Clark '04 - A New American Patriotism
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A Short History of the Draft Clark Movement

The presidential draft is a tradition as old as America itself.

In 1789, George Washington became our first president after his fellow citizens called him back from his retirement at Mount Vernon. In 1952, General Dwight D. Eisenhower accepted a presidential draft and was elected our 34th president. Today, Wes Clark has answered a new, powerful call to service.

The Draft Clark movement got off the ground on April 10, 2003, when a pair of friends launched a website designed to enlist other Americans in the effort to draft General Clark. From that small nucleus, the draft grew into an enormous grassroots movement that appealed to Wes Clark's sense of duty, honor, and country.

In the first days of summer, General Clark traveled the country, met with ordinary Americans in small towns and big cities, and spoke out strongly and consistently on the problems facing the United States. As he described his vision of a stronger, more prosperous America and a safer, more peaceful world, the draft movement attracted tens of thousands of Americans. The movement drew them into politics not only with new technology but with an old idea: concerned citizens can change America with their ideas and their voices.

As weeks passed, the draft movement gathered in public places and private homes, organized through the Internet, greeted General Clark at his appearances across the country, pledged support to his potential campaign, and assembled state and local teams that were ready to go to work as soon as the General declared his candidacy. Meanwhile, draft leaders opened offices in New Hampshire, Little Rock, New York, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles.

In early June, Clark supporters in three cities--New York, Washington, D.C., and Seattle--met to discuss the General's potential run. In July, dozens of cities held Clark Meetups, and by September, voters gathered in more than 200 cities across the country. They discussed Wes Clark's prospects as a candidate and promise as the country's chief executive. They reached out to local reporters, wrote letters to the editor, and discussed the General with their friends and relatives. With the campaign now underway, thousands of volunteers across the country continue to build on the foundation created by the draft movement over the summer.

This was a remarkable period in American politics, as General Clark recognized.

"We haven't had anything this powerful in American Democracy since 1772 and the committees of correspondence set up by Sam Adams in Boston," said General Clark in a message to the movement on September 8, nine days before he announced his candidacy. "And through this activity we're bringing citizen participation into democracy. It's a tremendous inspiration to me, and it's been the encouragement to me to really give serious consideration to joining this race."

"You took an inconceivable idea and made it conceivable," General Clark said as he announced his candidacy on September 17. This was the beginning of a new, more unifying era in American politics. "When I say we're going to bring people together," General Clark continued, "I mean all people, not just Democrats, but Independents, and Republicans, too. And especially those who have never participated before."

Today, the draft movement remains the heart and soul of this presidential campaign. With tens of thousands of energetic participants, it reflects the essence of General Clark's New American Patriotism, a vision of a time in which Americans speak their minds, serve their country, and demand more of their leaders.

General Clark is grateful to everyone who joined the draft movement, not only for their support of him and his ideas, but for showing what concerned citizens can do when they work together. Unlike politics as usual, this evokes American democracy at its best.

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