Dear Editor – Reflections on CCDC

Deqr Editor, 

The other day, I received the latest Culver City Democratic Club (CCDC) newsletter. Once again, reading the document frustrated and angered me. I wasn’t frustrated or angry because we, as a society, are not doing enough to meet “progressive goals.” Instead, I was frustrated and angry because of Mr. Schwartz’s constant assertion that those of us who are not “progressive” are, essentially, Republicans. For me, nothing could be further from the truth.

I’m sure that those in leadership roles in the CCDC will claim that I’m just another “right wing” person interloping into the Democratic party. However, I’ve been a Democrat for my entire voting life, casting my first national vote for Jimmy Carter in 1976, and voting consistently Democratic since then.

I was on the streets of Del Rey canvassing against Proposition 8 (the proposition that limited gay marriage). Why? I’m not gay–I was married with two kids at the time. I did it because it was the right thing to do, although I caught criticism from my actual Republican friends.

My home is likely far greener than most in the CCDC. I was an early adopter of both solar power and electrified vehicles. I still have both. Yes, I’m not poor or struggling, but in fact, I put my resources where my mouth was on both issues. I’ll match my record of actually doing something “green,” of actually making a personal sacrifice to do so, against any of their member’s rhetoric.

I’m a cyclist, too–doing a number of my weekly trips via bicycle. Why? Because I enjoy it and it helps keep me fit. And while, yes, one of my bikes is an e-Bike (although one far more affordable (and accessible to less wealthy folks) than certain CCDC stalwarts ride), I only use primarily when I am carrying something heavy. Otherwise, I use my human-powered bike–it’s even better for the environment and for my body. Combined, that accounts for about five of my eight or so journeys a week. I’ll wager that I have at least as much bona fide interest in safe cycling as the CCDC, including Mr. Fish, does.

At the CCDC BBQ on June 30th, I was surprised by a few things–things that seemed to call into question the organization’s actual commitment to its platform. Much of the food consisted of hot dogs and McDonald’s McNuggets (I counted about twelve 10-packs), neither of which are remotely sustainable. There were a multitude of sugared soft-drinks and desserts with no healthy alternatives (I’m diabetic and I have it under control precisely because I avoid such things and, by the look of the crowd, I wasn’t the only one with diabetes in the audience). Why alternatives for people with a common health issue weren’t provided was a mystery to me. I guess we aren’t included in “inclusiveness.” And when I finished my plastic bottle of water, I asked where I could recycle it. I was told that there was no recycling–just to throw it away. I’d expect that even a Trump rally does better than that.

I’ve talked the talk AND walked the walk of a Democrat. That I am not a progressive (particularly a performative progressive) does not take away from that. The CCDC board does not have any legitimate reason to criticize lifelong Democrats because they do not share extremist values, yet they seem to revel in dishing that criticism out. Asserting that CCDC speaks for the Democrats of Culver City is a falsehood perpetuated by the extremists that control that organization, proven by their continued efforts to marginalize and exclude more traditional Democrats. This must stop.

Perhaps, the ideologues running the CCDC (and the DSA) are hoping to create a dystopia, as Marx clearly stated that capitalism needs to become horrific to foster the “people’s revolution.” Maybe that’s their goal, I don’t know. Or maybe they’re taking a page from “de-growth socialists” and trying to use climate change as a proxy to –foster “revolution.” Certainly, the language used by CCDC leadership and CCDC-supported council candidates sounds suspiciously like the work of Kohei Santo and Kate Raworth, the proponents of “de-growth communism” and “doughnut economics.”

Whatever their philosophical basis may be, I do know that the CCDC’s continuous efforts to push Democrats apart do not help any of our causes, be they bold progressive goals or bread-and-butter issues for hardworking people. Instead, it breeds divisiveness and disdain.

I hope that, at some point, the CCDC has the humility to recognize that the “progressive” agenda is not the goal of all, or even likely most, Democrats in Culver City or Los Angeles. However, as long as CCDC continues to turn a blind eye to many lifelong Democrats, it cannot claim to represent Democrats.

Sure, the CCDC may win a local election here and there because of a certain amount of “party discipline,” but winning a battle is pyrrhic if you lose the war. Right now, the war that Democrats need to be fighting with unity is the war against the far-right takeover of our federal government. Should that occur, all of us will lose and lose badly. The divisions sown by Mr. Schwartz’s rhetoric and the CCDC’s extremism will be part of the reason for that potential disaster.

Gary Zeiss

The Actors' Gang