Letter from BostonMy old college classmates have been very busy this summer! You've already heard from multi-talented media activist Daniel del Solar, organizing film festivals in Managua, and Renato Rosaldo, previously famous as an anthropologist, triumphing in a new career as a poet. Here's Ivan Light, well-known UCLA sociologist and my old college roommate, working to make the world a better place through practical politics. I assume he won't mind my sharing this letter.
Dear Claremont/Pomona Democrats
I am in Boston, attending the Democratic National Convention as a John Kerry delegate. If you are reading the newspapers, you are getting the basic story. What you may not have acquired from the newsmedia is the unity, the optimism, and the determination that animates and pervades thisconvention.
There is no controversy about the platform under debate, and no one seems to care about the platform. (I have copies). This is quite unusual as platforms matter. The reason, I suppose, is the unanimous determination of the 5000 delegates to dump Bush. Complete focus on this issue, a negative pole, has eclipsed interest in exactly what the Democrats areoffering as an alternative. We may be sorry later.
Terry McAuliffe, DNC Chair, reported some very encouraging news. The Democratic Party has raised more money than the Republicans for the first time ever! The Gore campaign raised $40 million by November; as of now the Kerry campaign has raised $60million, and there are three months left! The DNC has paid off its debt, and is awash with money. This is the best financial condition the DNC has ever enjoyed. It shows the extent of public interest in andawareness of this election. It also shows the effectiveness of the inter-net as a fund-raising tool. We can thank Howard Dean for this too.
Incumbent Presidents are hard to beat. Nonetheless, polls show Kerry leading Bush by 5% in the country. No previous Democratic candidate has ever led an incumbent President by this much in July. Implication: we can win it.
All the speakers say, and everyone listening agrees, that this is the most important presidential campaign in three generations. The stakes are high, and the Democrats know it.
It's very easy to tell the professional politicians from the delegates as only the former wear suits and ties.
Barack Obama made an electrifying speech yesterday Tuesday. This is an orator to watch. The lady next to me, watching him in awe said, "a star is born." I agreed. Our first mixed-race President? Diane Feinstein will nominate John Kerry tonight at 5:45pm Eastern time. Feinstein was the first Senator or, at least, one of the first to back Kerry; I sense that this is pay-back.
There are 97 days left to work for victory. Let's make every one count. See you all July 30.
Ivan Light, Program Vice-President Claremont Democratic Club