A Democratic Outreach to Our Conservative Countrymen

The campaign rhetoric about the awful, dangerous things the LIBERALS will do if elected still lingers as a bitter example of all the lies the GOP has repeated about the Democrats for 26 years. It is up to us to reach out to the deceived Americans who are now hurting and afraid.

We know how it feels. What we also understand is that it is not our fellow citizens that were the brunt of our anger. The leaders who deceived many into thinking the harsh neo-conservative ideas would work best for our country are the people we see as responsible. They are the ones who promised one thing and did another. Had they stuck to non-interference instead of cronyism, corruption and lining the pockets of the have mores, the mess would not have been so bad.

We can only change the state of the country by assessing it with open eyes and minds. There is no need to look for problems that are not here. The way to correct this course is to include all citizens in the deliberation. I am very pleased with what I have seen and heard from Nancy Pelosi. She is a strong liberal and yet self-disciplined enough to know that we must work with the members who represent a significant percentage of the population. If the remaining GOP leaders are not willing to cooperate, as much as needed, we must have established our willingness to work with our neighbors and friends who supported them.

If there is one single aspect of this mess we must learn, it is to keep from taking the political pendulum in a direction too different and too fast. This is the history of American politics and it is time we learn that it is too often the basis of our errors. The two parts of the political spectrum, conservatives and progressives, are needed to maintain progress without rushing into poorly thought out policies. Neither should be allowed too much power or take too much control to alter our course too radically and too quickly.

Representation is also a combination of being the voice and vote of constituents and becoming well enough informed on the issues to know that the citizens are not necessarily supporting the right decision. The latter requires making an effort to educate the people, not just voting.

One of our readers linked to this post at DU. The response has been very supportive and I believe that speaks volumes about who we, the liberal grassroots, are. My thanks to The Witch for putting this up the first thing Wednesday morning. It bears being spread far and wide.

Dear dismayed conservatives:

I hereby make these promises to you.

We will protect your lives and livelihoods.

We will listen to and respect your beliefs.

We will never try to force you to change your religion, sexual orientation, or first language.

We will do our best to reduce the number of abortions in our country.

We will have no tolerance for corruption and cronyism, even in our own party.

ESPECIALLY in our own party.

We will never tell you that you are unpatriotic.

We will never tell you that your opinion doesn’t count.

We will never waste your lives for power.

We will hold our leaders to a high ethical standard and when they succumb to lust for power, WE WILL HOLD THEM ACCOUNTABLE.

If we forget this, please, please, please, remind us.

We need you to do this. You are America as much as we are.
Let’s go.

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6 Responses to A Democratic Outreach to Our Conservative Countrymen

  1. Javelin says:

    The DU post was awesome, I posed it over at JK.com earlier to respond to a frustrated GOP’er.

  2. Ginny

    Thanks for this – your thoughts and the re-posting of the DU post. Anyone who can’t see that things will improve for all Americans is wearing blinders.

  3. Dagner Mouse says:

    Okay, I’m reminding you that there still exists blatant, overt and deep corruption and cronyism within your own party – get to fixing it lest this fall by the wayside as another set of nice ideas from the people which the politicians ignore.

    In case you forget, I’m reminding you that most who read this won’t play lawyer’s games and accept “we didn’t call neo-cons or Republicans unpatriotic, just Nazis and baby killers and stupid and dumb” as a reply to the inevitable cry of “foul” from the right (who undeniably had a virtual lock on the “you’re not a patriot if you disagree with us” meme over the past few years). The expectation(s) will be that the quick-to-judge-and-compare-to-dissimilar-past-villains-of-choice people who (for weal or for woe) make up the majority of the left side of the blogosphere (at least in the comments sections!) will somehow clew to this idea of taking the high road. We know that won’t happen, on either side – it never has – so let’s temper expectations but hold our own representatives to a higher standard than we have so far.

    Please be reminded that nobody has ever tried from the right to change someone’s religion, nor sexual orientation, and it’s just not possible to change someone’s first language. Please do not further confuse the real issues with language like this which, while sounding nice and getting in a few clever jabs due to phrasing, does nothing to touch real issues about perceived (and often real) existing intolerance of differing faiths and/or sexual orientations. As for language, just don’t pander. Making language an issue begs the question of which other languages should be allowed, or made official, and why they need(ed) to be even considered as official, and how the population changed and why, and whether or not citizenship in this country is automatically granted to all people of the world (arguably significantly diminishing, if not completely removing any value or meaning to it). Those are all good things to discuss, but “first language” doesn’t really have any meaning here except to seem to imply that some of these ancillary and contributing issues aren’t as important as making people feel welcome here, regardless of their personal commitment to citizenship, this nation or integration at a personal and social level with the society to which they have come and into which they expect to inject themselves and live better lives. It sure seems that there’s a push to devalue citizenship, and I hate to see that perception enlarged or bruited about unnecessarily any more than it already is and has been.

    I’m reminding you that “waste your lives for power” sounds nice but doesn’t really make sense, as no real power transfers or grabs appear to have come to light as a result of explicitly killing US citizens. This bit comes off as a talking point, and one of the weaker ones pushed out there: where’s the US or Republican or Bush-benefits control and lockdown and profit of the oilfields and the waters around Iran and Iraq, to take an obvious counterpoint? Is it that this has already occurred but they’re just quiet about it? Is it that someone believes that there are corporate execs who explicitly send willing crews out to get killed solely so they’ll make money “Hmm, if we get another 20 or so independent subcontractors killed then we can increase our own power, even though this statement flies in the face of logic, it being deucedly difficult to make a profit if your employees keep dying – eventually they stop volunteering…”? Again, nice sentiment, but like so much of this, the implications of “like the other guys did and have done” just doesn’t make any sense when treated as something other than a clever saying. At least to this reader, who has yet to see anything documenting this other than wishful thinking and “links” of the “well, Jack is Fred’s 3rd cousin and worked once with a law firm that represented Bob, so obviously there’s a plan cooked up between Bob and Fred…” variety.

    I’m reminding you now that nobody has failed to listen to your beliefs, and nobody can force anybody to respect them. But folk have listened – funny thing about free speech, they had no choice! Do not make the mistake of confusing open armed acceptance with tolerance: tolerance by no means implies like over dislike, nor acceptance nor even the cessation or prevention of dirty looks and cold shoulders and nasty comments made on the street corners. It does mean that nobody punches anybody in the face over words, though the words may get quite heated (and often/usually do). It does mean that you don’t legislate a national faith, since that would be elevating one faith over others at a federal level, which the Framers explicitly (some of them, at least) thought was a bad idea. Note that even a cursory read of their respective writings and lives’ histories indicate that most of them expected that faith would appear and be present often if not always in government proceedings – arguably because their respective mindsets were predisposed towards difficulties in conceptualizing, having many of them fled England for religious persecution, a life without religion and faith playing a prominent role – and given that knowledge it’s asinine to assert that they intended there to be no representations of any faith whatsoever in the “public square” lest government be seen as endorsing one over the other. They seemed to just want to make sure that government didn’t explicitly endorse one over the other, without trying to place what would have been unworkable (and unacceptable to the Framers) restrictions on the simple expression of one’s beliefs or acknowledgement of history.

    Please be reminded, finally, that being offended does not mean that you have a right to cut out the behavior or attitudes that offended. Please be aware that tolerance means being offended, as it’s precisely the most offensive to you ideas and attitudes which require the protections of free speech. Plese be aware that if the trend towards making private property subject to the same restrictions as public spaces continues that this nation will crumble from within: just because you don’t like smoke, for example, and believe that somehow you have authoritatively proven – despite the impossibility of doing so – that secondhand smoke of the levels you might encounter during a single meal is a definite cause of evil nasty death-inducing medical complications, does not – repeat, does NOT – give you the right to impose upon a restaurant such that you are able to prevent that business owner, operating a private business on private property, from exercising his choice to allow people to indulge themselves with a bit of legal to buy and ingest long-term poison after their steak. Not to get on a smoking/antismoking rant, it’s just that it represents one of the clearest examples of the overreach of government into private affairs. Of course if you are working away from a representative republic (we are NOT a democracy, were NEVER INTENDED TO BE ONE, and the Framers explicitly set us up so as to NOT be one – please tell me public schools aren’t failing to note this critical point) towards a socialist state, then everything I’ve just mentioned is acceptable behavior, at least with respect to the subtle diminishing of private property rights and intrusion by the government into our lives under the auspices (always questionable at best) of knowing what’s better for us than the paths we might choose ourselves to chart for our lives.

    Please, most of all, remember that there are no enemies here, on either side of the aisle – there aren’t supposed to be, at least – we simply have different ideas about what represents the best way to craft and maintain a society in which we want to grow old and raise our children. If we can get the enmity out of the room we have a shot at creating a country we can all agree to love, filled with people some of whom we dislike extremely, some of whom we get along with famously, and most of whom we just pass by and around like flotsam in a lazy river current.

  4. Ginny Cotts says:

    Dagner Mouse,

    I appreciate the considerable time and conviction you put in to your response.

    I don’t think many of us are naive enough to think we don’t have corrupt and conniving members in this party. We actually call them out on various issues and hope to see some of them defeated in upcoming elections. I thought this was pretty clear on that:

    “We will hold our leaders to a high ethical standard and when they succumb to lust for power, WE WILL HOLD THEM ACCOUNTABLE.”

    To be sure, they may get away with some things for awhile. We don’t know all of what is going on, nor do we have the power to stop it immediately. I know for many of us, the Democratic abuse of power that led to the ’94 turnover was real – nowhere near as bad as what the GOP turned around and did- and still not excusable.

    I dont quite follow the 2nd paragraph. Although my comments were made with the conviction that many of the grassroots and moderate Americans concur, the comment that the letter bears spreading is partly to communicate to ANYONE who wants to uphold the partisan anger and polarization, that many of us are tired of a self-defeating divisiveness.

    Paragraph 3. Although there are people like James Dobson who do try to change people’s sexual orientation, that comment was in reply to the GOP fear mongering accusations that if Liberals got back in power we would take away Bibles, force same sex marriages and otherwise contribute to promoting the GOP idea of a ‘Gay agenda’.

    Technically you are correct on changing a first language. The intent should be fairly clear although I would prefer something that could not be misinterpreted. I thought the point of this comment was to say there is no reason to make one language official. Among other groups upset by referendums like this that passed in AZ, are Native Americans. Hello?

    #4 Wasting a life is actually worse than killing – they are not the same. There are many lives wasted in this country because of the self interests of the wealthy for profit over decent wages, education, health and retirement benefits, etc. As for documentation on the corporations that put employee lives out for profit in Iraq, see Iraq for Sale and wait for the oversight hearings.

    #5″I’m reminding you now that nobody has failed to listen to your beliefs” is a joke? Media Matters comes up with countless examples of how Democratic ideas are ignored, reported as non-existent, or twisted out of context by the MSM and we know from our own experiences (over decades for some of us) how obstinate friends or relatives have refused to listen to us at all. (Yes, my favorite uncle is one). How many times have you heard “The Democrats have no plan for Iraq”? What do they call the 578 page detailed ‘Real Security Act of 2006’, sponsored by Senator Harry Reid and immediately shot down? A whim?

    Recheck the definition of tolerance. Respect is at the root of it and it does not mean agreement. I have no problem with temporary displays of specific religious beliefs or symbols on public property – any more than I object to a public prayer being offered. As long as it is not exclusionary. No matter what the framers believed – and several of them had significant doubts about Christianity – we have moved on from that time. 25 % of the country has no religious affiliation. I am not a Christian and have lived most of my 54 years with the Trinitarian cacophony of being a sinner, going to hell, etc. In Colorado, where we have a very old and large Jewish population, the Jewish State Legislators got to the point during the GOP majority rule, of not entering the chambers until after the opening prayer had been said. When Billy Graham’s son spoke at the public memorial for Columbine, about half the audience was insulted.

    Also, whether you think it is significant or not, there is a strong and well funded group that wants to rewrite the Constitution to make this a Christian nation. An editor of a newspaper told me in ’88 the GOP coalition with the evangelicals wouldn’t be allowed to take over the US government. 🙄

    #6 We impose rules on restaurant owners about alcohol. The dangers of second hand smoke (not just from a single meal) are clearly established. Furthermore, the astronomical increase in asthma (etiology still being researched) adds to the need to keep the smoke out of public places. Smoke + asthma can trigger an immediate, life threatening response. We have also required wheel chair barriers to be removed – and drastically improved the quality of life for many wc bound individuals.

    Since your comment is simply an aside without clarity, I will only tell you that my experience with 2 learning disabled children in three public school systems, plus some knowlegde of the statistics, is positive. Despite the GOP decades ‘taking the fat’ out of the budgets – and notoriously human hangups in dropping tradition and trying new methods and technologies. More open policies and less restriction would fuel a much better education program. There are people in this world who are not that motivated by capitalist values. We tend to work in government, education, health care, the arts, and as first responders. We can and do function quite well in those areas and I have seen enough of business operations to know they have the same problems – because, at the base of all, are human beings.

    I thought the point of this was to acknowledge our differences and reach out to reestablish our common ground. The problem I see too often in human society is people getting worked up over one problem while ignoring more important ones. Democrats have a small number of socialists.The only one in the new Congress is an Independent. We too are aware this is a Republic and that we are losing it to the unbelievable actions and power grabs of the Bush administration for the Executive Branch.

    You would probably enjoy a book I just finished. Broken Branch by Mann and Ornstein. Excellent review of the ‘First Branch’ of the Constitution and it’s history in terms of rules, function, committees, power, abuses etc. The Dems are right in there. But still overshadowed by the current GOP.

    One comment I think is very important. Yes we need to remember our mistakes and not repeat them. Yes there are human frailties that tend to cause these mistakes to be repeated. That does not mean we are forever stuck in the past or will never improve much. The newly Democratic legislators are a very unique group that will make it’s mark on Congress. Nor are there many of the very old school that was in power in the ’90s. More importantly, the newcomers were elected by some newer Democrats who have different standards and expectations. I don’t plan to temper mine. I do expect to encounter others who may have more power to exert theirs. For awhile.

  5. The Witch says:

    Thank you for your kind comments on my post.

  6. Ginny Cotts says:

    The Witch,

    I am grateful for the idea and speed you acted on it. Not sure whether to be a tad miffed at Michael Moore for coming out with his own version. It’s a little too wordy frankly.

    However, the ultimate goal is for many grassroots folks (and others who will) to reach out over the gloaters and make this a bigger impression. At least I suspect you reached many and may have been the inspiration for Moore’s, no small feat. Great job!