Somewhere on A1A...

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

To the Democrats

Things aren’t perfect in our country, but I don’t hate George W. Bush. In fact, I think he’s done a fairly decent job as the Head of State. There are a bunch of improvements I’d like to see in our government regarding domestic matters, but on the whole, I’m not particularly dissatisfied with what’s going on. And just because I find fault with some of the President’s policies doesn’t mean I agree with yours. Things aren't as black and white as you try to make them.

As I said, I don’t hate George W. Bush, I think he’s a leader. I think he's generally heading in the right direction, but I’m not following blindly. I’m a little uneasy about the direction the Justice Department is heading in regards to our personal liberty. I’m uneasy about getting too cozy with big business, and I’m uneasy about judicial activism, whether it’s from the left or the right and I think we can take care of the underprivileged much better than we do now. I’m not real confident that the State Department is on the right track in dealing with the World, particularly the Arab World, and in dealing with International Organizations in general. And there are a slew of domestic issues that need attention and earnest debate. But, I don’t have blind faith in government.

I’m skeptical of almost everything the government bureaucracy tackles. I’ve worked inside the beltway and know the ugly reality of its waste and inefficiency. I have seen how career bureaucrats measure their worth to the government and society by the number of requirements they can put on others. How their performance is not judged by the work they produce but by the amount of work they induce others to do and how much money they spend. I think government can do better; there is plenty of room for improvement, and I’m not sure that adding more jobs for government to do is a good thing. In general, there is very little that the Federal Government does very well… maybe spend money, but not much else. I’d rather the government get better at what it does than take on new projects. Too many people work in the Federal government.

Despite our imperfections, I’m proud to be American and of everything America stands for. I’ve lived in Europe twice and have lived in the Arab world; I’ll proudly take America, with all of its warts, over either.

I am open to change. I could see myself voting for a Democrat again, but I don't want anyone too different from President Bush. You have to change your rhetoric, you must be more positive. You must define a different agenda, not completely different mind you, but one that is aimed at making the world a freer, gentler place and making our country kinder and more inclusive. You can, and should, agree with the President on much of what he’s doing. You have to understand that taking a clear stance doesn’t mean you have to take one completely opposite the President's. Most of us are smart enough to handle a wide spectrum of views, not everything has to be polarizing. We can appreciate subtleties.

If you Democrats are going to convince me to support one of you, you need to be sincere and you need to be respectful; Respectful of yourselves, respectful of me and of the institutions you work with. Trying to convince me to hate the Republicans isn’t going to work. Demonizing the President is not going to work, in fact it turns me further from you. I want you to comfort me by telling me what is right with our country as well as what you’d like to do differently. Treating the President like he’s an idiot and telling me that everything he supports is wrong, is being disrespectful to me, and makes you look like a thoughtless bully, a self-centered whiner, or both. I'm tired of hearing how the sky is falling.

Treat all of us with a little respect. Acknowledge that we’re bright enough to understand nuance, recognize that many of us understand political gaming. Don’t be so negative… Above all offer us hope. We prefer incremental change to revolution, stop telling me everything is wrong!

As I said, tell me the good things happening in government. Debate the changes you think ought to be made. Stop demonizing your opponents, stop over-simplifying the issues. Please be civil to each other. Is that too much to ask?


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