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Keeping the Bern alive takes organization

Oregon Bern delegates plan to keep the “political revolution” going. This will be a life-long commitment not unlike Hillary Clinton’s life story from her days as a college student, to her work for the Children’s Defense Fund, her work as First Lady, a U.S. senator and now the Democratic nominee.

Given my 25 years of advocacy, change is an often-bumpy road — a marathon, not a sprint. This will require building coalitions with existing progressive forces in Oregon who have been in the arena such as 1000 Friends and the Housing Alliance.

Some Bern delegates intend to run for office. We need their idealism, energy and passion. Hopefully we’ll see a new cadre of people running for local office — city councils, school boards and the state legislature.

The first place is to become an active precinct committee person. That’s the place to start as the Tea Party activists have shown us: “All politics is local.”

Get to know your own community by influencing local leaders and legislators. Your idealism is needed to rattle the cages of all too many Democratic elected officials who are more “corporate Ds” than Bernie Ds. They need to be challenged.

We also need change agents to cut across the urban, suburban and rural divide.

But the first goal is to defeat The Donald.

Who is president, who controls Congress and state legislatures is crucial because they control the purse strings! If Hillary is not in the Oval Office and our legislature doesn’t remain in Democratic hands, it will be impossible to deliver on promises coming out of Philly.

Those who remember what it was like to see Nixon elected in ‘68 and Bush elected in ‘00 learned this lesson the hard way.

Economic justice comes from hard work in the trenches to influence elected officials. Changing the narrative isn’t enough. It must be backed up by local, state and federal tax dollars. We live in an interdependent economy where bringing about change requires acting on multiple funding fronts.

Allowing Donald Trump to occupy the Oval Office will set back the progressive agenda for decades, as did Reaganomics and the politics of sequestration.

If a progressive agenda is to succeed it requires grassroots people willing to rally, testify, vote for and become change agents talking truth to power.

It will be up to a new generation of Americans to step up by embracing JFK’s call — “ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”

Don’t agonize, organize!

Your “mission impossible” to create a more perfect union requires connecting the dots as Hillary said in her college graduation speech in ‘69 by doing the hard work to move beyond politics as the art of the possible by “making the impossible possible.”

Russ Dondero is a professor emeritus, Pacific University, blogger and citizen activist. He lives in Forest Grove.