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When I was in Madison a couple weeks ago, I met people from across the state and all walks of life. I met a lifelong teacher who said her 99 year-old grandmother told her to go to Madison to protest instead of coming to her birthday party. I met a corrections officer and Iraq war vet who just wanted to retain the rights as a worker he joined the Army to defend. I met one of the “speakers of the Rotunda,” who ran the P.A. system in the Capitol. Before all this started, he was an astrophysicist.

All of these people, and the thousands of others in Madison, came there for a single purpose – one that they ultimately didn’t have the power to complete, but one which will sustain them through the long legal and electoral fights ahead. But by coming together, they became a part of something bigger than themselves. They kicked off a new alliance, made up of youth and labor, activists and non-activists, public workers and private workers, a great mass of people striving for basic rights and fairness. They have a clear mission and agenda, one that is expanding by the day. The reason this movement is built to last is that it’s not based on a person – it’s based on an idea. A principle. A belief in certain basic rights and fairness.

You can see the parallel to the community here at FDL. People from disparate backgrounds and experiences come together every day to discuss, agitate, educate, strategize or just offer up the ol’ one-finger salute. They’re here because of an idea, a principle, a value. And they want to be part of a greater community of like-minded people.

The spirit of Madison is on display here on a rolling basis. And everyone has a role to play, a way to engage more deeply in the community. By becoming a member of FDL you can get not only discounts on progressive events and activities, but ways to interact at a greater level with our writers and editors. More than anything, membership will foster ways to get involved. Just like I saw in Madison.

I hope you can join at whatever monetary level is comfortable and get on board this great community. This is a difficult time in America, and the best way to balance out the corporate power we see every day is through community engagement. Join FDL and see how much we can accomplish together.