Monday, September 2, 2013

Democrat Dilemma

The decision of President Obama to back down from his threats to unilaterally and unconstitutionally start hostilities with the government of Syria, and instead to ask for an authorizing vote from Congress has put Democrats into an interesting dilemma.

Lets take a look at my local Democratic Representative, Diana DeGette, (D-CO-1).  She represents most of the city of Denver.  Her district is generally far to the left of her positions, and in this case is almost certainly strongly against starting a war in Syria.  Remember, only 9% of Americans favor a war in Syria nationwide, and a progressive bastion like Denver certainly gives less support to this war than that nationwide average.

Diana DeGette is also a member of the Democratic Party House leadership.  She holds the position of Chief Deputy Whip in the US House.  Her job is to literally or figuratively whip votes into line with what the Democratic Party leadership and President Obama wants.  With President Obama asking for a Congressional authorization to bomb, kill and maim on the other side of the world, she is certainly going to be one of the people talking to the other House Democrats and doing her best to convince or force them to support the President's next war.

Of course, this is exactly the opposite of what the voters in her district would want.  And that reveals the dilemma of a Democratic Party which acts so very, very differently from what it tells its supporters what it wants.  During the campaign season, the Democrats come back to the districts and tell their voters tall tales like saying they are against these wars.  Back during the Dubya days, they all made hay by pretending to oppose Dubya's wars.  Actually, they just opposed the idea of Dubya holding power, believing that they should hold it themselves.  The wars that were growing more and more unpopular with the American people were a handy club to wield in their drive to take power into their own hands.  If you listened very closely, they were actually just critical of Dubya's conduct of the wars, which they portrayed as incompetent.  But they worked hard to blur this stance into a more general myth that the Democrats were against the wars.  This was of course revealed to be a lie when a voter noticed that the Democrats always lined up and voted yes to authorize Dubya's wars, but who can be bothered to pay attention to such details between episodes of American Idol. 

Sticker from Cafe Press
This is the dilemma of the Democrats.  Most of their voters are opposed to the wars.  And the Democrats got elected by pretending to support those same views.  Therefore, most Democratic voters today expect their elected Democrats to oppose the wars.  While at the same time the very war-like Obama administration will be trying to tell the Democrats in Congress that they have to support their party's President in his drive to escalate yet another middle eastern war.

At some point, sure the ability the Democrats to keep up this lie of Orwellian scope in the face of the reality of Democrats who constantly start, support, authorize and fund war after war after war has to fall apart.  Surely there is some limit to the ability of the pro-war Democratic politicians to constantly fool all the Democratic voters all of the time.  And a war in Syria, that almost no one in America seems to want, would appear to be a candidate for the time when this all falls apart on top of the Democratic politicians.

Below is a letter I wrote to Ms. DeGette.  I don't really even expect it to be read by anyone of any importance in her offices.  Probably some intern will open it, take a quick look, and then mark a tally on the 'against' side of the ledger.  They'll then make sure my email address is on their spam-send-list, and then probably just delete it.  They might keep a copy for records, but why bother when they know the NSA already has a copy stored for them.

But, what does seem to count is that those of us who oppose yet another war, yet more bombing, yet mroe wasted billions, and yet more collateral damage in killed and maimed innocent people, at least put our opinions on that for or against tally.  Someone in the office will know emails and calls are running 20-to-1 or 50-to-1 or 100-to-1 against.  If there are any real reporters still around within the US, they might call Congressional offices and ask how the calls and emails are running.  And Congresspeople might even tell the truth for once.  Or, even if they lie, they'll tend to just under-emphasize, so the 50-to-1 against might become 10-to-1 against when they answer the reporters question.   But, if we all speak up now, then there can be no doubt in anyone's mind that the people of this country, that the voters in the districts, are strongly against this next war.

Now would be a good time to call or write your congressperson and let them know how you feel.  You can go directly to or and quickly find email links and phone numbers for your Representatives and Senators.   Or many activist groups will be spreading one-click links to let your views be know.  Now is a good time to do exactly that.  Especially if you are represented by a Democrat.  Let them know with absolute certainty that if they support and follow their Democratic President into this next war, that this is exactly the opposite of what their voters want them to do.

And then, start to organize the campaigns for next year to challenge them.  Now is the time to begin to organize.  Especially if you are organizing a challenge in next year's primaries.  Remember that grassroots campaigns need more time to build and grow and to become the mighty accumulated force that can change the world.  Begin now.


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