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These are the people the Wall Street Journal editorial page thinks are crass and crazy.  Funny how citizens getting together to take back their government make establishment elites stain their boxers. 

Regular people can’t afford lobbyists, posh meals or fat expense accounts.  And yet, they hold the power to strike fear in the hearts of the comfortable when they summon the will to work together for action.  Thats what the Roots Project is all about. 

Washington State Roots Project members met this week with staffers of both Senators Murray and Cantwell.  Here are excerpts from their notes following the Murray meeting:

On April 19, 2006, annie and I, moe99, met with Ardis J.Dummit, the Director of Special Projects for Senator Patty Murray.  As annie explained to Ardis, we were part of the 50 state initiative put together by the blog Firedoglake, and while we could not speak for all the members. . . we did want to bring one issue that was of particular importance to us to the Senator’s attention, and asked that she give us a written response that we could share with the members of Firedoglake. . .

[snip]

We told Ardis that we could have brought a huge laundry list of things that we thought should be fixed, but instead we had one major issue that we wanted to focus on.  And that was the very real threat that the current president would use nuclear weapons in a pre-emptive strike against Iran.  When Ardis started to demur and say, "Well I don’t think he would really do that,"  we told her that maybe 3 years ago we might have believed that he was more reasonable but that the events of the last 3 years have convinced us that he is beyond reasoning, especially as he looks to shore up his popularity with his supporters.

I said that I know that the Democrats are worried that they would look like they were soft on terrorism if they oppose Bush on this, but I said that was why we crafted it so narrowly:  the pre-emptive use of nuclear weapons.  We want the Senate to either pass an amendment to the War Powers Act that specifies that the president may not use nuclear weapons in a pre-emptive strike without the consultation and approval of the Senate.  Or, in the alternative, that a resolution expressing the sense of the Senate that under the War Powers Act, the president is precluded from using nuclear weapons pre-emptively.  

Ardis said that Sen. Murray was not on any committee that dealt with foreign affairs.  We said, that’s fine, she should go to Harry Reid and put together a strategy for the Democrats to raise this as a group, and get the Senators to vote on it, yea or nay, so the voters can see who in the Senate is committed to our constitutional framework, where wars are declared by the Senate (not the president) and who is in favor of the president holding absolute power.  

This kind of measure, we said, even if the Democrats lose, gives them something to stand for, a line to draw.  This would give the Democrats a very visible campaign issue, one that really is not about politics (which Ardis says is the worst she’s ever seen in her experience in the US Senate), but is a crucial, fundamental issue of whether our constitutionally designed system of checks and balances among the three branches of government is healthy and functioning.

Passionate, prepared and crying out for leadership and accountability in our government.  No wonder Paul Gigot’s buddies are choking on their cigars.

A few Roots Project members from Massachussetts attended Senator Kerry’s speech today at Faneuil Hall.  They attended prepared to ask questions, expecting a town hall format, but it was a speech.  Here’s what RevDeb reports from the event:

Five of us went to hear Kerry speak today in Boston. I’ve been told he speech will be on C-Span tomorrow. The group will be writing up the experience and submitting it to you and the (Roots Project) lists.

An interesting development. It was not, as originally billed, a town-hall meeting. It was a speech. BUT afterward, we looked around to try to grab a staffer and found the State Director, Jon Jennings, and had a lengthy chat. He’s open to meeting with us regularly, as in monthly! We plan to take him up on it.We are feeling REALLY good about that. 

Energized, united, organized constituents, unsubsidized by any lobby, are the most powerful force in politics, bar none.  They just have to show up.  Through the Roots Project, same-state neighbors are getting together all over the country to make their voices heard, pushing their leaders to lead, crying out for accountability in a government hostile to the interests of all but a select few. 

Note to the American political establishment (including the traditional media and the punditocracy):  this is just the beginning.  We’re not going away.  All over America, through this site and many others, we’re moving from netroots to grassroots.  We are strong and will be silent no more.  Adapt or be (peacefully) overrun.

There are currently thirty-one state groups in the Roots Project, with room for plenty more.  If you’d like to become part of the Roots Project, send an email with only the name of your home state in the subject line to stateproject at gmail dot com.  If you can, please include your blog commenting name or kos user name in the body of your email.  We’re just getting our operational infrastructure together (all volunteer!), so please be patient if it takes a little time to invite you into your state’s group.  For more information about the Roots Project, check out the notes from a recent Roots Project Orientation conference call here.

One last thing:  congratulations to you Washington State Roots Project members for stepping up. . . you’re the best!  Massachussets, you folks have blazed the trail, and now your persistence is bearing new fruit.  Meeting by meeting, you are already getting noticed and changing America.  Let’s see all you other states top these intrepid citizens!