhanded. As others read their latest masterpieces (R.R. wrote an amazing short w/dialect), my lack of new material gave me the sensation of some long term goals slipping, slipping into the hazy quagmire of the distant future.

Don’t get me wrong. Life is good. Too good–that’s the problem. Somewhere among preparing to welcome a child into the world, pouring myself into a job I absolutely love, switching operating systems and all other computer-related hobbies, and being actively involved at church…it’s the writing that suffers. Not because it’s less important than any of those things, but because it’s less urgent in nature. Less pressing. It can wait. Still…it’s my dream.

“Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a heaven for?” (Robert Browning)

EduBlogcation

And so begins a brave new experiment in education–the bloggified classroom. Friday I signed up several students in my ninth grade English Class (and one very opinionated Acadec student) with their very own blogs. More to come Monday, from the looks of it. A few minutes ago, I posted an informational page with guidelines to get them started (top of the column directly to your left, if you’re looking for it), and a plethora of blog related links. Will it work? Like all great educational theories, by the time we can say for sure they’ll all either be wildly successful and long gone, or warped for life…

An Epic Struggle on my Computer

Two nights ago I installed Red Hat Linux 9 on my Laptop computer–alongside the existing MS Windows XP. I would like to make the switch one of these days (mostly because I dislike Microsoft), and this setup should allow me to evaluate Linux for awhile with out giving up Windows just yet. Last night, since I couldn’t sleep, I got to thinking of the two separate entities lodged on my hard drive, vying against one another for my ultimate favor. Good vs. Evil and all that stuff. I just couldn’t resist a few midnight cinquain:

Microsoft
Evil Empire
Hiding, hoarding, scheming
Monster out of control
Dragon.

Linux
Mighty Maverick
Liberating, illuminating, sharing
Rising to the challenge
Knight.

Me
Distressed Damsel
Watching, waiting, hoping
Looking funny in dress
Rescue?

Microsoft
Secretive Sorcerer
Enchanting, manipulating, deceiving
The world is spellbound
Enslaved.

Linux
Spell Breaker
Healing, revealing, unconcealing
Truth shall set you
Free.