Dennis, we hardly knew you, and now you've been taken from us.
Now that the Democratic Convention is under way in Boston, you have formally
endorsed Mr. Kerry and encouraged your delegates to vote for him.
We still like you, Dennis. You're still an okay guy. Even though you
have sold out your platform and your principles, and even though you misled
some of your more naive supporters into thinking you really meant to
campaign right to the bitter end, we really cannot fault you too much for
being, well, just another pragmatic politician. Those who revered you as
part saint and part tooth fairy needed to be disabused of their idolatry.
Some of us suspected that your job assignment in 2004 was to be a Political
Pied Piper who would round up all the errant Green mice and lefty rats who
had bolted the Democratic Party over the years and deliver them in November
to the Party's anointed candidate. Maybe you succeeded, Dennis, and maybe
you didn't. Anyway, it truly was a great party while your campaign lasted,
and we learned a lot.
Here's what we learned, Dennis.
We learned that the Left is still a minority in the United States if only
because it has not yet learned how to acquire and wield power. May we take
that lesson to heart and do things differently in the future. That is, we
need to do things differently than your campaign did things this time
This is not about individuals. It is not about charisma. It is not about
working within the system. It is about issues. It is about substituting a
different system for a tired, old system. It is about leading and not about
being led. It is about the acquisition of Power, not just the chanting of
slogans and simplistic idealism.
We learned to come together as many local communities; communities who
gathered, initially, for the purpose of electing you President but who,
ultimately, came to understand that the more important thing was the
gathering of the communities in and of themselves. We made many friends and
connections working for your election, Dennis. These friendships and
connections will outlast any political machinations of the Democratic or
Republican machines. In the course of your campaign, Dennis, we have also
come to see from the inside out how some of the political machinery really
Centuries ago, the decimated remnants of the French aristocracy used Joan of
Arc, the Maid of Orleans, to gather the Lesser People of what would later be
known as France, cast out the British occupiers from their land and
recapture the kingdom for its 'rightful owners', the French feudal lords.
The nobility and the Church used, then discarded Joan and her ignorant
masses once the task was mostly done. Centuries later, however, history
proved that the Lesser People had learned to gather and use their powers.
The French aristocracy had, inadvertently, unleashed the still-unfolding
events of our own and of the French Revolution. Who knows but we Lesser
People may yet coalesce into our own political force one day, for which we
may thank you, Dennis, for the organizational impetus.
What else have we learned?
We learned this year that we should not ever rely too heavily on any
leaders. Those who yearn for a charismatic leader of the Left, like some
thought you were, Dennis, have been, and will always be disappointed. They
ought to have been disappointed. It was unfair to bestow sainthood on you.
You are a good man and you meant well. But you are just a man and just a
politician. No one can or should expect more from you. From that we have now
learned - we must learn - that we, collectively and individually, are the
true leaders of the movement, not you Dennis, not the counter-elite, not the
democratic glitteratti who continue to insist that they will tell us who to
vote for in November... for our own good, of course.
We will take a page from the Free Software movement, where every user is a
potential contributor; where 'leadership' is diffused among many; where the
profit to the community trumps the profit of the few. We have learned, we
must learn, that politics requires a collective effort, collective vigilance
and collective leadership, not just endless, deliberately exhausting
leafleting and door-belling and running round in circles for the single man
on whose mortal shoulders we heap all our hopes.
If your purpose was to keep us distracted and busy working all these months
for your campaign within the Democratic Party so that we would not
work at all for anyone outside the Democratic Party, then you may
have succeeded. But it might only be a short-term success, for, perhaps, we
have now learned to distinguish political busy-work from the real, long
term, hard work that needs to be accomplished.
We have also learned how the future of the “democratic” party depends on its
disaffected Lefties and Progressives. Together, we comprise a mere few
percentage points of the electorate. But, we make or break the elections.
The Party Muckamucks have said as much. That is why they both deride and
fear us. Maybe that is why they sent you. You, Dennis, have taught us that
our Power lies in our ability to swing the decisive tides of politics. The
Muckamucks know this and are afraid that one day we, too, will recognize how
powerful we can be. Like the Lesser People who followed Joan in the
Fifteenth Century and who, ultimately, morphed into more potent movements in
Unfortunately, Dennis, you did not teach us how to parlay our strength into
anything of significance. We must learn that lesson from other groups –
African Americans, Latinos, Gays, Women, the labor movement of yesteryears –
all of whom share some membership and some common ground with our Community,
but most of whom have better learned that their agendas can progress only
when they hold as hostage the political prize sought by the parties'
Powerful Elite. Indeed, this is a lesson that the Christian Right teaches
the left-out Left. The Christian Right, through hard work and long-range
planning, masterfully inveigled its way into the power circles of the
Republican Party in mere decades. By contrast, and in a display of how
ineffective it is to just weakly 'plead' for what is correct, you have also
shown us, Dennis, that to make our own future means, literally, that We Have
To Make Our Own Future, and not beg our Masters for mere table scraps.
Now that the Convention is underway and the November elections loom just
around the corner, you, Dennis, and everyone else from the Democratic Party,
have launched a united campaign to rally all of us behind the Kerry ticket,
whatever it does or does not stand for.
We recognize, as you do Dennis, what is at stake in this election. We
recognize, as you do, Dennis, that Mr. Kerry, is another Lesser Evil in a
succession of elections between one Evil and another. We also recognize that
for Mr. Kerry to woo the Left might cost him votes on the Right and Center,
and that to satisfy all, he may satisfy none. And we recognize that when Mr.
Kerry squeaks out his win in November the Democrats - that is the DLC
Democrats - will claim a Mandate for their neo-liberal policies that the
Left detests, and the Muckamucks will party and snicker and congratulate
themselves for, once again, having roped in their wayward lefty mice.
We do not begrudge the Party its party. We, too, will lift a glass to the
demise, and we will dream (forlornly) of criminal trials, here and abroad,
for the present administration.
Nevertheless, we want something from the Democratic Party, Dennis. We want
more than a pat on the head for being good little boys and girls who have
returned home after running away for a while. We are not children any more;
we want adult political rewards for our role in returning the (Hold Your
Noses) DLC business-as-usual Democrats back to power. We want more than just
the rumor of a possibility of a chance of a few scraps of access to the
second and third tiers of Power. We want, in other words, to be assured
of some significant influence and tangible results for our effort.
Dennis, we thank you for the experience and for the wisdom we learned while
working in your campaign. However, you have not the authority to tell us for
whom to vote in November. We might vote for Ralph Nader or we might vote for
John Kerry or we might vote for a Third Party or we might not vote at all.
Who we will vote for is still our choice, and we will not make that decision
until The Last Minute.
In the meanwhile, Dennis, tell the Leaders of the Democratic Party who are
now your pals: If they want our votes, if they want to win in
November, then they need to show us what tangible results we
will achieve, specifically what we will gain, and how our
issues and concerns will be advanced if we are to help Mr. Kerry get
Our votes are here. Let Mr. Kerry come and earn them.
Zbignew Zingh can be reached at
Zbig@ersarts.com. This Article is CopyLeft, and free to distribute,
reprint, repost, sing at a recital, spray paint, scribble in a toilet stall,
etc. to your heart’s content, with proper author citation. Find out more
about Copyleft and read other great articles at
Articles by Zbignew Zingh
Political All-Star Game
* George Bush,
Destroyer of the Faith
* The Statue
of Liberty is Missing
To The New American Century
* What Are We
Trying To Achieve?
Administration Relents: American Style Elections Promised for Iraq
Researchers Publish Findings of Widespread Mad Cow Infection