With the passing of Tim Carpenter, progressive activism lost one of the great minds - and hearts - in the fight against the corporate takeover of American politics. As one of the founders of Progressive Democrats of America, he led both from the grassroots level and by connecting with key progressives within congress, championing the best politicians of our day.
Progressive radio host Thom Hartmann details Carpenter's career in his great piece:
I met Tim only once, at the Take Back the American Dream Conference in DC in 2011. I had won an American Dream Scholarship for my concept of MiniProtesting through Democracy for America and Rebuild the Dream. This honor gave me a chance to go from Northern California to DC for the first time as an adult, where I could fully grasp the city as the beating heart of American politics. I got to hear Van Jones' keynote speech, and those of other heroes like Robert Reich. In the workshops and live forums elsewhere within the DC Hilton, I got to hear many others speak up close, and one of my most anticipated panels included Carpenter and Progressive Change Campaign Committee founder Adam Green.
When Carpenter had the floor, I got it. I saw where the passion, dedication, and structural development came from. My inbox was (then and now) receiving calls to action from politicians, media, and entertainment figures. I saw then how he drew his support from these people. When he spoke, each word rang out true. The dots connected. Strategies congealed. You could feel inspiration bubbling up within the small conference room.
At the end everyone swarmed the long table, looking to shake hands and speak directly to their heroes. I waited and got my chance, describing my MiniProtesting concept of three-part curbside activism displaying a running message on consecutive street corners with huge 30" x 40" main signs held at waist level. He listened, took my flyer, and shook my hand too. I had come there hoping to change the world, and here was a man that truly could. I dearly hope that history shows that he did. He got the ball rolling, motivating and educating all of us on everything from fracking to ALEC-driven voter photo ID laws.
While our side lost a leader this week to cancer, the legacy of what Carpenter started and developed through PDA will remain at the forefront of how we spread truth within our ranks, properly represent our views to conservatives, and take on political battles on local and national levels through an infrastructure that reaches nearly every community. Do a search for your area and you'll see. You'll meet people that exemplify Carpenter's approach, hands on and heart strong.