At a time when courage and leadership are being called for, the Democratic Party leadership (now theres an oxymoron rich in irony content) isnt taking the call. Think of how John Kerry wimped out in the face of very obvious and alarming voter fraud in Ohio. Consider how few Democratic Senators stood against the abuses of the so-called Patriot Act, or who stood with courageous Sen. Russ Feingold in his call to censure Bush. Or how mealy-mouthed the Dems have been in extracting us from an immoral, illegal and ill-conceived war. If the Democrats are the firewall between a proto-fascist regime leading us backward into neo-feudalism, then God help us.
Well, as the saying goes, God helps those who help themselves, and I may have a self-help formula for the millions of us suffering from outrage fatigue and ready to play lead the leader. I call it the Empty Envelope campaign, and heres how it works. Over the next month, as the Democrats are gearing up for a campaign year where they are hoping to regain control of Congress, lets send the Democratic Central Committee empty envelopes instead of donations: Empty envelopes for empty promises.
You use can use a version of the letter Ive written below, modify it as you like, or write your own original letter in place of or in addition to my letter. The important thing is that its not an email, but a genuine mailed letter. If its returned to them in one of their own envelopes, all the better. You can even mark the envelope contribution enclosed so that theyre sure to open it. And the contribution you are making is far more valuable than money. It is a call for courage, vision and integrity from leadership that has lost its way.
You can look at those in charge of the Democratic Party as complicit Republican Lites or intimidated and abused enablers. Either way, they need to know that we are out there either to support them if they choose to be courageous, or support ourselves if they choose not. If indeed they are getting pressure from the top to play nice with our corporate rulers, they need to have even more pressure from the grassroots up saying essentially that were mad as hell and not going to take it anymore.
Imagine the impact of getting 250,000 empty envelopes. Or half a million. Or a million. Or ten million. Will that get someones attention? Well, if theyre still sleeping after all that, we can just consider theyve been put to sleep. But the good news is, were still awake, and more of us are awakening every day. Buckminster Fuller once said that applause isnt for the person on stage, its for the audience. In other words, by applauding and seeing who else is applauding, the audience is recognizing itself. May we the people -- those willing to come front and center and be adults in the matter of the low-jacking of America -- recognize ourselves and grow in power.
Here is my letter:
Howard Dean, Chairman
Democratic National Committee
430 S. Capitol St. SE
Washington, DC 20003
Dear Dr. Dean:
This is the time of year when millions of Americans make contributions to their political party, so here is my contribution: An empty envelope, to represent empty promises. Yes, I know it isnt easy being a party out of power, but heres the funny thing. The Democrats represent the values of a majority of Americans, and yet they are the minority party. Why is that?
Perhaps its because the Democrats -- particularly the Democratic Party leadership -- have been unwilling to provide those things the American people need and desire most: Courage, vision, integrity and authenticity. Perhaps this is because this leadership doesnt trust the awareness and maturity of the American people. If thats the case, maybe getting enough of these letters will convince you otherwise. Perhaps it is because the leadership simply lacks these qualities, in which case it might be time to step aside and let the bolder ones take over. We thought that bolder one might have been you, Dr. Dean, but we must have been mistaken.
Ill be blunt, Dr. Dean. America faces not only an enemy overseas, but an enemy at home in the form of rule of, by and for corporations. This is no mere abstraction or idle rhetoric. The drug and oil companies, the petro-food companies, the Halliburtons, all have more to say about what our government does or doesnt do than any million of us. In the past, the Democrats have been at the very least, a check on the unchecked power of capitalism. But now, the party seems to have devolved into little more than a final resting place for progressive votes, and has failed to defend the American people and our Constitution against the forces of what can only be called fascism.
A small but growing group of Democrats have shown the courage to stand up to election fraud, an illegal war, and the frightening attempts on the part of this Administration to create a police state. I will continue to support these Democrats by making a contribution to the Progressive Democrats of America, and I have urged everyone else I know to do the same.