There is no other member of the House like Alan Grayson. Blue America works hard to try to change that by helping elect other members as brilliant, as fearless, as values-focused, as principled and as strategic as Grayson. But they don't grow on trees.
This week we're hoping to help Alan's own reelection campaign raise some of the money he needs to answer the incessant smear attacks financed by the Koch brothers. In 2010 and 2012 the Koch brothers spent more money on media attacks in Alan's central Florida district than in any other congressional district in the country!
After Grayson was gratuitously attacked by Beltway corporate shill Cokie Roberts, he said, "Cokie Roberts's attack against me is designed to discredit not only me, but also to discredit the concerns of ordinary Americans-- like you-- in order to protect the Washington elite: corporate lobbyists, corrupt insiders, millionaires and billionaires, multinational corporations, big banks, the Halliburtons and Exxon Mobils of the world, and other economic aristocrats who would benefit from these 'free trade' giveaways. In short, the people who think that they own us. The D.C. Establishment doesn't know what to do about me, because I am un-bossed and un-bought. Lobbyists don't like me, because I stand against their 'free trade' giveaways, their bailouts, their no-bid contracts and their tax breaks. Billionaires fund my opponents' campaigns. Not mine."
Grayson pointed out over the weekend that "many Americans believe that the top 1% is responsible for the rising tide of inequality in America, which is swamping and drowning the other 99%" [but that] "the top 1% is not the problem… The top 0.1% is the problem. In 1960, the top 0.1% had less than 8 percent of our national wealth. Now it’s 22%, and rising. Those who have a net worth of $20 million or more now own almost a quarter of everything that one can own in America."
Our equal society-- black and white, men and women, young and old, English-speaking and Spanish-speaking, and now straight and gay-- our equal society is what made America famous. A light unto the nations. And year after year, that light of equality gets dimmer and dimmer.
We can rekindle it. Or we can let it flicker and die.
It’s up to you. It’s up to us.
So what does that have to do with Jimi Hendrix's unique skill set?
I met Jimi Hendrix in 1967, before he went off to England and formed the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Musical talents like Jimi don't grow on trees any more than political talents like Alan Grayson do. I watched Jimi-- he was Jimmy James then-- play guitar at a John Hammond, Jr. show at a tiny NYC club, the Cafe Au Go Go. I asked him to come play at my college. He said he was leaving the next day for England but that he'd play my school when he got back. The following March he was back-- on his first U.S. tour as the Jimi Hendrix Experience-- and he remembered and played at Stony Brook, one of his first shows. Later I spent some time with him in Morocco and then saw him for the last time at the Isle of Wight Festival. Ironically, much later, after he had died so young and so tragically, I became president of his record label, Reprise.
Over my years at Reprise, I was given hundreds of gold and platinum record awards when our releases reached sales plateaus. There was never one I was more thrilled to have gotten than a platinum award (one million sales) for Jimi's debut LP, Are You Experienced?
Grayson's "Republican Health Care Plan" speech on the floor of the House was his Are You Experienced? moment. That's why it was a natural instinct to offer to give that rare, collectible platinum award-- RIAA-certified, of course-- to an Alan Grayson contributor.
That's our Blue America "contest" this week. Just contribute-- any amount-- to Alan Grayson's reelection campaign on this page and you may be the lucky, randomly selected donor who gets the Jimi Hendrix plaque as a thank you gift from Blue America. (In fact, if you want the plaque but can't afford even a $5 contribution at this moment, send a post card to Blue America at PO Box 27201, Los Angeles 90027 and let us know you want the award and you'll be included too.)