Thoughts on the Path: Taking our country back    
 Taking our country back
18 Feb 2004 @ 10:52, by Gili Chupak

Dear MoveOn member,

MoveOn is now over two million people strong in the United States. That's a huge number: the organization we've built together is bigger than the Christian Coalition at its peak. To put it another way, one in every 146 Americans is now a MoveOn member. And we're still growing fast.

And what we're doing together is even more exciting. For decades, parts of our political system have been sold to the highest bidder, with corporate donors winning out over the public interest. But on Friday, we finished our $10 million Voter Fund grassroots fundraising campaign without a dime from corporations or special interests. In the end, over 170,000 people opened their checkbooks and contributed an average of about $60 to put ads on the air that challenge Bush and his corporate backers. The impact of this campaign shouldn't be underestimated: it clearly demonstrates that real people still matter in American politics. And the folks in Washington know it.

Political giving is almost always a quid-pro-quo business: corporate lobbyists trade money for policy, the wealthy trade money for access to politicians. MoveOn members aren't asking for anything but their democracy back, and that kind of generosity is pretty rare. When we hear about the families who saved up to make a $25 donation, or think of the thousands of folks who mailed in $5 checks, we know this is something amazing and new that we're a part of.

And money's only part of the equation: our phone calls and emails helped win a real victory last week. After CBS rejected our Voter Fund's Super Bowl ad, we learned that the White House was being allowed to air an advocacy ad about Medicare. We told you about it, and in just a few days over 50,000 MoveOn members called and emailed to complain. On Friday, CBS pulled the ad, stating that it had violated their policy. It's a big win, and a powerful blow to the Bush Administration's campaign to cover up its Medicare sellout.

This tidal wave of engagement and activism isn't exclusive to MoveOn, of course. Every leader of every organization we run into sees the same thing. Across the country, from labor unions like the SEIU to Greenpeace to the ACLU, people are standing up and getting active. President Bush told us he was a uniter, and he was right: he's uniting people across America to fight back for our country.

As this movement gains momentum and visibility, many of these organizations will inevitably become targets for Republican attacks. We've already seen some of the smear tactics the right will use. When their situation becomes even more dire, we know they'll strike hard at MoveOn and the groups we stand with –- a campaign of intimidation fueled by President Bush's $150 million war chest.

But this new democratic groundswell draws its strength from the hopes of millions of people, standing up and taking action for a better country and a better world. We simply refuse to let lobbyists, attack politics and fear-mongering destroy our democracy. And against the courage and conviction of real people, even Karl Rove and $150 million can't do much.

Thank you for your hope, your generosity, and your willingness to speak out. Together, we're taking our country back.

--Adam, Carrie, Eli, James, Joan, Laura, Noah, Peter, Wes, and Zack
  The Team
  February 16th, 2004

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