Sunday, October 12, 2008

You're a Democrat? In Stepford? No, Seriously?

There’s an old joke in Texas that goes like this: “What’s the difference between a Democrat and a Republican in Texas?” Answer: “A thin layer of paint.” As with most jokes, there is an underlying element of truth or the joke wouldn’t be, well, funny. And so it goes with this joke. However, there are parts of Texas where being a Democrat is not usually spoken of in polite social circles. Where being a Democrat is viewed with suspicion and with the assumption that the Democrat in question must be, well, (gasp!) a liberal.

I’ve always been amused, and yes, occasionally irritated, at the reactions I’ve received in Stepford upon revealing I’m a Democrat. There is always a great deal of confusion of how exactly it is that someone who chooses to lead a personally very conservative life could have politically liberal views. However, for the most part, I’ve been amazed at the lack of understanding that exists regarding exactly what it is that Democrats actually believe. So with the help of the Democratic Party of Stepford County (yes, one actually exists), I’d like to share with you what we believe. I’m hoping that by sharing this list, it will make us scary liberals a little less scary and perhaps illustrate, in this very divisive political environment, that Red and Blue, Republican and Democrat, Conservative and Liberal do not necessarily disagree on everything. We may disagree on the path we would like to take to achieve our goals, but at the end of the day, perhaps there really are more things that unite us than divide us.

We believe:

Government can be as good as the people. We have faith that democracy, built on the sacred values of family, freedom, and fairness, can afford every citizen, without exception, the opportunity to achieve their God-given potential.

Democratic government exists to achieve as a community, state, and nation what we cannot achieve as individuals; and that it must not serve only a powerful few.

Every citizen has inalienable rights that even a majority may not take away:

the right to vote
the right to fair and open participation and representation in the democratic process
the right to privacy
We believe in freedom—

from government interference in our private lives and personal decisions
to exercise civil and human rights
of religion and individual conscience
We believe in equal opportunity for all citizens—

to receive a quality public education, from childhood through college
to have access to affordable health care
to find a good job with dignity
to buy or rent a good home in a safe community
to breathe clean air and drink clean water
We believe a growing economy should benefit all citizens—

that the people who work in a business are as important as those who invest in it
that every person should be paid a living wage
that no person who works full time should be paid a wage below the poverty level
that good business offers a fair deal for customers
that the burden of taxes should be fairly distributed
that government policy should not favor corporations that seek offshore tax shelters, exploit workers, or pollute our environment
We believe that our lives, homes, communities, and country are made secure—

by cooperative efforts of involved citizens, law enforcement, and emergency personnel
by retirement and pension security
by encouraging job security where it is possible and providing appropriate assistance and re-training when it is not
by the preservation of our precious natural resources and quality of life
by compassionate policy that offers a safety net for those most vulnerable and in need.
We believe America is made stronger by the men and women who put their lives on the line when it is necessary to engage our military to secure our nation.

We believe America is made more secure by competent diplomatic leadership that uses the moral, ethical, and economic assets of a powerful, free nation to avoid unnecessary military conflict.

We believe in the benefits derived from the individual strengths of our diverse population. We honor “family values” through policies that value all our families.

We believe an honest, ethical government that serves the public interest, and not the special interests, will help all citizens realize economic and personal security.

We believe many challenges require national solutions, but talented and resourceful state citizens, blessed with economic opportunities provided by agriculture, “old” and “new” energy sources, renowned medical and research institutions, and high tech industries, should not need federal action to make progress in providing quality education, affordable health care, a clean environment, economic growth, and good jobs.

Based on our belief in a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, we recommend specific policy goals to establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity.

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