Monthly Archives: March 2005

Democrats … Start Doing it for Yourselves

Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)
House Minority Leader

Dear Congresswoman Pelosi:

I recently received a mailer from you that included the following text:

>> Dear Friend … why don’t you take the enclosed George W. Bush Disapproval Poll and use it to me me how high (I doubt it) or low President Bush ranks with you. It’s your chance to tell me exactly what you think of the 43rd President. If you give George W. Bush grades of A or B, then I have bad news: First, you are a Republican. Second, you are going to be on the losing side of history. BUT … if you give George W. Bush C’s, D’s or F’s then you are a true-blue Democrat and I urge you to join us in our fight to hold the line against President Bush’s radical agenda and begin laying the groundwork for victory in the 2006 mid-term election … <<

I would like to offer you my thoughts on this effort of the National Democratic Committee.

I am in fact what most would consider to be a “true-blue Democrat”. I don’t think there’s any doubt of that. For 22 years I have voted a straight Democratic ticket. However, I find myself having a great deal of trouble believing what you say, despite my inclination to give more credence to junk-mailers who at least pretend to be on my political wavelength. Your message sent up a number of warning flags, I must admit.

To start with, “History” is written not by those who are right, but by those who are in power. What determines the “losing” side of history is what the “winners” determine the opposite side from their own. At this juncture, I’m not too sure that the “losing” side is going to be written in a manner pleasing to “Democrats” for quite some time. Why? Because the problem is not just that George W. Bush is doing wrong. Although I agree there is a lot of wrong-doing going on.

The problem, as I see it, is that giving George W. Bush a “failing” grade on this poll doesn’t make me a true-blue Democrat, as much as it makes me a complete and total IDIOT. Because I appear to be supporting a political party that has no vision of their own, that has not been too effective in countering these horrible policies, that is afraid of being called un-American for fighting a fascist-leaning, right-wing, neo-conservative agenda. A party that has no plan of their own, except to tell me what’s wrong with the other guy’s plan. That has in essence conceded that morality, right, truth, justice and the American Way are the property of the Republicans, and has contented itself with whining and bitching that those damn “righty-tighties” are just misusing those properties differently than a Democrat might misuse them if given the opportunity. What line exactly are “we Democrats” holding? And what good does it do to hold some imaginary line when there are so few of our so-called representatives that are willing to stand up for what they claim their constituents stand for? Further, for all these issues where George W. and his radicalized cronies have forced their way upon the unsuspecting American public, where have the Democrats been? In short, what good are they?

I’d like to see some groundwork, Congresswoman Pelosi. As you state in your letter, even though the right-wing doesn’t have one, I’d like to see a platform that unites, instead of divides. I’d like to see the Democratic Party come up with such a platform, and stick with it. I don’t think anyone can claim sole right to morality and doing the right thing. And surely, the 80% of people in the USA that claim some affiliation with Christianity (and the other 20% that follow equally valid and morally-based religions, whether Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, Wiccan, Sikh, Shinto, Zoroastrian, Druid, Bah’ai or even Atheism) can’t be all Republicans. And Republicans aren’t the only ones capable of girding themselves with the mantle of the self-righteous … what about a little Democratic righteous indignation now and again? I can’t think of a better time that right now.

To be frank with you, Congresswoman, I’m disgusted with the political process. I’m disgusted with voting Democrat just because it seems like the lesser of two evils. I’d like to be able to vote, with a clear conscience and sense of accomplishment, for something worth believing in. Something that the big party Democrats are willing to state, in public, they believe in, too. Something, and a serious set of someones who are not straw dogs, but actual contenders. But remember, there’s not much point in picking who we’re going to travel with until we’ve figured out where we are going. The journey dictates the skills we’ll need, and not visa versa. So please, give us a something before trying to foist off another glad-handing someone in a suit more expensive than the average Democrat’s income can afford.

Just a suggestion: if you want a Presidential candidate to be elected “by the people”, you’ve got to be “for the people”, and whoever you put on that ballot had better be “of the people”. Not Democratic leadership people. Not Beltway Brotherhood people. Not “because anything is better than a Republican” people.

Don’t worry. I’ll keep voting Democrat until I die. However, I’m sick of knowing that underneath the surface, regardless of which candidate I choose, the bottom line doesn’t change for me, nor for millions of others who seemingly cast their votes in a seeming maelstrom of futility. After that, watching the few Democratic candidates who DO make it into office only wring their hands and cry, “oh, those neo-cons are ruining the country” is decidedly anti-climactic. And discouraging.

The bottom line is that George W. Bush’s F looks like an A to most people, and that’s why they voted for him. That occurred only because in order to give ourselves any kind of excuse for what either party is doing, the American People have been forced to grade on a curve. And the sad truth is that neither the Republicans or Democrats deserve to pass the class.

Feel free to use any part of this letter you wish to improve the Democratic Party.


John Litzenberg
New Orleans, LA

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An Ostara Blessing

Today the dark begins at last to fade,
the Winter’s fulcrum balanced with the Spring.
Once great and mighty shadows turn mere shade,
and green returns to color growing things.

Rejoice! The world is born again from seed.
It cracks the brittle crust of earth to reach
out for the sun’s return, its will to breed
and manifest all nature’s divine speech.

Rejoice! No more on cold and bitter thoughts
allow the hibernating heart to dwell;
The fallow time, when actions come to naught,
has ended. Broken is the sunless spell.

Today, the light returns to take its place,
with Summer’s children growing in its womb.
Let melancholy no more taint your face;
Throw back the shutters! Let Spring in the room!

Rejoice! The season for despair is through;
Just look — snow melts, and leaves begin to show.
Once more, the world is sacred, fresh and new,
and waits for you likewise to find it so.

This equinox I wish for friend and foe
alike to find perspective they may lack;
in our own darkness, to see some light grow,
and in our sun-washed days, respect the black.

21 MAR 2005

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Against a Greater Evil Than the Dark

I do not fear what terror comes by night
and would with malice trouble fitful sleep;
such bugaboos may cause a moment’s fright,
but fade in cowardice as daylight creeps.

More brazen ne’er-do-wells parade by day,
and mask their ill intent with angels’ tread;
it is such foes as these, that seek to prey
on those awake, yet unaware, I dread.

A winning smile may hide an evil heart,
and artful praise so sway the doubting mind
that where truth ends and outright lying starts
would take a trusting soul lifetimes to find.

Too often, those who harbor foul design
use some imagined pretense to impose
their will, and lay their claim to me and mine.
They are like wolves who dress in lambswool clothes,

and in broad light of noon steal with a pen
or briefcase what no midnight thief would dare,
proclaiming all the while to be a friend.
Against such brigands, too few are prepared.

As teachers, senators or men of god
they pry into the storerooms of the crowd;
with words of velvet, hide their iron rods
well-used to beat down those who protest loud.

Foul hypocrites! Your speeches that divide
the poor crowd’s reason from its tender soul,
reveal you have no meaning left inside
save for your selfish need to wield control.

If you would speak my piece, or use my name
to justify your actions or your cause
and then when failure looms, leave me the blame,
do not expect from me grateful applause.

You will condemn me, should I speak my mind,
or cause one hapless stray to doubt your means;
Regardless, I will point out where I find
your acts a danger to my truth, or dreams.

15 MAR 2005

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Dictionary Gloss: the C’s

cabal a group of conspirators, a secret plot

Some think that Truth is hidden, and in all,
the private purview of their own cabal.
Well, look around the world, see what that’s wrought:
centuries of squabbles to define what Truth is not.

cacophony harsh, discordant sound : dissonance

If you would sing your own song in the world,
you mustn’t mind the world’s cacophony.
For it’s not fair that you alone are loud,
expecting others to sing silently.

callow immature and inexperienced

Some ponds appear quite deep and still,
while others are quite shallow.
Some fields are fit to yield great crops
while others must lie fallow.
What lies beneath the surface marks
the wise soul from the callow.

canard a false, unfounded, and misleading story

I would to war, except that I
hold truth in such regard;
and will not bow to jingo fears
based on a grand canard.
If weapons of destructive might
were found where they were claimed,
I might be of a different mind,
and of my land, not shamed.

casuistry subtle but misleading reasoning, esp. about moral principles

That one has leave to do a thing, implies the casuist,
it must be sanctioned by the heavens, else would not exist;
thus armed, their followers proceed with righteous presuppose,
and think their arm’s dominion swings where I dare put my nose.

catharsis purgation, especially of the bowels, emotional or psychological cleansing

The voting booth, ideally,
gives catharsis to a nation;
Without ideals, it cannot cure
politic constipation.

cenotaph a monument built in honor of a dead person whose remains are interred elsewhere

The polls reveal widespread support
for our brave nation’s path;
Let’s hope for freedom’s sake
Iraq is not its cenotaph.

claque a group of persons hired to applaud at a performance

Are they our representatives,
or just a Party claque?
Republican, or Democrat,
I’d like my country back.

clastic made up of fragments

Religion claims to stretch to fit
all times, through faith’s elastic,
neglecting to remind us that
the truth, at best, is clastic;
it cannot fit in just one mold,
nor neatly be confined.
It’s purpose is to make us seek
beyond set paradigms.

concrescence the growing together of related parts, as of the anatomy

As darkness fades away when faced
with growing luminescence,
so should our differences recede
as we accept concrescence:
the world becoming ever smaller
and our lives entwined
’til I agree your way as sacred
as I now claim mine.

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When They Come for Us, Who Will Protest?

Against such foes as ignorance and greed
what good are merely human flesh and bone?
In which fierce battles waged to rule the soul
of a proud nation shall the victor be
its best and brightest minds, its stoutest hearts,
when fear and rank injustice swell the rolls
of those conscripted soldiers armed and aimed
by puppetmasters who would work unseen?

If in such times as these, the few who sense
a wrongness in the aims of governance,
instead of crying out are meek and mute,
what hope have those blind masses, huddled there
for warmth in the great blanket of deceit?
If those with minds still clear give little thought
save for their small domains and precious selves,
what hope have they when their turn comes to pass?

When poison finds the bloodstream, all is lost;
there is no purpose then to treat the wound.
Once tainted, can a cause that once was pure
be ever cleaned again of evil stains?
The names of gods, if used to claim the world,
unless they touch more than the tongues they loose,
become pale, haggard shadows of what truth
they may have once possessed, and are no more.

If what we do not exercise, we lose,
reduced to merely wisps of once brave words,
then what good are proud speeches or parades
except to eulogize the selves we’ve lost?
What point in our lamenting the forged chains
that by our apathy we choose to wear,
and through our lack of action help to build
a prison we were told was not for us?

How loud do we protest the slightest thing
that limits our convenience and our ease,
yet quietly accept far greater ills
that jeopardize our prized integrity?
We guard against the slow, menacing creep
of some imagined danger with such pomp,
yet when the wolf, well-dressed, knocks at the door.
we smile and offer him our favorite seat.

What hypocrites we are; what grand buffoons!
To think we find ourselves somehow evolved,
and self-possessed with intellect and poise
equipped to teach the other fellow truth.
No wonder half the world begins to laugh
when as the grand messiah we approach;
while huddled in our shadow, the rest wait
for hubris to collect its karmic toll.

07 MAR 2005

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The Flute

To think your way the only way,
or see your God alone,
is to have the world as a flute
and play a monotone.

Now, it is music, to be sure,
that constant single drone;
but there is more to music
and each song is not a clone.

Some may choose among other notes
to make their melodies;
if each applies their breath
by their own methodology,

that does not prove your note is flat
nor that their song is best.
Instead, it builds the repertoire,
and can merely suggest

that each must seek their own true song,
and with their own two hands
find ways to cover the great holes
that help them understand

the music of the universe:
a million different notes
sung out with the same longing
from a hundred million throats.

Some choose a drone, and some a dirge,
while others like a reel;
the flute will play in any style.
Each new song helps reveal

the myriad of melodies
that range within our hearts.
Your own song is not ending
when you hear a new one start.

07 MAR 2005

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I could dredge up every wrong and each intentioned slight
to catalog the way the world has hurt me, or just might
and in that laundry list of ills imagined, or in fact,
find solace in a victim’s role to explain what I lack.
But if I fail to count as well the angry words I spoke,
the thoughtless little things I’ve done, the sarcasm and jokes,
then I have not been truthful, nor have I learned much at all;
just made excuses for myself to built a higher wall
throwing all blame for what I am beyond it, out of sight,
and with it, any hope of balance or setting things right.

Because although the world is hard and seems sometimes just pain,
there is no one at fault but me despite my sad refrain
that evil forces hold me back and do not let me grow.
Believing that is one thing, but it does not make it so.
And every time I point a finger to some separate cause,
or seek to change the world without first fixing my own flaws
there is no revolution, no epiphany or grace,
but only more confusion in my mirror’s tear-stained face.
Sure, my environment is part of who and what I am;
but unless I accept my flaws and start to give a damn
about the way that I feed into what destroys and kills
there is no way to move beyond what I perceive as ills.

They say that truth’s a pathless land, that each of us, alone
and naked, must confront our fears ere they be overthrown.
Well, honesty’s a two-edged sword with not much of a hilt;
disuse will turn its blade to rust before much blood is spilt.
Each cut made in another’s flesh will crease the wielder’s hand,
and only with much practice can the user understand
that truth, like revolution, starts with small, un-noticed nicks —
in private; and in spite of one’s brave public politics.

04 MAR 2005

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