September 1, 2004: Headlines: COS - Cameroon: Journalism: Speaking Out: Internet: Madison Capital Times: Cameroon RPCV Margaret Krome says Aims to Give Ordinary People a Voice

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Cameroon: Special Reports: Camerooon RPCV and Political Columnist Margaret Krome: September 5, 2002: Headlines: COS - Cameroon: Journalism: Speaking Out: Futurism: Agriculture: Madison Capital Times: Cameroon RPCV Margaret Krome says No Rosy Future in Sight : September 1, 2004: Headlines: COS - Cameroon: Journalism: Speaking Out: Internet: Madison Capital Times: Cameroon RPCV Margaret Krome says Aims to Give Ordinary People a Voice

By Admin1 (admin) ( - on Sunday, January 16, 2005 - 1:40 pm: Edit Post

Cameroon RPCV Margaret Krome says Aims to Give Ordinary People a Voice

Cameroon RPCV Margaret Krome says Aims to Give Ordinary People a Voice

Cameroon RPCV Margaret Krome says Aims to Give Ordinary People a Voice Aims to Give Ordinary People a Voice
by Margaret Krome

I sold my sweaters for democracy on Saturday.

Our family held a yard sale in the rain. The last time my children begged me to hold a yard sale I swore afterward that it would be the last. The decisions about what to keep and what to sell. Putting up signs. Setting up tables and racks. Getting sniffy that nobody wanted my old shoes, hats and bedspreads. Getting rid of extra stuff later.

However, with our whole neighborhood holding yard sales on Saturday, I committed to one more, with the goal of raising money for the nonprofit group

At a time when the machinery of democracy has either become rusty or captured wholesale, MoveOn has become a powerful, inspiring democratic voice.

I watched MoveOn's beginnings a few years ago when its founders created an e-mail campaign to push the nation's political agenda back to substance and away from a partisan impeachment campaign calculated to divide the nation. I later watched as they formalized their nonprofit status and asked members to prioritize their issues. Early on, campaign finance reform and environmental issues topped the list. I sent them some money.

Later, the war in Iraq being important, they used the media expertly to ask hard questions ignored in the heavily manipulated public debate. They engaged in the fight against even further concentration of the communications industry. I sent them more money.Last summer, MoveOn invited Americans of all stripes to suggest questions to ask the Democratic presidential candidates, then set up a democratic system to choose the most important, then printed candidates' responses to those questions. An actual airing of issues most important to everyday people, it flexed some pretty flabby and forgotten democratic muscle. No personal attacks. An incentive to avoid rhetorical dodging and ducking, since such tactics were transparent in comparison with others' responses. Just clear statements from candidates about issues that mattered to millions of Americans.

This year, MoveOn has listened to its members. John Kerry is the overwhelming candidate of their choice, and MoveOn has continued to force a debate on issues, rather than personalities. It has invited members to create political ads, on which they then can vote. Then it has raised money to run them. These are hard-hitting ads, based on facts about the war in Iraq. About who has won and who has lost under President Bush's tax plans. About his actual, not air-brushed, environmental record.

George Bernard Shaw said that "democracy is a device that ensures we shall be governed no better than we deserve." Others have been a little more optimistic about its potential.

The Bush campaign, recognizing the potency of the real thing, has done its best to undercut MoveOn. After belatedly separating itself from the libelous ads of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, the Bush campaign opposed all such "unaccountable" groups, with a particular finger pointed at MoveOn.

However, if a single group has been committed to accountability, it's MoveOn. Its processes have been transparent for all to see, and if the questions it asks and the conclusions it draws are pointed, it's not because the group is compromised or falsifying facts. Perhaps it's the facts that make the Bush campaign uncomfortable.

Throughout American history there have been times when one group or another has risen to the top in forcing meaningful engagement in political debate. Temperance leagues, abolition groups, League of Women Voters are just a few of many. MoveOn's goal to "bring ordinary people back into politics" seems too simple to be effective. But the idealistic notion that everyday people's priorities matter seems to have found its voice.

For me, standing in the rain last Saturday selling books and old backpacks was a tiny price to pay for having ordinary people reclaim their importance.

Margaret Krome of Madison writes a semimonthly column for The Capital Times

Copyright 2004 The Capital Times

When this story was posted in December 2004, this was on the front page of PCOL:

Our debt to Bill Moyers Our debt to Bill Moyers
Former Peace Corps Deputy Director Bill Moyers leaves PBS next week to begin writing his memoir of Lyndon Baines Johnson. Read what Moyers says about journalism under fire, the value of a free press, and the yearning for democracy. "We have got to nurture the spirit of independent journalism in this country," he warns, "or we'll not save capitalism from its own excesses, and we'll not save democracy from its own inertia."

December 10, 2004: This Week's Top Stories December 10, 2004: This Week's Top Stories
Dodd says Rumsfeld's answer was unacceptable 9 Dec
RPCV Blake Willeford runs classic movie theatre 9 Dec
RPCV says education is key to curbing AIDS 9 Dec
RPCV Dannielle Tegeder opens exhibition 9 Dec
Shalala 1st Woman In Touchdown Club 9 Dec
"Today we have a new country" says Toledo 9 Dec
DDN wins Investigative Reporting Award 8 Dec
Celeste on Panel to study Colorado finances 8 Dec
RPCV leads Rotary Club medical team to Togo 6 Dec
Vasquez to speak at Hawaii, Wisconsin commencements 6 Dec
Tom Murphy warns Pittsburgh on budget abyss 2 Dec
Venezuela RPCV Martha Egan runs Pachamama imports 30 Nov
more top stories...

RPCV safe after Terrorist Attack RPCV safe after Terrorist Attack
RPCV Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley, the U.S. consul general in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia survived Monday's attack on the consulate without injury. Five consular employees and four others were killed. Abercrombie-Winstanley, the first woman to hold the position, has been an outspoken advocate of rights for Arab women and has met with Saudi reformers despite efforts by Saudi leaders to block the discussions.
Is Gaddi Leaving? Is Gaddi Leaving?
Rumors are swirling that Peace Corps Director Vasquez may be leaving the administration. We think Director Vasquez has been doing a good job and if he decides to stay to the end of the administration, he could possibly have the same sort of impact as a Loret Ruppe Miller. If Vasquez has decided to leave, then Bob Taft, Peter McPherson, Chris Shays, or Jody Olsen would be good candidates to run the agency. Latest: For the record, Peace Corps has no comment on the rumors.
The Birth of the Peace Corps The Birth of the Peace Corps
UMBC's Shriver Center and the Maryland Returned Volunteers hosted Scott Stossel, biographer of Sargent Shriver, who spoke on the Birth of the Peace Corps. This is the second annual Peace Corps History series - last year's speaker was Peace Corps Director Jack Vaughn.
Vote "Yes" on NPCA's bylaw changes Vote "Yes" on NPCA's bylaw changes
Take our new poll. NPCA members begin voting this week on bylaw changes to streamline NPCA's Board of Directors. NPCA Chair Ken Hill, the President's Forum and other RPCVs endorse the changes. Mail in your ballot or vote online (after Dec 1), then see on how RPCVs are voting.
Charges possible in 1976 PCV slaying Charges possible in 1976 PCV slaying
Congressman Norm Dicks has asked the U.S. attorney in Seattle to consider pursuing charges against Dennis Priven, the man accused of killing Peace Corps Volunteer Deborah Gardner on the South Pacific island of Tonga 28 years ago. Background on this story here and here.
Your vote makes a difference Your vote makes a difference
Make a difference on November 2 - Vote. Then take our RPCV exit poll. See how RPCV's are voting and take a look at the RPCV voter demographic. Finally leave a message on why you voted for John Kerry or for George Bush. Previous poll results here.

Read the stories and leave your comments.

Some postings on Peace Corps Online are provided to the individual members of this group without permission of the copyright owner for the non-profit purposes of criticism, comment, education, scholarship, and research under the "Fair Use" provisions of U.S. Government copyright laws and they may not be distributed further without permission of the copyright owner. Peace Corps Online does not vouch for the accuracy of the content of the postings, which is the sole responsibility of the copyright holder.

Story Source: Madison Capital Times

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Cameroon; Journalism; Speaking Out; Internet



Add a Message

This is a public posting area. Enter your username and password if you have an account. Otherwise, enter your full name as your username and leave the password blank. Your e-mail address is optional.