Of late, I have been increasingly disconsolate over the state of a political party to which I cannot, in principle, belong: the Democratic Party. Years of watching the supposed people's party field candidates who spout ideas worthy of the most arch-conservative Republican has been akin to receiving root canal sans anesthetic. Now, however, I am feeling hopeful.
My newfound positivity is because of Dr. Chuck Pennacchio, a progressive Democrat hoping to unseat Pennsylvania's notoriously ultra-right-wing Republican Sen. Rick Santorum. Naturally, the Democratic powers-that-be (along with, sadly, many so-called progressive blogs) are throwing their support to Pennsylvania state treasurer Bob Casey Jr., an anti-choice, anti-marriage equality candidate who comes off as a Santorum-lite. But Pennacchio, a straight-shooting history professor and highly successful campaign organizer, seems ready for the challenge and ready to take the Democratic Party back to its roots. He's pro-choice and pro-equality - and has the guts to say so. He calls Bush's Iraq "war" what it is - illegal. And he is determined to work for a living wage for all Americans and to ensure that No Child Left Behind becomes a fact for the nation's schools and not just some "compassionate" conservative slogan.
Pennacchio is a candidate who bears watching and supporting. I was privileged enough to interview him this past weekend: Please read what he had to say at All Facts and Opinions and, if you agree with me that he is what the party needs to reclaim its integrity and purpose, please spread the word far and wide. Trust me, this guy is, as the kids and Randy Jackson say, the bomb.
It's time to stand up to the go-along-to-get-along Democratic leadership. It's time to work for a candidate who actually stands up for people and for true American values of justice and equality under law for all - and has the courage to speak plainly.