The Peach, like many in the Democratic movement, took a day or two to recover from an election outcome that is all the more ghastly for being somewhat unexpected. We went out to dinner Tuesday night expecting a resounding Kerry win. We came home requiring a steep increase in our Prozac dose.
We have since been Peach-storming on what happened and what to do next. We've spent a couple of nights driving around in the Peach Mobile (for the uninitiated, a large fuzzy peach-shaped vehicle) discussing what those people did right and, indeed, what we may have done wrong.
We have reached few conclusions, but perhaps some important questions and ideas about the way forward. One thing is for certain. Now, more than ever, The Peach is needed and we will continue. As our beloved country recedes ever further from the "reality-based community," as the Bushian pluto- and theocrats circle like sleek, well-fed tigers, certain of their ascendency, alternative voices must continue to shout in the wilderness. Just as in the campaign, if the SCLM will not hold our leaders accountable, we must do so.
We cannot, for example, allow Bush to continue his cant about his "historic mandate" when he eked out a bare 1% more than what was needed for a simple majority. Similarly, the idiocy about large numbers of people voting on "moral values" must be challenged when the phrase "moral values" has come to be synonymous with "conservative Christian ideology." They are not the same, and we must insist on the distinction whenever and wherever we can.
At the same time, we recognize that there are many fronts on which our effort did not quite make the grade this time around, and all of us must work on all of them if we are to prevail in the future. They include grassroots political organization; working on local and national races for mid-term elections; Clarifying the Democratic party vision for a red-state IQ; improving communication and the difficult challenge of "reframing" many of the prevailing debates, particularly on social and moral issues; growing a network of thinktanks, radio talk shows, grassroots groups and other communication vehicles to mirror the one that the Republicans built so successfully over the past ten to fifteen years.
We would also urge the powers that be in the Democratic party to begin NOW grooming a winning candidate for 2008, not wait until the primaries to begin trying to build a brand name ex-nihilo.
We hope that The Peach can become a lively forum for debating these ideas and helping the Democratic party set its direction for the future.