A Note to My Dem Friends on the Presidential Campaign
A response to a Democratic friend who demands that Nader and all other progressives subsume their political activity to the Kerry campaign in order to defeat Bush.
My Dear Democratic Friend and Colleague:
Please don't take the below criticism personally - as you must know, I like you personally a great deal, and yet I have some things to say which you may find politically harsh but which I don't want to encumber our friendship.
So please take this as a strictly political statement, ok? After all, I believe we do want the same outcome - hopefully, our only disagreement is over methodology.
A simple question:
How, exactly, are those of us who have actually organized against Bush's policies supposed to sell your leadership to those who are against such policies when we can't show any material evidence of your opposition to them?
One local example: I would have appreciated a follow-up by AT LEAST ONE of the majority Democrats at the Westchester County Board of Legislators meeting last March to my request for a peace resolution - which even Republican Rockland County managed to pass - to demonstrate SOME support by the local Dems for an antiwar position.
But the best I got was Legislator Abinanti reading "Danny Boy"! THIS WAS TELEVISED AROUND THE COUNTY.
What am I supposed to do with that?
Do I doubt where you personally stand? No, of course not.
Do I not understand what you do from where you are in the party? I do, of course, understand.
But the people actually standing up to Bush's very real fascism are a bit reluctant to follow "leaders" on their word - they want evidence. These folks are organizing like mad because they feel the present situation demands it.
If there were a Democratic candidate likely to be nominated that warranted their loyalty, they would be there - big time. But Kerry ain't the guy to pull them in.
He has a REALLY bad record on too many issues, and, especially, since the Bushies came in, he downright sucks. Even Ted Kennedy shines above him - compare their statements in the Congressional Record regarding the Iraq vote.
How are we supposed to bring in the actual antiwar folks - the ones who endure ridicule by the idiot local politicos as they resist Bush at real cost to their careers - in the face of his record? I can sell a lot of stuff, but I am lost on that one...
BTW, if there is no choice against Bush but Kerry - that isn't my failing - it's yours (as a Dem activist). But Kerry won't be enough for us - not this year's version, in any event.
The 1971 Kerry would do, but not the one of the last decade. I wouldn't vote for him on a bet, unless Nader didn't run, and then I might not vote at all, rather than enable him based on his current record. He's indistinguishable from Bush on the important matters of record since 2001!
LOOK AT HIS VOTING RECORD SINCE BUSH WAS ELECTED.
I would vote for Barbara Lee in a heartbeat, and would gladly work for her for free 24/7 - above everyone else in the country, including Nader. She was out front when defense of democracy demanded it, and at great risk to her person, literally.
And, she did it without a thought for her person, WHICH IS WHAT PEOPLE CHARGED WITH THE JOB OF REPRESENTATION ARE SUPPOSED TO DO.
(Mention that to some of the clowns we know locally when you have a chance, as a reminder to them...)
There are others - for example, Cynthia McKinney, who paid the price (and thereby obtained liberation from party diktat). She has done a whole lot of good work since the right wing(s?) of both parties teamed up to kick her out of Congress.
The fact that the above might mean that Kerry must deal with Nader (or Camejo, or some other actual progressive) isn't my failing, or evidence of my lack of understanding of the process, but is, rather, proof that something else needs attention that isn't being addressed presently by the Democratic primary process.
If we are to reach agreement to build a progressive alliance to beat Bush, guess what? It will require an agreement that is progressive in its form and substance, and some actual progressives - not acquiescence to the Democratic right, which acquiescence, by the way, is neither available, nor within my control.
So talk to the folks in power at Dem central, and tell them only a progressive gets our support.
And let's see if getting Bush out is important enough to THEM to cause an adjustment in the party's direction.
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