I Choose Dean
May 9, 2003
By Michael Giardina
Note: Democratic Underground welcomes articles promoting
individual Democratic candidates for political office. Publication
of these articles does not imply endorsement of any candidate
by the editors of Democratic Underground.
On May 7, 2003, I made my first-ever monetary financial contribution
to a candidate running for the office of President of the
United States. To me, this a big deal. But first, some background.
I'm a 26-year-old, white, upper-middle class male currently
working on a Ph.D. in Communications and Cultural Studies
at a school in the Big 10. I was raised among the ardent cultural
conservatism of Orange County, CA, did my undergraduate work
in a fairly-liberal region of New York, and am now in the
I supported Clinton for President, and voted for him in 1996.
Like many, I found him to be the consummate politician, a
brilliant and engaging speaker, and undoubtedly the best president
I've seen in my lifetime. As much as I respected him, though,
he didn't inspire me, not in a "walk through a wall for him"
kind of way.
In 2000, though a strident Democrat and disagreeing on about
half the issues with John McCain, I was enthused with McCain's
candidacy (or, maybe, just the candidate himself); I was similarly
disgusted that the Bush machine essentially whacked him South
Carolina, too. McCain got me excited about politics. Me. A
graduate student who has published numerous articles in academic
journals about the social, cultural, and political context
of 1990s America vis-a-vis popular culture, but who had never
volunteered to work for a campaign, given money, or attended
a rally in favor or against anything at the grassroots level.
Of course, the Bush residency is the worst two-plus years
I've experienced - politically - as an adult, and I like many
have been personally offended by the supposed leader of the
now-divided-sure-as-hell-not-united America and the political
climate he has fostered. A few weeks ago, however, that all
I had been following the front-running candidates for the
Democratic nomination around on the Internet (individual webpages,
blogs, newspapers, etc.) since the middle of last year (through
all the speculation as to who it would be, etc.). I wasn't
all that thrilled with Kerry, though I respected him for his
Senatorial contributions, was dead-set against even the mere
thought of Lieberman being anywhere near the ballot, and would
have been "okay " with John Edwards as the nominee, because
I think he has loads of potential that has yet to be harnessed.
But then I started hearing the whispers - idle chatter, really
- around the water-cooler, so to speak, about another candidate
whom I had never heard of - ever. A friend gave me
a link to a speech this unknown-to-me candidate had given,
and that ... was ... it.
He hit every note, every issue, had me jumping out of my
desk chair, had me ready to walk through a wall in order to
get him elected. After that, I went to his website, found
out where he stood on the issues, and surfed around the Internet
to see what other people were saying about him. I liked what
a I saw.
Today I donated to Howard Dean and the Dean for America
campaign. I've gone to a MeetUp for Dean meeting in my town.
And I'm writing this note to Democratic Underground because
there is a groundswell of support out there for Governor Dr.
The people at the MeetUp were just like me - and not; there
were veteran Democratic activists; young minorities who were
pumped up about Dean's position on "talking about race" in
the election; and other non-politically active types. It was,
in a word, awe-inspiring.
Watch out for Dean and his supporters: there is a buzz on
the street about him, people who are not political junkies
are excited about politics because of him, and people like
me who wouldn't have given Al Gore's campaign five cents just
contributed to Howard Dean (and didn't feel for one second
that I was "throwing away" my money by contributing to his
And I plan on doing it again, because while Bill Clinton
may have been "The Natural," Howard Dean is "The Fighter."
And right now, we need a fighter, because Election 2004 is
going to be a 15-round heavyweight fight. And we can't afford
to lose this one.