At a time when the Democratic Party is taking a lot of heat from the left I felt it an appropriate time to state why the party still has my support. On the local level, we have just this year narrowly elected a democratic, progressive, & first openly gay mayor of Chapel Hill by about 100 votes (& there were other democratic wins across the state in November). On the statewide level the Democratic Party fought off the anti-marriage equality constitutional amendment keeping North Carolina as the only southern state without one. On the back of democratic legislators & signed by the governor we passed the anti-bully bill (which included lgbt kids, something the republicans strongly opposed) by just one vote, & we passed the comprehensive sex ed bill. And the governor used her first veto to keep transparency in government. On the national level it’s a little more dicey, but given the options, the democratic party is the better one. Sure my preference is to end the wars sooner than later without more troops, but the building capacity plan to get out on the 2011 time-table (a word progressives fault for & conservatives opposed during the last administration) isn’t completely unreasonable.
And I prefer stronger health care reform, but 30 million new people insured, more focuses on preventative medication, letting young adults stay on their parents insurance so they don’t lapse with college/finding work/probationary period, & other reform parts is still a step in the right direction. And I’d like more to be done on the national level for lgbt equality, but we’ve had proclamations, appointments, efforts related to immigration & HIV, and hate crimes legislation passed, with legislators likely to take up ENDA next year & a very public promise from the President to end DADT. Under this administration we’ve got a president that respects international climate change and environmental efforts & and EPA willing to regulate towards that end. We’re respecting the Geneva Convention again, not torturing any more, & Guantanamo Bay is being closed.
When I compare this to the options on the other side, like republican Senator Burr who is anti-choice & pro-constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, who voted against the anti-rape amendment & considers domestic violence a pre-existing condition, then I feel strongly that I have picked the right party and that now is the time to pressure & support our elected officials to do the right thing. With a little hope & a lot of hard work, I think we can keep our party not perfect, but striving towards its better self. The hope we experienced last year was something that came from us, not from candidates, and it is up to us if we want to feel it again. Last year it involved a lot of hard work campaigning, now the hard work comes in the form of making calls, writing letters, and speaking out to both pressure & support our party to move it in the right direction. If we want the magic back, we have to make it, and be willing to accept it.
With such a close mayoral vote by a margin of only around 100 votes, with statewide legislative votes that hang by the thread of a single vote, and with the republicans being one vote shy of being able to hold up absolutely everything in the US Congress, now strikes me as a time where losing any democratic supporters could cost dearly.
I’m sure we could make a list of bad things and corporate influences for both parties too, but I feel like there is only one party where you can make such a long good list, and for that, I still have hope. I know by writing such a diary I'm inviting responses to become a list of those bad things, but I'd ask each responder to think of & post at least one action of their democratic representatives from anywhere in the local, statewide, or national level that you do feel good about. I’m looking forward to seeing President Obama’s first official State of the Union address, and I’m excited about the upcoming 2010 senate race with possibility of Elaine, Ken, and Cunningham bringing out that best Democratic spirit once again.
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