“These stupid peasants, who, throughout the world, hold potentates on their thrones, make statesmen illustrious, provide generals with lasting victories, all with ignorance, indifference, or half-witted hatred, moving the world with the strength of their arms, and getting their heads knocked together in the name of God, the king, or the stock exchange — immortal, dreaming, hopeless asses, who surrender their reason to the care of a shining puppet, and persuade some toy to carry their lives in his purse.” —Stephen Crane
AN OPEN LETTER TO THE “PRESIDENT” OF THE UNITED STATES
Congratulations. Once again, the chattering heads misunderestimated you. Your rout is complete. The conservative zealots control the White House, both Houses of Congress, the Supreme Court … and, of course, establishment media.
Enjoy this day, for your awakening is already due. Over the next two years, as you carry out your plan to rob the economy, suspend all civil liberties, alienate our allies, and preen upon the world stage like a hooker on ecstasy, your most reliable scapegoat has escaped into the wilderness. As this once great country crumbles in your trembling fist, it will suddenly dawn on you and your kind…
You can no longer blame Bill Clinton.
“When you are right, you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. — Martin Luther King, Jr.
AN OPEN LETTER TO THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY
You cowards. You have spent the past two years scrambling for all the same voters that the Republicans had already scared into voting for them. When “President” Bush stole the White House and immediately set about fulfilling his one and only campaign promise, his massive tax break for the wealthy, you enabled it. As our economy whiplashed from projected surpluses to colossal deficits, you merely clucked your tongues in mock recrimination. And when Bush pressed for Congressional approval of his strategy to invade Iraq and steal its oil, you put up token resistance, then caved in faster than a Pennsylvania mineshaft. Now take a look around you. Where are those Democrats who endorsed Bush’s saber rattling? Most of those that were seeking reelection are looking for new jobs right now.
Where were you when we needed you? What happened to “the good fight” defending civil liberties, open government, the environment, the economy, corporate accountability, separation of church and state, privatization of Social Security, or affordable health care?
“If we just go along with what the Republicans want,” you cry “maybe the voters will like us more.” Well, we don’t. We’re tired of your pandering to the narrow right and deserting your traditional base. You claim to be targeting the political center, but what you define to be the middle ground is so far off center that your leaders appear to the American public to be nothing more than recycled Republicans, reactionaries without the rhetoric.
Echoing the caution that I sent to the “President” above, I hope you recognize that you cannot blame this electoral repudiation on Ralph Nader. You lost this one on your own.
The results of this election have persuaded me to do something that goes against generations of family convention. I am leaving the Democrats and registering with the Green Party. Across the board, the positions that the Greens stand for — environmentalism, sustainability, non-violence, social justice — speak to the progressive principles that your “leaders” have abandoned. The Greens are the fastest growing political party in this country, each year they are getting more candidates elected, and all without corporate sponsorship.
I do not take this step lightly. I am hopeful that if you finally notice that your numbers are languishing, while alternative and progressive political parties like the Greens continue to grow, you will finally step away from trying to compete for the narrow right and return to your liberal roots. We would love to have you back.
“I’m not a member of any organized political party, I’m a Democrat.” — Will Rogers
AN OPEN LETTER TO DICK GEPHARDT, CONGRESSIONAL REPRESENTATIVE FROM MISSOURI
A few months ago I received an impressive looking letter with the return address “Dick Gephardt, House Democratic Leader“. It certainly caught my attention. “More now than ever,” you wrote “it is important to return the House of Representatives to Democratic control.”
“We must protect Social Security, establish a Medicare prescription drug benefit, and promote fiscal responsibility,” you implored. “Join me in my campaign to Take Back the House!”
“Any amount you can send,” you assured “will be spent on grassroots efforts to get out the vote in important Democratic races.”
I was convinced. I sent your Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) a check and waited to hear more about these grassroots efforts. Thereafter, on a regular basis, I received more mailings and emails, most emblazoned with your ruddy, midwestern features, beseeching me to send more money.
I read all those messages, Dick — may I call you Dick? — hoping to hear more of your ideas on this crusade. Were you going to send me summaries of important Democratic principles with bullet points? “Get out the vote” kits that I could use to galvanize my precinct? Ideas on how to host a “Take Back the House” party in my neighborhood?
No. I received none of those. What I did receive were seemingly endless entreaties for more money, more money, more money…
I sent what I could afford, Dick. I bought into your pleas to restore sanity to our political process, and in return I stared in numb stupor at the November 2002 election results while your party lost nearly every single important race across the nation and helped hand unprecedented power to the conservative oligarchy now ruling all branches of our federal government. I did my best for you Dick, and would have done more, if only you had asked. Well, now I have something to ask of you.
I want my money back.
“A low voter turnout is an indication of fewer people going to the polls.”
— the immortal Dan Quayle
AN OPEN LETTER TO ALL THOSE WHO COULD HAVE VOTED, AND CHOSE NOT TO
Americans in the 21st century enjoy historic personal freedoms: we can assemble peaceably or loudly, we can write letters to the editor, display provocative bumper stickers, or keep personal weblogs J. We can move freely from state to state, change jobs, and marry across faiths. Our open democratic system is the envy of the world.
We wave our flags, yet we grouse about the responsibilities of citizenship,. We gripe about paying taxes, look for excuses not to serve on jury duty, break traffic laws every time we get behind the wheel, complain about “them politicians up in Washington” … and we don’t vote! I would say that we get the government we deserve, except I’m not sure we deserve any choice of government at all!
The reason why the Jackasses and the Elephants are so hard to tell apart is because both are competing for that same 30% of eligible voters who actually vote. It’s like the rats on a sinking ship all clawing for the same space on the mainmast. We say that we don’t like the influence of moneyed special interests in the election process, but almost inevitably, the candidate with the biggest campaign chest wins. We say we don’t like negative advertising, but it creates exactly the intended effect — those who are enraged by the message hysterically cast their vote, and those who are turned off by the negativity don’t bother to vote at all.
The reactionaries don’t want us to vote. Our apathy is what keeps them in power. I honestly believe that the basic progressive principles — affordable health and child care, early childhood intervention and education, increased access to higher learning, drug interdiction and rehabilitation, common sense gun laws, true equality of justice and opportunity, and a more open government — are ideals shared by a majority of the population. But we will never know until the majority rises up and engages its own leaders.
Vote, yes; take the time, take your children, take your neighbors. Also, vote intelligently. Familiarize yourself with the candidates and the issues, and make informed decisions. Many people are more familiar with sports scores and celebrity marriages than take the time to learn anything about their elected representatives.
Even if you don’t like the choices before you, vote. In this last election, the pantywaist Democrats in my state of Virginia couldn’t even bother to run any candidate against six-term Senator John Warner, senior Republican (and returning Chairman) of the Senate Armed Services Committee. The only opposing candidates were a LaRouchite and a Libertarian, so I used the write-in option (on our new electronic voting machines, thank you very much) to send my own message: “NO WAR IN IRAQ”. The same ballot provided candidates for other offices and issues I believed in, and I was able to use it as a legitimate form of political protest. That’s the American way.
“All politics are based on the indifference of the majority.”
— James Reston
A final word: from the time I started this diatribe to the time I felt it was finally ready to post, the House Democrats have selected a new leader, Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco, from the very district where I grew up. I like her. She’s smart, she’s liberal, and she’s a consensus builder. This is definitely a step in the correct direction for the Dems (I almost said “in the right
direction”, but that might have inadvertently undercut my intended meaning).
I watched Al Gore on Letterman last night; he was funny, thoughtful, inspiring, and seemed very much like a man in control. In two years, I think he and Pelosi would make a wonderful team. I am encouraged, but I am also weary. More than ever before, we need passionate progressives willing to push our leaders to fight the good fight. Let’s all roll up our sleeves and get to work.
All Contents (except the stuff I stole) Copyright © 2002 S.M. McCord.
Redistribution allowed, provided you cite http://www.semitrue.com