David Sweet, Santa Cruz Sentinel (12/4/02)
George Bush is riding high. Both houses of Congress under control, most elected Democrats bamboozled. Hell have no trouble stacking the judiciary, eroding civil liberties, wiping out the safety net, busting trade unions and completing the militarization of our foreign policy. But lets remember that he has no "mandate" to carry out that program, or anything like it.
The 20% of eligible voters who supported Republican candidates presumably like the Presidents program; but most of us want something different. What we want is a "homeland security" based on real campaign finance reform, trustworthy vote-counting, full employment at decent wages, universal health care, high-quality free public education, rational drug, crime & energy policies, & an end to "American empire" abroad.
If the Democrats can remake themselves as a party of principled opposition, & if they will spend the next two years articulating a coherent program of their own that Americans can believe in, they can make a clean sweep in 2004. But their pundits, pollsters & handlers wont do that for them. The turnabout is up to the rest of us to accomplish.
We have to change the political climate for Democrat politicians by getting better informed about public affairs, talking more with neighbors, thinking more boldly about alternatives, and spending much more time writing, calling, organizing, petitioning, attending public meetings, speaking up, demonstrating, & registering voters every day between now & 2004. Then when the time comes, we have to persuade a whole lot of new people to get out & vote.