An Upcoming Chat With Gary Hart…
Sen. Hart teaches at the University of Colorado at Denver, and also has co-chaired the U.S. Commission on National Security for the 21st Century and participates as a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Prior to that, he was a United States Senator for the state of Colorado from 1975 to 1987.
Impressive background, sure. But his latest two books — The Courage Of Our Convictions: A Manifesto For Democrats and The Shield And The Cloak: Security Of The Commons — ask some essential questions about where we are going and who we ought to be as we move the Democratic party and the nation forward.
I wanted to share an excerpt from the introduction of Courage of Our Convictions, because it sums up a lot of the lingering hope and concomitant discontent that so many of us have been feeling:
What has happened? Why do people in small towns, in large cities and on college campuses ask, “What do the Democrats stand for? Why are the party leaders so quiet?” These questions have become more frequent and more intense as the war in Iraq drags on…with no resolution in sight and no definition by President George Bush of the “course” we are to “stay.” Yet Democratic leaders, including most of those preparing to seek the Presidency in 2008, and especially those who voted for the war resolution in October 2002, find protection in anonymity and silence.
What do we stand for indeed? It has become painfully apparent that the great Democratic Party, the dominant party of the twentieth century, the party that led America through two world wars and the Cold War, has become mute. The best Democrats lack all conviciton, and the worst conservatives, those full of passionate intensity, fill the vacuum in governance….
The base of Democratic conviction must be the foundation for the courageous promotion of renewed internationalism founded on new international institutions and alliances, the restoration of principles of equality and social justice at home, and the reminder essential to all republics that we must earn our rights by performance of our duties.
It is our duty to our nation to prove that the best have not lost all conviction.
Our duty, indeed. Sen. Hart’s work on national security matters stands as a testament to this performance of that duty — this chat with the folks at Buzzflash from 2003 shows his commitment to working on these issues in the nation’s best interest. As for the foundation principles of the modern Democratic party, I thought we might start that conversation today. The Democratic party is a very large tent — from the Out Of Iraq caucus to the Blue Dogs to everything in between. Not exactly the lock-step, top-down GOP, is it?
It isn’t easy, but finding issues on which we can all unite is essential.
I hope that you will be able to join us for what promises to be a spirited, in-depth live discussion about the way forward for our nation, our national security and the Democratic party. And I’m certain we can work the current crop of 2008 hopefuls into the discussion as well.