Wednesday, November 15, 2006

My Left Vote

It's time to cut the spin and speak out about what our vote for Democrats meant.

The Left and Right, including Bush, have been busy spinning what the Democratic wins in congress mean, and what the People want. Some say the vote was about Iraq. Some note the importance of domestic issues. Some say the vote was against Bush. Some say the vote was for checks and balances. Some say it was a vote against corruption. Some say the vote was about the Foley scandal. Some say it was about change. Some say the vote was a sign that the People do not have the "stomach" for war. Some say only conservative Democratic candidates won; some note that more liberal Republicans lost. Some say the new Democratic congress should have started impeachment hearings last week, because Americans want it. Some say the Democrats should have fixed Iraq last week. Some say the Democrats, who will be sworn in on January 3, 2007, should focus on the job of congress--providing responsible oversight.

Impeachment Off the Table

I have decided I can speak for myself better than anyone else, because afterall, my own interests are not clouded by political aspirations. I intend to engage in a letter writing campaign to explain to the new Democratic Leadership exactly what my vote meant, and exactly what I expect them to do. I invite anyone who is so included to Jump in with me. Here are some tools: provides sample letters to congress, what's currenlty on the congressional agenda, and lots of other useful information. It also includes a handy "Take Action" tool that returns the names and contact information for your local officials. You can even have your representatives votes sent to you weekly by email.

Helpful information on writing letters to congress is available here. The Physicians for Human Rights site provides guidance for contacting elected officials, also.

Contact information for the current congress is listed here. (Information for 110th congress will be available after it is sworn in on January 03, 2007.)

A useful tool for looking up bills is provided here.
And to whom will I announce the meaning of my vote? Behold the new Democratic Senate Leadership, for starters:
  • Robert C. Byrd, President Pro Tem
  • Dick Durbin, Assistant Majority Leader
  • Charles E. Schumer, Vice Chair of the Conference
  • Patty Murray, Secretary of the Conference
  • Charles E. Schumer, Chairman of Campaign Committee
  • Byron L. Dorgan, Chairman of Policy Committee
  • Debbie Stabenow, Chair of Steering and Outreach Committee
  • Jeff Bingaman, Chairman of Committee Outreach
  • Hillary Rodham Clinton, Vice Chair of Committee Outreach
  • Blanche L. Lincoln, Chair of Rural Outreach
  • Barbara Boxer, Chief Deputy Whip
  • Thomas R. Carper, Deputy Whip
  • Bill Nelson, Deputy Whip
  • Russell D. Feingold, Deputy Whip
  • Nancy Erickson, Secretary of the Senate
  • Terrance Gainer, Sergeant at Arms
After that, I'll focus on Senate committee chairs and members, and then on to the House of Representatives:
  • Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Speaker
  • Steny Hoyer (D-MD), Majority Leader
  • Jim Clyburn (D-SC), Majority Whip
  • Rahm Emanuel (D-IL), Caucus Chair
  • John Larson (D-CT), Vice-Caucus Chair
And just what was my Democratic vote about? With so much work ahead for the new Congress, I hate to burden them with interpreting my vote. I will rid them of this burden to allow them more time to work for the People and will state my intention directly. For the record, this is what my vote meant:
  • I expect Congress to defend the Constitution and Bill of Rights. I want torture stopped, habeas corpus restored, and the Patriot Act revised.
  • I expect Election Reform, with verifiable ballots; the cornerstone of Democracy deserves it.
  • I expect the illegal occupation of Iraq to end, forthwith.
  • I expect a complete audit and accountability for all spending in Iraq.
  • I expect illegal wiretapping to end. Any invasion of privacy should comply with existing law and, at bare minimum, involve oversight.
  • I expect the tax "breaks" favoring America's most wealthy to end.
  • I expect Congress to uphold the separation of Church and State.
  • I expect oversight, accountability, and full disclosure of all elected officials who stand to personally benefit from their own policy decisions.
  • I expect investigations of the administrations Energy Task Force and its use of intelligence leading to the Iraq war, for starters.
I've written letters before, but never quite like I plan to now. My aim is to make it perfectly clear that I intend to hold the Democratic Congress responsible for providing true oversight, functioning on behalf of my interests, and defending our Constitution. Please, feel free to Jump in.

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