Open Letter To The Democratic National Convention
It is our turn now. The other party had their chance and took their best shots. In the second act of the quadrennial American pageant known as Presidential elections, we take the stage in and take to the airwaves from Charlotte, N C. This is a momentous opportunity, despite the waning glory of political conventions. It is incumbent on us to seize these days.
In order to make these few days into our finest hours, we must effectively, evocatively, and resolutely achieve four purposes. First, we must extol and explain our record of achievement from January 2009 until September 2012. Second, we must clearly describe and make real the stakes in the 2012 Presidential, Senate and House contests. Third, we must avoid snarky shrill, snide attacks on opposing candidates and the opposing party. We have substantive, significant differences and must not sink to the level displayed in Tampa. Finally, and, perhaps most crucially, we must affirm for ourselves and arouse within others a genuine, credible commitment to the principles and purposes that do [or should] swell a rising chorus of unity among all Americans as patriotic citizens. We must remind the entire populace that “We the people” are called on to mutually pledge to one another our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor. Being a citizen is not a hobby or part-time job, it is our most solemn obligation and our most glorious opportunity.
The messaging battle has been fierce on this and we have not been as effective as we must and ought to be. As of the spring of this year, the record of achievement in the face of constant obstruction from the other party in Congress is impressive. For a start, we prevented the second great depression with only three cooperating members of the other party. One of these has left Congress, a second is leaving, and the third is isolated within the ranks of our opponents. Second, we eliminated a Catch-22 in pay equity laws and made it possible for women to get their due in the workplace. Third, we expanded national service opportunities so that idealistic Americans could show what they can do for their country. Fourth, avoid scandal over a longer period than any recent administration from either party. Finally, we increased support for veterans and healthcare coverage for children; reformed healthcare and revived financial regulation. The list goes on and on and others may choose different highlights. The point is we have a significant and laudable record of accomplishment that lacks only proper publication and explanation. If we refuse to engaging blow our own horns, the other party will use them for spittoons. Bragging is uncalled for and uninspiring, but candor and confidence are important and imperative.
America is a Republic, not a Plutocracy. The trends of the last thirty years have undermined this historic fact and they seriously imperil this precious heritage. At this moment in our history, The 400 richest Americans now have more wealth than the bottom 150 million of us put together. The concentration of wealth and income at the top breeds a concentration of political power. The issue isn’t the size of our government, but whom our government serves. As plutocracy triumphs it has becomes less responsive to the needs of most citizens and more attentive to the demands of a comparative few. We no longer have government by the authentic consent of the governed, but government for the considered interests of the wealthiest among us. Plutocracy supplants governance with rule and it has been eroding the substance of the Republic from within for decades now. The other party – as they saw dramatically articulated this past week in Tampa – seeks to further reduce taxes on the rich, defund programs for the poor, fight unions, allow the median wage to continue to fall, impede and impair ballot access and oppose any limits on campaign contributions or spending. As they are committed to plutocracy, so we must champion the Republic bequeathed to all Americans two and a third centuries ago.
If we fail to convincingly describe and engagingly explain this issue, government of the people, by the people, and for the people will vanish from this nation. Every person born or naturalized in the United States and subject to its laws is a citizen of the United States. Every person is entitled as a fundamental civil right explicitly stated in the Constitution to one voice in discerning the consent of the governed. Wealth is not worth, and corporations are not people. Having millions to expend to drive the public discourse does not entitle anyone to impair or impede the ballot access of any citizens no matter how modest their means, how dark their skin, how many or few their years, or whatever their primary language. We must positively establish this critical issue not by maligning the advocates of plutocracy, but by strumming the mystic chords of memory and devotion and raising a rousing crescendo of commitment to a government of just powers derived from the authentic, fairly ascertained consent of the governed.
The 2012 elections will reverberate far beyond the next two or four years. Decisions will be made and confirmed by the next President and the next Senate that affect the frontiers of the future. The Constitution is clearly written, but it is frequently in need of judicious interpretation. Little is more vital to the survival and success of the Republic than the competence, fair mindedness, and philosophic soundness of appointees to the Supreme Court and other federal courts.
The 2012 elections will reverberate far beyond the next two or four years. Decisions will be made and confirmed by the next President and the next Senate that affect the frontiers and form of our future. The Constitution is clearly written, but it is frequently in need of judicious interpretation. Little is more vital to the survival and success of the Republic than the competence, fair mindedness, and philosophic soundness of appointees to the Supreme Court and other federal courts. The other party has used any opportunities they had in this regard to appoint Justices and judges who would facilitate and ratify the advance of plutocracy. This harms all who are not plutocrats or their minions.
All elections have long-term consequences, but the 2012 elections are unique due to the stark difference between the major parties and candidates for every open Federal office. Other matters could and should be broached to make this criticality clear, but the essential nature of our political system must be skillfully emphasized and convincingly conveyed. We must ensure the citizenry understands, “The problem of power is how to achieve its responsible use rather than its irresponsible and indulgent use – of how to get men of power to live for the public rather than off the public.” As Americans, we elect to be governed, but we must never consent to be ruled whether by a fanatical faction or a greedy cabal.
All ordinary Americans regardless of their diverse characteristics and group affiliations have a fundamental interest in preserving government of, by, and for the people rather than by any faction or self-anointed elite. Each cohort of Americans is recurrently called upon to give testament to their national loyalties. Now the trumpet summons us again!
Forgo the Snarky, the Shrill and the Snide
Our challenge is to inspire action and commitment to principles and purposes that unite us with all Americans and show why we are the proper guardians and champions of such ideals. Belittling comments, false accusations, red herrings, and appeals to fear, jealousy or resentment will not serve our cause and more to the point they will not serve our children and our country. The other party has given Americans all they need to see of the low road to power. We must provide shining example after shining example of the road not taken by the other party. Somewhere, some when, somehow ages and ages hence, our choice of the high road not taken by our opponents will make all the difference.
Our opponents have authentic vulnerabilities; we have honest differences with their candidates, their platform, and their record when in power, as well as their proposals for the future of the Republic. We must bring these real and important differences into sharp focus. We must prove why our priorities, proposals, principles, and purposes are more beneficial to America and all Americans. We have a powerful case and we must present and press this case without stooping to the level of venality or going to the lengths of absurdity exhibited by our opponents in Tampa, FL.
Swell the Rising Chorus of Unity
In 1789, the Republic became operational. It was ordained and established by “We the people.” The Republic had its inception in a revolution in which the leaders mutually pledged to one another, their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor. America’s origins, substance, and finest moments are not examples of isolated, self-centered, self-aggrandizing conduct. We can be proud to be Americans because we share a noble heritage and a history of struggle to perfect our union and resolve and remove defects in our implementation of the true meaning of our creed.
We are not enemies of the other party or of those who have no party. We must not be enemies, but friends. Though passion now strains it must not be allowed to rupture the bonds of affection or sever the threads of idealism which make us one nation indivisible.
In this time which again tries our souls, we must act with malice toward none for the inspiration of all. We must give all Americans something to work for not someone to fight against. We must repair the breakdowns in our economy, bind up the nation’s wounds, care for the men and women who have borne the brunt of our military battles and for their families, and promote a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations of the earth.
While history will be the ultimate judge of our deeds and a clear conscience will be our only sure reward. We must light a fire in our hearts and those of our fellow Americans and then go forth to lead the land we love confident that the glow from these fires will light our country and all who cherish it. We must avow and affirm that we, the people of the Democratic Party of the United States, will take care of our own, our native land and enlist all Americans in helping us fulfill this hallowed obligation and magnificent opportunity.
Let our eyes, be the ones with the will to see
Let ours be the hearts run over with true mercy
Let ours be the love that has not forsaken thee
Let there be work to set our hands and our souls free
Let this spirit reign and rain over you and me
Let’s keep the promises from sea to shining sea
Let us prove wherever this flag’s flown
We take care of our own
Our work must go on; our cause must endure; our hopes must soar; our dream must never die! The duty we do, the country we renew, the future we ennoble will be our own. A failure to meet this challenge and win this battle will require us to one day tell our children and other young people dear to us that we had the chance to save the Republic but lacked the creativity, courage, and character to do so.
Tags: citizenship, Democratic national convention, election, malice, patriotism, record, shrill, snarky, snide, stakes, unity