To the editor:
The following is my response to Sheila Sample's "Dear John" letter to me, which you graciously published 17 January 2005 as an opinion piece.
PS. The entire four-part 'debate' is also located at: http://www.neitherparty.org/nei_blog.taf
When I wrote to you concerning a position you took in one of your columns (Last Man To Concede ) and questioned you about your reasons for that stance, I must confess I had no idea of the depth of your Democratic fealty or passion, nor any understanding as to how you could defend the Democratic Party, especially given what they have become in recent years: cumulatively-servile and Republican-dominated toadies.
Sheila, I believe I 'get it', and with this increased understanding, my appreciation and respect for you has become even greater than ever before.
As I read your letter, I could feel your pride in an institution now rooted deeply in your memory (and perhaps existing only in your memory as well). Your well-stirred defensive passions were palpable - even as mere monitor-presented bits and bytes. Unfortunately, (and I am not happy stating this) I believe that though your passions are vibrant and true-to-the-party you so clearly and deeply love, I fear those passions are tragically misplaced.
I hate to tell you this - a best friend's job--but you must face it eventually my friend---your party has long ago abandoned both John Conyers and you, as well as your cherished values for loves it holds far more dearly: money, power and job security. It is obviously, true. Accept it my friend, or remain in denial of it.
Your obvious pride in being a dogged and determined-to-fight-for-what-is-right-Democrat, in spite of some recent Democrat positions made me jokingly question whether your heart ran away with your brain - like how could you endorse these Democratically supported positions?
• Support of the Patriot Acts I and II voted on and passed (mostly) unread by Congress. (Leaving many of our Constitutional protections shredded.) • Relegation of their sworn Constitutional responsibilities to wage war over to the President (Over 1400 Americans killed and additionally, tens of thousands more wounded.) • Lack of insistence on our living up to signed and legal treaties and other obligations. (Resulting in diminished respect for us world-wide.) • Support for Israeli terrorists who happen to have planes (dropping our bombs) while at the same time condemning Palestinian terrorists who have only their bodies and home-made IEDs. (Putting us on the side of hegemony as opposed to democracy.)
And that just relates to a few of the more recent issues.
What did your beloved Democratic leaders do, when in 2000, it was obvious an election was being stolen out from under them? Your Democrat leaders accepted the Gore loss - they did nothing.
What did your beloved Democratic leaders do, when in 2004, it was obvious an election was again being stolen out from under them? Having not been sufficiently penalized the first time, they did nothing again.
The Democrats strut and posture and bombast and acquiesce while the Republicans strut and bombast and dominate. Both sides of the same old coin, again.
The Democrats roll over. They are rolled over. Time and time again it happens, and they have found no way of stopping it.
There is no mystery here, my friend. Even if you are blinded by your love of the Democratic Party, your nose ought to tell you it is dead, and every day getting more rotten---and while it decays, the list of Democratic Party gutlessness grows longer with each vote supporting the Republocratic agenda.
Only now, for the discriminating voter, there is more than simply the choice of either side of the same old coin: people can now choose the Neither Party.
As you so wisely predicted in your open letter to me, Sheila--try as I might, I still don't fully understand your stances.
You stipulate that yes, "both major parties seem to have lost their way" and that "Those in control appear to be dangerously out of control". Yet you still support the Democrats (and I wonder has the party become your crutch, your support mechanism, your anti-Republican foundation?).
You claim that there are "millions of sincere Republicans who are appalled at the destruction wreaked by the rigid, neoconservative right-wing evangelical cabal which has gained control of their party". Yet despite their being " appalled" did they vote for the "lesser of two evils" Kerry?) I have seen no proof of it, have you?
You state "I am a Democrat because, as Virginia Governor Mark Warner so eloquently put it in May 2003 - "the greatest and most noble political experiments of our time had their birth in our party." And I don't disagree too much. The present-day experiment in Iraq can be laid directly on your Republican-lapdog-Democratic doorstep.
You state "I am a Democrat because of Thomas Jefferson and his Declaration of Independence; because of our wonderful Constitution; because I fervently believe in equal rights for all." Sheila - come on - like none of the rest of us believe in that, also?
You then profess to "believe in the essential goodness of the human race…. in the New Deal, the Peace Corps, affordable health care, equal education for all our children, fighting for working men and women, fighting against discrimination, racism and bigotry; fighting for a safety net for those most vulnerable among us - the poor, the homeless, the elderly, our veterans." And so does the Neither Party, Sheila. (The main difference being, that unlike the Democrats (who fear the Republicans might 'Daschlize' them in 2006 if they stood up for their beliefs) the Neither Party will actually stand up and fight for our beliefs - like the great man you so eloquently gave such high praise to as "the last man to concede" - the incredibly honorable Rep. John Conyers.) (Perhaps, were he to become a member, he could be our candidate.)
And you state "I believe that each citizen in this country has an inherent right to vote and to have his or her vote counted," and Sheila, though you support a party that evidently does not also believe that - I don't doubt for a minute that you do. (Just for the record, so does the Neither Party. Only (unlike the Democrats and the Republicans) we will proactively use whatever legal means necessary (yes, including the courts) to ensure the votes are cast and counted fairly and accurately.)
You are rightly curious about my claim that a plurality of voters (unknowingly) chose Neither in November of 2004, by not bothering to cast a vote at all, and you cleverly cast 'lazy aspersions' on them, by associating them semantically with the 'do nothings'. We'll see how lazy they are. Sheila, these tens of millions of potential voters were at least registered to vote - and they chose not to, not from being 'do-nothings' I believe, but from recognizing that their choice (even on the chance their vote was actually counted at all) was a choice between two wealthy, Yale-educated rich guys, who were both going in the same direction. (Go into Iraq and win at all costs, no matter the cost in lives on each side or the war-criminal-like illegalities.) Both Bush and Kerry going down the same disastrous road at different speeds: two sides of the same old coin again.
Yes, they and many others in our population who did vote, now seem dejected and defeated, because though they care enough about their democracy to register to vote; they find over and over again, when they get to Election Day even if they are allowed to vote, they find no one there to vote for without gagging.
Democrats and Republicans alone are to blame for our low voter turnout. The Neither Party will offer a distinctly different choice from what the Republocrats offer and we will energize a winning voter turnout, of that I am certain. And we can win without energizing any new voters at all. Our present Neither Party members are (mostly) former Democrats and Republicans who are disgusted with their former dysfunctional parties, and have defected and are demanding that the Neither Party do something about this world-wide mess our Republocratic leaders have created - and with these reformers' support and guidance, we intend to.
Sheila, you recall a Paxton ditty (You probably heard it from your Mom.) from 1965 which questions our war on Vietnam, and how we were--even in those days--conducting the war using torture; "They say we're torturing prisoners of war, but I don't believe that stuff no more", and followed with a 'mind's-eye picture' of a sort-of impotently-hopelessly-helplessly sort-of-shrugging-conclusion "I wish this war was over and through, but - what do you expect me to do?" (When I read/hear that Sheila, I think Democrat - don't you?)
Contrast that with Neither Party members, who (unlike modern-day Democrats) expect a knock-down, drag-out fight from our leadership - Not the normally-expected Democratic acquiescence to the Republican/neo-con agenda. You can rest assured Sheila, that especially because they are 'reformed' Republocrats, they will demand that principled fight, and they will also go to the polls and vote. And they will vote for the party that is principally different from the others: the Neither Party.
And finally, I want to make certain my criticisms are not thought of by you as being in any way, personal attacks on you, my wonderfully-passionately-valiant and loyally-Democratic friend.
And it is not just because you said are impressed with the Neither Party website, or because you so graciously wish us well. (Thank you, our 'hits' went way up.)
You see, I want you to remain my friend (and hopefully, advisor) because I want you to become as passionate about the Neither Party as you are for your beloved Democrats. Our offer for you to join us as a member (director) naturally still stands, Sheila, and we will wait patiently for you to some day soon, we hope, 'get it' too. With you Sheila, (and yes, many more like you) the Neither Party can actually win in 2008, believe it or not.
When the stench of the Democratic Party decay becomes unbearable, we'll be waiting.
Sincerely yours, your new best friend, John