In response to your Nov. 10 editorial "Democrats, Proceed Cautiously": The political terms "left" and "liberal" have been so demonized in recent campaigns that people forget the what "liberal" actually means: free from bigotry, in favor of progressive political reform, and, according to the American College Dictionary, "in accord with the policy of leaving the individual as unrestricted as possible in the opportunities of self-expression or self-fulfillment." Should the Democrats decide to espouse these principles, they would have a strong political platform with much more "moral value" than the Republicans.
The reason most people become Democrats in the first place is because, more than anything, they care deeply about their fellow man and the well-being and individual fulfillment of people from all walks of life. At heart, Democrats can agree that the greatness of this country comes from all of its citizens, down to the poorest and most downtrodden. If we are to lead through example (and not force), we should set an example of a society where every individual is valued equally, and no one is left behind.
This is what the "left" stands for. "Moral values" should not be the property of the Republicans.
Although I am writing from Singapore, I want to make it clear that I am an American, I vote, I was born in Texas, and I graduated from a university there this year.
The thing Democrats ought to be doing right now is replacing the current party leadership. They are too focused on reacting to polls and running "safe" elections. It is clear that a safe choice is not what wins elections.
The Democratic Party leadership has lost the ability to organize people, something which used to be the hallmark of the left, but which Karl Rove does better.
This is how Karl Rove is winning elections: by mobilizing the base and getting more evangelicals out to the polls - not by appealing to an imaginary middle.
Democrats could lead among young people in particular. Single women are another untapped bloc. Mobilizing these people will take organization, and - most important - a bold agenda.
We have to co-opt Republican issues, not adopt them.
Travis R. Clemens
In the Nov. 5 article "Where the Democrats go from here," political scientist Andy Taylor opines: "In the Southern states, there's a kind of antielitism which you would think, economically, would make these people pro-Democrat, but it's a cultural anti-elitism." This is just the type of bad advice - and faulty logic - that harms both the media and the Democratic Party.
Like the rest of the middle class, the people from the South and from Middle America are tired of being lectured by a self-endowed elite represented primarily by the media, universities, and Hollywood. In sum we say to the elite: "Stop telling us what to think, what to feel, and who to vote for."
Regarding the Nov. 8 article "Maybe a Democrat can win in the South": As a Yankee transplanted to East Tennessee five years ago, I see some people here who live in a separate culture and are intolerant of anyone who isn't "from here" - meaning your family has been here for several generations. Their time is mainly spent going to church, socializing with church members, watching Christian TV, and listening to Christian radio. While that's important, their lack of knowledge of what's going on in the world is truly frightening.
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