Democrats’ Core Values Keep Faith With the People

From the Pilot’s Opinion Page, July 12, 2017

What Our Parties Stand For, featuring opinions by Darlene Dunham, President of the Democratic Women of Moore County, and John Rowerdink, former Chair of the Moore County Republican Party

Democrats’ Core Values Keep Faith With the People Contributed by Darlene Dunham

The Democratic Party believes in government of the people, by the people and for the people. Everyone counts.

To that end, we champion universal, affordable health care. We believe it is a right, not a privilege — that all Americans deserve to see a doctor, and that treating illness before it becomes a catastrophe is both humane and economically sensible.

We believe in supporting public health and protecting our fragile environment. Democrats, like everyone else, want to drink clean water and breathe unpolluted air. The difference is that Democrats believe you have to require the “clean” and the “unpolluted.”

While many Americans persist in believing business will always do the right thing, that an unfettered market is the solution to all ills, this is simply not the case. History is rife with examples to the contrary. Duke Energy’s recent coal ash spill, the Exxon Valdez, and Love Canal come readily to mind.

The list goes on: pharmaceutical companies that market drugs with known, dangerous side effects, automakers that sell cars with harmful defects that are concealed from the public, banks that fleece their customers.

How many of us have the means or opportunity to take our medication to a lab for analysis, to have a car thoroughly examined for design defects? Democrats believe the government has a role in protecting us from these egregious types of abuse.

The Democratic Party advocates for fair elections. We believe districts must be drawn to enfranchise the largest number of people within logical boundaries, without encumbrances placed on the exercise of voting rights.

Democrats are aware that widespread voter fraud is a fictional problem used to justify the passage of voter suppression laws, and that those currently in office, who won in illegally drawn districts, are serving illegitimately and the laws they’ve passed are fraudulent.

Democrats believe America stays strong by remaining engaged with the rest of the world — that we will not thrive as a nation by selling our goods and products only to ourselves. Or that we can design trade agreements that benefit America but hurt other countries and not suffer any consequences. There is no room for isolationism in the modern world. We are inextricably linked to the global community, no matter how much some want to pretend otherwise.

Democrats do not believe that the world’s dictators and thuggish rulers have suddenly become our friends. Or that they have our best interests at heart. For over a century, America’s strength has been its leadership on the world stage. Our national security depends on our continuing in that role.

Democrats realize that if you abandon public education, you abandon the American dream. An uneducated populace will eventually breed polarization and instability. For most of our country’s recent history, public education has ensured that America has had a vibrant, stable middle class with good job prospects.

Public education helped prevent us from becoming a nation of have-nots, where a few haves controlled everything. Two of our neighbors to the south, El Salvador and Nicaragua, offered a deterrent example of what an uneducated populace, a tiny wealthy elite and an unethical strongman could wrought.

Lack of a basic education means people have fewer choices, and too often equates to lower wages, bleaker job prospects, and adverse health effects.

For us to truly be a “United” States, education must be funded through the government. And it must be a dynamic process, one that not only educates all of America’s students in the basics, so that what is understood to be fact in Maine is accepted in Montana as well, but also identifies the next generation of job opportunities and helps students prepare for them.

Other areas of public life also need government leadership and the requisite funding. Coal won’t come back, but coal miners need retraining. Manufacturing jobs are scarce, but the technology sector is booming. We need to invest in these workers and incentivize the companies that hire them. Our tax dollars can do this.

But these taxes must be fair. Democrats believe that it is immoral to cost-shift our collective civic encumbrance to those least able to pay. It is unfair to give huge tax breaks to the wealthy, while saddling the poor and middle class with a heavier proportion of the burden.

Democrats work to make life better for everyone. When entire groups of people are left out of our democratic process, we all suffer the consequences.

People of color, women, LGBT, the disabled, and immigrants all bring unique life experiences and perspectives to our political discourse. We craft better policies and laws when all voices are heard.

Among our accomplishments, Democrats led the race to the moon, gave us Medicare and Medicaid and the GI Bill. The Democratic Party’s core values, and promises delivered, have kept faith with “we, the people.”

 

(To view this article, and Mr. Rowerdink’s opinion, click here)

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