Thursday, November 10, 2016

An Open Letter to Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey

Now the work begins. I am still figuring out what I am going to do, where I am going to send my money how I am going to help. I think it's clear the primary policy goal is to flip the House (and maybe the Senate, though that might be even more of a long shot) in 2018, the way Republicans flipped it in 2010. I think between then and now, we need to find ways to prevent and ameliorate the damage a Republican administration (let alone a Trump administration) will do to this country, especially this country's most powerless and vulnerable citizens. I'm a writer so my first impulse is to write stuff. Below is a letter I sent to both of my Senators. I should note that, though I don't remember where I saw this first, I definitely saw this idea expressed by other people. If you like what I have to say and/or the way I say it, you are free to use this words in part or in total. Boats against the current, y'all and don't let the bastards grind you down.

Dear Senator Elizabeth Warren & Senator Ed Markey,

In 2008, Barack Obama won the popular vote and the electoral college. The Democrats won the House and won a super-majority in the Senate. I don't know if popular mandates really exist, but 2008 was awfully close to one. And how did congressional Republicans respond to the direct endorsement of the 2008 Democratic platform: by vowing to make President Obama a one-term president.

To do so they abused every procedural loophole, broke decades old agreements, and ignored long-standing decorum. They obstructed bipartisan legislation with anonymous holds. They refused to confirm Federal appointments. They filibustered virtually every single piece of legislation that was put forth.

Furthermore, there is ample evidence that they never once negotiated in good faith. They never intended to support anything President Obama proposed even when it was essentially a Republican policy. Even when their ideas were incorporated into legislation through compromise and consensus, as the federally administered public option was removed from the Affordable Care Act, they still refused to support the legislation. They asked for everything and even when they got it, they still said “no.” Their only goal was to deny the first African-American President anything resembling a policy victory and if that meant hobbling the efforts to recover after the worst recession since The Great Depression and stoking the fires of racist resentment, so be it.

I am not asking you to shout at President Trump during his State of the Union address. Even though more Americans voted for Hillary Clinton I am not asking you to question the legal validity of his presidency. I am not asking you to question his citizenship, to spread rumors about his faith, to accuse him of crimes he did not and could not have committed, or to attribute problems to him he could in no way have prevented. I'm not asking you to stoop to their level of insulting the American people by refusing to outwardly respect their President.

But I am asking you to block everything. Filibuster everything. Put an anonymous hold on everything. You were rewarded for your decency and your commitment to longstanding procedures with the Tea Party, a vacant Supreme Court seat, government shutdowns, a game of chicken with the debt ceiling, and Donald Trump, a man who began his political career by questioning Barak Obama's citizenship. Given how the districts were gerrymandered in 2010, given how they treated you when you were in power, given that more Americans voted for Democrats in the House in 2014, and given that Hillary Clinton received more votes for President than Donald Trump, they have not earned your consent or cooperation. They have not earned the right to discriminate. They have not earned the right to discard science. They have not earned the right to threaten a woman's right to choose. They have not earned the right to risk the health and well-being of our people. They have not earned the right to govern as if they speak for all Americans. They have not earned the respect they refused to show to you.

If the Trump administration magically starts proposing productive thoughtful policies with meaningful common ground, then negotiate for the best version of those policies possible, but make no compromises for the sake of compromise. Do not reach across the aisle to create the optics of bipartisanship. You've tried that already and they spit in your hand.

To be the adult in this room, you need to fight like hell.

We know exactly what they plan to do and we know the terrible consequences if their platform is adopted. I know you will not be able to stop everything, but you are our dam against the flood of dangerous policies and we need you to hold strong for at least two years.

I promise, that if you do, the voters of America will do better in 2018.

Thank you for your time.


Josh Cook

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