Somewhere along the way (I think it was 1999), the Registrar of Voters came to believe that there were two Happys in San Diego County. Happy #1 (me) was a twenty-something female who had registered as a Democrat. The other was a twenty-something male who was registered as a Republican right about the time that I signed a petition outside a supermarket. The puzzling bit is that both reported the same address and Social Security number -- mine. If that didn't trigger the fraud flags, I'm not sure what would've. Anyhow, for a while there it was kinda funny, as Eric and I would get mail from the Log Cabin Republicans (yeah, I don't get it either) addressed to Mr. S and Mr. A-S.
I left well enough alone because I thought it was hilariously subversive. And because the junk mail that the GOP was sending regarding candidates and issues was beyond ridiculous. That lasted for two years, when after I became a poll worker, I decided I could no longer (in good conscience) let the rolls stand as-is. I attempted to make the correction, and have every election since. But Happy the man is still registered at my old Normal Heights address.
I'm writing all of this because last week, Leo got a form letter that was ostensibly a "survey of Democratic opinion leaders," but was in fact a poorly disguised solicitation for funds to build the DNC's war chest. Vanessa theorized that it was because he'd registered as a Democrat at some point. Leo scoffed, and told me he was "going to write Howard a letter." True to his word, here is his response:
Democratic National Committee
430 South Capitol St., SE
P. O. Box 96585
Washington, DC 20077-7242
Dear Dr. Dean:
I hope this finds you well. A few days ago I received a letter from you in which you asked for my opinion on several issues relevant to today’s politics. I thank you for taking the time to do so, and I have enclosed my answers with this letter. You also asked that I help you “make progress” on these issues by sending a donation to the DNC. While I appreciate your commitment and dedication, I must respectfully decline to do so, for reasons that will become apparent as you read on.
I realize that what I received in the mail is a form letter. However, I must still take issue with certain depictions made in said communication. I am not now, nor have I ever been, an “active and engaged member of [the Democratic] party,” much less “a Democratic leader in [my] area.” As a matter of fact, I have yet to register in the voting rolls as a member of your party. When I first became eligible to vote, I chose to remain independent because I believed that each of the two major parties had some good ideas and some bad ideas. Of late, that belief has all but disappeared.
I believe that the Republican Party’s core set of beliefs (as they are practiced by their current leadership) is profoundly damaging to our nation. It favors military incursions over a commitment to hard-nosed diplomacy. It prefers dogma over intellectual exploration. It panders to the basest instincts of the masses in order to build a system of government that rewards the worst abuses by our economic elites. This I strongly believe. What I cannot accept, however, is that your organization is the most effective way to combat those trends.
Over the last few years, your party has had innumerable opportunities to fight for the rights of all Americans. You could have fought to prevent thousands of us from shipping off to die on foreign soil fighting to defend an unlawful occupation. You could have stood up for tax reform that takes some money from those who have more than they can possibly use, in order to help those who cannot make ends meet. You could have taken the time to push for electoral reforms that would ensure my vote has as much weight as that of anyone else in America. You could have insisted that this country’s leadership remain true to the civil rights and freedoms so many died to preserve.
Doing any of the above, however, would mean antagonizing the same corporate interests that fund your opponents. It would mean having the courage to stand up for those who cannot reward you for it, simply because it is the right thing to do. It would mean agreeing to give up a little bit of your share of control over American politics to benefit the great majority of the American people. And you have not been up to that task.
Therefore, I must respectfully decline to donate money to your cause. Please do not hesitate to contact me again — if and when your party makes a conscious decision to provide a viable alternative to those in power right now. When your priorities become universal health care, decentralized electoral power, a foreign policy based on respect for other nations as well as our own citizens and their rights, and equal rights for all regardless of economic power, I will be proud to join your organization and work to make it better. Until that day, I shall remain skeptical of your ability to represent me and my interests.
Thank you for allowing me an opportunity to communicate with you and your organization. I strongly encourage you to continue on this path of dialogue with the American people. I believe that, should you choose to act on the information you receive, it will greatly help your cause and all of us, as well.
Leo [last name withheld]
San Diego, CA