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May 19 2013

[guest post] Hello from a Severely Disenchanted Former Democrat

While I’m in DC, here’s a guest post from my friend Andy, who wrote this after he received yet another letter from the Democratic Party asking for donations.

To whomever reads this letter:

Hello from a severely disenchanted former Democrat.

Firstly, I would like to politely ask you to remove me from your records from this date forward. I do not wish to receive any more solicitations through any medium from your organization or party or any of its accompanying PACs.

Secondly, I wish to express my sincere distaste with almost everything your party has done in the last 5-6 years. The President put it quite well when he pointed out to Noticias Univision 23 in Miami, Florida, stating “The truth of the matter is that my policies are so mainstream that if I had set the same policies that I had back in the 1980s, I would be considered a moderate Republican.”

Nothing could be closer to the truth. Your party has slipped its moorings and has floated so far to the right that I can no longer consider myself a Democrat by any stretch of the imagination.

My heart breaks to see a party that I had such hope in for so long disintegrate into this. When we called for a public option, an option our president told us would be kept on the table, we were stabbed in the back behind closed doors as the president promised pharmaceutical companies and medical lobbyists (many of whom poured millions of dollars into his campaign war chest) that the public option was a pipe dream. I am outraged at the complete silence this administration and party has had on the violence that met the peaceful protestors of the Occupy movement. Friends and people I cared about had their limbs broken, were arrested for no reason, and harassed, pepper sprayed, and beaten. And all of this without a word from our benevolent, supposedly progressive president. I’m sick of the hypocrisy on Guantanamo when the president’s plan was never to shut down the facility, but to only move it north onto the US mainland. Now hundreds of men sit in cages, tortured, abused, and being force-fed, many with no formal charges, many cleared for release, and all your party does is blame the Republicans for “stonewalling” which is complete crock.

I ache at the destruction we’ve once again caused around the world by becoming involved in meaningless conflicts throughout the world for no other reason than economic interest. We decimated Libya and put it into the hands of Islamic radicals (who now have vast arrays of weapons and are now turning them against their own people, who we were supposedly “saving”). We continue to terrorize and bomb, extrajudicially, people in the remotest regions of Somalia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, and many other countries with unmanned robotic drones, capable of vaporizing great swathes of people and never being seen. And we can never be held accountable for our actions, because Obama continues to insist on the secrecy of the program and refuses to submit to UN or ICJ investigation, all because we’re Americans and we know what’s best. This new prong of the War on (of?) Terror accompanies continued aggression in Iraq with special operations and Afghanistan with both convential and unconventional tactics. We have also considered arming Syrian rebels and have given equipment and arms to the Bahraini government, which is committing massacres with US equipment, while the media ignores it completely. This is to say nothing of Israel and its systematic degradation and war against Palestine, all of which is funded by the US, with this administration pledging more aid to Israel than ever before.

Our police continue to become more and more militarized, thanks in large part to help from the Federal government and loans. While our schools flounder and our infrastructure crumbles, I get to watch friends rounded up with Armored Personnel Carriers by police officers who, for all intents and purposes, may as well be soldiers in Afghanistan for all their equipment.

Obama is also the first president to assassinate a US citizen (and his 16-year-old son) without any due process or oversight. The labeling of this person as a supposed “enemy combatant” does not grant the right to the government to vaporize him without a trial. Yet, it still happened. And now, with the passing of the NDAA last year, the US government now has a legal basis to authorize force (in the absence of due process) on American citizens on domestic soil.

Your party claims to be sensible about immigration, too, yet under Obama’s administration it is likely to reach 2 million deportations (a record never before met) by 2014. There have been no serious talks of how to reform this broken and often racist system, yet the administration seems quite content on continuing the legacy of America’s exceptionalism while pumping up the rhetoric and pretending to be compassionate towards immigrants.

And despite rhetoric to the contrary, Obama’s administration has stepped up the so-called War on Drugs, a $1 trillion dollar failure. He continues to harass and jail legal medical marijuana dispensaries and refuses to even talk about reforming these laws. Meanwhile, our jail system is overflowing with mostly petty non-violent criminals a great majority of who are poor, uneducated, and of minority racial status.

I could go on for pages about the failed policies, broken promises, and complete 180-turn-arounds that your party has done. To me, a lifelong Democrat, my heart is broken, my faith is shattered, and I am angrier than I have ever been before. While our country and our people reel in pain and sadness from tragedy, from no work, from low wages, from burdening debt that we cannot get out of, we watch as our supposed “People’s Party” hands more and more cash to corporate interests and grinds us under their heel.

The fact of the matter is that Obama (and the Democratic party) have continued almost all of the failed policies of the Bush administration. Whether it’s GITMO, warrantless wiretapping, extraordinary rendition, illegal wars, drone strikes, immigration, and much more, Obama has shown us very clearly exactly where he stands in terms of the American people and their wishes. Your party is now nothing more than Republican Party Lite.

Having said that let me reiterate once again:

DO NOT SEND ME ANY MORE SOLICITATIONS, EVER.

Signed,

Your Friendly Neighborhood Anarchist

~~~

Andy Cheadle-Ford is a professional activist in the secular student movement and is passionately involved in many social justice campaigns. He often refers to himself as the “Friendly Neighborhood Anarchist” and strives to show that anarchists are normal, compassionate, and intelligent people. When he is not working or plotting, he is typically enjoying a good book, video games, or a tasty vegan dinner with his friends.

Note: The author’s views do not necessarily reflect those of the national Secular Student Alliance

16 comments

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  1. 1
    R Johnston

    I can identify with this to a certain extent. I will still hold my nose and vote Democratic as a lesser evil when necessary, but the past several years have convinced me that I can’t, in good conscience, identify or register as a Democrat, and I certainly wouldn’t donate any money to the party.

    I do think that it’s wrong to call the Democrats “Republican Lite;” They are Rockefeller Republicans, and the modern Republicans are the BNP or the National Front. There remains a huge gulf between the parties–far greater, for example, than the gulf between Labour and the Torries–and there’s no doubt at all which is better, even if they’re both irredeemably evil.

  2. 2
    Setár, Elvenkitty

    Secondly, I wish to express my sincere distaste with almost everything your party has done in the last 5-6 years.

    5-6? 9-10 would be better, considering among other things Clinton’s deregulating the banks and capitulating on “welfare reform”.

    Or you could just go all the way back to the 30s and 40s and point out that they basically shoved labour under the bus in order to appropriate its political force and trap the left in bullshit “compromises” with corporatists. If you look at Canada, where organized labour formed its own party, you can see the damn difference with how we have public healthcare and the US has a duct-taped-over joke. That wouldn’t have happened if the Dems were actually a party of labour or the people; it does happen when the Dems are a wing of the business party that co-opted labour for their own ends.

  3. 3
    smhll

    This is beautifully written.

  4. 4
    Setár, Elvenkitty

    I do think that it’s wrong to call the Democrats “Republican Lite;” They are Rockefeller Republicans,

    um. you say it’s unfair to call the Dems “Republican Lite”…and then go on to do just that in the very next sentence?

    you can be factual, or you can try tone-policing to save face for the Dems. can’t have your cake and eat it too, sorry.

  5. 5
    R Johnston

    Setár, genderqueer Elf-Sheriff of Atheism+ :

    You should read the rest of my post beyond the one line you quote and respond to completely out of context. Calling the Democrats irredeemably evil is not trying to save face for them, and if you really want to equate the BNP and the National Front to Rockefeller Republicans, please make the argument.

  6. 6
    Gunter Beyser

    I feel your pain and frustration with the Dems. The problem lies with the voting public though. Get all the poor to vote for the Democrats and then they might be successfully implementing a more socialist agenda. As it stands right now your public is evenly split between the right and the left.
    The Democrats are still the better choice as opposed to just staying at home next time.

  7. 7
    lpetrich

    I think that a good part of the problem is that it’s difficult for third parties to get very far when most elections are done by first-past-the-post or plurality voting. That’s because many voters consider those parties’ candidates spoilers, and thus vote for the lesser of the two major evils. This effect is part of Duverger’s law, after sociologist Maurice Duverger, who studied the effect that voting systems have on party composition. The other part is that systems like proportional representation encourage multiparty systems, because PR has a much smaller representation threshold than FPTP.

    However, one can make a difference in the party primaries — and one has to get involved in Congressional and state and local races as well as the Presidential one.

  8. 8
    Mauricio Maluff

    I like this Andy guy.

    Signed,

    Your friendly neighborhood socialist

    1. 8.1
      Andy Cheadle

      Thank you Mauricio!

  9. 9
    Tabby Lavalamp

    I will still hold my nose and vote Democratic as a lesser evil when necessary,

    And that’s why there is no incentive for the Democrats to change for the better. There are endless reasons to fear the Republicans, but that fear (along with the tribalism that allows many Democrats to accept with Obama what made them scream blue murder with Bush) is allowing the oligarchy to keep its grip on the Dems and move them further right each year.

  10. 10
    Isaac

    And that’s why there is no incentive for the Democrats to change for the better.

    Pretty much this. The Republicans are so horrible that the Democrats can start becoming worse and worse and will still get votes.

  11. 11
    NateHevens, resident SOOPER-GENIUS... apparently...

    I’ve pretty much come to Andy’s conclusions, too. I was all excited about Elizabeth Warren until recently, as well.

    My problem is this:

    For president, is it safe to vote for a third-party candidate in a swing state (Florida), or will my vote ultimately go to the challenger (which, in this past election, would have been Romney, which would have prompted me to kill myself)?

    I’ve been considering going completely Green, but I have some serious issues with their policy on Alternative Medicine (which they support wholeheartedly).

  12. 12
    left0ver1under

    I’d wager that the sender gets even more garbage. My suggestion? Send it back from whence it came. Don’t write “return to sender” which adds to the cost of the post office; send it back “postage paid” so the receiver has to pay the mailing costs.

    The US’s biggest political problem is, and always has been, that it is a two party pseudo-democracy and not a multiparty democracy like other countries. A two party state is no different than a one party state. Bribery and corruption are far easier with majority governments than with minority coalitions.

    When there’s a majority in a political body (which is always the case in the US), there’s only one party to pay off. Coalitions are too busy listening to each other (instead of lobbyists) to ensure their political survival. If the US is ever going to solve it’s problems, it’s going to need more than two voices in the halls of power.

  13. 13
    Bruce Gorton

    Gunter Beyser

    Get all the poor to vote for the Democrats, and they will pretty much continue doing what they are doing right now.

    After all, they are still getting votes.

    The real thing you need is a second party. A real one I mean.

    Right now all you seem to have is a joke ‘party’ that puts idiots in science committees who think the world was created six thousand years ago and rape doesn’t lead to pregnancy.

  14. 14
    lpetrich

    To follow up, getting involved in party primaries can work, as the Tea Party has demonstrated in the Republican Party. In fact, the Tea Party has been successful enough that Republicans who dislike it, like Karl Rove, have organized an effort to fight back. So why not get involved in Democratic Party primaries?

  15. 15
    actualidad

    I do not know if it’s just me or if everyone else encountering problems with your blog. It appears as if some of the written text in your posts are running off the screen. Can somebody else please provide feedback and let me know if this is happening to them too? This could be a issue with my browser because I’ve
    had this happen previously. Thank you

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