MMMark's Whycandoo Room: Doers & Democracy    
 Doers & Democracy1 comment
22 Jan 2003 @ 20:59, by Mark Smollin

Subject: A week like no other.
Date: 23 Jan 2003 03:59:49 -0000
From: "Eli Pariser,"
To: "Mark Smollin"

Dear MoveOn member,

Thank you. This week exceeded our wildest dreams.

Our plan was to launch an anti-war television ad campaign, hold 12 local press conferences, grow our "Let the Inspections Work" petition, and have meetings in Congressional offices around the country. We knew it would be big. But we never thought it would be this big.

That we were able to reach so far and do so much is because of you.

You made it all possible.

We didn't expect, frankly, to have 100,000 new members join our organization this week. We didn't expect to be able to deliver a petition with over 310,000 American signers -- the largest since MoveOn's inception. (We're told that when Senator Diane Feinstein's aide saw the petition, his eyes opened wide. He said that this was the biggest petition he recalled them receiving. Feinstein's segment was over 8,000 pages long.)

We never thought that our ad -- carrying the "Let the Inspections Work" message -- would be aired on virtually every major TV news show. We never thought George Stephanopoulos would show it to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and grill him on the dangers of war. We never imagined it would be broadcast and discussed on news programs in Australia, Pakistan, Russia, and Japan.

We didn't anticipate that a new national poll, taken on the very days our story was playing everywhere, would show public support for war plummeting, or that this poll would be the top story in today's Washington Post.

We didn't anticipate that local press conferences, staffed by MoveOn members in 12 cities, would generate front-page stories on the new breadth and tactics of the anti-war movement.

And then there are the Congressional meetings.

We had high hopes for the meetings that occurred yesterday in Congressional districts across the country. After all, 9,000 folks had signed up to participate, and we had an incredible team of over 800 local volunteers and 12 tireless volunteer regional coordinators who were working to set everything up. But, after a week of continual surprises, our expectations yesterday were once again exceeded.

One comment sums up the experience of many:

"It was fantastic! Probably the best meeting I've ever been at - ever. 18 regular people who came together as strangers, were in agreement with one another, speaking eloquently, passionately, respectfully and from the heart." The member went on to say, "As a former Congressional staff person, I know this was truly impactful and meaningful."

The impact was pretty clear. Yesterday alone, over 30 members of Congress signed onto a Dear Colleague letter to the President, asking him to let the inspectors do their jobs and abide by the UN process. It's pretty remarkable -- Congress is taking up our petition. And more signers keep coming in. In one of our most exciting moments, a pro-war-resolution Representative took a look at the letter, listened to our members, and then signed on the spot. Now that's democracy in action!

The Dear Colleague letter is just the beginning. One Representative from Maryland is taking our petition to the floor of the House of Representatives. Another offered us space in his offices to do more anti-war organizing. One enthusiastic Representative is even going to join MoveOn.

>From Maine to Florida to Arkansas to Washington State, from Grand Rapids, MI to Huntington, AL, diverse, articulate groups of MoveOn members got together to talk to the offices of their Senators and Representatives. Local newspapers, TV and radio stations covered the events, from the Denver Post to Pacifica Radio.

The meetings themselves were simply incredible. But you don't need to take our word for it. Here are a few short samples from the hundreds of reports that have been pouring in:

"The voices of several veterans of the Korean and Vietnam wars, of a VA doctor, a pediatrician, other doctors, nurses, retirees, teachers, grandparents, a law student, one after another, built a strong case for encouraging Kolbe to urge Bush to give stronger support for the Inspections Process. It was a bit uncanny. Not practiced, nor planned, but one by one, each person integrated his/her contributions into what had been said before. This was a very intelligent, well-informed, professionally-diverse, group of people, speaking in one voice for winning the peace, without war." --Martha Warner, Congressman Kolbe meeting, AZ

"I was so proud to be associated with the group that showed up to Congressman Tancredo's office! They were an eclectic group of housewives with children, high-powered businessmen, grandmas, artists, executives, PhD's -- and each spoke with such grace and eloquence. It was just amazing." --Carol Grant, Congressman Tancredo meeting, CO

"An interesting and exciting outcome of the event is that the Congressman agreed to lead a rally on Feb. 17th of many different coalitions. His feeling is that it's up to the public to voice their opposition--that's the only thing that will make legislators oppose the President. I/we will be working with him to make this next event a success." --Sheryl Barajas, Congressman Davis meeting, IL

"I was glad I made the drive, it was quite an honor to join with these good folks. A varied group--three women, four guys...a retired Quaker (though Quakers never retire thank god), a Methodist minister & active lay person, a retired fighter pilot who is a Republican, a social scientist, a person who had lived in Kuwait and an anthraxed postal worker. We were together for just an hour but it was a good gathering to share & express our concerns." --Mike DeGregory, Congressman Smith, NJ

"This was my first time ever taking any initiative in political action, and although it was a little scary, I'm really glad I did it, as I received nothing but positive feedback and support from everyone. People really wanted to come out and do this." --Rachel Smith, Congressman Neal meeting, MA

"Rep. Cummings pledged to sign the Dear Colleague letter and also said he would speak about the MoveOn statement and visit on the house floor. He also said he would read comments from the summary of our petition. " --Kimberly Nolan, Congressman Cummings meeting, MD

"[Congressman Holt] quoted Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King's address at Riverside Church: We are building a political myth and shoring it up with new violence. (Dr. King's reference to Vietnam still rings true today.)" -- Mara Isaacs, Congressman Holt meeting, NJ

"[Congresswoman] Stephanie Tubbs Jones made a last- minute decision to meet with us personally, and proceeded to sit and speak for an hour. . . She was very pleased to receive a copy of the petition with names and address . . . and VERY excited to hear that ours was one of many coordinated events nationwide." --John Sinclair, Congresswoman Jones meeting, OH

"[Rep. Bartlett's aide Mr.] Otis was clearly impressed by the number of signatories from the Congressman's District, and promised that he would see the petition and the "Dear Colleague letter." He also commented "You have represented your cause very well." " --Gladys Cojocari, Congressman Bartlett meeting, MD

We hope to have a full report on the media coverage for the last week and these lobbying visits up on our website soon. We'll let you know when it's there.


As you can see, we are a force to be reckoned with. So what are our next steps?

Over the next few weeks, we'll be offering you all sorts of ways to continue to engage on this issue. One way to plug in is coming up pretty soon. Win Without War, the coalition of mainstream civic organizations against the war that we helped to found, is calling for a day of local action on January 29th. Members of the coalition include American Friends Service Commitee, Business Leaders for Sensible Priorities, Conference of Major Superiors of Men, Global Exchange, Greenpeace, Leadership Conference of Women Religious, NAACP, National Council of Churches, National Organization for Women, NETWORK, New England Health Care Employees Union (part of SEIU), Physicians for Social Responsibility, Sierra Club, Sojourners, Tikkun Community, TrueMajority, United Methodist Church General Board of Church & Society, Us Foundation, Veterans for Common Sense, Women's Action for New Directions, and Working Assets. Look for events organized by some of these groups in your community on the 29th. You may find local events listed at [link] .


The national meetings project and our work for the last week was made possible by the exceedingly hard work of hundreds of volunteers and scores of local and national organizations. We deeply appreciate the assistance that we have received -- we couldn't have pulled this off without help.

Very special thanks goes to the tireless team of volunteer regional coordinators, who worked around the clock to make the meetings happen. They are: Caitlin Fitzgerald, Judy Froman, Diane Jones, June Muller, Jennifer Oatfield, Jesse Rhodes, Henry Snow, and Hedy Trevino.

Thanks also to: Sarah Allen, Ira Arlook, Parker Blackman, Sarah Buecher, David Cortright, Lynn Erskine, Philip Fryers, David Fenton, Trevor Fitzgibbon, Patrick Kane, Elinore Klein, Kalee Kreider, Dwight Langham, Pacy Markman, Brendan McCarthy, Segundo Mercado-Llorens, Christy Meiring, Alistair Millar, Nathan Naylor, Lindsay Reinhardt, Dora Rose, Noah T. Winer, and Bill Zimmerman.

It's usually our practice to credit by name the local leaders whose incredibly hard work made this all possible. But in this case, the list of leaders would double the length of this email. All the folks who helped put together local meetings and press conferences have our gratitude and appreciation -- they're heroes and true patriots.

We also appreciate support for the meetings project from the following organizations: Friends Committee on National Legislation, the American Friends Service Committee, the National Council of Churches, TrueMajority, Peace Action, and Women's Action for New Directions.

The last thank you goes to every one of MoveOn's members. It is an honor and an incredible privilege to work with such an amazing group of people -- a group that is changing the face of this country and turning the tide against a war. The Washington Post poll released today showed support for the war plummeting. That's because of our work.

The stakes are high, folks. This war is a menace to our country and our world. But the last week has shown that an enormous group of Americans are going to do everything in their power to ensure that a peaceful resolution is reached. So we really mean this: Thank you.

Sincerely, --Carrie, Eli, Joan, Peter, Randall, Wes, and Zack The MoveOn Team January 22, 2002

P.S. MoveOn does all this with only four full-time staff members (Wes and Joan volunteer). If you'd like to support our work, you can give online at:



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1 comment

23 Jan 2003 @ 11:29 by spiritseek : MoveOn
As a proud member of MoveOn, I thank you for the posting. When I first posted the petition I never thought many would sign, but now I know people really want Peace no matter what they have to do to get it. God Bless America and The World.  

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