Glen T. Martin
7 November 2004
This is the first opportunity that I know of when you have asked for input from the people on your mailing lists. Thank-you. Perhaps this is the proper time for input, since you would not have listened to me prior to the election. I have put serious thought into my reply. I hope you are willing to seriously consider my thoughts.
The Democratic Party has failed this country consistently since at least the end of the Second World War, most clearly in the past 40 years during which I have been a registered Democrat. The party leaders have done their best to move closer and closer to the Republicans ideologically and to corrupt leadership in general for three main reasons:
(1) Those who control the party believe that the average American is a closet Republican who is too stupid to want real progressive leadership for peace, justice, healthcare, civil liberties, honest government, and decency in foreign policy. They are wrong about this.
What keeps the average American “stupid” is the vast propaganda machine run by our militarized government in concert with the big corporations (including those that own the mass media) that dominate most politicians and the government itself. There are ways to neutralize this propaganda machine through removing the media from corporate control, removing the influence of private money in politics, and reforming the “national-security state” based on secrecy and deception.
But the Democratic Party is unwilling to stand for these facets of real democracy. Rather than educate for democracy, and develop an informed and vibrant electorate who would then most certainly vote “democratic,” it is easier to move ever closer to the propagandized and brainwashed electorate as we find them. That way the Democratic Party does not have to change the system itself that is washing any semblance of real democracy down the toilet in this country.
(2) Those who control the party have ever-more placed themselves in the big-corporate bed and believe they need to cater to corporate interests to be successful. Some of them are themselves corporate executives or members of the wealthy elite who are concerned most basically at maintaining the system of profits for the rich at the expense of everyone else.
Again, the deeper question is not how the Democratic Party can win in 2008. The real question is whether we have, or can have, a decent democracy based on real freedom of speech, information, constitutional rights, civil liberties, and an informed electorate. Corporate interests in general, and the interests of the wealthy elite, are not the interests of democracy. Where does the Democratic Party stand on these issues? How can you claim to be the “party of the people” when you cannot find real, democratic values that inspire ordinary people to follow you?
(3) Those who control the party agree with the rest of the ruling class (Republican and Democrat) that global empire, foreign imperialist wars, and economic exploitation of the rest of the world (so-called global free trade protected by a world-wide network of military bases, economic blockades, and systems of financial control of the poor countries by the rich) are the proper foreign policy of the United States. President Bill Clinton, for example, was one of the greatest promoters of this global economic empire.
You may disagree on tactics (Kerry said he would conduct the invasion of Iraq more intelligently and bring in other imperial nations to a larger “coalition”), but the issue of maintaining a global empire of exploitation and domination is not on the agenda for discussion. President Lyndon Johnson (another Democrat) escalated the genocidal massacre of the people of Vietnam. President Bill Clinton led the horrific bombing of the civilian population of the former Yugoslavia. On this point of a strategy of global domination and exploitation you agree fully with the Republicans. You only disagree on minor tactics.
Hence, even though I worked for Kerry’s campaign and voted for Kerry, I see you for what you are: nearly equally as corrupt as the Republicans. You care only for power, not democracy. You care only for promoting the present system, not justice. You care only for global domination, not peace. You ultimately care only for the rich, not general prosperity and equity.
You have asked my advice about how to move forward. My advice is to examine your pitiful, corrupt party machine and try to come up with some real values to stand by. I don’t mean a “party platform” that gives lip service to justice, equity, or freedom. I mean real values that inform your lives and become the source of inspiration for millions who will see clearly that you are not hypocrites and are willing to support genuine work for a new and decent world order.
On these grounds you can honestly expose the Republicans for what they are – which you cannot now do because you are now nearly as hypocritical as they are. Instead of Kerry voting for the Invasion of Iraq and campaigning that he would do a better job of this monstrous, immoral destruction of another people, a decent Democrat would speak the truth about such war crimes and work to set up tribunals to prosecute the criminals (Democrat or Republican) who have committed these crimes against humanity.
Is politics so corrupt, and the Democratic party so corrupt, that you cannot find any decent values upon which to authentically operate? In the last election, many Americans said they voted for Bush because of “moral values.” They want moral leadership, and it is a tragedy that their need to vote on moral grounds has led to this need being perverted by the criminal Republican agenda in the name of morals. Surely, the democrats could do better at articulating a set of real moral values (issues of peace, justice, freedom, civic responsibility, equity, civil liberties, healthcare, death penalty, etc. are all based on moral values).
Surely, people’s need for moral leadership does not need to lead them (as the Republicans have just done) to vote for genocide in Iraq, bombing of other countries at will, destroying freedom at home, torturing suspected terrorists, cutting social services for the poor, bankrupting the national budget, destroying worker protections, and destroying the environment?
If you were not such hypocrites yourselves, you surely could find real values that could provide leadership for the majority in this nation. Stop being corporate lackeys, and stop pretending you are Republicans. Get a backbone! Stand for real democracy, and lead a moral revolution in this country based upon real values. That is my advice.
(Glen T. Martin is professor of philosophy and religious studies at Radford University and Secretary-General of the World Constitution and Parliament Association)