Here's something I wrote on the night that I discovered Howard Dean, last March:
tonight I was spurred by this article at The American Prospect into taking a long look at Dean for America... and getting excited. Probably disproportionately excited, in that I wanted to sign up right away to volunteer my heart out. Dean looks really good. But I think that also, tonight, I'm desperately yearning for something political I can feel good about, some leader I'd be proud to follow, some way to work for change. It's tempting, tonight, to believe that there's someone out there who can be the fulfillment of my hopes.I did volunteer my heart out. Two weeks after that evening in March, I went to my first Meetup. In June, I organized my first flyering-for-Dean event. By July, I was permanently in charge of registering newcomers at my local Meetup. In August, I drove eighty miles to hear him speak for the first time. In October, I started spending eight hours a week doing research for the national campaign. In January, I became a Dean precinct captain. And the more I read, the more I thought, the more I watched, the more involved I got, the more certain I was that he really was all the things I'd hoped he would be.
I wasn't wrong.
I'm still proud of my work with the Dean campaign. It's been painful watching the campaign fall apart - so painful that I couldn't really blog about it. But now that it's really, really over, I want to say this: Dean changed the tone of the campaign. Before he became a factor the race, the major candidates were trying to outdo each other in moderation and timidity. In a way, he's out of the race now because all of the other candidates became more like him. He changed Democratic strategy, and in that, his legacy will live on.
The race is over, for Dean supporters, but the fight is not. I encourage you to follow Joe Trippi's new blog, Change for America, and to continue your efforts to transform the Democratic party and the country. Yeah, we're probably going to grieve for a while - but then we'll have to pick ourselves back up and keep working in the fight against Bush. Remember the last words of Joe Hill: "Don't mourn - organize."