Here is an edited copy of the letter Rochelle Sivan sent Thursday to members of the Framingham Democratic Town Committee:
Friends and members of the FDTC,
I am writing this letter to tell you that as of this morning I have switched my voter registration from Democratic to Unenrolled and hence am resigning as the FDTC chair.
I am a lifetime Democrat so this has been a very hard step for me to take but I've come to the conclusion that the Democratic Party no longer stands for anything I believe in.
The reasons are many and have been accumulating since the Democratic takeover of the House in 2006 and have only come faster and more furious since the 2008 elections giving the Democrats full control. Here are some of these reasons:
1. Our state of Perpetual War is continuing and even expanding. Next thing you know we'll be in Yemen. Our resources are being spent, horrible atrocities are being committed by US troops, and the wars are pointless and unwinnable. See Western troops accused of executing 10 Afghan civilians, including children.
2. The bailout which favored the very people who were to blame in the first place and has left in place the deregulation and too-big-to-fail institutions, while doing very little for the bottom 95% of us.
3. The continuing erosion of our civil rights to the point where American citizens are no longer guaranteed due process or habeas corpus, which basically means anyone the government deems as troublesome can be "disappeared". See One day we'll all be terrorists.
The final straw was the travesty of the Health Care Insurance Reform bill that was passed in the Senate on Christmas Eve. Not only is this a huge giveaway to Insurance companies, not only will this leave millions uninsured, not only does this bill include no cost controls and is structured as a means-based entitlement, which means that like welfare it will constantly be under attack from the Right, the 30% co-insurance will leave many families unable to utilize their insurance without going into bankruptcy. Just like today, except that today they aren't forced into buying something they can't afford. And as a final insult, it includes provisions stripping women of the most basic right of all - ownership of their own bodies. Note to Democrats - pro-choice is in the party's platform and you don't compromise on principles. Just a reminder - the U.S. spends far more than any other Western country per capita, has worse outcomes than most, and to top it off, leaves millions without access to healthcare. Interestingly enough, the rest of the world has no for-profit insurance companies, and no other national solution looks remotely like this mishmash.
I know from experience that many will say that we must elect more progressives, the bill will be improved later on, the other side is worse, what choice do we have? Let me answer these points one by one:
1. Elect more Democrats and progressives - there are 82 members in the Congress Progressive Caucus and only 52 conservative "blue dogs" but which side constantly prevails? The problem isn't in the numbers.
2. The bill will be improved later - Like Nafta? Or the Patriot Act? Will that happen when we have control over the Congress and Presidency? Oh wait...
3. The other side is worse - Yes, the Democrats are better than the party of rabid conservatives the GOP has become, but not enough to matter, not enough to make the changes this country so desperately needs.
4. There is no other choice - I agree there is no viable third party but almost all of the important achievements the Left has won for the people of this country have come from people working outside of the political system - see the Abolitionists, the Labor activists, the Suffragettes and the Civil Rights movements. Apparently, the existing political system is too invested in the status quo to change without enormous outside pressure.
I have been agonizing about this for weeks, and I apologize for leaving before my term is up. I've enjoyed being part of this committee and working with you for more than 7 years. My hope is that things will change and I'll be able to return to the party, but for now I can no longer continue to pretend that I think electing Democrats is significant.