Letter sent to Senator Michael Bennett, Junior Senator from Colorado and Chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, 2014
I have no faith that you will read this letter, or if you do that you will take much notice. Still, I feel compelled to write to you as the man who was responsible for leading the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
This past midterm election was one of the most disturbing political spectacles that I have ever witnessed. I am sixty-five years old, sir. I am an old Kennedy Liberal – not a Progressive, not a watered-down Clinton New Democrat, but a Liberal. It is beyond my comprehension that a Democratic President can be hounded, slandered, obstructed and abused into near ruin while the media stands mute – only to have his own party betray him near the end of his tenure. It is further beyond my comprehension that a mere third of the electorate cast ballots in the midterm down from 40.9% in 2010. Voter suppression aside there is a whole lot of apathy in this country – largely in your party I fear. In any case we have codified government by the radical, raging, racist minority. Well done America.
I say “your party” because there is no place for Liberals in the Democratic Party, or so many of us are coming to believe. Indeed there seems to be but one party in this country, the Corporatists’ Party; the Republicans on the Right and the Democrats in the Center lurching right. The Left has been driven into the wilderness like Azazel’s goat. This might be less objectionable if the American people weren’t solidly behind Liberal ideas. To wit: the minimum wage, paycheck equity, addressing income disparity, Social Security, Medicare, the Affordable Care Act, marriage equity, gun control and reproductive freedom. It begs the question, what does your party – without the Liberals – stand for besides pandering to special interests and trying to look as much like the Right as possible?
While the Republicans are running around celebrating their victory, squealing about a mandate, neither the Democratic Party nor much of what is laughingly referred to as the Free Press has mentioned the fact that only 36.4% of the electorate voted in this past election. That, according to Charlotte Alter of Time Magazine, is a 72 year low. There is no damn mandate here. It was barely an election. They didn't win; you lost. The American people lost, and why? Could it be because the Democrats have lost their guts? Could it be because they didn’t even have the courage to run on this president’s accomplishments or their own for that matter? Could it be because they didn't have the stones to call out McConnell and his obstructionists for making sure that the recovery reached as few people as possible; for corrupting and misrepresenting Mr. Obama’s ideas and intentions?
Clearly, between the unchallenged lies and negativity, the distortions, the resounding grief and anguish that are the residue of the Bush years the American people have given up, given in and given over to the very politicians who have stalled the government and the economic recovery. They have stepped away from the franchise in ever increasing numbers. Between the media personalities like Chris Matthews who bang on about their predictions as if elections are won before the campaigns begin and the overriding sense out here that our government is bought and paid for with no interest in or accountability to the people, so many Americans have given up on the process. Others of course are just plain lazy.
I have always voted and always will. My grandparents came to this country at the turn of the last century. They were poor and hungry like so many who have come to this land hoping for a better life. The truth is, Senator, the belief in that better life is a situation of diminishing return. Jesus may save; but cash is God. The American Dream is a pay to play game, and most people can’t afford the entrance fees. It is easy to believe that one’s voice will not be heard over the self righteous bellowing of the predatory Capitalism that has taken control of our politics and is eroding our institutions. In honor of my grandparents, who celebrated the right to cast a ballot, I will always vote. I don’t kid myself into believing that I have any more faith in this deteriorating system than anyone else.
You are my Senator, Mr. Bennett. I have always liked you. I liked Udall too. Still, I have to say that I would rather vote for and be represented by Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren. I know where they stand, and I share their values. In terms of policy I have never been a stalwart supporter of President Obama’s. Why would I be? I am so far to the Left that I am not even in his peripheral vision. Having said all of that, he deserved better from his bloody party then to be hung out to dry in a revolting, and ineffectually transparent as it proved, attempt at self promotion. He deserves better from a Fourth Estate that appears to be in the process of selling its soul to the devil. He certainly deserves better from this ungrateful nation of selfish, sniveling children who elected him twice then stood quietly by while he was ripped to shreds by every hypocrite and charlatan with access to a microphone.