DALLAS - The disparate group of people from all around town who gathered in the modest Oak Cliff neighborhood were pleased from the beginning to the end of the two-hour house party called by MoveOn.org on July 17. The one thing they certainly shared was their conviction that America is going to hell in a handbasket, and, further, that they were in the process of doing something about it!
MoveOn organizers had let the house party hosts know that 1,500 such events were under way simultaneously around the country, and that 25,000 people had invited themselves. By contrast, they said, the tea party movement launched in 2009 with house parties, but could only scrape together 900.
The topic was "Rebuild the American Dream," but, early on, someone in my group said that it should be changed to "Building a New American Dream," since the days of world economic and military domination are over for the United States; consequently a new dream of the cessation of exploitation at home and abroad is in order.
We were asked to prioritize a list of 40 excellent ideas for improving the United States now. It was hard to do, because all 40 ideas, sent in earlier by MoveOn subscribers across the states, were outstanding. To my surprise, jobs and the economic issues weren't necessarily everybody's main choice. Good schools and a cleaner environment received very good ratings, too.
Of course, people had a lot to say about the deficiencies of the present situation, but all of us also had a bright burnished story about hopeful developments that we had personally seen or participated in. A woman talked about cleaning up a drug-infested part of a neighborhood. Another spoke of parental participation in her children's school. Several agreed on having been inspired by that wonderful night in 2008 when we learned that we had elected our very hopeful president.
Although we recognized the obstacles being placed before our democracy, all of us were united in our determination to make real changes between now and November, 2012. MoveOn will be announcing the broad survey results soon.
Photo: Rebuild The Dream on Facebook.