I recently received a “grassroots” survey from the Democratic Party. I was, of course, free to make any contribution I wished when I returned the completed survey. Below is what I enclosed in the envelope.
Dear Dr. Dean,
I am returning your survey with mixed emotions. While I agree in general with the principles the Democratic Party has aligned itself with, I am disappointed at the shallow nature of these questions. Many of my responses are indicative of the choice that is the least unlike my views, as they were written with too broad a brush.
My greatest disappointment is with Question 1. Asking me to rate my ten most important issues, and leaving civil liberties off the list completely, shows how seriously out of touch the party is with what is important to me. Aside from Senators Leahy, Dodd, and Biden, I see little interest in rolling back the curbs on the freedoms our elected officials have sworn to protect.
I began this year with great hopes for the Democratic majorities in Congress; those hopes have been largely dashed. Majority Leader Reid is regularly outflanked by his Republican counterparts. His tepid responses, and continued compliance with the Bush Administration have become an embarrassment. Whether he lacks the courage of his convictions, or any convictions at all, is difficult to say, almost as difficult as deciding which is worse.
I gave $100 to a grassroots organizer on Connecticut Avenue in Washington last year; this year I will limit my contributions to specific candidates, such as Senators Dodd and Biden, until the party as a whole shows itself not only concerned about the issues I hold most dear for the good of the country, but willing to act on those beliefs. The politics of appeasement have failed us for almost seven years now. I am not arguing for confrontation, but merely that it is time for the politics of conscience to have its turn.