A Democratic Passion That Burns Bright
By: Austin S
The theme of this month's newsletter is a very broad “What Democrats have done.” While I could go through and list the numerous policies that Democrats have spearheaded, bettering the lives of millions across the country from the days of FDR to Biden, Melinda and Crystal have assured me that I do have a word limit. So I want to think in a much more personal manner: What have Democrats done for me? I could highlight the relief I feel about student loan forgiveness amongst many things. More than this, however, I want to reflect on what this party and the people within it have done for me.
I’ve told this story many times, but I first walked into a campaign office 8 years ago. I was a sophomore at Wittenberg and enrolled in a general education credit class called Campaigns and Elections. One essential component of the course was to volunteer 10 hours on a campaign or at a polling location. I was not “political” at the time; I was progressive, I had followed the presidential elections and was the only one cheering in my household when Obama won in 2008 and 2012, despite the fact that I was just a few months shy of being able to cast my vote. So when it came time to get involved, I walked from Witt’s campus to Dem HQ downtown. I made some phone calls and enjoyed my time, I came back daily, and soon caught the “bug.” I quickly went from volunteer to full time organizer while attending Witt. If you need the reminder, 2014 was not a great year for us, as we lost nearly every seat locally and statewide. But despite being downtrodden, I was not defeated. That first cycle ignited a passion that still burns bright inside me today.
Over the past 8 years, that passion has led me into many different roles, and culminated in my current position as Chair of the Clark County Democratic Party, a position I am honored and humbled by every single day. I believe that the CCDP and its members are the frontlines of Democracy. We are the neighborhood leaders who believe in a shared vision of a united United States, a country that puts the “US” in the “US of A" and a community that puts people over profit. This work can be taxing, with the constant fires needing to be put out, the never-ending projects, the Trumpers who spam call every evening, the long days and sleepless nights. But for many of us, this work is a calling; an intrinsic mission to do the most good. When I am weary and tired from yet another day of fighting, I think of who I am fighting for. I think of my students, who are anxious about their safety, their future and their current situation. I think of the nurses, firefighters, grocery workers, and service workers who help in ways big and small every day. I think of the auto workers and tradesmen who keep our country running everyday. I think of the retirees who have given their lives to helping their families build the American dream. This can seem daunting, but then I think of who I am fighting with: all of you. I could not and would not be this far in the fight if it were not for those who’ve given me a kind word, a relatable story, a stern look, or helping hand along the way. So simply, what have Democrats done for me? They have given me hope, given me a purpose, given me lifelong friends, and given me a reason to get up and fight for what is right every single day.