I know we haven’t spoken in a while. I would like to say it’s my fault, that I overreacted to your sleeping around, your unwillingness to defend our relationship to others, your weak justifications of your actions. But those were your choices, and I chose to distance myself from you as you seemed so hell-bent on your own destruction that I couldn’t bear to stick around and see your undoing. Quite honestly, I don’t know if I can ever trust you enough to commit myself to you, but I am willing to try to be friends.
As a friend, I want to offer up a little perspective on the situation in which you currently find yourself. I know it’s unsolicited advice, and I know unsolicited advice is rarely appreciated, but we have known each other a long time and I truly have your best interests at heart. I hear you’ve moved up in the world, lately, that some of the people who used to belittle and berate you have come over and started thinking you look pretty good next to the alternatives. That’s great; I have always wanted to see you succeed. But I also hear that you are getting, perhaps, a little over confident about the whole thing, walking around talking about how you are in like Flynn come November. I want to warn you to be careful there. The American people are fickle, and you don’t want to be eating your words a couple of months from now.
You’ve gotten a certain reputation (if you’ll pardon me for being so frank) for backing down, excusing yourself, and refusing to take a stand on the hardest issues. People think you don’t have the answers to the really important questions in this country, such as what to do about the Iraq War, how to deal with Terrorism, what to do about the “crumbling moral state” of our nation. I have to say, you really haven’t done a good job of presenting your point of view on these issues, and you tend to cave and crumble when someone questions your timid assertions. You try to turn the focus to things like education, the national debt, and making sure everyone has enough to eat. Now, while I agree with you that these are very important issues, what you have to understand is that you have let the Republicans control the playing field too long. They have defined what the important issues are, and if you are ever going to pull people around to looking at domestic issues, you are going to have to step up to bat and put the international issues to bed, first.
People are saying that you complain, but do not provide solutions. For the most part I am sorry to say that this seems to be true. You have become the nagging wife who never gets up from watching American Idol long enough to notice what her husband is actually doing. He’s out back teaching the kids to take aim at the neighbor’s dog with their BB guns, and you’re complaining that he hasn’t done the dishes. The neighborhood is ready to burn down your house, but you just shake your finger and pop another cream puff. And meanwhile, the kids are on Dad’s side, because at least he is paying them some attention.
I have a solution, and while you’re not going to like it, I urge you to consider it carefully. What if you got up, did your research, and took a stand? Not on the things closest to your heart, but on the issues foremost in the news today. You can’t fake this, you will have to do it with a fearless heart and a willingness to “stay the course”. You can only win a broad base of support when you can provide a viable alternative to sending our children to Middle Eastern countries to die for causes that we do not truly understand. We need you to tell us that we can win back the world’s respect, how we can work effectively with other nations to remove the threat of terrorism, and to present a realistic plan–including timetable–for getting us out of our current position. When your opponents call you idealistic and cowardly, we need you to argue the point. Many of us have been doing so for years, and if we can do it so can you.
I suggest you stop trying to play both sides of the fence on the “morality” issues. I know you worry that if you come out strongly pro-choice, open to homosexual marriage, and committed to seeing that all Americans are treated as equals regardless of race, sex, or religion that you will chase off that whole moderate chunk of the voting populace. But straddling that line has only made you fall on your face. People are desperate for a real alternative to the neocon agenda, and you are failing them with your Republican-lite pandering. If there’s one thing we have established in this great nation, it’s that we admire strength. Don’t be afraid to show yours.
While we’re on the topic of morals, you might consider dragging some other issues from the “war” category on over to the “moral” one. I can’t believe you haven’t made a real issue out of our policy of allowing practices easily described as torture go unchecked. I have been dismayed to see you turn a blind eye to the policy of secret prisons overseas, the policy of detaining people indefinitely without trial in Guantanamo, the practice of killing innocents in other nations with a dismissal that “we had to”. You know what the neighbors are saying, don’t you? Have you noticed how we don’t get invited to the potlucks, the playdates, or even the street parties, anymore? We have become the crazies on the block, but you keep right on with your self-righteous persecution saga, refusing to admit you made any contribution to the situation at all. You sat there, channel surfing, while Daddy taught us to pick pocket, and then you want us to quote Bible verses before bedtime. Simply put, our revised version of the “do unto others…” line is a moral question. Pick it up and treat it as such. Draw a clear line in the sand and state what is acceptable and what isn’t, because I don’t think people really know, anymore.
I apologize for going on and on. I know you are very busy right now. Just in case you haven’t had time to read my whole letter, let me summarize here for you at the end. If you really want to win in the upcoming elections, you need to:
1.Provide a clear alternative to the neocon agenda. Give people something in which they can believe.
2.Address the international issues which have been established as the crucial issues of our time. Stop running away from them.
3.Set out logical, researched plans for changing our current international situation.
4.Provide an image of strong, fearless leadership.
Oh, and if you possibly can, tell the truth. The American People would really appreciate it.
Good luck to you in the upcoming elections. You can bet that we will all be watching. And you know, if you can pull it together and give us something worth fighting for, I might even cheer.