Please understand when I say "we" and "us" I mean people who think like me, not necessarily every person who read this
Dear Democratic party "leaders,"
In 1992 you asked us to turn out and work for a man who promised a new direction for America after 12 years of Reagan/Bush hell....and we did. What we got was "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" and an epic failure at health care reform that makes the current debacle look positively competent.
In 1996 you asked us to get past those and other failings and help stop a dangerous crazy old man from becoming President...and we did. What we got was DOMA, laws permitting the calamitous consolidation of telecommunications and media companies and the repeal of Glass-Steagall.
In 1998 you asked us to turn out and throw out a motley crew of panty-sniffing witch-hunting religious fanatics out of Congress....and we did. You got that one gratis; it was a labor of love.
In 2000 you asked us to ignore Gore’s refusal to fully distinguish himself from Bush (remember how much they agreed during their debates?) and his selection of Joe f-ing Lieberman as his running mate in order to stop a dangerous man-child from becoming President...and we did.
When the Supreme Court handed Bush the election and not one member of Congress—not even Paul Wellstone—would sign on to the attempt to challenge the result the Congressional Black Caucus tried to mount, we were told that unity and moving forward was more important than any other scruples...and we swallowed our pride and did nothing.
In 2001 when it became clear Bush was going to use 9/11 to force a radical right-wing agenda on the country, we were pressured to not raise too much of a ruckus because we were at war.
In late summer/early fall 2002, just as a coherent anti-war opposition was beginning to form amongst Democrats, we were all stabbed in the back by Dick Gephardt and his little party with Bush in the Rose Garden. And yet we still turned out a month later to try to stem the Republican tide.
In 2004, after watching the carcass of Howard Dean’s campaign get left to rot by establishment Democrats and picked clean by media vultures, we were told to fall into line and support a man a lot of us thought was an utter douchebag...and we did.*
Later that year, we were told to shut our fucking pieholes and work harder when some people tried to point out that Kerry was fumbling the election away...and we did.**
In 2006, after years of being told "It’s the Supreme Court, stupid" we watched helpless as an effort to stop the most dangerously radical Supreme Court nominee since Robert Bork was torpedoed by the Democratic establishment. Still keeping that powder dry for fights presumably more important.
As the wheels began to finally come off the Bush wagon, we were told to get out and vote, dammit! A Democratic majority in Congress could do wonders to stop or reverse his damage to the country...and boy did we ever!
Then we found out that, no, a simple majority wouldn’t do. Despite Republicans never needing more than 50 Senators, we were told that the Democrats needed a filibuster proof 60 seat supermajority to get anything done! Oh and we need a Democratic president too! Get out, vote, donate, volunteer, phonebank! We did all that...and made it happen.
In return for our services, we were given markers for pledges like withdrawal from Iraq, the closing of Guantanamo, accountability, a changed tone in Washington with the grip of lobbyists broken, and a more open, transparent government. After the inauguration, when we came to turn those markers in, we were told that, gee, gosh, there were all these things standing in the way. But keep fighting, please...and we did.
When Obama proposed his stimulus package, those of us who got pissed as it was slowly whittled away while Democrats did nothing to stop it were told that it was important a bipartisan bill be passed and that this was just the first bite of an apple anyway....and we suppressed our misgivings.
Then finally came the time for healthcare. After literally decades of waiting and watching essential reform being postponed and defeated, we were told that at long last This Was It. Lucy was not gonna pull the football away this time, no sirree bob.
Well guess what? We’re running up to the ball and drawing our leg back to kick. What will be the result? Will we once again end up flat on our back staring up at the sky and moaning "Good grief!"
You have been given everything you asked for and often more. We've given you our all. So many of us have pushed aside out doubts, swallowed our principles and worked our asses off despite defeat, disappointment, broken promises, inept campaigning, worse messaging, and a continual shifting of the goalposts of just what it is we’re all trying to accomplish here.
So...what about us? What do we get? Surely you of all people must understand reciprocal back scratching...I understand it's how the sausages get made. Well, we have been scratching yours pretty damn well for a long time now. But us? We have a seventeen-year-itch going on.
I bet some nice healthcare could clear it right up.
*-This one is a little more personal, I admit.
**-I was one of the SYFPH people. I was wrong.