Thursday, June 12, 2003


An open invitation to Greens


Thursday June 12, 2003 2:56 AM

To Whom it may concern:

My name is Todd Schneider. I , and my family live in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. I am a yellowdog Democrat. Having gotten that out of the way, I am writing today in the spirit of unquestioning friendship, admiration and loyalty.

Friendship, because we are all still brothers and sisters in the fight to save our nation from tyranny. Despite the conservative trend in a branch of my party, I can tell you that our differences are little. In some ways, the rightward trend in the DLC has been forced by factors of which you are all aware. The corporate hypnotism that has convinced America to adopt consumerism as its national religion has in many ways been a success. The American people have become comfortable with the idea that endless consumption is the answer to all ills, both economic and social. In large measure, the stance of the DLC may be a side-effect of this social trend - to gain votes from the centrist majority of our citizens. And of course the same argument could be applied to the trend toward militarism - the centrist majority falls for the idea that there is a boogieman out there, waiting to get them. The corporate media makes their money on this psychology of fear, the Republicans get their votes to perpetuate their power, and the DLC feels it has to fall into line, in order to scrape up some swing voters that haven't totally bought the Republican lie. But this is NO excuse, and Greens are RIGHT to hold my party's ass to the fire.

Admiration, because I have gotten to know you as honorable, hard-working people that make an effort to keep our country as it was intended. I have marched with you in NYC and DC in recent months. I have read your platforms and visited your sites, and know you mean business. Though I felt sour after the 2000 election, I understand now that you BELIEVE what you say, and had to make a stand. And that is why I admire Greens most; you make a stand, and don't back up. I have learned from you, and have re-examined myself to find out if I have slipped back into acquiescence.

Loyalty, because we are all seeking justice for mankind, and we must be united to fight against what are frightening odds. The forces arrayed against us are the most powerful in the history of mankind, with endless resources at their disposal. This stands to only get worse, should the corporate puppet-masters remain in power, and the only thing we have is each other. And loyal we progressives must be, because our land and world are coming perilously close to a point of no return.

So, what do we do? We have problems in our party; there can be no denying that. But when I look out at our social/political landscape, I can't help but think that the problems of the Democratic Party pale to insignificance before the 'onslaught to humanity' and total disregard for the rule of law that is The Republican Party. The other side (yes, you and I are STILL on the same side) parades one injustice to humankind after another before us on almost a daily basis. They have gone to great lengths to polish their game over decades, and have become so good at that game that they are nearly unstoppable.

You might ask, "If you believe what we believe, why don't you become a Green?" One word - time. The power of the other side is growing exponentially, and at a rate that the electorate seems to be unable to comprehend, let alone get themselves worked up over. This is not an insult to the electorate - indeed the other side USES the distractions of everyday life in order that their will be done. This is a well-oiled machine that we are up against! Why else would the concept of freedom of expression have disappeared so completely - almost overnight?

In the great scheme of things, I am really nobody of any consequence. Just a 48 year old family man who welds and makes things for a living. With our cultural backdrop of 'You are what you do', one might ask why you should care what I say. All I can tell you is that I fight this fight so my sons can live in a country where our Constitution is sacred, and justice prevails across the economic spectrum. My friends and I fight this fight every day, and are in it for the duration. The biggest battle in our country's history is coming, and it is election day, 2004.

How are we going to come together to defeat tyranny? We must find a way. We are the same. We are friends. We are the progressive family of humankind. We must find a way.
Sincerely and respectfully,
Todd J. Schneider

Copied with permission of author.

Gen. Eric K. Shinseki, the Army chief of staff who pushed his tradition-bound service on a difficult path toward transformation, retired today, warning against arrogance in leadership.

"You must love those you lead before you can be an effective leader," he said. "You can certainly command without that sense of commitment, but you cannot lead without it. And without leadership, command is a hollow experience, a vacuum often filled with mistrust and arrogance."
Gen Shinsecki