In my life, there has been one election night that matched last night for me: the election of Bill Clinton in 1992, the first time I was able to vote for President. I believed in Bill, made phone calls for him in Montana, drove at breakneck speeds to see him speak to a SRO crowd in Billings, and huddled around the TV for results the night of his election. I believed in Bill Clinton, because after twelve years of Republican rule, I wanted to believe that government could be a positive force, that it could serve the interests of the people, not the powerful. I was proud to have supported Bil Clinton, and overwhelmed when he won.
Then he betrayed me. After mismanaging health care and losing the midterms, Clinton triangulated himself right into a Republican presidency to stay in power. I couldn’t even bring myself to vote for him in 1996 because I was ashamed to have been duped so badly. I feel overwhelmingly positive about the new members of the Senate and House, and the agenda for change they brought to the American public, but I won’t be fooled again. The time for talk has ended; the new Congress needs to act.
The wave that swept this nation on Tuesday night was a call to action from the people. We’re tired of a timid, rubber-stamping, corporate Congress. We elected you to be our voice, to represent the people and to make the corporations and special interests wait in line. We gave you our support and our votes, and now we want you to:
- Investigate the war, and demand answers
- Clean up Washington, and pass real lobbying reform
- Stop buying our votes with our own money, and end earmarks
- Reform energy policy, and promote renewable, local sources of energy
- Make health care affordable, and stop giving breaks to pharmaceuticals
- Give the working a poor a chance, and raise the minimum wage
That’s an ambitious agenda, maybe even too ambitious. The president might veto you. Fox News might call you liberals. The major corporations that buy government in this country might turn against you. None of that matters. You’ve promised to take our country back, and we won’t settle for anything less. The people who helped bring this wave about tonight aren’t loyal to a party; we’re loyal to the principle that government serves its people
Congratulations on an amazing, inspiring campaign. This country desperately needed it. Now we need you to be men and womyn of your word, and we’ll be watching to see that you are.