Greta Christina

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An open letter to the Democratic Party

December 10, 2003

Democratic National Committee
430 S. Capitol St. SE
Washington, DC 20003

California Democratic Party
1401 21st St, Ste 100
Sacramento, CA 95814

Dear Democratic Party:

I have been a Democrat since I was 18 (almost 25 years). When I first registered to vote, I assumed as a matter of course that I'd be a Democrat for as long as I lived. But the recent mayoral race in San Francisco has changed my mind. Today, I called the San Francisco Elections Department and requested a new registration form, so I could change my party affiliation to Green. I am writing to tell you why.

The mayoral campaign of Green Party candidate Matt Gonzalez was an energetic, impassioned, grass-roots progressive effort, the likes of which I've never seen in my nearly 25 years as a voter. People worked for Gonzalez who had never been involved in politics to this degree, and despite the tremendous financial and institutional resources of the Democrat Gavin Newsom, they made the race an extremely close one. Gonzalez's supporters are young, enthusiastic progressives, both Greens and Democrats, who were willing to put in a tremendous amount of work for a candidate they believed in. And their commitment and intensity could have been a powerful resource for the Democratic Party, especially in the upcoming Presidential election.

Instead, you chose to marshal the full force of the Democratic Party against them, not just locally but on a state and national level. You even sent in both former president Clinton and former vice-president Gore to make appearances for Gonzalez's opponent. In doing so, you have alienated these voters and made them even more angry and disillusioned with the Democratic Party than they already were.

I am gravely disappointed that you chose to use your visibility and resources to defeat a candidate from the left, rather than working to fight our common opponents in the Republican Party. And I am by no means the only Gonzalez supporter who feels this way. The Green Party -- its candidates, officials, and voters -- share many of the same goals as the Democrats, and they could potentially be strong allies of yours. In fact, they already are -- most Greens currently vote Democratic in most important elections. But by putting such a high-profile national effort into defeating the Green candidate -- a candidate who represents Democratic ideals far better than the actual Democratic candidate for the office -- you have shown yourselves once again to be short-sighted, cowardly, and somehow both craven and stupid.

I'm not going to resort to dishonest hyperbole and say that I'll never vote Democratic again. I almost certainly will, at least in big elections such as the 2004 Presidential race. But I am now far less willing to support Democrats in local and statewide elections, and far more likely to vote Green. Senator Senator Dianne Feinstein and Representative Nancy Pelosi (just to name two examples) will no longer have my vote. And I am unlikely to ever again donate money or volunteer my time to support the Democratic party or any of its candidates for any office. You have disappointed me many times before, but this election was the last straw.

If the recent San Francisco mayoral election was any indication, the Democratic Party is scared to death that the Green Party might become a real political power. And frankly, you should be scared. Your party has been taking progressives for granted, assuming that you can count on our support no matter how often you betray us -- and if the Greens continue to gain in strength, this will no longer be the case. The Greens represent the ideals that the Democratic Party once stood for and has abandoned for corporate largesse, and the fact that they came as close as they did to winning this race should make you pay attention. But putting such a strong, high-profile effort into defeating them is not going to help your cause. It is going to have the opposite effect. It is going to alienate your progressive base even further than you already have.

Shame on you.

Greta Christina

Postscript: Obviously, Mayor Newsom's championing of the same-sex marriage cause has softened my feelings about him somewhat (although I still have serious problems with him). But it hasn't softened my feelings about the Democratic Party one bit -- especially since they threw such a hissy-fit when the same-sex marriage thing happened. I'm still disgusted by their chicken-headed qualities and their tendency to see the left as enemies instead of allies. If anything, the same-sex marriage brouhaha filled me with a certain wicked glee -- the Dems put this huge effort into making sure their golden boy got elected instead of the Green candidate, and then their golden boy turned around and screwed them. Nyah, nyah, nyah.

Copyright 2003 Greta Christina.


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