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Notes from Exile

Another Tsunami For The Democrats? Let's Avoid It!
Posted by David Irby on Jan 16, 2005 - 7:20:00 PM

UNITED STATESSince this is my first column in this delightful little newspaper, let me introduce myself. I'm a native of the Westwood/Venice/Santa Monica/Venice neighborhood, and I'm no longer young.  I was in Louisiana with the Congress of Racial Equality; a staff member of the American Friends Service Committee; a strongly involved anti-war/anti-draft activist ( Vietnam); a student leader at Cal State Dominguez Hills and later, a leader of the welfare workers section of the County Employees Union (Local 660 SEIU). Later I became a correspondent for Pacifica Radio (that's KPFK in L.A.) covering "The Troubles" in BelfastNorthern Ireland.


But after that I stayed on here in Ireland, which Joni Mitchell should have known is a much better place than Woodstock if she really wanted to "lose the smog."  These days I write for local publications here and am also involved with the Irish Anti-War Movement (which prevented Mr. Bush from entering Dublin when he came to Ireland). I'm also a member of Democrats Abroad Ireland and was involved in John Kerry's campaign, but I was more anti-Bush than pro-Kerry, I will admit.


So far, I guess my CV sounds pretty standard "left-wing."  But I approach politics from a Judeo/Christian social justice perspective, and that means that I approach things from an angle which is somewhat different in many respects from standard "leftists."


But enough about me!  In the coming months, I intend to address many issues relating to what I hope will be a renewal of the more social justice-oriented side of politics and culture in the wake of the disaster last November. 


I don't like to have to start with a partisan political topic. Right now the news is full of the Indian Ocean tsunami, but another "tsunami" may be headed toward the Democratic Party, which has been hit by enough of those lately. This time it's the possibility that former presidential candidate Howard Dean may be elected as the new Chair of the Democratic National Committee. 


Given my strong anti-war orientation, I might like Dean, but I think if the Democratic Party is to avoid shrinking further, it will have to reach out to voters who are more moderate on some issues than even John Kerry was. For that reason I wish that John Edwards was a candidate, even though I didn't like his pro-Iraq War stance.

Photo courtesy of Google
But a former Indiana Congress member, Tim Roemer, is also a strong candidate, whom House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco seems to like. A lot of readers might not like his moderately anti-abortion stance, but it is precisely "moderate" stances on such issues that I think are needed now, if the Democratic Party is to be able to reach out to voters who agree with such of its core policies as a fairer tax and Social Security system for ordinary wage-earners and opposition to racial discrimination, an issue where I particularly think that renewal is needed. Another candidate is former Texas Congress member Martin Frost, whom many readers may prefer because he is more typical of the so-called liberal mainstream.


But time is short. While there is no firm date, the election for the new DNC Chair may be as early as February. So now is the time for registered Democrats to become involved, whatever your opinions may be, including those who might prefer Howard Dean in that office.


So contact your Democratic National Committee members!  Two who are located in the Los Angeles area are:

Mary Ellen Early, 14843 Huston Street, Sherman Oaks 91043   

County Supervisor Gloria Molina (DNC Vice Chair), 500 W. Temple Street, Los Angeles 90012; e-mail,   


A Westwood native, David Irby is a writer and social justice activist, who is now based in beautiful Dingle, Ireland.  Contact him via


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