What Does the Democratic Party Stand For?
I have heard what we as Democrats stand for summed up into one word before, for me that word is compassion.
While simplistic, it’s spot-on.
I know that I am wading into some very tricky territory when I try to define what it is that we stand for, because as much as any one of you have done, I too have traveled this state and know our Illinois Democrats, their make-up, and the various forms we take well.
I do however think that we Democrats share a great deal in common with each other and it is that commonality that draws newly emerging Democrats to identify with us. That is why we need to talk about our basic identity and why people should become Democrats, be active within the Democratic Party, and why they should support our candidates, especially now as more people are getting involved than ever before.
- In Economic Justice (A good paying Job) that provides opportunities for growth for all our citizens and a brighter future for the generations that will follow us. A future that includes being able to have access to higher education, being able to afford to settle down, providing for a family, buying a home and building for a retirement. The consolidation of wealth that we have seen in our nation, and the pillaging of our wages and savings through the elimination of all workers’ rights and protections, is obscene. Our nation’s workers have been forced to be beholden to the “Company Store,” owned by an elite 1% that takes all that we toil for and leaves little crumbs we must use to provide for basics, things we took for granted not so very long ago. This country and the middle class were built by organized labor and we must protect it.
- In Healthcare as a right, where we collectively as a nation have a responsibility to care for the weakest among us. A person – regardless of their social and economic standing, their individual opportunities and capabilities, their level of health or sickness – deserves to live with dignity. It is our responsibility to help those who need it transition to a higher social ability or economic independence. The undermining of our healthcare system and the dissolution of the ladders to opportunity built by Democrats for years are chronically impoverishing millions of Americans.
- In Human Equality and self determination as the basis for mutual respect, essential to our coexistence. Regardless of an individual’s geographical origin, nation of birth, gender, age, sexual orientation or identification and economic status, we are all deserving of protection from discrimination for any or these things that make us the unique individuals we are. No exceptions. These differences must never be allowed to shorten our life, limit our independence, our earning ability, deprive us of housing, or of sharing our life with who we love. Nor should we ever allow these differences to be exploited by those in power to divide us against each other for oppression.
- We believe in the truth, in saving our planet and in science, not instead of a higher power nor solely because of one. But because it is only with the truth that an honest discussion can begin to bring about real change on the difficult issues of our day.
It is important to note that I am not a scholar, a professor of Political Science or of Sociology, but I am a lifelong Democrat that wants what I do to have a meaning greater than myself. I know that the most important thing is not the fight, but who we are fighting for. That is what it means to be a Democrat to me.