Dear Elected Democrats...
September 21, 2005
By Nancy Greggs
time we had a little talk.
I am a Democrat. While I do not deign to speak for everyone of
my party, I do keep up with current political news and have been
made aware, painfully so, of a certain attitude amongst my fellow
party members that is impossible to ignore. I don't speak for everyone,
but I do speak in concert with many.
For the past four-plus years, we have watched our once-great nation
dissolve into something unrecognizable. It is now a nation where
torture of our fellow human beings is accepted policy; a nation
where American citizens can be held in prison, indefinitely and
incommunicado, without charge.
It has become a nation where hard-working Americans watch their
jobs and their way of life shipped overseas, where the middle class
is constantly under siege in a battle that can no longer be won.
It is a nation where our senior citizens must choose between medicine
and food, and, more recently, where Americans must choose between
food and the necessary funds to fill their gas tanks in order to
get to work.
We are angry, very angry. Not only as Democrats, but as Republicans,
Greens and Independents; we, as a nation, are angry. And the pressing
question is: where have you been?
For too long now, it seemed as though your collective strategy
to deal with this Administration has been "give them enough
rope, and they'll hang themselves." Well, congratulations.
In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, they have hung themselves with
We have now seen how their stewardship of our government agencies
has played out, thanks to the patronage appointments of people with
no training or skill, thanks to the gutting of budgets to these
agencies in order to more fully fund an unwinnable war in Iraq that
was, from the outset, based on lies.
Yes, they have hung themselves. But at the cost of how many lives,
lives both lost and damaged beyond repair? Do you intend to dole
out more rope, hoping they'll do themselves in yet again? Which
American city are you willing to sacrifice next? How many lives
are you willing to see lost or destroyed in order to be able to
stand back and say, "Well, we told you so!"
This is not the time for handing out more rope. This is the time
for figuratively tying that rope around this Administration's neck
and yanking on it for all you're worth.
We are past the point of bargaining with these people. We are
past the point of saying, "I'll just give in to them on this
one issue, this one policy, and things will work themselves out
down the road."
We are no longer fighting over gay marriage, or the public display
of the Ten Commandments. We are past the point of debating the wording
of the Pledge of Allegiance, or whether flag-burning is a crime.
Those things may be important to some of us, somewhere down the
But when Americans die on their own native soil as a result of
this Administration's incompetence and self-serving political agenda,
it is time to focus on a more important goal: the very survival
of our nation as it was, as it could be, as it was envisioned more
than two hundred years ago by people who put their very lives on
the line to make it everything it should be.
You might ask the age-old question: where is the outrage? Believe
me, it's out here. Check out the websites, read the angry letters,
listen to the conversation at the local diner. We are outraged indeed.
The more pertinent question is: where is your outrage?
You are the people elected to reflect the thoughts, attitudes and
will of the people you represent. Where has that outrage been reflected
in your behavior over the last four years?
There are those among you who often inspire confidence – the passion
of Kennedy, the no-nonsense eloquence of Boxer, the knight-like
sense of purpose of Conyers, the poetic statesmanship of Byrd.
But while their words and actions inspire the masses, they seem
to go unnoticed and unsupported by many of you who sit in public
office. Where were you when the 2000 election was stolen, and the
facts of same were blatantly obvious? Where were you when the Ohio
vote in 2004 was being questioned, when irregularities were surfacing
on an hour-by-hour basis? Why did John Conyers deliver his petition
without a vast contingent of his colleagues standing proudly behind
him? In short: why do we never see you doing anything?
I realize that many of you have your own political ambitions,
and want to retain the position you now hold, or even move beyond
it someday. There have been times in the past when – although I
don't agree with it – I could appreciate your reticence in standing
up for issues that might lose you the support of American voters.
But what is your excuse now? You don't have to fund massive surveys
to know, without a question of a doubt, that the majority of Americans
– not just Democrats, but Americans – feel that the country is on
the wrong track. The vast majority of Americans now believe that
Iraq is all but a lost cause, that our dependence on foreign oil
is a catastrophe, that the ever-ballooning deficit is a time-bomb
waiting to go off, if not in our lifetime, certainly in the lifetime
of our children and grandchildren.
To put it succinctly: what in God's name are you waiting for?
How far do you think a do-nothing, sit-on-the-fence attitude about
everything that is currently undermining our American way of life
will get you in future? How many voters do you think will be bothered
to go the polls and cast a ballot in your favor, when they've seen
nothing of meaning having been accomplished to date?
There is no doubt in my mind that the vast majority of you are
decent, well-meaning people with the best of intentions at heart.
But intentions without words are meaningless, and words without
action are without consequence.
I am loathe to condense the feelings of millions of Democrats
down to a bumper-sticker, but for the sake of the bluntness called
for here, I will do it just the same: Get a Spine, or Resign.
We Democrats are a patriotic, visionary group. We have funds to
contribute to campaigns, the will to volunteer our time and resources,
the votes to put the right people in office. But we are not likely
to expend these things on people who sit by and do nothing. In the
past few months, I have been horrified to hear devoted Democrats
I know saying things like, "Next election, I'll vote Green
or Independent," or, worse yet, "Next election, I won't
vote at all." Their reasons for saying so are all too valid:
why vote for people who have consistently sat in silence while our
democracy is being dismantled?
Many times in the past, especially watching the events of the
last few weeks unfold, I have thought that the Democrats would handily
win next year's mid-terms, and the presidency in 2008 – not through
effort, but by default, simply because the country will be ready
for a change in view of the disastrous path this administration
has led us down. As a stand-up comic once said, "Of course
the meek shall inherit the earth – they'll be too timid to refuse
Unfortunately, I am now having visions of a different turn, visions
of a Republican presidential hopeful standing up and saying, "I've
seen where we've gone wrong. Vote for me, and I'll make it right."
His campaign speeches will be carefully worded to avoid placing
any blame on Bush, or his supporters. It will simply be a matter
of suggesting a 'correction' here and there, after which everything
– the economy, the situation in Iraq, the security of our borders
– will all be back on track.
What will you say then? That he's saying the very things you should
have said all along, but didn't?
It is time for each of you to examine your own conscience. Am
I up to the job of representing my constituents? Am I willing to
stand up for what my constituents believe in, without regard to
how it might affect my own political ambitions? Am I willing to
fight for what is right, instead of meekly sitting on the sidelines,
waiting for someone else to speak up?
If you are not up to the job, step down now and let it be filled
by someone who is willing to take what is happening to our country
seriously; someone who is ready to fight – and, more importantly,
We are about to enter a battle – no, a war – to save our democracy
from an Administration whose only goal is the financial enrichment
of themselves and their corporate cronies, and the economic enslavement
of those unfortunate enough to be born into the poorer and working
You may think I am over-stating the situation. I can assure you
that millions of Democrats would accuse me of not stating it vociferously
As I've said, we Democrats are a great party. We have the guts
to fight for what is right, and the will to see that fight through
to the end. We are a great bunch of people. We would like you to
There is still time to make this right, to take up the sword of
battle and lead. And if you choose to do so, you won't ever have
to look behind you. I assure you, there will be an army of millions
at your back.