An open letter to Senators Feinstein and Harris

I sent this letter by mail today.  Here’s a copy of what I wrote.

Dear Senators Harris and Feinstein,

First, thank you for your service. I am proud to have you represent me as a citizen and resident of California.

With our president-elect, there is much fear and doubt. Will he exhibit the needed temperament for the job? Will he represent the interests of all Americans, or just his supporters, or just his own? Who will oppose him when there is a need?

I’m sure I speak for many Californians in saying that your role in our government is more important than ever. California on the whole is a socially progressive state, and wants further progress.

I respectfully ask you to consider doing the following.

Be courageous.

Californians will follow your leadership, and respect your choices, more for your courage of convictions than your specific positions and less for whether they align with the interests of a particular voter segment within our state.

We need fighters right now, because fighting is (sadly) going to be the political norm.

Politics and public discourse are going to happen in the public eye and in the court of public opinion, less in the backrooms of Capitol Hill.

As a former Massachusetts resident, I can tell you how admired Senator Warren is for her tenacity. Perhaps knowing this helps gird you for the same.

Embrace the basis of Trump’s support.

There is a desire for real, material change to the political status quo. Mr. Trump tapped into this desire to be sure.

This is a non-partisan issue, as evidenced by Senator Sanders’ success in the primaries as an outsider running with a platform of “political revolution” including changing the role of special interests in politics.

Term limits, campaign finance reform, and reducing the influence of special interests’ money over politicians and policy – these are unifying changes welcomed by Americans of all political affiliation.

I doubt Americans are interested in nuance at this time. One is either strongly for such charge, or not. Those who are seen as incumbents protecting the status quo will be poorly judged as resisting change.

Please consider being strongly for this.

Protect and expand the social progress we’ve made.

America is better for legalizing gay marriage. And for having elected a black president. And for having a female presidential candidate who won the popular vote. And for decriminalizing marijuana so that huge numbers of people will no longer be incarcerated over what we now deem a lesser or non-offense.

However, hateful speech is amongst us, and may well be followed by hateful action.

The weak, disenfranchised, women, and minorities of all types need a voice for equality. More than ever. And while there has been much progress, there is much more needed until we truly live up to the founding spirit of this great country.

We take for granted perhaps the special diversity and tolerance that we enjoy in California. The rest of our country needs your voice for their sake too.

Thank you.

The next four years are going to be hard for you and for America.

Such is the nature of change; it never happens in a predictable or controlled fashion. Rather, it happens spasmodically and unpredictably.

In such an environment, one could be tempted to entrench along party lines. But it is partisanship that Americans want less of.

We can make social progress, and we can fulfill Americans’ desire for a political system that better serves them.

I hope that you may summon the strength and courage on our behalf and with our support.

Sincerely, Don MacLennan

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