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Democrats Unite!
November 23, 2002
By Ronald Gerughty

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Before life can be breathed into the moribund Democratic Party, significant changes must occur. Over the past two years, most democrats in Congress have failed to display the courage of their convictions. They have failed to uphold the fundamental principles upon which the Party was founded, opting instead to place politics ahead of principle. Where have our representatives gone? What we see is a group of confused, unorganized, message-less individuals being led by politicians who are too scared to voice their opinions and convictions because they covet a higher job in 2004. There are, of course, notable exceptions; unfortunately, too few and none are considered as "leaders" of our Party.

Nowhere has this appalling lack of courage been more evident than the election of 2002. By playing patsy to the President's agenda of massive tax cuts and the Iraq resolution, in hopes of appearing as cooperative and maintaining their Senate majority and, perhaps, regaining the House majority, they guaranteed not only the devastating loss they suffered, but future losses in upcoming elections as well. They lost their voices and with it, the public view that they had nothing different to say-the message was clear, "Why not elect Republicans?" Our supposed leaders have guided us smoothly into political oblivion. They have set the stage for a classic reversal of many of the gains provided by the Democrats to us over many decades. They are not listening to us! We can only conclude they no longer are concerned with our problems, but are preoccupied with their personal agendas. The dismal voter turnout and failure to mobilize the very base of the Party is an unsurprising result.

Now, the public perception is that the Democratic Party no longer stands for anything substantive-it's become a rubber stamp for the Bush administration and its highly undesirable policies. While our privacy and civil rights are rapidly headed into the toilet, our Democratic Representatives and Senators fiddle and profess anguish. What a sham! With this collection of voiceless caricatures as our elected officials, we are suffering from a severe lack of representation. Why should we vote for them? The operative becomes no vote-stay home and enjoy whatever perks are available while the Republicans vote.

If the Party doesn't change rapidly, the country is going to suffer immense negative consequences at the hands of the Republican majority. The DNC must revamp and gain better, more representative, leadership. The House has already made a positive change, now how about the Senate? Shake it up; the lineup stinks. As of today, the Party has no credible contenders for 2004. Each of the semi-declared contestants should reassess their actions and opt-out, for they have demonstrated that they are incapable of leading their colleagues, let alone the nation. Find your voices, carve out your positions, and, above all, maintain your principles. Stuff the polls, but listen to your constituents. Trust comes when the givers are convinced they are not only being heard, but listened to. No need to vilify, to go blatantly negative. Simply state the facts, without spin, and cite what is unacceptable, why it is unacceptable, and, above all, provide alternatives together with how you plan to accomplish those alternatives. Stop the rhetoric and finger-pointing. Lose that deity complex and truly listen to the people you were elected to represent. If you regain your voices, stand on your principles, and offer viable solutions, the people will respond positively and Democrats will unite.

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