This past month has been an emotional roller coaster for me and for progressives everywhere. I'm sure it wasn't easy for you to watch the Administration and Congress escalate the war in Afghanistan and compromise -- no, capitulate -- on health care reform.
How do we fix this? Some of my friends in the movement point the finger at villains like Joe Lieberman and say the answer is to elect "more and better" Democrats. That can't hurt, to be sure. Progressives obviously need an electoral strategy.
But I think that if the dominant ideology in Washington doesn't change, then electing different people won't make much of a difference. Even very idealistic politicians will be forced to adapt to the Beltway's power structure.
This is why we need a more united and more powerful progressive movement -- to change the terms of the debate and shape legislative outcomes. This is what I work for day in and day out at the Commonweal Institute, work that is only possible because of your support.
Explaining what we do is a bit more complicated than explaining why someone should contribute to a politician's campaign or to defeat a ballot initiative. But when people I talk to find out more about what Commonweal Institute does, many of them say something like "That's great! Somebody should be doing this!"
Unfortunately, the fact that our organization doesn’t fall into the expected categories of political activism makes raising funds and getting grants very challenging – especially these days. Unless donors and friends step up to the plate, I’m going to have to start the new year with a series of belt-tightening measures that includes suspending our Progressive Op-ed Program.
This is why we need visionary progressives who understand the importance of what we do. Think of it as being a venture capitalist investing in a very unique new concept – one with incredible potential to change how politics is done in this country.
We could really use some “angel investors” who believe in us right now. I know there are a lot of groups vying for your activism budget, but I still want to humbly ask for your support because I truly believe our work is the key to bringing about real change. This past year has shown that, even with new people in power, politics as usual won’t get us there.
If you can, please make a tax-deductible donation to the Commonweal Institute before December 31.
Thank you so much for your time and consideration of this request. Best wishes for a happy holiday season from all of us here at the Commonweal Institute.
Barry Kendall, Ph.D.