Dear Tea Partiers,
I am writing you today not as your progressive political opponent but as your fellow American.
There is but one America, and we are going to share it, whether we like the idea or not. We will be doing that single America a terrible disservice if we refuse to engage with each other.
I will not patronize you by pretending our political philosophies are not often in diametrical opposition, but I will pay you the compliment of taking you seriously. Too many on the left, myself included, have treated you dismissively for too long. But you refuse to be dismissed; you're still here.
I do not disagree with everything you stand for. The Tea Party wants a safe, secure America. So do I. Cautious government and tamed deficits are Tea Party goals. I share them. While I cannot support "papers please" laws, I understand the fears that produce them, and I am mindful that America is an immigrant nation, not a colonized one.
But I believe you have made a terrible mistake; you've cast your lot with the Republican Party and only the Republican Party. You think the GOP is your champion. Think again.
You are being used. The GOP is going to ride you hard, all the way to Capitol Hill, and put you up wet. And when you try to collect on their winning ticket, all you'll get is lip service.
If you think the GOP takes you seriously and considers you more than a handy lever back into power, take a look at the last populist bill of goods they sold the country.
In 1994, Newt Gingrich's "Contract for America" was going to change Washington forever. All we needed to do was elect a Republican congress. And so we did.