I went to a local “meet-up” (though it wasn’t organized through Meet-Up but rather by MoveOn.org) in central Fairfax, Va. Good group of folks who generally sounded the “angry” theme. We get criticized for that by conservatives who suggest its evidence of a psychological failing. I feel that not getting angry is really screwed up.

There to discuss Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 9/11” and hear Moore and Move-On folks talk about how to turn anger into action, the group of 25-20 people represented the spectrum from dogged, experienced organizers to the neophytes. One of the latter is an acquaintance of mine who said she was very aware of the issues but not sure what she could do to help.

I suspect there are a lot of folks like that who don’t realize that winning elections is less about understanding the issues and more about dragging someone by the collar to the voting booth. Sure enough, Moore, who shared some of the reactions he’s gotten from movie goers, also offered advice.

First, take off election day. Not a bad idea. We need help Nov. 2 seeing that people who should and probably do care make it to the polls.

Another of Moore’s suggestions was to adopt five non-voters and convince them to vote for Kerry, then bring them to the polls and party hardy afterwards. Hey, the party alone has me sold.

MoveOn had its own suggestions. One was to organize a phone bank on July 11 to register new voters. One or two folks at the Fairfax meeting offered to host one and about half the crowd said they’d show up and make the calls.

Commonwealth Commonsense will be happy to post information about this effort for Virginians. I’ll be out of the country July 11 but can probably post until then.

At our meeting was one vocal Republican, brought there at the urging of a friend. He took umbrage at a wisecrack, saying that we shouldn’t paint all Republicans as right wing nuts. And he’s absolutely right. Even I on this blog am guilty of imprecise monikers. Many Republicans are moderates who are as appalled as Democrats about the direction Bush is taking us. Indeed, if we can each convince one Republican to vote for Kerry, the race is a done deal. That’s more likely to happen if we don’t accuse them all of being wingers.

Most of the folks in the F9/11 theatres are in the choir. But not all. If each of us can get even one moderate Republican to take a look at Fahrenheit 9/11, we may have a chance to defeat Bush. And that’s what the meetings last night – more than 4,000 of them with 55,000 people attending according to MoveOn – was all about.