WHY I’M A DEMOCRAT
By: Karen D
I grew up in an upper middle class family in Indiana. I attended Wittenberg University here in Springfield, Ohio, and began my college years in the fall of 1963. Because in the 1960s no one could vote until they turned 21, I did not vote in the election when JFK became president. My parents did not vote for him; in fact, they were both staunch Republicans, and my mother worked at the election polls for the Republican party. But against the backdrop of the Kennedy assassination during my college years, followed by the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the subsequent race riots, I was forced to consider what was “right” and “wrong” about our government before I voted for the first time. Which candidates would represent the values that I held? My private college education taught me to think for myself, to think critically, and to make considered decisions about what I wanted in a government.
What I wanted was a government that would protect all of its citizens from chaos and lawlessness by establishing fair, enforceable laws. But government should also provide for its citizens that which they cannot not provide for themselves, such as roads, bridges, ports, air traffic controllers, and the like. I had learned about something called the social safety net – where the government protected its most vulnerable citizens, such as children and the elderly, from lives of destitution and want. The government can, and I believe should, provide an infrastructure of care to enable its citizens to flourish both socially and economically.
Deciding which party I wanted to affiliate with became simple once I had realized that I wanted all citizens to have a shot at a good life. To me that means access to a good education, a chance to live in a safe neighborhood, access to affordable healthy food, and access to affordable healthcare when needed. I believe that all citizens should be treated equally and with respect and dignity. This was a pretty simple choice. Democrats – members of the party of FDR – provide infrastructure that allows citizens to work and provide for themselves and their families. Democrats welcome those like themselves, and those who are different, whether culturally, socially, economically, or any other way. We are all entitled to equal treatment and respect. Every one of us!
The Democratic Party may frustrate me much of the time with its inability to take decisive actions, and with its internal fighting, but these are certainly the folks who fight for the values that I hold. All of us deserve a shot at the good life. Not just those who are already wealthy, who avoid paying their fair share of taxes, and find paying a living wage unacceptable. Which party supports those who have less than they need to survive? Who fights for working men and women living paycheck to paycheck, and those families who face ruin from a catastrophic illness? It is certainly not the Mitch McConnells of the world. The Democrats come closest to my value system.
I’m a Democrat because this is the party that aligns with MY values. Fair and equal treatment for everyone. Absolutely everyone.