February 24, 2005

Students rally on Ho Plaza

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Howard Dean spoke at a rally on Ho Plaza yesterday, drawing a crowd of students and local supporters from Ithaca.

Dean spoke to the crowd about the importance of political action and what he planned to focus his efforts on as the new chair of the Democratic Party.

“Your generation is starting to change in an important and progressive way,” Dean said. “You voted in record numbers, and you voted democratically.”

Dean claimed that through this evidence, it is apparent that the political mindset of the country is on the edge of shifting, as those in this generation slowly become the people running the country.

After dropping out of the primaries last year, Dean has focused his efforts on reorganizing and uniting the Democratic Party. His old campaign, “Howard Dean for America,” has morphed into the more general “Democracy for America” campaign, which focuses its efforts toward finding and supporting leaders with progressive ideals.

Steve Bennett, group organizer for the Ithaca chapter of Democracy for America, said that “[Howard Dean] really stood up for the issues” while his contenders were vague on all the topics. “They never really stood up to Democratic principles,” he said.

C.J. Kilgore ’85, another member of the Ithaca chapter said, “You don’t have to be essentially a ‘Democrat’ to be in Democracy for America. If someone from another political party is considered progressive, then we will support them.”

During his brief speech, Dean went through the problems of the current party in power and what he planned to do to fix it.

Dean claimed that the Republican Party ran on the campaign of “Guns, God and Gays,” saying that Republicans “have nothing to say about jobs, education and foreign policy.” He accused Republicans of being careless and untrustworthy with money, saying that they have not been able to balance a budget in 40 years.

“It’s about moral virtue and paying the debts so our kids don’t have to. Your generation has this challenge now as well,” he said. Tim Lim ’06, president of the Cornell Democrats, claimed that in order for Democrats to win and be successful again, they had to start getting back into local races. They have to be “really doing grass roots” to win, he said, “and [Dean is] going to do it.”

Speaking of ways to improve the party, Dean said, “Its about the two-way campaign. It’s not just aimed at you, it is you. Democrats are independent thinkers. We want you to write the platform, not us.”

The rally also brought out other progressive groups within Cornell as well as protesters condemning the war in Iraq.

“Democrats really want a country we can be proud of,” Dean said.

When asked what he thought would make this possible, Dean stated, “Youth is the key.” Following the rally Dean held a private luncheon in Willard Straight, which was followed by his sold-out lecture later yesterday afternoon.

Archived article by EMILY GORDON
Sun Staff Writer