Friday, November 17, 2006

A Montana friend of mine wrote this letter

which was printed in both her local papers.  In my opinion, it's a great letter!

Dear GOP,

I consider myself a reasonable woman. Although my husband tells me I am a little Pollyannaish, I like to think that I understand the realities of the world in which we live.  I don't describe myself as either Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative. I am too complex for that. I find that there are good ideas and strong committed people on both sides of nearly every argument, and it's the ones nearer the middle who get the most work done in spite of extremists on either end of the spectrum.

I am proud to call myself a Montanan and to live in a state where one can see campaign signs for a Democratic Senate candidate and a Republican House candidate on the same lawn. That's one of the things that make Montanans such an interesting bunch. We call one another neighbors in spite of the incredible distances in this state. We agree to disagree and remain friends in spite of our differences. We talk and we listen and we think.

But apparently, you, the GOP, decided that we are a bunch of reactionary and scared people with little minds and less will. Your deluge of campaign materials over the last three months of the 2006 campaign season attempted to push every button we might have that would cause us to react out of fear…fear of "liberals" or terrorists or taxes or some other boogeyman issue. But the most telling thing that you wanted us to be afraid of was change. Any change.

But I believe change is a catalyst for growth and opportunity. Change opens doors and often minds. Change engenders creativity and develops flexibility. And flexibility keeps us strong.

A crusty old former boss of mine, Jack, taught me a valuable lesson about change. It was the early '80s and at the time I was working for a company that was associated with the cable television industry in Silicon Valley. There was so much opportunity around that people were falling over it. Our company was on the brink of some major innovations. This was cause for much discussion about outcomes and ramifications and "what ifs" and "then whats." Tens of millions of dollars were at stake, as well as people's jobs. At one particularly long meeting where we were accomplishing nothing, Jack finally stood up, thumped his knuckles on the table and asked the group what was the most ambitious thing we could do, because that was what we were going to do. And someone asked him what would happen if it didn't work. And Jack said, "Then we'll do something new."

You see, Jack understood that to be a success, one has to act decisively, and without attachment to their ideas. That to grow you need to evaluate, act, reevaluate, make change and move on.

It is patently obvious that the American people are discontented by the way things have been going. And the GOP's only answer was to offer the status quo and to demonize, criticize, and try to make us afraid of those who stand up and say, "Hey, let's find a better way, a different way…let's do something new."

Well, GOP, Montanans didn't buy it. We didn't allow ourselves to fall prey to your bullying and endless mumbled phone calls (sometimes up to five in one day) or fake polls or slick mail pieces warning us of our impending doom if we elected "liberal" Democrats. (By the way, comparing Jon Tester to Zorro was a questionable move. If you recall, Zorro was a hero who fought for the little folks…can't have any of that, now can we?)

There's a change in the air here in Montana today, and it isn't just the fall giving over to winter. It is the fresh breeze of opportunities soon to be realized and ideas not yet implemented. It's the excitement one feels at the beginning of a journey. And it's about finding a better way and doing something new.

Congratulations, Senator Tester. Now get yourself to D.C. and start making it look a little more like Montana.

Lise Rousseau  Silva

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