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YO! Congressional 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??

 

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