Dean Campaign and Revival of Community
December 7, 2003 7:40 PM   Subscribe

Dean Campaign and Revival of Community. Robert Putnam's book Bowling Alone charted the decline of communities in America, arguing that people tended to no longer to meet others outside the family for common interests or causes. The NYTimes Magazine argues that the Dean Campaign derives its popularity from reviving such communal connections. [More Inside]
posted by gregb1007 (45 comments total)
 
Those who have joined the Dean campaign mention community involvement as an important reason for participating.

Commenting on the Hooksett, NH meetup,'"Greg DeMarco, a computer salesman, told [the writer of the story], ''My wife and I have met more people in Hooksett through the campaign than we have living here.''

Another person who attended the meetup talked about how the campaign had acquianted her with people in her hometown she would not have otherwise known. 'Eileen Ehlers agreed: ''I don't know what it is -- maybe that the town has no sidewalks and no physical center, just strips, but people just don't talk to each other like we do here [at the Dean meetup]. People come to Hooksett to sleep, and go to work somewhere else. But the brilliance of the campaign is that it is leaving behind a community.'' '
posted by gregb1007 at 7:45 PM on December 7, 2003


Dean made this great speech today. Interestingly, I found out about him here on MetaFilter over a year ago.
posted by stopgap at 7:47 PM on December 7, 2003


Probably because WE NEVER STOP TALKING ABOUT HIM here.
posted by Stan Chin at 7:52 PM on December 7, 2003


I like the Dean campaign a lot. Too bad they don't have a different candidate.
posted by alms at 7:56 PM on December 7, 2003


Wow, who's his speechwriter? They are really driving the message home well.
posted by PrinceValium at 8:03 PM on December 7, 2003


too bad bush is gonna dominate in 2004. in your FACE, libs!
posted by mcsweetie at 8:29 PM on December 7, 2003


Has the Dean campaign revived communal connections or simply sparked new ones? And will these survive the campaign?

I'll believe the NYT assertion when I get to go to a Dean campain sponsored contradance near my town.

But still : "If any politician tries to win an election by turning America into a battle of us versus them, we're going to respond with a politics that says that we're all in this together - that we want to raise our children in a world in which they are not taught to hate one another, because our children are not born to hate one another."

For Dean to even say this - regardless of any actions towards that end should he win - is good, in my opinion.

I'm sick to death of the politics of hate.

Down with politics of hate.

Down with it, down I say !
posted by troutfishing at 8:33 PM on December 7, 2003


The devil is in the details folks, Dean's speech was inspiring but I have this nagging feeling that the good Doctor is just blowing smoke up our collective liberal asses. Dean doesn't have any actual plans other then balancing the budget and repealing the Bush tax cuts, and when he's pressed for more detail he just goes into the rhetorical speech again.

The funny thing is I've worked for the Dean campaign, I've given money to his campaign and I still feel his grassroots army will help him beat Bush, but I just don't trust him, he's like a white kid from the burbs who acts like a black kid from da hood, he's faking the liberal funk. That speech reads like a Nader speech for christsakes. Like most politicians Dean's rhetoric is not matching his record, but people are still getting all caught up in his campaign, and I wonder how disappointed those people will be when Dean doesn't push a people powered agenda. Dean is rallying the people like few politicians have done in the past , this could be a great thing, but if Dean fails to deliver on his agenda he'll make it even worse when he creates a whole new generation of cynics. The best thing that could happen to Dean would be for him to lose and become a spokesperson for the agenda he's pushing in that speech, because I don't feel he has what it takes, or really cares to deliver on his lofty goals.
posted by jbou at 8:47 PM on December 7, 2003


See also "Better Together" by Putnam and Feldstien.
And CivicVentures.org.
posted by squirrel at 9:02 PM on December 7, 2003


jbou - "....he's like a white kid from the burbs who acts like a black kid from da hood, he's faking the liberal funk."

Bullsworth? Ouch. Yeah, I see it - But my calculus and sense of the stakes may be different from yours.
posted by troutfishing at 9:23 PM on December 7, 2003


jbou: I've only been following the primary race from somewhat of a distance, but I've never had the sense that Dean was presenting himself as anything other than a moderate and a pragmatist. He definitely attacks Bush with fervor, but so does Al Gore, who is not exactly at the leftmost fringes of the party either.

Maybe the message that he's sending to his supporters (of which I don't count myself one, at least not yet) is different than the message that he is projecting to voters generally. But from what I hear from him, he strikes me as a middle-of-the-road democrat with flair for populist rhetoric. Not too unlike Clinton, come to think of it.
posted by boltman at 9:49 PM on December 7, 2003


i'd have to say it's two-fold on this one, first the internet/community thing which i believe was just a matter of time to develop and for SOMEONE to take advantage of. who would have thought that a system created for [military] people across the nation and world to directly communicate would develop into a system for average people to communicate about various subjects (ie: politics). it just turns out that these people may happen to live next to each other and get to know each other in a safe place before meeting up.

Secondly, even if you despise dean you have to admit that he's damned charismatic (i refuse to believe that the rolled up sleeves and yelling demeaner are not as planned as bush's good'ol boy country charm). While i think there are a good number of intelligent people out there who CHOOSE to vote for dean, i think there's also going to be those who will follow him becuase there's such a leader vacuum in the democratic party. Anyway, is any real democrat out there going to vote for bush simply because they think deans to far to the right? (or are you just not going to vote at all, ...because then you can't complain (i honestly don't mean that statement as a troll, i'd expect you to vote green or some equivalent)

stopgap, i must admit i also first heard about him here so i guess we have homunculus to blame for all this community stuff. Cheers to deanfilter, makes me feel all warm and cozy on the inside.
posted by NGnerd at 9:55 PM on December 7, 2003


i guess we have homunculus to blame for all this community stuff.

That's it, I'm sticking to Goatse links from now on.
posted by homunculus at 10:25 PM on December 7, 2003


trout-
I'll believe the NYT assertion when I get to go to a Dean campain sponsored contradance near my town.

I don't know about the wishy-washy or superlative implications of the NYT assertion, but (in my experience) attending a MeetUp is the best way to see its validity demonstrated. I must admit, that I'm really in the whole thing for Joe Trippi. He has hit his stride and everything he touches turns to gold, plus he's got that whole foul-mouthed straight-talking James Carville thing going on.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 11:03 PM on December 7, 2003


Young, idealistic humanities and social science majors without jobs have always gone out to work for campaigns, if only to provide a roof over their head, food to eat, and people to meet. I don't see how the Dean campaign is different in that aspect from the other soldiers for John Kerry or Wesley Clark out in their respective headquarters.

The real story, left untold here in this fixation on once-heartbroken youth, is the grassroots activists at the MeetUps and in the states, not the ones out in Burlington, New Hampshire, or Iowa. Those people will always be there, for every campaign, if they hope to find a job in politics. They will always work long hours for little pay and the side benefits of meeting something special. It's the grassroots people, with regular jobs and regular families, that make the Dean campaign truly "people-powered". If it wasn't for them, the young Internet wunderkinds would have no reason to exist.

Me? I'm sitting this one out until the primary is over, and strategically voting when my turn comes up in March.
posted by calwatch at 12:09 AM on December 8, 2003


they cover their pajamas with stickers that say ''Howard Dean Has a Posse'' and wear them to an art opening, or they organize a squadron to do ''Yoga for Dean.''

If Dean wins the primaries, he's going to have a lot of work to do to distance himself from his early supporters. Yoga and art openings will give Bush a lot of ammo to use with mainstream America.

Still, this article changed my opinion of Dean: his supporters give him a chance at being Barry Goldwater instead of George McGovern.
posted by fuzz at 4:19 AM on December 8, 2003


Dean? Awful. Horrific. Everything that's wrong, naive, and misdirected about the Left. Want togetherness? Try the Moonies or Krishnas. How lame.
posted by ParisParamus at 4:46 AM on December 8, 2003


That was a great speech stopgap! Thanks.

I hope America can handle such large doses of red meat truth after consuming so much FAUX pablum for so long.

This guy rocks! Go tell it on the mountain brother! Reminds me of JFK what with the honesty and idealism in his speeches.
posted by nofundy at 5:56 AM on December 8, 2003


Dean? Awful. Horrific. Everything that's wrong, naive, and misdirected about the Left. Want togetherness? Try the Moonies or Krishnas. How lame.

hmm...I will need at least a fortnight to prepare a rebuttal.
posted by mcsweetie at 6:50 AM on December 8, 2003


You're not trying very hard lately, Paris.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 8:07 AM on December 8, 2003


Hey, Uncle Fes, if you read this thread, could you make one of your thoughtful posts so that we have a reasonable voice from the right, blotting out ParisParamus: "Everything that's wrong, naive, and misdirected about the" MeFi Right?

Pretty Please?
posted by notsnot at 8:19 AM on December 8, 2003


I find it ironic the level of support here for a rich prep-schooled drunken fratboy.
posted by gyc at 9:23 AM on December 8, 2003


Who, Bush?
posted by notsnot at 9:32 AM on December 8, 2003


Hey, after 8 years of that mass-murdering rapist Klinton, we lib'ruhls will be happy with a simple draft-dodging Ba'athist sympathizer. Plus, as long as the homosexual agenda is moved forward, we'll put up with anything.

*Sacrifices half a goat to Trotsky, half a goat to Hillary; gets abortion*
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 9:40 AM on December 8, 2003


Dean is not my guy. (Neither is Bush, just so you know.) I have kind of bought the idea that he will win the primary and lose the election, but the pathetic attempts by his ideological opponents here to derail these threads are sad.
Maybe he does have something if those who would never vote for him or his party, feel the need to pop in and say he cannot win.
Are Bush supporters really so egalitarian that they want the Democrats to run the strongest candidate possible?

(Paris, if you are considering listing your Democratic creds, spare me. I have read it before)
posted by thirteen at 9:49 AM on December 8, 2003


Are Bush supporters really so egalitarian that they want the Democrats to run the strongest candidate possible?


Of course not, but I do think that Dean can win, and I don't like that because I don't like his plans at all and think he's too far left. I'd rather the Democrats nominate someone more moderate like Lieberman (my favorite from the Democratic field) so that if they win, at least I'd be able to agree with them some of the time.
posted by gyc at 9:54 AM on December 8, 2003



I hope America can handle such large doses of red meat truth

And there goes the Lefty vegetarian vote,
posted by thirteen at 9:54 AM on December 8, 2003


Gyc: I imagine the Lieberman line is gonna get some laughs, cause he seems like the worst nightmare to some people I know. I like very little about Dean's plans, so if he is the candidate I will have no dog in the fight, and won't much care who wins next time around. The general principle still seems wrong to me. I do not get the interest in the other guy's guy.
posted by thirteen at 9:58 AM on December 8, 2003


"he's like a white kid from the burbs who acts like a black kid from da hood, he's faking the liberal funk."

I love the irony of using a racist analogy to describe a candidate who just gave a speech renouncing a 'racist, us-versus-them' campaign strategy.

I was never a 'white kid from the burbs who acts like a black kid from da hood', but I have experienced and enjoyed taking part in African American cultural rituals, including music and dance. Many of my (even liberal) friends thought it strange that I like RAP and R&B music even in my 30s.

I choose to listen to, take part in, and enjoy any activity from any culture which gives me pleasure and perhaps even educates me. It is sad when people close their minds to other experiences and lifestyles because of prejudice.

I realize the point that you were trying to make, jbou, was about sincerity and putting on airs, but that's exactly why your analogy is so insulting.

Just because these young men have white skin and live in the suburbs does not mean that their interest in African American culture and/or music is any less authentic or real than an African American's interest. We all grow up sharing a common media and culture these days. To imply that one group of people has more right to appreciate that culture or that their interest is somehow more sincere because of the color of their skin or where they live is wrong.
posted by PigAlien at 10:47 AM on December 8, 2003


I'm neither Democrat nor Republican, but I do feel that Perle, Wolfowitz, Cheney, et al, are bad for America in general, so I want Bush out. The only logical opponent is a Democrat - so why can't the Democrats quit wasting time with Dean and find themselves someone who can win? Dean can't be beat Bush today, so unless you're counting on Bush to stumble and fall in some major way in coming months, what's the point?

Why not General Clark? He's got the real life army props to put Bush and his Ken doll fly boy antics to shame, he's centrist enough to not to scare granny and, most pragmatic of all, he's southern. Not since Joe Kennedy bought 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for Jack has a northern Democrat lived there, and I just cannot for the life of me understand why the Democrats will throw away an election by refusing to acknowledge the simple lessons learned from 50 years of Presidential politics...
posted by JollyWanker at 11:10 AM on December 8, 2003


thirteen: I imagine the Lieberman line is gonna get some laughs, cause he seems like the worst nightmare to some people I know

Well, he appears to be the only Dem who knows one whit about Economics. In fact, if I had to cast my ballot for a major party candidate, it would be Lieberman by a mile.

If Dean is seriously elected and embarks upon a campaign of reregulation and protectionism, God help us all. I wonder if Howard Dean has ever read The Road to Serfdom.
posted by trharlan at 11:11 AM on December 8, 2003


Well, he appears to be the only Dem

Hmmm, a link to Tech Central Station. No thanks.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 11:48 AM on December 8, 2003


Armitage: Do you assert that the article contains factual inaccuracies? Are you afraid that your click might drop a penny or two in Glassman's pocket? Do you think Arnold Kling is a shill of some sort?

Jane Galt's take.
posted by trharlan at 12:09 PM on December 8, 2003


Just because these young men have white skin and live in the suburbs does not mean that their interest in African American culture and/or music is any less authentic or real than an African American's interest. We all grow up sharing a common media and culture these days. To imply that one group of people has more right to appreciate that culture or that their interest is somehow more sincere because of the color of their skin or where they live is wrong.


So African American culture consists of baggy jeans hanging off their asses, saying yo at the beginning and end of every sentence, and using the word bitch a whole lot? Because the Black folks I know enjoy hip hop, hell I'm a 33 year old man who enjoys hip hop, but I don't go off the deep end and appropriate the whole hip hop culture.
It's ok to appreciate a culture, but you cross the line when you appropriate it.
posted by jbou at 12:18 PM on December 8, 2003


jbou, your culture is yours to define as you wish, and you have the right to 'appropriate' whatever elements of any other culture you wish to form your own. If some people want to wear baggy jeans hanging off their asses they have the right to do so, regardless of the color of their skin. You seem to be saying that because those who did it first are african american that only african americans can only wear baggy jeans hanging off their asses? Culture is like language - ever-changing and fluid and owned by those who use it. Your statement is akin to saying black people are appropriating white culture by speaking English and not swahili. Sure, they were brought here as slaves and forced to speak English, but to follow your argument, when they were set free, they should have reverted back to their african culture.
posted by PigAlien at 12:44 PM on December 8, 2003


I'd rather the Democrats nominate someone more moderate like Lieberman

It's a scary world we live in when Lieberman is considered moderate. More like a wolf in Dem's clothing.
posted by dogmatic at 1:03 PM on December 8, 2003


Gore to endorse Dean tomorrow.
posted by cleetus at 2:27 PM on December 8, 2003


BREAKING NEWS: Al Gore will endorse Dean tomorrow.
posted by PrinceValium at 2:27 PM on December 8, 2003


My Dem credentials? I'm in favor of some version of socialized medicine; I think the Bush energy "policy" is a disgrace; I'm in favor of abortion rights, at least to a large extent; I think Gore won the election; I'm a quasi-vegetarian; I'm against the death penalty in most cases.
posted by ParisParamus at 2:33 PM on December 8, 2003


Al Gore's going to endorse Dean? Is this supposed to help or hurt his chances?
posted by kindall at 2:41 PM on December 8, 2003


so why can't dean win?
posted by mcsweetie at 3:36 PM on December 8, 2003


Paris, I asked you not to list your pedigree. I could have wrote that for you. Just like I do not need to know your opinion of France (I am sorry that woman hurt you, I really sort of am), War (Not in love with war, but there is still much Arab killing to be done) and Arafat (Isn't he assassinated yet?)

See I know! Why for you not honor my simple request?
posted by thirteen at 3:43 PM on December 8, 2003


so why can't dean win?

Because he is unheard of, has no money, and can't deal with the media. Plus, he's too far to the left. And he's too far to the right. In any case, it doesn't matter because Iowa is Gephardt's, New Hampshire is Kerry's, and South Carolina is Edwards'. Open your eyes, mcsweetie!
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 4:05 PM on December 8, 2003


lots of detail on how dean campaign works

http://www.baselinemag.com/article2/0,3959,1386982,00.asp
posted by Buckley at 5:44 PM on December 8, 2003


Personal anecdote: I met someone through the Dean campaign, and my dad is marrying her next Friday.
posted by jgilliam at 6:07 PM on December 8, 2003


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