A Dear John Letter to My Democrat and Republican Friends

Posted on 06. Apr, 2011 by Administrator in Politics

It pains me to tell you, but it’s over between us. Our relationship simply cannot sustain your philandering from principle, deceit, abusiveness, duplicity and abject cowardice. I have tried to be loyal and true to you. I’ve listened to your explanations why you’ve squandered our financial nest egg and imprisoned us in a dungeon of debt. I was stoic when you patted me on the head and told me I’d have to wait to understand important legislation until after it was passed. I was silent as you both reverted to talking points instead of talking to each other.

I stood by the sidelines for years while you treated one another with meanness and spitefulness. Surely you must have known that my patience was running out. I thought I signaled my dissatisfaction in 2008 and then again last November, but it seems you thought I was just frustrated instead of thoroughly disgusted. You were wrong.

I must leave you now if I am to save myself and salvage what’s left of my decency and dignity. But before I do, I think you need to realize that you’ve become the DC version of ‘Desperate Housewives’ – a tragic parody of yourselves. To achieve your goals you’ve adopted tactics that even Tony Soprano wouldn’t use. You deserve to know what you can expect from each other in 2012 without me to referee, and I’m going to tell you. Here are your rules of engagement.

1. No honest exchange only sniping and obstructionism (using personal invective instead of discussing the issues)

2. Uber Nastiness (scorched earth policy using innuendo and false accusations)

3. Debasing each other’s groups (by calling their integrity into question)

4. Demeaning each other’s motives (by alluding to their lack of patriotism or ‘hidden agendas’)

5. Diminishing the importance of the law or the process (if it’s not getting the outcomes you want)

6. Refusal to admit mistakes and apologize for them (passing the buck has become our new  national pastime)

7. Pandering to the camera and the media (populism by sound bite)

8. Wrapping yourselves in the flag (by advocating American exceptionalism instead of promoting the American idea as exceptional)

9. Preying on the naiveté of our youthful voters (branding yourselves as the “new improved version” by stressing style over substance)

10. Spending obscene amounts of campaign dollars (as if that will make us feel better during the worst recession in decades)

11. Waging class warfare (dividing us by group, pitting us against each other)

12. Rhetoricalizing the debate (throwing more flowery words against the wall of our insecurity)

13. Winning at all cost (using the idea that we must first destroy a village in order to save it)

This is not a pretty picture, but it is a predictable one if I remember how you’ve treated me in the past.  Was I just a temporary diversion from your humdrum life? Were you using me as a stepping stone to something better like two more years or four more years in office? If you think I am angry, I am. If you think I feel foolish to have given so much of myself to you, I do. You violated my trust and that is something that defines me. You cannot redeem yourself for cheating on me and you had better get used to the idea that you cannot count on me as part of your ‘base’ any longer.

Yes, I am sadder, but I am also wiser. No silver tongue devil will ever again capture my heart (or my vote). Though the choices may be slim in 2012, I know what to look for when choosing new political bedfellows.  Sadly, they will not be you. Get used to sleeping on the couch.

Stephan Helgesen is a former diplomat and Honorary German Consul in New Mexico. He is also CEO of his own Albuquerque-based high tech consulting company, Second Opinion Marketing.




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