Because of space limitations, the Seattle Times could not print my entire letter on Sunday. Here is the original.
I read with horror the letters to the editor published by the Seattle Times on February 13th. Letter after letter claiming purposeful disenfranchisement of people by the political parties, that the superdelegates have already cast their vote, that the parties are acting in an antithetical way to the American ideals, that the caucus system is designed to help insiders keep a strangle-hold on the primary system, and that there is still confusion about why the primary was held.
The first letter claims that both parties designed the system to limit participation. That is false. The selection of a Saturday afternoon was to maximize the ability of people to participate in the caucus. Caucuses have been held in this state since 1892, our first opportunity to participate fully in the selection of a US President after Washington State was officially incorporated in 1889. Washington's first electoral votes were cast for Benjamin Harrison (R). I find it amazing that people seem to purposefully ignore history in discussions. Washington has been a caucus state since the very beginning, but only now, after 8 years of President Bush, do people realize that there is a political world that needs our attention. Why do we need to fall so far before picking ourselves up?
I know that I can't begin to correct all of the misconceptions and misinformation in a single letter, but I do want to address, in the strongest possible terms that can still be published in a newspaper, the false conclusion that the political parties are the problem, either within this presidential primary cycle or in general.
I got involved in politics after fighting cancer in 2003. I walked into my first local political party meeting knowing nothing. Over the past four years, I have learned a great deal about how the system works. It's frustrating sometimes, but there are reasons for every decision at every step of the process. If you complain about the results without trying to get an understanding of where those results came from, you are letting the process work without you. If you want your voice heard, please get involved. If you don't understand the process, please ask. Hear the call to service, and join in the effort, join in the struggle. I won't say join one party or another, they both need your help.
Get onto the field and help us play the game. Here's a helmet. Here are the rules. Learn by doing, and lead by example. Get engaged, get educated, and feel empowered. Nothing will change in a direction that you can appreciate until your feet hit the ground. Trust me, I know.
King County Rep from the 46th District Democrats
Chair, Washington State Progressive Caucus