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Open Letter to Howard Dean
Needling Someone's Conscience


by Michael DeLang




April 14, 2005

Dr. Howard Dean
Chairman, Democratic National Committee
430 S. Capitol St., SE
Washington, D.C. 20003


Dear Dr. Dean,

As Chairman for the Democratic National Committee, you are, logically, the least likely person in the country to whom I should be addressing an appeal soliciting help in carrying out my project. The sole objective of this project, you see, is the total destruction and elimination of the Democratic Party. I am petitioning you because I've heard you say things, mostly during your 2004 campaign for the Democratic nomination, that indicate to me that there is at least some possibility that you and I share the same core values and, ultimately, a similar vision of hope for what this nation could become if it could somehow be brought to be guided by these principles and values. The reason your campaign failed to gain purchase within the party mainstream is that the powers that control the Democratic Party no longer recognize these principles to represent a valid political currency. Equality before the law, relief from the agonies of abject poverty, freedom from the strictures of a state-imposed religion, a decent publicly funded education for all our children, simple dignity in the workplace, protection for the rights and liberties of minority segments of the population, adequate health care accessible to every member of every American family; these are all attainable goals which have been abandoned by the powers that control your party as, to borrow a phrase from Alberto Gonzales, "quaint and archaic." Obviously, I am basing this assessment on the recent performance of the Democratic Party, and not its increasingly hollow rhetoric.

Over the last twenty five years or so, the Democrats have worked hand-in-hand with the Republican Party to create and sustain a system of government under which virtually all new legislation is both underwritten and written by the highest bidders. All laws impacting the insurance, health, banking and financial, agricultural, pharmaceutical, and extraction (timber, mining, and petroleum) industries are drafted and approved by their respective lobbies before even reaching congressional committee. In a sense, I guess, this manner of doing business does embody one rather perverse manifestation of the concept of representative government, but I think you'd have to concede that it also kind of tends to cut out We, the people. Neither a libertarian nor an anarchist (yet) I contend that it's time to bring government back on track and make it more responsive to the needs of the people who work hard every day to help pay for its existence. The first step that needs to be taken if we are ever to make a positive move in this direction lies in the awakening of the American electorate to the fact that the Democratic and Republican parties now share equal culpability in the poisoning of our political waters. The Republican Party has long served, and served well, a powerful and wealthy plutocracy. For some time now, the dealmakers in the Democratic Party have been courting the same interests, having discovered that it is no longer necessary to win elections to maintain a secure position at the public trough. It suffices to be willing to run and lose. The Democratic Party is dead. Its sole remaining function lies in permitting its corpse to be propped up for public display in order to preserve and promote an illusion of choice where none exists. The task before us is to bury the corpse, now, to allow for the emergence of a genuine party of opposition.

It is this task that has led me to address an appeal to you, Doctor. This nation is in desperate need of an opposition party. There is an enormous potential base of support among the disenfranchised that awaits tapping. This includes both the frustrated millions who stay home on election day, having no rational reason to vote, and those who have entered the polling booth, holding their noses, to punch the card for a John Kerry. All of the third party efforts I have seen appear and quickly disappear in my lifetime have been spearheaded and driven by persons outside the established political spectrum, trying to gain some kind of foothold in the public mind. They are easily dismissed and marginalized by a press too willing to color only inside the prescribed lines. No one needs to debate the issues with them or rebut their political positions. It is enough to ignore them and allow them to fade out of the picture. It's my belief, Dr. Dean, and I think you would have to agree, that if a handful of prominent, high-profile, and currently active members of the Democratic party were to stand together in a press conference to denounce the path on which the dealmakers have taken the party, renounce their own membership in the party, and announce the formation of a new party of resistance, it would constitute an event of such importance that even the most obediently slothful press would be unable to ignore it.

As you consider my proposal, Doctor, please also consider the alternative. The sentiment has been expressed by many others before me, so I'm sure it will not come as fresh news to you when I say that your current chairmanship of the Democratic National Committee is less a concession to your platform positions than a neutralization strategy by party powers who, wary of your loyalty to the new party line, perceive your presence outside the power structure to pose a greater threat than handing you a position within. Perhaps you sought and accepted the position believing the opposite, that you would be better able to guide the party towards embracing your programs from a position of stability within the power structure rather than as a loose cannon maverick. It's not going to happen, Howard. I'll say it now and you can mark my words. Stay the course, Captain, and in a couple of years you will find yourself playing the reluctant pimp for some sad, grasping meatpuppet like Hillary or Lieberman. Is this really how you'd prefer to spin out the remainder of your days? Try to think back when you first made the decision to enter the arena of public politics. Did it simply present itself as a viable career alternative, for which you possessed the proper pedigree? Or were you one of those people initially sparked by a sense of idealism? Did you get involved because you saw something that was wrong and wanted to make it right? Something profoundly wrong is staring you in the face, Dr. Dean. Help us to try and make it right and we will support you.

One more thing; if you should decide to take the time to seriously think over what I am proposing, please don't try to gauge and factor in the relative odds of its successful fruition. That's the kind of thinking that has brought us to where we are to begin with. History's more significant social and political movements have always been driven by those men and women willing to risk failure.


Michael DeLang
U.S. citizen & registered voter

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Note to Swans readers: Michael understands the utterly quixotic nature of this particular project, but says he's going forward with it anyhow because, if for no other reason, he has the stamps, the envelopes, and the time to write a few letters. He also invites you to join in if you like, whether you actually see any merit in the idea or just want to participate for the sake of the pure simple fun to be had in tilting at windmills (sometimes, it's worthwhile just to needle somebody's conscience so they don't get too comfortable about what they're doing).

Here are a few "prominent high-profile" Democrats who, according to Michael, have, from time to time, demonstrated evidence that they may have some basic understanding of how a constitutional representative government is supposed to function. Due to draconian security measures, a backlog of gargantuan proportions has been created and is clogging up the distribution office for mail to Washington D.C. congressional offices. Mail received there today could take months or years to arrive at the designated offices, if ever. Petitioners are being advised to contact their congresspeople via their home state offices. Another possible advantage to using this avenue is that local staff may be less likely to have developed a chummy relationship with the beltway lobby organism and, therefore, less likely to implement a screen & shred action to protect the boss from having to do any thinking.


Rep. Cynthia McKinney
North Dekalb Mall
2050 Lawrenceville Highway
Suite D-46
Decatur, GA 30033
Rep. Dennis Kucinich
14400 Detroit Avenue
Lakewood, OH 44107
Sen. Robert C. Byrd
300 Virginia Street East
Suite 2630
Charleston, W. VA 25301
Sen. Russ Feingold
1600 Aspen Commons
Middleton, WI 53562-4716
Sen. Edward Kennedy
2400 JFK Building
Boston, MA 02203
Sen. Barack Obama
701 North Court Street
Marion, IL 62959

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About the Author

Michael DeLang is a self-defined angry middle-aged blue collar worker in the trucking industry who lives in Rockford, Illinois.



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URL for this work: http://www.swans.com/library/art11/delang03.html
Published April 25, 2005