I realized after reading the following letter, the one thing that has been missing in this debate between Democrats and Republicans, is some common ground. I would have to think long and hard about anything we might agree on. Having said that, knowing my political opponant and I could agree on some issues would help bring civility to the debate. Take the case of Republican State Rep. Jeff Wood, who just made the annoucement that because his party has left him, he’ll now run as an independent for the 67th district.
I’ve included a portion of his letter to his constuents:
Anyone who knows me knows I cherish my independence. Not just as an American and a Veteran, but as an elected official. By being the only legislator out of 132 to vote against their party's budget, I've demonstrated my independence under the toughest circumstances. I first joined the party of Ronald Reagan because I believed it was the party of fiscal responsibility and limited government. I don't know that Reagan would recognize the current Republican Party.
There have been many of us frustrated with the party because of the abandonment of the principles we believed the party stood for. Whether it is the abandonment of the basic principles of never committing troops without a defined mission and exit strategy, or the continued squandering of our children's future by excessive borrowing and spending, we have continually watched principle being replaced with political expedience at both the state and federal levels. McCain has now embraced the irresponsible borrow and spend policy that just last year he said was morally reprehensible. He has also pledged years of commitment of our troops to participate in a nation building strategy for Iraq, our party once opposed, which includes outlawing private firearms for citizens in order to secure the peace.
But at the same time Republicans put the country in deeper debt, and they continue to try and prove Benjamin Franklin wrong in attempting to buy us security by sacrificing liberty. They have mandated every citizen carry a new National ID card and eroded our rights to due process with the suspension of habeas corpus, promotion of torture, and retroactive immunity for telecom corporations that eavesdrop on our private conversations without a warrant or just cause. They have over committed our troops without a clear mission or definition of victory, and failed to support them when they come home. As a veteran, I find this deeply offensive. They have weakened this country, not strengthened it.
Thank you Rep. Wood. I hope we all might be able to debate someday, and take a stand together on common concerns, despite the ideological difference.