3/10/2005

Open, despairing letter to Senator Reid

From Stephanie Dray at CommonDreams.org:
Dear Senator Reid,
Since the election, most days, I feel determined.  I have become more involved, more passionate, more informed.  There is no other choice--because to accept the defeat I felt the day John Kerry made his concession speech is to admit more blackness into my life than I can handle.  
I don't do hopelessness and depression well.  I'm a take-action person.  Show me where to aim, and I'll fire.  I've been proud of the work I've done since the election and I've been proud of the work you've done since becoming Minority Leader--and there have been some hopeful days. But then there are bad days. Very bad days, like yesterday, when that Bankruptcy Bill slammed the Senate like a tidal wave, and the whole Democratic Party got swept under.  Not Nader, not the media, not anybody but blogger Maryscott O'Conner seemed to have seen it until it was too late.
Senator Reid, to be frank, you must get control of your caucus.  There have been three votes in the past four months that have meant a great deal to Democrats in which you got steamrolled.  I know you're not going to win every battle--but you need to win one, and you need to do it yesterday.
Right now, to Democratic faithful, the situation feels like an ancient massacre.  We've got our backs to the water, Hannibal's hordes are bearing down on us, and we can't even see our battle standards go up until it's too late.  
I made my phone calls, I've donated, I've drummed up attention, I sent faxes, I write letters, I recruit members, I start clubs.  I'm willing to do whatever you need me to do, but I have to see some progress, however symbolic.  
I realize you must be skeptical of the blogsphere and the way some of us hate the Democratic Party every time you all don't vote exactly the way we want you to.  But that's really just a small portion of us, as was evident in the way we analyzed the Bankruptcy amendments the other day--when it came to that one Amendment that 19 well-respected Democrats voted against, all of us kind of went 'Huh, maybe it was bad drafting'.  
It's not like we can't be reasoned with if the effort is made.  I know my Senators have more important things to do than to explain things to me personally, but when you let even freshman senators vote for something like this, Democrats owe the whole nation an explanation.
Some people in the blogsphere think the solution is housecleaning.  Usually I think that's ridiculous.  I don't want to spend my money defeating Democrats.  I'm not a one issue voter.  And I don't believe having a Republican in that seat that votes against my interests 90% of the time rather than Ben Nelson's 60% of the time, or whatever it is, is a reasonable trade. But I've changed my mind about primary challenges--I'm ready to start funding them after today.
Today was one of those days when the enormity of what we are up against, and our impotence, was just overwhelming to me.  I won't crucify any one Senator for their vote on this issue, and I won't condemn you for failing to block this legislation.  I realize that you too are up against a lot.
But please understand, you need to be cracking skulls up there.  Channel LBJ--I don't care whose arm you have to twist to the breaking point.  Make sure Ken Salazar is stuck with every crappy assignment from here to eternity for the kind of hubris he shows in breaking party ranks over and over again in his first four months in office.  Get Leiberman on a shorter chain. Even if you have to pick a fight in order to win it, please do it.
We just can't wait much longer for a victory.  We can't wait on the judges.  I don't know how much more energy we are going to have under this kind of demoralization.  
Senator Reid, please rethink our strategy about filibusters.  If the Republicans are going to use the nuclear option, then so be it, let them use it, because if they're going to use it over bankruptcy they're going to use it on the judges too.  Let them get it out of the way that much quicker so that at least there isn't even the illusion that we're participants in this national travesty.
Senator Reid, your troops are willing to fight and lose, but we're not able to tolerate defeat at our own hands over and over again.

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