"I don't belong to an organized party--I'm a democrat."
I read this quote sometime back and at the time its seemed very appropriate. At least on the local level and even somewhat on the state and national level it seemed as though the Democratic Party was a million different organizations each doing their own thing and unaware of what the party was doing even in the next town.
Lately I am seeing more and more cohesion and organization than I have seen even in my own lifetime. Act Blue is allowing national fundraising to occur organized and through the Internet. Calling itself the online clearing house for democratic action, the web site allows individuals to choose a race, maybe not even one in their own state, and make a difference for the democratic party as a whole by donating money to key races around the country. It used to be said that all politics is local, and for the most part it still is. However, now individuals can make a difference on a much more national scale.
State wide the same fundraising ability has been set up using Act Blue interface and calling itself True Blue New Mexico. Here you can contribute not only to the congressman in your district but to all democratic candidates for congress throughout the state. This allows a new breed of activism across the U.S. . There was a time that it took some work on an individuals part to see who might need our help across our own state as well as across the U.S.. Now that information is a mouse click away.
Barack Obama has also brought a new level of grassroots, rural and suburban campaigning to our nation. In the past Presidential campaigns opened offices in only the largest cities in our state and tried to get those offices to work the smaller surrounding rural areas. Obama has changed all of that with 20 offices across this state and more being added weekly. Places like Los Alamos, Carlsbad, Raton, Shiprock and Taos are hosting Obama for President offices. This is great for all future campaigns as people who have never had the chance to volunteer in a local office are getting to do so now. I can tell you that it is addicting and once you go out and volunteer for a candidate many do so again and again. It is the epitome of making a difference in your community.
The Internet and new mass communication methods such as text, email, blogs, My Space, Facebook and others have led this new level of organization. Everyone is more organized and organization is easier with cellphones, P.D.A.'s , online calendars, contact lists, and spreadsheets. With all this organization comes more voters at the polls than ever before and a greater understanding of our political process. It is great to see all this happen in my lifetime and I am excited to be a small part of it.
Perhaps one day I will tell the story to my grandchildren about how we used to read about politics in a thing called a newspaper and then actually get in a thing called a gasoline powered automobile and drive to a place known as a polling place. Once there we used to have to make sure we were at the right precinct, stand in line sometimes for hours and then cast a ballot on a piece of paper. I may even explain to my grandchildren what a hanging chad was.