An Open Letter to Nancy Pelosi

Dear Ms. Pelosi,

We don’t know each other, but apparently you have my email address and feel comfortable using it to ask me for money. I have some thoughts on your most recent request. But first, let’s take a look at it:

I am not — nor have I ever been — a registered Democrat. Nor am I a registered Republican. I suppose I’m one of those sought-after “independent voters” we hear so much about quadrennially.1 However, for the past several cycles, I’ve been pretty reliably in the Democratic corner, mostly because the alternatives are — I won’t mince words — typically insane.

But let’s talk, shall we?

I’m 45 years old, which is old to some, young to others. For most of those years, I’ve been politically aware. Let me put it this way: I remember John Anderson. (Not bad for a nine-year-old!)2 In my decades of following the political conversation, I’ve never seen a headline that contained the phrase “Democrats fight.”

Why is that?

Why won’t the Democrats put on a helmet and get on the field?

Growing up a blue kid in a red town, I was told constantly that Democrats were weak, wimps, unwilling to be tough. I never believed it.

Until now.

I see the weakness and it nauseates me because the Democratic Party may be all that stands between us and the abyss and the Democratic Party is made of paper.

In your email you say, “we can protect all our progress.” Can you tell me exactly how you plan on doing that? Can you also tell me why your email focuses exclusively on the defensive? “Uphill battle.” “Protect all our progress.”

Maybe these phrases have been focus-group-tested to resonate with Democrats. But, again, I’m not a Democrat. And I’m trying to figure out why I should trust you with my money and my hope for the future.

Donald Trump is a dragon. The Democrats, far from channeling St. George, are imitating the Three Little Pigs and looking for cover.

(Spoiler alert: Even that brick house will just be an oven.)

It’s been almost two months since our world slipped through a hole in the universe into a Bizarro reality and all I’ve seen from Democrats is variations on, “Hey, if Trump does X, lots of bad things will happen!” Imagine those utterances accompanied by a pitiful attempt at a spooky ululation, as though to drive home the point. We should be scared.

Well, hell, I am scared. I’m not looking to be scared further. I’m looking for someone who has an idea of what to do next.

What I have not seen from Democrats is fight. For a party that described Trump during the election in terms of an existential threat, the Democrats seem to now be saying, “Well, yeah, we said he was worse than anything we’ve ever seen before, but we’re still going to play the game the same way. So, send us money.”

And what is done with that money?

Did the Democratic Party send bigwigs to Louisiana to try to elect Foster Campbell, the man who could have been a bulwark against the Republicans running roughshod over the process of governing? No, they did not. Maybe because you determined Campbell had no chance of winning. If so, shame on you. Shame on you all. That’s playing the game the old way, where you give up in advance if the fight looks tough.

You don’t have the luxury of playing that way any more. You want people to rally to the Democrats in the face of Trump? Well, guess what — you have to prove you’re worth rallying to.

You have to stand up. Take a hit to the face, if necessary. Bleed a little. People will fight — even for a loser and a losing cause — if they think the person asking them to fight is just as invested in the battle. And a loss that comes at the end of a hard-fought campaign where everyone believes they did their best and had the party at their back will inspire them to do more next time.

Thus far, I have seen absolutely nothing from Democratic leaders to indicate that you lot are interested in sustaining a few body blows in the name of democracy.

“If Trump does X, bad things will happen.” Yes. No kidding. We know that. Tell us what you plan to do to stop him from doing X in the first place. It can’t just be “Give us money.” What are you going to do with that money? How will you stop him?

Absent that, what will you do to stem the tide of the “bad things” that follow X? What is your plan to obstruct Trump’s excesses? Other than asking for money, what is your plan to “protect all our progress?” What is your plan to absolutely crush the Republicans in the mid-terms and restore some balance and sanity to our government at the local, state, and federal levels?

The Republicans are damn close to being able to call a convention to propose Amendments to the Constitution. They need a governor and a couple of statehouses. History shows that they are much better at winning these than the Democrats are.

So, again: What’s the plan?

If you won’t tell me, I have to assume you don’t have a plan. I have to assume your “plan” is to consolidate your power base with donations and attempt to ride out a storm that could easily capsize the ship of state.

I have precisely zero interest in donating to that plan.

I need a political party that is going to fight for the survival of the nation, not the survival of the party. Sometime before the 2018 mid-terms, Trump will discover, fortuitously be delivered, or manufacture a pretext by which he will claim to need unprecedented executive powers. He will demand these powers of the Congress and make no mistake: Your Republican colleagues will bow to that demand.

What will you and your colleagues do, Ms. Pelosi? In that scenario, what will you do? What is your plan to explain to the American people that your vote against these powers is the right one? What political judo will you apply to turn this around on Trump? How are you preparing?

Or will your party do as in 2001 when George W. Bush insisted on the PATRIOT Act…and cringe…and close your eyes…and tell yourself it won’t be too bad?

You won’t say. No Democratic leader will say.

How am I supposed to trust you?

So, no, I’m sorry, Ms. Pelosi. I’m sorry, but I can’t give you $26.00 or more, even at a triple match. If your party leadership can show a little fight, a little fire, maybe I’ll consider donating to you. Otherwise, maybe you should send me $26.00. I’ll make sure it goes to an organization that, from November 9, has sworn to battle Trump every step of the way.



  1. My reasons for being so are steeped in history — 1990, to be exact. Let’s just skip it for now.
  2. I’m also told I did a killer Tricky Dick impression as a toddler.


  1. Douglas Rees says:

    Thank you, Barry.

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