Bush, Cheney, Rummy and Wolfowitz are determined to play
with their toys that go boom and they have picked Iraq as
the place to do it. The spineless Democratic leadership went
limp on us and let the warmongers roll right over the Constitution.
Are our service men and women doomed? Are millions of Iraqis
marked for death and destruction? Is there no way to stop
The press are not covering our anti-war marches that would
have been major news if 150,000 people had marched on Washington
twenty years ago. Everyone I know has doubts about this war
and no one in Washington is listening. What can we do?
Don't give in to despair. Stay calm. There is a lot you can
do, but we are up against powerful interests and they are
fighting hard for this war. It will take time and massive
populist effort to reverse the tide.
Start by voting, and getting everyone you know to vote, Democratic
at the polls on November 5th. I know the Democrats in congress
have been disappointing on this issue, but there are two reasons
for that - reasons we can change.
The first reason Dems in congress have been so very timid
is that there are not enough of them. Remember that the Democratic
Party embraces a spectrum of ideologies that covers a broad
territory. Unless they have a substantial enough majority
in each house of congress to assure the Democratic leadership
of sufficient support, even a few Democrats who are at the
more conservative end of the spectrum will throw a vote to
the Republicans. Without a substantial majority, even the
most progressive Democratic leadership risks deadlock and
fractures in Party unity that can damage a broad array of
Auntie Pinko seems to reiterate this a lot, but we do need
constant reminders: Democrats are not Republicans!
We do not march in lockstep. We accord our leadership support
based on how well they represent our principles and goals,
not on how well they enforce top-down discipline. Without
the kind of robotic unity that the GOP enforces, Democrats
are highly vulnerable to divide-and-conquer tactics at election
time, and the leadership knows this. They won't put progress
toward a truly substantial Democratic majority at risk when
the stakes are so high.
More Democrats with the rockbound integrity of Paul Wellstone
would certainly help us, but money and powerful special interests
have been working hard for many years to neutralize the appeal
of such "outsider" politics. That leads me into the second
reason for Democratic timidity in congress: the blaring voice
of corporate and special interest money.
Interests with enough money to buy access to our politicians
get face-to-face time with them, chances to explain, to offer
bribes and threats, to make persuasive cases, to hold the
elected official's constituency hostage to job loss or other
blackmail. In order to drown out this kind of mega-loudness,
citizens must counter-balance it with the sheer volume and
frequency of their communications.
When a truly grassroots tide begins to lap over their shoes,
elected officials will get moving, because they know that
a sufficient number of votes will outweigh money in the final
analysis. But convincing them that there are sufficient voters
who support a particular position is not easy, because the
big-money interests are adept at generating pseudo-"grassroots"
efforts of their own, muddying the waters, and confusing the
issues. However, in the end a real citizen initiative, if
sufficiently powerful and widespread, will win through.
So your answers start there, Sylvia:
VOTE Democratic on November 5th, no matter where in the spectrum
your candidate stands. Only a substantial majority will give
Democratic congressional leaders the support they need to
act with courage and integrity in reflecting the will of the
Then, as soon as the election results are in, begin
contacting your newly-elected Democratic Senators and Representatives.
Give them the same message, over and over: "I didn't vote
for you because you supported Mr. Bush's irresponsible and
immoral war, I voted for you to give the Democratic Party
the strength to oppose the war, now get in there and do it!"
I guarantee you, Sylvia, if we can elect enough Democratic
Senators and Representatives, and if they hear that message
often enough, they will build a roadblock tough enough to
stand in the way of the gigantic, oil-powered machine rolling
toward death and destruction. And thanks for asking Auntie
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