As of tonight, I’m no longer on the executive board of DC for Democracy.
The elections came and went. There was only one contested race – for chair – and the vote went in a predictable direction. Many of those who felt left out of the organization after the big schism surrounding the 2005 United For Peace/International ANSWER D.C. Anti-War Mobilization turned up. Looking at the crowd assembled at Ben’s Chili Bowl tonight, I saw a lot of faces who haven’t been active in DC4D since that voting night.
There were some nasty personal attacks delivered during the candidate speeches that were totally uncalled for. But they didn’t really matter to the crowd of “long-lost” members, who were there to see one of their own ascend to chair.
And I wish them well.
But it remains to be seen what my level of involvement will be.
Hopefully, DC for Democracy will continue to be a welcoming organization to people across the liberal and progressive political spectrum. The organization has typically taken many viewpoints into account when making decisions about policy and efforts. While this can alienate the more zealous and activist members, it also provided a breadth of opinions and input to the organization that allowed it to be involved in many disparate activities without losing group cohesion.
The new leadership is certainly more activist and blatantly progressive in its makeup, which can be good if dissenting opinions are taken into account with policy and activity decisions. I have my doubts about whether this will happen (some words said by the winning candidate attacked her predecessors and opponents in a passive-aggressive manner that was completely unwarranted), but I’m going to give the new leadership the benefit of the doubt for a little while.
But deep down, I worry that this swing of the political pendulum within the organization will create a flip-side schism between the driven activist crowd and the old guard. I hold DC for Democracy close to my heart – after all, I was there for its founding, helped draft its by-laws, and have seen it though triumphant highs and depressing lows. And I want to remain involved as a rank-and-file member, but not if it means compromising my own principles.
And it’s not like I don’t have other things on my plate that could use a bit more attention if I find that DC4D is no longer an organization with which I can identify.
So, like I said: we’ll see.
Going back to my former executive board involvement: the reins to the org’s website have been passed to a new steward. I wish him only the best in keeping things fresh and well-tended. One thing I do know is that the website is in capable hands.
So thank you, DC for Democracy. It’s been a helluva ride.