Open Letter to the Democratic Party: How You Could Have Had My Vote

As a lot of you know, after the outcome of Decision 2004, there's been a lot of outrage and subsequent screeds from Democrats and other left-leaners. I've said elsewhere that, while I understand the anger, I don't think it does any good. Today, via Jill's feed, I found a well-written, insightful letter by a Bush voter that everyone ought to read, regardless of political orientation. It's a much-needed lesson in rhetoric:

It's been two days since John Kerry conceded, and all I am seeing, hearing and reading from the Democratic party is that you guys think you lost on "moral values." You seem to think this means nothing more than opposition to gay marriage. You seem to think that Bush voters waited in line for hours to stick it to the queers, to tell those faggots how much we hate them!

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Many Bush voters, like myself, were not happy to be voting for the President's re-election. Many Bush voters agonized over our decision and cast our vote in fear, trepidation, and trembling. Many of us would have given our left arms for a Democrat we could have supported.
Because I am too young to be as disillusioned as I am, and because I know that one-party rule is not good for my country, and because it is my deepest wish to see the Democratic party change into one I can give my whole-hearted support, I am going to explain why you didn't get my vote, and how you can get it in the future.

Read the whole thing now.


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Absolutely stunning

I am so glad you corrected my shaky memory at Dialogic. I never would have seen this letter or realized what an idiot I can be. Is there any way this letter could get more attention? Bloggers will link it and discuss it, but it really needs to be on the editorial pages of all the major newspapers.


Thoughtful and Intelligent

Thanks for linking to that, Clancy. It echoes many of the sentiments I hear IRL and it's a relief to see it so rationally expressed.

M. Palmer

Update on the letter

A response from a Democrat

Rumors that it's disinformation (see comments): IMO, even if it's some kind of hoax, it doesn't matter. There were 281 comments, and it's up high on Blogdex. Clearly it does represent what's on the minds of a lot of people, and it definitely does offer a critique of left rhetoric. I'm not sorry I linked to it and called it insightful.

it's not disinformation

Take it from a moderate, a centrist, who, like many Americans, has voted both parties at different times. I voted neither this time, and some of my reasons are some of the reasons in that post.

From my view inside of the academy, it's always amazed me that the intellectual left is so undiplomatically ineffectual in their rhetoric. Very quick to attack, less willing to persuade. The left would be much more effective if they would champion the rhetorical style of Martin Luther King, Jr., instead of that of Michael Moore.

Respectful disagreement

The letter provides an interesting representation of someone who demands more of Democrats than she does of Republicans.

While everyone rationalizes their vote one way or another, I find it hard to understand how anyone who claims to have read all the public reports could believe they know where George Bush stands and where he will go in the future. That was certainly the media mantra, but what he decides to attend to and what he ignores is hard to predict.

He has flat lied about several substantive matters related to 9/11 and to the Iraq war.

Today, my congresswoman, Anna Eshoo, speculated that Bush will appoint Antonin Scalia as Chief Justice, and then have another slot to fill, probably with Alberto Gonzalez. An agonized Bush voter who can be comfortable with those choices isn't confronting her own mixed impulses.

I don't want to persuade her to vote Democratic. I want her to live with the consequences of her decision. We have become a fearful people who lack faith in our own capacity to make a difference.

i don't get it

So ... this undecided voter bought all the Republican spin about the Democrats, and was upset by the shrillest left-wing proponents while turning a blind eye to those from the other side? And that's all there is to it. I guess the Dems need to become much, much better liars and bullshitters.


So she admits that on nearly every issue she finds the values of the Bush administration repulsive, but voted for him anyway because the Democrats don't give her a clear message? There's some really cloudy thinking there. I wouldn't tolerate it from my freshmen.

Just why is the sad American "Sad?"

This is Steve Krause, and I am interested in writing more about this on my Unofficial Blog, which is the home of my more political rants. But here's the brief version of what I will write there later:

I can never remember who said it, but you can't change someone's ideology (or "beliefs," for that matter) with the "facts." What I think is really interesting in the "Sad American's" message is that in my reading, she's sort of struggling with what she seems to know (or think) is "true" and how that is at odds with what she believes. When I was in grad school, I personally experienced this sort of thing a couple of times when encountering post-structualist theories of one sort or another: for me to agree with "x," I have to bring into question belief "y," if that makes sense. I see this in my students (undergrad and grad) now, and what happens too often is they retreat back into the comfort of their own ideological framework. Something along the lines of this: "I realize we've read all this stuff for class about how feminist are really just striving for equality among men and women, and for equal rights and consideration for women, and I even agree with it. But you know, I still don't think I could ever be a feminist because I don't hate men, and that Rush Limbaugh has a point with the whole 'feminazi' thing."

What I'm seeing here is "Sad American" really wants to believe in Kerry and while she deep down inside knows that Bush is wrong, her ideological apparatus is not allowing her to change course that easily. And I think you see this in some of the logical fallacies in her argument, as pointed out by "Sadder American." Of course, that could be my own ideological aparatus creeping in....

Anyway, what I think is really fascinating about "Sad American" is the same thing I see in fy comp essays once in a while: a sort of tone from the writer that is trying to convince herself that, despite the evidence, she is still right. It's no wonder that there are 281 replies to the SA. A lot of people trying to convince themselves they made the correct choice, right?

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