I am writing to day to thank you for all of the hard work you've done for the people of our State, our country and of my community, Jackson Heights, New York. I know you have been called upon to make many hard decisions and cast a lot of tough votes over these past few years. While I haven't always agreed with every choice you've made, I have been absolutely thrilled with the progress you did so much to contribute to on issues like making affordable healthcare available to all, ending Don't Ask Don't Tell, providing assistance to those hit hardest by this struggling economy, and so much more.
I know that you are doing your best to make life better for ordinary Americans and to promote the values that we share as Democrats. Therefore, whatever differences we may have, I want you to know that you have my unconditional support and appreciation.
Even though these last few years have been hard for the country and I have experienced my share of financial hardship, including a period of unemployment during which I had virtually no income, I was encouraged by all of the hard work I saw Democrats doing to rebuild our nation.
That's why I was so heartbroken see your hard work threatened and undermined by the results of the 2010 elections. You and your fellow Democrats worked responsibly and responsively to help people hurt by our current system. And it was very hard to swallow when the good work that you had done was rewarded with resounding defeat in November, 2010.
What made it most painful was seeing Republicans, who were clearly unfit for and undeserving of any additional powr in government, so richly rewarded for obstructionism the most ignorant and corrupt forms of populist demagoguery. It reminded me of a drowning person in their frenzy trying to shoving their rescuer under water or an abused spouse attacking the police officer who has come to arrest the abuser.
These words from Yeats have seldom felt more true:
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
As time wears on, it becomes increasingly clear that the Republicans are interested in nothing more than using what power they have for the sole purpose of obtaining more power. I see absolutely no evidence from their side of the aisle that they have any real concern for the well-being of this country. Which brings me to the current negotiations over raising the debt ceiling.
It is obvious that the Republicans couldn't care less about the deficit. Even though there has been virtually unanimous warnings from economists of all political stripes that playing games with the debt ceiling could lead to unmitigated disaster for our economy (and have the perverse effect of raising the deficit by increasing the interest we pay on our debt and by depressing economic activity!) Republicans appear utterly unconcerned. It seems that they have decided that it is more in their narrow self-interest to risk doing deep and lasting harm to our country than it is to cooperate for the good of the country.
I know a lot of people are saying that this shows once again that Republicans are strong and savvy negotiators and Democrats are weak. I know that's not true. I know that the "weakness" Democrats display stems from actual concern for the well-being of the people they govern. But what depresses me is that the Republicans actually have sufficient power to do real and lasting damage to this country and they don't seem to have any qualms about wielding their power to that end if they believe it will harm Democrats in 2012.
I keep hearing rumors about the possibility of some deal that could involve reductions in entitlement benefits and have even heard that President Obama has promoted such a plan. I don't have to tell you that these rumors are causing a great deal of fear and anger among many Democrats. Many people are questioning the ability and willingness of President Obama and Democratic leadership to defend the safety net and core Democratic values.
Honestly, it is hard for me to see a path to a happy ending to this mess. So, I won't give you any advice on what course to take. All that I ask of you is that whatever decision you make, don't make that decision primarily on the basis of narrow self-interest. Please, whatever you do, don't make a decision as a result of pressure from donors or the press or interest groups or even the President.
Whatever you do, whether its voting for a package that includes all cuts and no revenues, or includes a cut to entitlements or even not voting and allowing the government to default, please, do it because you have weighed all of the evidence and you believe that the decision you are making is the one that will be in the best interest of the country.
Just do what you believe is right and you will always have my support.
Thank you so much for everything you've done and everything you are about to do.