Here's a pretty old post from the blog archives of Geekery Today; it was written about 16 years ago, in 2007, on the World Wide Web.
Saturday I got a letter from the
Las Vegas Area Democratic Majority Drive, an attempt by the Democratic Congressional leadership–which already has a majority but has been doing nothing or worse with it–to drum up money for an even bigger do-nothing majority through the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Here’s the letter I got:
Dear Mr. Johnson,
As 2007 comes to a close, the Democratic Party is working night and day to overcome President Bush’s misguided policies and stubborn resistance to our ideals and policies, but if we keep working together and keep fighting, we can continue to make progress, taking America in a New Direction.
That’s why I’m asking you to join other leading Democrats in the Las Vegas area in supporting the Democratic Majority Drive with a generous gift of $15, $25, $35, $50 or more today.
In the face of fierce resistance from President Bush and his Republican allies in Congress, the Democratic Majority in the U.S. House of Representatives has already strengthened House ethics rules and passed landmark legislation–repealing billions in oil industry tax breaks … lowering student loan interest rates … reducing prescription costs for people on Medicare … funding stem-cell research … raising the minimum wage … and holding the Bush Administration accountable for its disastrous policies on the war in Iraq.
But despite public support for these initiatives, President Bush is vetoing key parts of our agenda for change. Meanwhile, the Republicans are already targeting newly elected House Democrats — many of whom won in Republican-leaning districts — hoping to regain their stranglehold on the House in 2008. That’s why your support now is so vital.
As the official campaign arm of Democrats in the House, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) is our nation’s only political committee dedicated to strengthening our Democratic Majority in the House–by standing with Democratic lawmakers targeted by the GOP … recruiting strong challengers to take on vulnerable Republican incumbents … providing our candidates with financial and strategic assistance … and running political ads in their districts.
With your support today, we will be able to stay on the offense to increase our Democratic Majority and help elect a Democratic president in 2008. Your help will be critical to providing the resources needed to mobilize Democratic field activists early and turn out voters in key districts.
Mr. Johnson, the elections of 2006 were the first critical steps toward a Democratic victory that strengthens and expands our Majority in Congress and takes back the White House. Now I ask you to help finish the job and win an even bigger victory in 2008–by joining other Democratic leaders in the Las Vegas area in supporting the Democratic Majority Drive.
Rep Chris Van Hollen
I marked the enclosed contribution form $0.00 and referred them to this enclosed letter, which I mailed them today, postage courteously paid by the D.C.C.C.
Rep. Chris Van Hollen
Chair, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee
P.O. Box 96039
Washington, DC 20077-7243
Dear Rep. Van Hollen:
Yesterday I received a direct mail solicitation from you as part of theLas Vegas Area Democratic Majority Drive,asking me to donate money to the D.C.C.C. I am writing to inform you that, under the present conditions, I cannot donate in good conscience, and I have joined a Democratic Donor Strike against both the D.C.C.C. and the D.S.C.C. (http://www.democrats.com/donor-strike-2007).
While I have contributed both votes and campaign donations to Democratic candidates in the past, I have been deeply disappointed by the refusal of Democratic leadership and the Democratic-controlled Congress to live up to the promises that brought them into the majority in the 2006 elections. In your fund-raising letter, you write thatthe Democratic Party is working night and day to overcome President Bush’s misguided policies,and claim that the Congressional Democrats have already beenholding the Bush Administration accountable for its disastrous policies on the war in Iraq.But under the control of Democrat Nancy Pelosi in the House of Representatives and Democrat Harry Reid in the Senate, the Democratic Congressional leadership has repeatedly shown, by its actions, that either it agrees with the Bush administration’s misguided policies, or else will do nothing to check them. For example, every penny of funding for the catastrophic war on Iraq must be approved by the Democratic Congress, and if you refuse to continue funding the war, President Bush has no power to continue it. Yet the catastrophic war in Iraq rages on because Congressional Democrats have supported Bush’s demands for unconditional and unlimitedemergencyfunding to continue this appalling war over and over again. They have faced nofierce resistance from President Bush and his Republican allies in Congress,because they continue to capitulate to every demand of Bush and the Republican war hawks. That is not even a failure; it is complicity.
In light of the Democratic leadership’s actions, I will not support, or donate money to, either the D.C.C.C. or the D.S.C.C., under any conditions, unless and until the Democratic-controlled Congress stands up to the Bush administration and accomplishes these four goals:
Restricting any new Iraq funds to a safe and immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops—not another penny for occupation or the Bush-Malikienduring security guarantees;
Passing legislation explicitly prohibiting any use of funds to plan or execute a pre-emptive attack on Iran, and repealing the post-9/11 Authorization of Use of Military Force that Bush and Cheney believe authorizes them to attack Iran or any other country they please, as well as to wiretap all our calls and emails without warrants;
Fully restoring key civil liberties by strictly outlawing warrantless wiretapping and torture, closing Guantanamo, and restoring habeas corpus;
Completing the investigation of White House crimes by usinginherent contemptto compel testimony by current and former White House officials
Ifmy help will be critical,as you claim in your letter, then I urge you and your fellow Democrats in Congress to make that help possible by demonstrating your commitment to these four goals. And I mean demonstrating your commitment by deeds, not by words. You can begin immediately by refusing to allow Congressional Republicans to attach tens billions of dollars in unconditional funding for the war on Iraq to the 2008 defense budget. I urge you to do so.
No union with war-mongers, spiritually or politically.
And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of [Babylon], my people, that ye not be partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.
Lady Aster /#
Hmpph. When will people stop scapegoating Babylon? All this discourse on sins and partaking and plagues!
And yes, I think this issue is very relevant for a blog which espouses feminism. Metaphors matter- and that of St. John of the Apocalypse railing against a sinful world is the keystone for the West’s master narrative of an alienated masculinity afraid of life and trying to control and destroy it. Feminism, leftism, and libertarianism alike will not survive an ethical approach framed in terms of purification, impermeability, and abstention.
This approach to life is Puritanical, in the common and proper meaning of the term- it is theologically Calvinistic. It demands we be right before we are human and makes the perfection of the human soul before an external standard the purpose of life where such moral improvement should merely be a means to human joy. And this stance is inherently inappropriate for those who are oppressed and have no choice but to find their lives within imperefect realities (notably women)- it offers only the illusions of divine vantage, moral superiority, and spiritual escape. It can lead to nothing but judging the whole world from a nonexistent height and finding it unacceptable. This is a politics for elective virgins or those who take after them.
We live in this world, for good or for evil, and any politics which actually cares for human happiness, liberal or conservative or otherwise, must have the humanity to recognise, respect, and accept this. We don’t live to be moral. Morality is one of the things we try to do while simply living- for living, and more happiness and progress is made when people are first and foremost in touch with life than when people condemn life for not being good enough- even when these people are extremely right.
This is a patriarchal stance from which to oppose patriarchy. It cannot work.
I admire your clarity and honesty and integrity. I agree nearly entirely with your politics. But the moralistic thoughtstyle which suspends this solute is contrary to the inner soul of human liberation, which is a refusal of pain, guilt, fear for the joy of living on this Earth. It is trying to launch a crusade against crusaders and crusaderism. Yet the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.
“They can’t bear you to feel anything else. When you make love, you use up a lot of energy and then you feel all warm and happy inside, and you don’t give a damn for Big Brother and the Three-Years Plan”