Democrats, We're Over Here!
April 13, 2001
by Susan Sigandres
The assault on voters' rights by - of all people - members
of this country's high court. The various and sundry - and
painfully obvious - deficiencies of one George W. Bush. The
well-documented corruption - and dubious affiliations - of
the families Bush and Cheney. And the present take-over of
our government by religious zealots and corporate fundamentalists
- as attested to by actions taken since January 20 of this
year - have combined to create a sense of outrage, and of
community, among the broad spectrum of people that, taken
together, form "the left."
We, on the left, are your constituents. Presumably, you want to be re-elected.
We are the ones who will vote for you. But, there's a catch: You must
do things to make us happy. You can start by talking to us. Why is it
that you Congressional Democrats all seem quite willing to talk to the
corporate-owned right-wing U.S. press but not to the press from which
we, your constituents, are getting our news?
Admittedly, some of us do actually watch U.S. network "news,"
but that is to (a) tell the rest of the folks on the left how ludicrous
it is, (b) bestow awards that would make Edward R. Murrow cry, or (c)
use as a starting point to discuss our views on whether the "news"
reports are accurate. By continuing to address yourselves solely to the
corporate-owned right-wing U.S. "news" outlets, you are doing
the equivalent of shouting into the wind.
And, just so you know, our headline sites, such as BuzzFlash, The Bush
Watch, and The Smudge Report, are doing a much better job than you are
of pointing out the daily outrages perpetrated by your counterparts across
the aisle. The news and information sources we find credible, such as
Mother Jones, Consortium News, Liberal Slant, Salon.com, Slate (notwithstanding
Microsoft), the UK Guardian, The Nation, Tom Paine, the BBC - even New
Republic - are doing a much better job than you are of explaining what
Bush and his associates "are up to now" and exposing the full extent of
their filthy, sickeningly corrupt activities of the past.
If you want our continued support, you need to explain your positions
to us, not to the right or its media. Perhaps it is intimidating for you
because we, your constituents, are not a bunch of mindless puppets who
are willing to take whatever you say at face value and parrot whatever
inscrutable "phrase of the day" some think tank has decided
should be repeated endlessly by all those in "the party." But
we are also not a vindictive, bigoted lynch mob ready to burn Bush at
the stake as the other party's ideologues tried to do to President Clinton.
We will settle for you making it impossible for Bush and his supporters
to implement the right's agenda. In other words, we're telling you to
do your jobs. Shaving $4 billion off an outsized tax cut is a decent start
- as long as that's only the first shave. We'll be watching and expecting
more. Listen, if it is not possible at the moment to shut Bush down entirely,
then we expect you to go to the mat trying to contain him. This means
you must do more than just react to what Bush and those around him are
doing. You must take your stand, make the first move, and tell us what
it is you are trying to accomplish and why.
You have yet to do this. Should you do this, we will be empowered to
give you the support you need. We can filter out the senseless noise coming
from the other party and focus on our own party's goals. Some on the left
feel you are as corrupt and money hungry as the right. Well, if that's
true, and money is what concerns you, listen here. Now that you have supported
campaign finance reform, you will need more than our volunteer efforts
to help you get re-elected. You will need our money. Don't you dare ignore
us while you are comfortably ensconced in Congress and then turn around
at election time with your hand out. Many of us on the left benefited
quite nicely from the Clinton years, thank you. But we're still not mindless
puppets who will grease your palm when you say it's time to do so. If
that's what you want, move to Oklahoma.
It hasn't even been one hundred days and we're sick to death of Bush,
Cheney, Ashcroft, Rove, Card, Thompson, Chao, Powell, Whitman, Abraham,
O'Neill, and all the rest of them. Nothing they do will be a surprise.
We know their game, they know we know their game, so let's stop playing
with them and get on with our own agenda. It's never too soon to start
planning how we're going to fix whatever damage Bush may be able to inflict
on this country. The left is coming together with breathtaking speed.
It's never too soon to take advantage of our momentum.
Hello? Are you listening??