Sometimes, a topic that I've touched on in one of my log entries may need a little elaboration, or I may want to respond in
more formal fashion to feedback I get from readers. Whenever I feel it appropriate, I'll post those types of essays here.
In the meantime, see below for Leonard Bernstein's classic NY Times op-ed. "I'm a Liberal, And Proud of It" (worth
scrolling down past my ramblings :-).
Expressing chagrin and exasperation (let's hope Howard Dean leads us better), I started simple and then packed a wallop --
but was it ever read?? Anyway, READ THIS (especially the END):
FORM sent to Terry McAuliffe / the Democratic Party:
1. How did you participate in this election?
Lots of ways:
1. Donated money to liberal/progressive candidates and groups.
2. Worked with my local independent Democratic Club in communications and other ways.
3. Worked with peace and justice groups in protesting the Bush agenda and the Republican National Convention in NYC.
4. Made calls and bus trips to swing states. The last four days, taking two days off work, I was in Pennsylvania.
5. Continuing on the follow-up on the STEALING OF THIS ELECTION ONCE AGAIN and letting others know that there are a LOT
OF US who are ANGRY AND CONCERNED AND NOT READY TO PLAY DEAD.
IT ISN'T OVER!!!!! Back us up -- help LEAD the followup and FOLLOW-THROUGH.
2. Is this the first time you participated in election activism?
3. How would you like to continue to stay involved? (Volunteering, phonebanking, fundraising, local organizing, etc.)
I am involved in all of the above as well as writing/blogging.
4. Did you feel the actions you took were effective?
Absolutely, but YOU in the Democratic Party leadership (except for three congressmembers -- Conyers, Nadler, and Wexler)
are not following up effectively. There is obvious evidence of voter intimidation, suppression and vote fraud. We have registered
new voters and activated them, but their votes have to be counted!! (And sadly, those who went home because they couldn't
afford the time away from their jobs to vote -- those uncast votes can never be counted.)
5. Was it a good experience for you?
It was wonderful and invigorating -- until the end results didn't add up -- AND YOU AREN'T FOLLOWING UP!!!!
George Bush didn't get a mandate -- and you are NOT contradicting this fact. His apparent win is suspect and tainted with
voter suppression and vote fraud.
I am a seasoned campaigner and if I am getting discouraged I am sure others are. The web and blogosphere is alive with
questions and supporting evidence on this election -- where is the DNC????
6. How would you make it better?
I'M FOLLOWING UP BUT I WANT YOU TO JOIN ME. DON'T PLAY DEAD. Make sure all the votes are counted in THIS election and
that the discrepancies between the exit polls and the vote count are INVESTIGATED. (Why did the AP amend their exit polls
to more closely match the so-called results? Web readers caught and documented the earlier web-published results.)
Where are all the lawyers, and what happened to the money donated for followup??? The truth needs to be out there. If
John Kerry and John Edwards legitimately lost, okay. But it doesn't look legitimate to a lot of us.
7. Please share other thoughts and comments you have about the 2004 election and what Democrats and the Democratic Party
should do going forward.
I am very disappointed with the lack of followup on the questionable and flawed results after all my/our work.
GOING FORWARD, we need good strong personable candidates who won't let the opposition define them. We also need to have
more women and minority candidates, not just in the sacrificial lamb elections, but running for seats they have more than
a possibility of winning.
We need real candidate debates, not just dog and pony shows.
We need campaign finance reform so candidates don't need to be bought. (Maybe we should adopt England's policy of no paid
TV/radio coverage. Get the money out of it!!)
We must ensure that any and all electronic voting is auditable, with paper trails a must -- see Black Box Voting.org.
We also have to watch where voting machines are purchased (O'Dell and his Diebold voting machines is case in point). Machines
must be in good repair and plentiful at election sites. Vote spoilage affected the minority areas disproportionately.
LIMIT the direct participation of partisan politicians over the actual vote count. Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackman
was one of the heads of Bush's campaign there -- absolute conflict of interest a la Katherine Harris. For both major parties,
this sort of thing must be avoided -- and corporate control of voting machines must be limited. Ideally, a non-profit, non-partisan
group should have oversight.
We need to congratulate the youth for turning out and voting Democratic. They are our future. But we must not discourage
them. PLEASE FOLLOW UP on the results of this election -- and especially, LET'S CORRECT THE FLAWS by 2006. We cannot afford
another tainted/perhaps stolen election.
Earlier, as my dreams had been haunted by Lenny Bernstein, I was driven to post HIS words, from an article I tore out
years ago and which had particular meaning during this 2004 campaign where Bushies were calling Kerry a "tax and spend
liberal." Change a few words here and there and Lenny was speaking to John Kerry.... BE PROUD TO BE A LIBERAL. I wish
John Kerry would have heard Lenny's whispering.
Bernstein - html
I'm a Liberal,
And Proud of It
By Leonard Bernstein
I have just returned from two months in Europe where I followed the election news assiduously. I've been appalled at the passivity
of the electorate, at the lack of even the most elementary principles of democratic thought and action, at the degeneration
of our language, at the lulling, the brainwashing, the disinformation.
I found most Europeans equally appalled. I began to dream about this campaign obsessively. I would dream whole speeches every
night and each morning I would jot down notes about them on subjects ranging from racism to the grand illusion of the peace-and-prosperity
line put forth by the meretricious Bush campaign, to Boston Harbor, to the obsolete folly of war, to that newly naughty "L-word"
I want to redefine that word liberal, not run from it, nor cower defensively at its insulting abuse, but proudly to clarify
it. The word derives from the Latin "liber," meaning free (it also means a book, and also one's child, both of which
are also good things to have around.)
From this word liberal we derive the word "liberty," which is what the civilized world has been struggling for throughout
its history -- whether through reform or revolution, including our own American Revolution. George Washington was a revolutionary,
as were Jefferson and Franklin. They and the other founders strove for liberty above all. All these forefathers were therefore
A liberal is a man or a woman or child who looks forward to a better day, a more tranquil night and a bright, infinite, future.
What can possibly be wrong with that? Only this: that the word has been debased, defamed and totally misused by powerful interests
that have sought even greater and more authoritarian power.
Liberal is a word soiled by the greedy, reactionary, backward-looking impulse toward tyranny.
Here are just two out of, alas, dozens of examples in our own America and in our own century: First, the hateful Red scare
invented and perpetrated by William Randolph Hearst in the first decades of the century and magnified through his countless
newspapers and magazines into a panic in which anyone with a beard probably was a Bolshevik with a bomb in his pocket -- aimed
at you, and in which merely reading a Russian novel rendered you suspect and possibly treasonous.
The second example, even more hateful and infinitely more dangerous, was the rise of McCarthyism in the 50's -- a rise so
steady and so strong that only a prolonged television hearing could expose the despicable junior Senator from Wisconsin for
the power-greedy psychopath he was. This is arguably the closest we have come to tyranny.
Tyranny? In our free, beautiful, democratic republic? Yes. It is possible, and even probable, which is why we must constantly
guard against it. Tyranny assumes many forms. To tax the factory worker and the outright poor so that the rich can get richer
To call for war at the drop of a pipeline (while secretly dealing for hostages), to teach jingoistic slogans about armaments
and Star Wars, to prescribe the weapons industry for the health of our doped-up credit card economy, to spend a dizzying percentage
of the budget on arms at the expense of schools, hospitals, cultural pursuits, caring for the infirm and homeless -- these
are all forms of tyranny.
Who fought to free the slaves? Liberals. Who succeeded in abolishing the poll tax? Liberals. Who fought for women's rights,
civil rights, free public education? Liberals. Who stood guard and still stands guard against sweatshops, child labor, racism,
bigotry? Lovers of freedom and enemies of tyranny: Liberals.
I dreamed all this and wrote it down. And I dreamed I heard Michael S. Dukakis say: "I am proud to be called a liberal.
I am neither a Red nor an anarchist, nor do I have a bomb in my pocket.
"I love my country -- so much, in fact, that I am putting all my energies into seeing it into a better day, a more tranquil
night a shining and limitless future. And I abide by the words of that splendid liberal Thomas Jefferson that are inscribed
on his monument in Washington: 'I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the
mind of man.'
"I, too, am a liberal."
[The above appeared in the Sunday New York Times, October 30, 1988, pg A1 -- In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section
107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information
for research and educational purposes.]