I know you have been hearing from a lot of us lately, and you probably have gotten to the point where you think these emails are meaningless. But this really is the best way I have to communicate my thoughts to you.
You would be happy to hear that I am a very active citizen. Since quitting my job at the L.A. Times to work on the Howard Dean campaign, I have dedicated a huge chunk of my waking life to working for political change. I have gotten very involved in local and statewide campaigns, I work for two statewide political organizations - Speak Out California and PowerPAC.org. I follow state and national political news on an almost up to the minute basis.
My purpose for telling you all of this is so you realize that I feel very strongly about this, and MoveOn.org has kindly provided me with the tools to communicate with you, my elected representative, who I happily voted for every time your name has appeared on the ballot. I am not sending you something as a knee-jerk reaction to an email I got.
A lot of smart people have been noting that there is really no good reason NOT to filibuster Sam Alito in an effort to prevent him from being confirmed to the Supreme Court of the United States. This nomination is all about politics -- we've known that from the minute Harriet Meier was withdrawn as a nominee. If Bush is playing politics with the Supreme Court, how can you possibly not try to stop him on the grounds that it would be politically motivated?
Let me first predicate my argument by saying that I see the reality of Alito being confirmed. I don't see a way out of it, really. What I am arguing about is strategy, given that horrible tragedy. The truth is there will be a backlash if the Democrats do not filibuster, I can guarantee you that. I will not vote for a single incumbent if the Democrats roll over on this, and trust me, that sentiment is very pervasive here in California and around the country.
Please do not give in to the right-wing's rhetoric. You have NOTHING to lose by filibustering the Alito nomination. Your Democratic constituents will love you for it, and the Republicans in Washington can't really hate you more than they already do. If they use the nuclear option to end the filibuster, they will be left with that decision, not you. They will be the ones explaining to the folks back home why they just ended 170 years of Senate tradition. (Nevermind the reality, which is that the fillibuster has throughout history been used mostly to stop progress, and so when we're in charge it would be fine if it wasn't around anymore!)
You do, however, have EVERYTHING to lose by caving in and calling him "qualified." Your Democratic constituents will abandon you, and guess what? The Republicans in Washington will still dislike you and do everything they can to discredit you.
Please, this is a fight our country desperately needs. Make this fillibuster about the very bedrock values and freedoms that all Americans share. It is both the noble and the most politically strategic thing to do.