- feel so sick. also, a letter.
feel so sick.
four more years.
where do i start? how can i rank these things?
four more years of an energy and environmental policy that, left unchecked, threatens civilization and possibly the human race itself
four more years of onslaughts on the civil liberties of our own citizens
four more years of paying lip service to education while eviscerating the resources our children need
four more years with no respite for the millions without access to health care, and no realistic approach to the problems with social security
four more years of international policy that begets and encourages terrorism
four more years enacting religiously-derived morality into law
four more years restricting the advancement of science on the basis of religious morality
four more years of tax-and-spend war-mongering
four more years safeguarding the interests of the wealthy at the expense of the majority
four more years for this country, while remaining in name a constitutional democracy, to move ever closer to plutocracy
y'know what? i'm too upset to even keep typing.
wait. no, i'm not.
not that he'll read this. but.
Mr. President, four years ago in your acceptance speech, you promised to serve the needs of all Americans, not just those who had voted for you. Of all the things you have done, the breaking of that pledge is the one that angers me most -- because you had no broad popular mandate for your policy.
There was a great deal of discussion about the popular vote and the electoral vote and the role Nader did or didn't play as a spoiler. I think much of that discussion overlooked an extremely important fact: The country was fundamentally divided. Whoever was declared victor was declared so by a majority that was statistically insignificant.
And yet you chose to behave as if you did have a strong mandate for your policies. You (and your party) inflicted grievous hurts on this nation, on her environment, on her children, on her economy, on her international standing, and on the rights, liberties, and health of her citizens. When this country was united briefly by a shocking attack, you and your party responded with a shameless opportunism that stuns me to this day.
Now history repeats itself. When the dust settles, regardless of the popular vote, regardless of the electoral vote, if you claim victory, you claim a slender victory.
And, Mr. President, like you, I believe in redemption. I believe people are capable of changing for the better.
And, again, you have a chance to act in the interests of all of our nation's citizens, not just those who voted for you.
You can opt for more of the same, and I suspect you will. With sickened heart, I expect a continuance of the cronyism that characterized your previous administration. I expect you to cloak policies that benefit the wealthy and powerful with a thin and hypocritical gloss of popularism.
But you could do things differently. You could select, as members of your second term cabinet, people whose views are not in complete concord with your own. You could choose advisors who would represent some of the citizenry that your election has disenfranchised. You could temper your agenda yourself, even without counsel to do so, but, Mr. President, I believe you would benefit greatly if you allowed yourself to hear more divergent opinions.
There is no particular political advantage to you in choosing this path. Our laws don't permit you to seek a third term. By doing as I suggest, you would alienate members of your party. You would incur enmity that might damage or restrict your future prospects.
But Mr. President, it is the right thing for you to do. You sought to lead this country. I beg of you now to have the courage to lead more than the half of it that chose you.
Permission is granted to reproduce, republish, or retransmit this letter in any media or format, provided the contents are not altered and provided that this notice accompanies all such reproductions.
3 nov 2004
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