|Volume 10 no. 3
Valley Democratic Club Newsletter
At large members
With the primary election
behind us and the general just around the corner, now is that time in an
election year when clubs shift into high gear. Already, many groups have
begun to lay the groundwork for the months ahead.
The annual St. Patrick's
dinner at the carpenter's hall in Hayward was a huge success. CA's First
lady Sharon Davis delivered a well received speech, capitalizing
on the Governor's accomplishments; higher test scores throughout the state's
schools, increasing worker's compensation payments & a new Department
of Managed Care were some of the cornerstones Sharon Davis spoke of and
with more charisma & energy than, well, you know.
Also reminding us why were
democrats & why it is so important to come together and get behind
the victors of the March primary were Ellen Corbett, Liz Figueroa, Johann
Klehs, and many other local electeds. Congratulations on a job well
Our program for next week's
meeting will include a presentation from Sheila Jordan, Alameda
County School Superintendent who was recently re-elected to another term.
Many are unaware of the responsibilities of the county board of education,
so Ms. Jordan will provide us with an overview of her office. We also will
be putting before the club, a resolution from the Metropolitan Greater
Oakland Democratic Club calling for a moratorium on executions in California.
Please review the materials before the meeting.
It is with sadness that we
report James Boynton's passing on March 21. James & his wife June were
past club members and lived in Castro Valley for 40 years until they moved
to South Carolina in 1999. Jim served in New Guinea during WWII and in
the Korean War. He was a teacher until 1987, when he retired from teaching
and the Air Force. A service was held April 5. We wish the Boynton family
Starting with this issue,
we will feature a guest columnist in every newsletter in hopes of getting
an informal exchange of ideas & thoughts circulating throughout the
membership. Some of the brightest minds are members of this club &
it is the editor's intention to feature a variety of topics & viewpoints.
There are important issues that are often ignored, & it is my hope
to bring those issues front and center and include room for dissent. After
all, we are a small club under a large tent.
By Esther Goldberg
Although more Americans are
more outspoken against the open-endedness of the war on terrorism, Mr.
Bush's standing in the polls remains high. Indeed, some Democrats appear
to be more for retaliation than George Bush.
History gives us some clues;
although it does not repeat itself, it can warn and recommend. The relevant
history here is that of the Cold War when we felt communism and the Soviet
Union both challenged us; we viewed them as separate and distinct threats
and responded to them differently.
We responded to the ideological
challenges of communism with (among other policies) the Marshall Plan,
Point Four, the Truman Doctrine, the Voice of America, the creation of
the Atlantic Community and a Western Hemisphere Alliance of common ideas
We aimed at the creation of an intellectual consensus against class warfare,
market central planning, and the substitution of collective property for
To the Soviet Union, we responded
militarily with Containment, establishment of CIA, the NATO military alliance,
Strategic Air Command, Mutual Assured Destruction, and a constant upgrading
of our military hardware. These are controversial as they cost a lot of
dollars and seemed to threaten our lives; they made us seem as though we
were on a hair-trigger looking for trouble. Whether the threats and the
nature of our responses were real and appropriate will be left to history
to judge, but for purposes of this discussion, it is important to distinguish
between the two types of challenges and the differences between our responses:
the first, primarily intellectual and ideological, the second, military.
We should parse carefully
the challenge we face and the means we choose to deal with it. Rather than
a broad brush which forces us to respond against every idea and barroom
bull session, let us focus on Terrorists, people who have the knowledge,
the intent and the capability to damage American interests or those of
our allies. Terrorism" is vague and abstract; sending American troops to
stamp out terrorism everywhere will not succeed. We will have our fingers
in hundreds of holes in thousands of dikes, trying to stamp out a state
of mind. We will multiply the number of enemies of the United States and
increase a domestic lack of consensus. That we do not want to do.
At this time we face a similar
duality: terrorists do things, but terrorism is a set of ideas. Terrorists
who have attacked American interests are criminals who may be found and
brought to justice. But to declare war on terrorism is fruitless. Shooting
at abstractions is about as productive as shooting your mouth off; centuries
of killing in the name of religion should be instructive.
Because most people did not
reflect on the differences between communism and the Soviet Union, McCarthyism
was able to slash and burn people who asked questions or were progressive,
reformers, liberal, and socialists or communists, obscuring debate on military
confrontation. Moreover, the blurring of our focus and our inability to
distinguish our goals led us cluelessly into the jungles of Vietnam and
the forests of Central America as we fought against a "communism" which
was never a threat to the United States or to American interests. The country
nearly came apart over Vietnam because its "threat" seemed unrealistic
to so many Americans. Moreover, as the public became more sophisticated,
by huge majorities it opposed support for the Contras against the Sandinistas.
The public expects to see a clear connection between the lives and fortune
they are asked to expend, the threat to our country and the degree of probable
success of any program. The public is unwilling to support open-ended programs
that have no clear objectives.
If the war on "terrorism"
becomes too vague, too diffuse, too dispersed, support for it will decline,
despite the horrors of September 11. If "terrorism" or the "axis of evil"
of Iran, Iraq, North Korea, (or the IRA, or the Colombian rebels, or the
Chechen rebels) pose no credible threat to American interests, military
responses will grow increasingly unpopular both with the American people
and our friends abroad, no matter how relentlessly the administration flogs
the twin towers. Many who supported Mr. Bush will tire of being asked to
sacrifice endlessly for vague objectives in unsuccessful cat and mouse
games. We will multiply our enemies and the number of "terrorists." Note
widespread disbelief that we were really attacked in much of the Middle
East and Central Asia. We cannot buy support with chocolate bars; we need
clear objectives with agreed-upon foundations.
Terrorism and terrorists
are distinct problems for the United States. Because Mr. Bush has declared
war on international "terrorism", he has no option but to endlessly expand
the targets for American military action. But it is to our advantage to
minimize the number of enemies we face. We need to avoid war because war
has too many unintended consequences; it is the failure of foreign policy.
American foreign policy is supposed to serve American national interests;
instability, expansion of conflict, breakdown of domestic consensus, a
budget increasingly unbalanced by military spending and increasing numbers
of hate- America campaigns will not serve our interests.
Monday, April 15
Castro Valley Women's
18330 Redwood Rd.
Sat. May 11
Rowell Ranch Rodeo Parade
@ 9:30 am on Nunez (off CV Blvd. By Jack in the Box)
Sat. May 11
Campaign training workshop-San Leandro
by Nat'l Women's Political Caucus Call Robin Torello for more info 635-3121
Friday, May 17
Reception for Barbara Lee
by Hayward Demos & CVDC Home of Monika & Harry Scott
E St. (at East Ave.)
16 Special meeting with Assemblyman John Dutra
8 Alameda County Democratic Party -Day at the A's game
tailgate, plaza level seats & a contribution toward general election
$14/children 12 & under
James Farley 925-294-8037
Monday, June 17
CVDC regular meeting
13 CVDC Annual BBQ @ Rowell Ranch