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Sun Sep 1, 2013, 12:57 PM

What you can do about Syria

I don't need to tell you that the situation in Syria is serious -- President Obama's address today made it clear that military action could come any day now. How we handle this as a community is important. Over the last week, I've been hearing opinions, thoughts and ideas from DFA members nationwide. Your feedback has been helpful and informative. Thank you.

Democracy for America is member driven. We respond to your passions. We hear your ideas. We work to understand your goals. And then, as a team, working with you, we provide the leadership to direct our activism as a community into an effective unified voice. But sometimes it's not that simple. This is one of those times.

Here's a sampling of the diversity of opinions expressed by DFA members:

Judith M. in Arkansas: "Bombing Syria will result in more deaths and destruction. This does not get rid of chemical weapons or stop the civil war. Negotiating for a cease fire and a peace plan will benefit the Syrian people, the surrounding countries and the US."

Fran K. in Washington: "How can bombing help? I see no way it can help. Yes, we need to mobilize to send a strong message that chemical warfare is anathema. So let's figure out all the ways we can do that without killing even more civilians. If we bomb, the U.S. becomes the enemy in what is a totally no-win situation."

Josh W. in New York: "Though I was against the Iraq war and generally consider myself a pacifist, there are times when those with the resources and capability to act against a real and current atrocity that continues unrelenting must do so. The use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime as a means of mass extermination of civilians should be repugnant to all civilized peoples."

Barbara F.in Ohio: "I realize that Syria is in an awful and dangerous civil war, but there are people opposing Assad who understand democracy while many others don't. We should be supporting those who do. Boots on the ground would be a bad mistake, but use of poison gas is a violation of international norms of war and ought not be countenanced."

Peter C. in New Mexico: "I would support intervention only if it is done by a broad, international entity like the UN or at least a coalition which includes Arab countries. It should also be done with adequate input from our Senate and Congress."

Thoughts are still coming in, but after our team reviewed responses from over 40,000 DFA members only one thing was clear. We are not united as a community. And if we tried to call for one united action in response, we'd be dividing our members -- instead of uniting behind them.

So we're going to offer something different than we normally do. Instead of advocating one course of action over another, I want to provide you with the resources to choose your own action based off of the three most common themes repeated throughout the responses. Here's the plan:

Tell Congress not to use military force;

President Obama stated today he'd be seeking Congressional approval and input on military action in Syria. A majority of members that responded oppose using military force, but the written out comments included dozens of caveats and special circumstances that offered a significantly more nuanced view then a simple yes, no or not sure provided. If you oppose using military force then there is no time to wait and have your voice be heard. Contact your member of Congress right now and make sure they hear your opposition immediately.

Call the Congressional Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and leave a voicemail for your Representative to hear fist thing Monday morning.

Help support the efforts to protect civilians and treat victims of the conflict;

Reports claim at least 100,000 people have died so far. No matter what happens in the next few days, the sad fact is this toll will likely rise. Please consider making a donation to an organization providing humanitarian efforts on the ground. Two organizations to consider are Oxfam America and Doctors Without Borders.

Click here to go to Oxfam America.
Click here to go to Doctors Without Borders

Put your own idea for action in the hands of our members;

We're led by you. Create your own action by starting a petition on YouPower, our member generated campaign platform. It's easy to start your own campaign and if your campaigns takes off, we'll help you share it with more and more members as your support grows.

Start your own DFA petition letting your member of Congress know where you stand.

Thank you, Zachary, for your leadership. I am honored to be a part of our dynamic and diverse progressive community.


Jim Dean, Chair
Democracy for America

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ellisonz Sep 2013 OP
NYC_SKP Sep 2013 #1

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Sun Sep 1, 2013, 12:59 PM

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