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Video: Tom Perriello on Democracy, Standing Up For Our Values, Worse Things than Losing


This past Saturday night, Tom Perriello spoke to the Arlington County Democratic Committee’s 2011 Jefferson-Jackson Dinner. Perriello’s fiery, no-regrets, personal and political speech was very well received by the several hundred Democrats in attendance.  Among other things, Perriello talked about the work he’s doing in Egypt, telling an amusing story about how someone asked him, a bit sheepishly, “You’re giving us this advice, but you lost.”  

More broadly, the theme of the speech was how important it is not to give up, to keep on fighting for what you believe in, to keep on fighting for — and doing the hard work, on the ground, of — democracy, to work towards expanding and shaping “our sense of what’s possible as human beings,” to have courage and perseverance.

Perriello’s thoughts on losing elections and more are on the “flip”

According to Perriello, “There are worse things than losing; not standing up for your values is one of those things…the only thing more frustrating than losing is having never made your argument in the first place.”  Along those lines, Perriello argued that Democrats need to make the case for what they believe in, that “the best way to guarantee that you lose an argument is to never make your side of the argument” (“it’s like a tug of war with only one side [pulling]”). Perriello argued that we need to advocate the Democratic case for building our future prosperity, especially when “Republicans are trying to deny that the future is coming.” According to Perriello, “we’re on the right side of the future.

In stark contrast, Perriello argues that Republicans have come out with a plan that’s “devastating to seniors,” have blown the budget and used phony numbers to “balance it” (a clear shot at Bob McDonnell), have treated our universities as “political punching bags” (a clear allusion to Cuccinelli’s crusade against climate science).

Finally, Perriello said he has “no regrets,” that he was “proud to support a stimulus which prevented a Great Depression…energy independence legislation and I wanted that to be stronger…and health care reform and I wanted that to be stronger too.”  A great line by Tom, which I really hope (supposed) “radical centrists” like Mark Warner listens to: “Taking a good idea and cutting it in half doesn’t make it a better idea.” Bottom line: we either believe in the values we espouse or we don’t. If we do, we should fight for them. End of story. Go Tom! 🙂

  • pontoon

    You always speak the truth, and uphold the values you espouse.

  • patatsml

    Great to hear from Tom again. Let’s hope he runs for elected office again. It is a pleasure to support someone with strong convictions and the courage to follow them.  

  • harvey1941

    Tom makes the point that Democrats need to step up to the plate and take a swing once in a while.  A small phrase, but one that the Democrats seem to be loath to practice.

    Then we have people like Mark Warner who is supposed to listen to his contituents.  Tom did, and people said stop the abuse of the citizens in favor of the corporation.  Mark hasn’t hear that yet.  

    A point of fact, this last set of 2011 CRs from our disabled congress kicked several tens of thousands of senior citizens to the curb.  There is a program out of the Labor Department that provides funding for identifying, qualitying, and including poor senior citizens who need and want to work to earn supplemental money since their savings were depleted and their SS checks are too small to afford to buy food and medicine.  This program would train a senior citizen in skills that they are capable of performing, then finding them a job and continuing to pay them for the job until they are able to stand on their own with the employer (usually non profit community organizations).  The Congress with DEMOCRATIC consent, slashed that funding by 54% and in one local organization alone, 8,000 seniors are now without employment and the ability to supplement their social security checks.  Back to the McDonalds garbage cans for their evening meals I guess.

    But the republicans and a number of democrats don’t care!  They are not trying to eliminate Medicare, medicaid, and social security, and we need people like Tom and Terry as well to get back into the fight and stop this madness.

    Tom certainly would have my vote, IF it were legal, but since I am not in his electoral district, too bad…