You Might be a Democrat If...

The Villages Democrats club is largely made up of Democrats.  This is the place to share your thoughts about what being a Democrat means to you.  Here are some examples:

Why I am a Democrat...
From the Taylor County Democratic Committee

I choose to belong to a party of inclusion A party that includes the affluent and the working perspective.  A party that looks out for the "least among us" whether we be old, minority, women, immigrant, sick, children...

I am a Democrat because I too believe in the fundamental right of all Americans to participate in our nation’s prosperity.

I believe in a government that enhances the lives of its citizens with affordable health care, cleaner environment, strong living standards, and an innovative educational system.  Most of all I am a Democrat because I believe in the will of the people.

I am a Democrat because I believe in the lives of the everyday people that make up our country...

I am a Democrat because I know Democrats put the people first, and the country is a better place when a Democrat is in office...

I believe in a clean environment...

Democratic Governor Adlai Stevenson at the 1952 Convention, "what counts now is not what we are against, but what we are for.  Who leads us is less important than what lead - what convictions, what courage, what faith - win or lose."

I am a Democrat first and foremost because Democrats embrace diversity, equality, and individualism...

I am a Democrat because we are a party that passionately believes in supporting the goals and ideals of those folks in America whose voices must be heard the most- mothers, fathers, children, teachers, police officers, nurses, students, the elderly, the middle class, the working class, the poor, the homeless, the hungry, the sick, and the needy....

"We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals;
we know now that it is bad economics.Out of the collapse of a prosperity
whose builders boasted their practicalityhas come the conviction that in the long run economic morality pays."

Franklin D. Rooosevelt
(Second Inaugural Address, January 20, 1937)

Why I Am a Democrat

Dave - Park City, Utah 
Entered on March 28, 2008

My Republican friends have often asked, with incredulous snarls: “Why are you a Democrat?”

I finally decided that I owed them, and myself, an honest reflection upon my choice of Party: 

I am a Democrat because shared sacrifice is, in my view, a greater act of patriotism than wearing a flag lapel pin.

I am a Democrat because my faith is a private matter and not a litmus test of my quality as a citizen.

I am a Democrat because I would rather see a poor child fed or a devastated neighborhood rebuilt before reducing taxes on those making so much money that they can live where such things are never seen.

I am a Democrat because I cannot support politicians that would take away a woman’s right to control her own body while otherwise ranting that government should get out of our lives.

I am a Democrat because I see several things wrong with eliminating the necessary tax revenue to wage a trillion dollar war of choice.

I am a Democrat because I don’t believe that the oil, insurance, and pharmaceutical industries deserve obscene windfall profits and tax breaks while so many Americans can’t afford gas to get them them to work or health care and prescription drugs to keep them alive.

I am a Democrat because if only government can protect the national security and provide for the least fortunate among us, then it should be run by those who don’t fundamentally hate the concept of government.

I am a Democrat because laws discriminating against gay relationships share something in common with a constitutional amendment banning flag-burning: Neither is necessary to preserve the Republic, but both serve as loud distractions from the important issues that affect us all.

I am a Democrat because human rights, the freedom of man, and the rule of law are the foundations of our country’s greatness, and any fear-based compromise of such principles is both shortsighted and dangerous.

I am a Democrat because no leader should impede any life-saving science or be dismissive of life-threatening environmental problems.

I am a Democrat because I know that there are more people harmed by defective products, medical mistakes, and bad-faith acts by insurance companies than there are frivolous lawsuits filed; and that no liability insurance company has yet proportionately lowered premiums in exchange for laws passed by Republicans that unfairly limit a deserving victim’s damages.

I am a Democrat because I don’t blame the poor for their plight, nor will I ignore company owners who acquire vast wealth by abusing their workers.

I am a Democrat because the just and Biblical aspirations to “feed the hungry, cure the sick, and comfort the comfortless” each require direct action which does not result from “trickle down” schemes invented to reward the “haves” and leave the “have nots” at their mercy.

I am a Democrat because I realize that America is made safer by closer cooperation with our allies and greater diplomatic engagement with our enemies.

I am a Democrat because I believe that the rich can take care of themselves pretty well, but that the poor and disadvantaged need and deserve the help of a compassionate government.

I am a Democrat because history teaches that organized labor was created to counter corporate greed and abuse, not the other way around.

I am a Democrat because it is hard not to see a causal relationship between lead-tainted toys flooding our markets and a gutting of the Consumer Products Safety Commission budget and staff.

I am a Democrat because my Party proudly has a long tradition of African-American, Latino, and other minority members serving as active meaningful participants and not merely acting as props at national conventions and televised events.

I am a Democrat because dictating foreign policy to others at gunpoint while creating greater animosity with, and isolation from, the rest of the world are things that should be avoided, not praised.

I am a Democrat because I know that my life will not change dramatically if I don’t receive another upper income bracket tax cut, yet I am certain that a child somewhere would benefit from a hot lunch and a better education purchased with those dollars.

I am a Democrat because our current candidates and our next nominee serve as an example that neither race nor gender is a bar to leadership.

I am a Democrat because it is undeniably clear that equal justice, protection of consumers, and correction of corporate misdeeds can only be enforced by strong and fair government regulation and by unfettered access to our courts.

I am a Democrat because most that would disagree with that last statement have only a profit motive for doing so.

I am a Democrat because I am ashamed of the nexus between record oil prices and historically high profits for Exxon/Mobil on the one hand; and on the other, a Republican President and VP who were each in the “oil bidness” and who openly support an increased fossil-fuel energy policy and special tax incentives for oil companies.

I am a Democrat because I know that human suffering and lost opportunity are greater problems than either the size of my government or the amount of my stock dividends.

I am a Democrat because I am proud that we are a nation of immigrants, whose strengths and talents have resulted in the strongest and most diverse society on earth; and because I know that we will not be stronger tomorrow by building fences and jails for those who seek a better life in our country.

I am a Democrat because I also understand that compassionate aid, rather than constant artillery, does more to enhance America’s global standing.

I am a Democrat because it is a fundamental rule of henhouse guarding that you don’t put the fox in charge, which Republicans happily enjoy doing; as in routinely placing industry cronies as heads of environmental protection, security regulation, mine safety and other agencies that were created to protect us and not their livelihoods.

I am a Democrat because I believe that both dissent and diversity are signs of strength, and that policies that discourage either are signs of a nation’s weakness.

I am a Democrat because the above political and social beliefs are not embraced to protect my own personal wealth or position, yet none of them preclude me or anyone else from creating and enjoying great economic success as a result of innovative or hard effort.

I am a Democrat because at my fundamental core, I like people more than things. Because I think that my having money does not mean that others don’t deserve a decent life. Because I feel that there is more power in hope than in fear. 

If you don’t agree with me on any or all of my reasons for being a Democrat, that’s not only perfectly fine, but it is also why we have a two-party system and a First Amendment. 

But if you do feel empathy with the beliefs above, the next time some condescending elephant-in-the-room asks you disdainfully: “Why are you a Democrat?” I can only hope that you answer them with an equal amount of conviction and pride.

Why I am still a Democrat (even though I can't stand my party right now)

By Bryan Dean Wright 

Published January 18, 2017

So why don’t I leave the Democratic Party?

Growing up in rural Oregon, being a Democrat was a good thing. My grandparents celebrated President Roosevelt and his efforts to pull the nation from the brink of the Great Depression. There were good government jobs for those with strong backs and willing hands. The elderly and disabled could count on Social Security to comfort them in their hardest years.

Most especially, my family was grateful for FDR’s efforts to bring electricity and phone lines to our farm.

As my parents grew up, they took inspiration from President Kennedy and his call for shared sacrifice and service. They agreed that their fellow citizens ought to first ask what they might do for their country, not the other way around. Everyone was expected to work and contribute, especially as we battled the Soviet Union and the evils of communism.

Most of all, my parents stood firm with President Johnson as he signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, ensuring that black Americans had – and will always have – an unshakable place at the American table.   

In the 1980s, my siblings and I grew up witnessing the power and importance of compromise. Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill (D-Mass.) worked closely with President Reagan to find common cause on tax reform and immigration despite profound ideological differences. Later, we watched a rural leader and neighbor – Speaker Tom Foley (D-Wash.) – work with President Bush as the Soviet Union collapsed and the U.S. emerged as the leader of the free world.

In short, my family felt pride to be part of the Democratic Party – and America.

But throughout the 1990s, things started to change. For the parties. And for the country.

In 1999, the timber mill in my hometown closed, with nothing to replace it. Friends and family moved away. Businesses went bankrupt. My county became older and poorer.

But rural Oregon wasn’t alone. Throughout the late 1980s and 1990s, this same scene played out across the nation. Steel mills, canneries, furniture plants, and mines. Gone. Their loss impacted not just white working families but black and brown too.

The cause of this decline? My family saw a mix of corporate greed, free trade agreements, unfair environmental regulations, and technology like automation and robotics.

But there was also another guilty party: urban elites. These rich-getting-richer Americans viewed our land as "Fly Over States," filled with poor-getting-poorer hillbillies. We may have grown the food on their plates, but we weren’t good enough to enjoy it with them.

Not surprisingly, these former neighbors eventually became The Others.

Both political parties understood this sad development and took advantage. 

In 1992, Republican leaders cast gay men like me as child predators in order to scare (fellow) Christians and rural folks to the polls – and their party. 

Democrats took their own turn, using identity politics to cobble together their coalition of women, minorities, and urbanites that cast the rest of America aside.

The battle between the extremes was on. Tea Partiers tossed out moderate Republicans while liberal Democrats made no room for their rural brethren.

The result? Our democracy lost the people and temperament for compromise and empathy.

Meanwhile, the country’s problems went largely unresolved for nearly 20 years. Incomes have remained flat. Costs of living – specifically housing – have skyrocketed. And young people have saddled themselves with student debt. Our nation’s future is now stuck at home living with their parents.

Is it any wonder that nobody’s happy with this political arrangement? Approval ratings for members of Congress are about the same as those for communist North Korea.

President-elect Trump has the chance to bring about a much-needed rebirth of the American political system. And though I’m skeptical – he recently called Democrats “clowns” – I’m still hopeful; so too are nearly 60 percent of my fellow Democrats who want him to succeed.

But if Trump fails, how do we break this fever of division? And how do Democrats help encourage that process? After all, we need multiple voices in America’s democracy. We are not North Korea – or China or Russia – with their single political party.

In short, I believe the Democrats can make a compelling case if we rediscover and embrace the legacies of Roosevelt, Kennedy, Johnson, O’Neill, and Foley. We have a proven path forward.

First, we’ve got to find, train, and promote candidates who put America first, not our party. No more ideologues who are unwilling to compromise. That means things have to change at the Democratic National Committee – a topic I’ll cover in another column.

In the meantime, here’s one simple idea: abandon divisive groups like “Gays for Obama” or “Latinos for Obama.” How refreshing it would be for committees to instead be based on our cities, like “Denver for Obama.” We’d all show up as neighbors – black and white, gay and straight.

Democrats and Republicans.

Second, we have to adopt policies that are centrist and accommodating. I’ve drafted a list of 10 principles to guide us – from term limits to new trade agreements – all of which were formed from conversations I’ve had with Republicans and Democrats who share my passion for compromise and progress.

I have no illusions that collaboration will be easy or without conflict. In fact, I embrace civilized debate. Most of us do. But we’re tired of the endless fighting. And we have no shortage of problems to tackle. There’s little time to waste.

If President Trump cannot make America great again, then Democrats like me are ready to offer an alternative. My hunch is that, if we are earnest in our appeals, families across this country – including mine – might give us another chance to govern.

And that’s why I’m sticking with – and will help reshape – a new Democratic Party.

Bryan Dean Wright is a former CIA ops officer and member of the Democratic Party. He contributes on issues of politics, national security, and the economy. Follow him on Twitter @BryanDeanWright.

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