I am mixing things up a little bit today. Norma Fleisher decided to respond to our request for stories and testimonials a little differently. After you read it, share with us what you think is worth fighting for.
Instead of answering the above question, I am going to answer "What is worth fighting for?
In an article on August 4th, in the New York Times, Jim Wallis verbalized my exact feelings. Some of the following observations will be in my words, most will be in his.
First, somebody must lead on the issue of poverty, and right now neither party is doing so. The Democrats assume the poverty issue belongs to them, but with the exception of John Edwards in his 2004 campaign, they haven't mustered the gumption to oppose a government that habitually favors the wealthy over everyone else. Democrats need new policies to offer the 36 million Americans, including 13 million children, who live below the poverty line, as well as the 9.8 million families one recent study identified as "working hard but falling short."
The Democrats should draw a line in the sand when it comes to wartime tax cuts for the wealthy, rising deficits, and the slashing of programs for low-income families and children. They need proposals that combine to create a "living family income" for wage-earners, as well as a platform of "fair trade" as opposed to just free trade, in the global economy. Such proposals would cause a break with many of the Democrats' powerful corporate sponsors, but they would open the way for a truly progressive economic agenda. Many Americans, including religious voters who see poverty as a compelling issue of conscience, desire such a platform
Similarly, a growing number of American Christians speak of the environment as a religious concern---one of stewardship of God's creation. The National Association of Evangelicals recently called global warming a faith issue. But Republicans consistently choose oil and gas interest over a cleaner world. The Democrats need to call for the reversal of these priorities. They must insist that private interests should never obstruct our country's path to a cleaner and more efficient energy future, let alone hold our foreign policy hostage to the dictates of repressive regimes in the Middle East.
On the issues that Republicans have turned into election-winning "wedges", Democrats will win back "values voters" only with fresh ideas. Abortion is one such case. Democrats need to think past catchphrases, like "a woman's right to choose," or the alternative, "safe, legal and rare." More than l million abortions are performed every year in this country. The Democrats should set forth proposals that aim to reduce that number by at least half. Such a campaign could emphasize adoption reform, health care, and child care; combating teenage pregnancy and sexual abuse; improving poor and working women's incomes; and supporting reasonable restrictions on abortion, like parental notification for minors ( with necessary legal protection against parental abuse). Such a program could help create some much-needed common ground.
As for "family values,
Here are a few more great reasons to be proud to be a Democrat.
As an educator I continue to see public education taking a back seat to profit. My only hope for the education of our young people is through the Democratic Party. As a veteran that has endured the Reagan Administration's attack on my benefits my only hope for representation is through the Democratic Party. As a citizen of the United States I have lived through the lies and spins of the Bush Administration, coming to realize that the only hope I have left as an American is the Democratic.
I am a Democrat because there is a role in our society for an effective government: not big government, not small government, an effective government. I define effective government as one which meets the needs of those it governs. My party is my societal partner, an entity I can control, trust, and prioritize. Nebraska Democrats stand for effective government.
I also am a Democrat because I believe the Nebraska Democratic Party believes in protecting civil rights for all people and that everyone in Nebraska deserves a decent home, free of slum lords, without lead based paint which harms young children, in a home that is in a safe, diversified neighborhood with grocery stores and banks and other ammenties offered/available to persons in more affluent areas of Omaha.
I also am a Democrat because I believe the Democratic Party supports the working family by supporting unions and good working conditions for all employees with a decent wage. I am a Democrat because I know the Nebraska Democrats do not favor large corporations. This does not mean they do not support business, they do, but they support businesses who add to Nebraska's people and environment, not take away from the environment or working families.
I am a Nebraska Democrat because I remember when Nebraska schools were at the top of the list. Now Nebraska teachers are paid at the bottom 1/5 of all states in the nation. We need to put money into true family values. The Democratic and American values of quality education, a clean environment for the benefit of our children and our children's children, a living wage for all workers to enable them to live in decent housing in safe neighborhoods.
I am also a Nebraska Democrat because I want to encourage the family farmer not the mega farm coporations that spoil the land with huge feed lots and inhumane treatment of farm animals. The traditional family farmer has respect for the land and is a good steward of their land.
I am a Nebraska Democrat because I support a national health program that truly provides health care to all citizens and removes this burden from business and show the world that the United Sates and sensible Nebraskas know basic health care is a human right.
Check out this article on John McCain Jr. (aka Chuck Hagel) on a right wing website.
I met with people from across Cass County to brainstorm ways to best organize our Democrats there. Julie Baer, the Cass County Chair, spoke to the group about the need to involve everyone in their community -- regardless of age, social status, or profession. As a result, the group decided to hold a Fall BBQ near Plattsmouth on October 22. You can RSVP here. It should be a wonderful event with activities for all ages.
It's a new week, a new month and time to re-energize ourselves by reading a few more stories about why we are Democrats:
On my refrigerator is a small piece cut from the newspaper, which
"Hubert Humphrey said: "The moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life--the sick, the needy, the handicapped." Bush seems to think they're all targets.
That is why I am a Democrat in Nebraska.
-Shirley A. Ritter
I have always been a Democrat because this is the party that cares about what happens to people and focuses considers issues affecting families, children, the economy and jobs, health care, the environment and our quality of life in general, for us now and for the next generation. The Democratic party reaches out to all people, from different backgrounds, different ethnicities, and a wide range of persoal values. It is the party of inclusion, not exclusion. Individual Democrats may differ on individual issues but we know that our core values are centered in the community and the people who make up that community.
I'm a Nebraska Democrat because I believe that adequate health care is a right, not a privilege. Equal opportunity should be a reality, not a joke. We need to preserve and conserve what is left of our environment and wildlife, rather than weighing it against what is "good for business". We need leaders who care about the welfare of ALL CITIZENS, not just their "base" of the "haves and have mores". Each citizen should have equal opportunities and access to education, health care, housing, and the American dream.
-Melanie Baker McCain
My father was an FDR Democrat, but thats not why I am a proud Liberal Democrat. I believed in the ideals of John F. Kennedy, even though I was only 7 when he was killed. I campaigned (in my little town of Phillips, NE.) for Bobby Kennedy, even though I was only 12 when he was killed. I was taught at an early age that people not only give their lives for their country in war, but also give their lives as public servants, so that these; the weakest, poorest, oldest, disabled, immigrant, minorities and so many others have a voice in our great Democratic Republic. I'm a third generation American and a third generation Democrat, because Democrats put people, before things. I am a Kennedy Democrat!
This morning, President Bush nominated his White House Counsel, Harriet Miers, to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. Miers is not a sitting judge, and therefore does not have much of a public record for Senators to scrutinize. There have been several Justices throughout U.S. history that had no prior judicial experience.
Do you think it was wise for the President to nominate someone who has never presided over a courtroom?
"If it were your sole purpose to reduce crime you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down. That would be an impossible, ridiculous and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down," Bill Bennett, former GOP Education Secretary, said yesterday on his syndicated radio show.
And to think that GOP leaders still still rely on this pompous, self-rightious, blathering idiot.
"this guy spends more time in the grandstand than a hotdog vendor…"
Ed Howard and Statepaper.com provide a wonderful analysis in this article about our Attorney General and his sensitivity to changes in wind direction
This is a special guest post from Senator Matt Connealy:
When I ran for Congress last year, I was up against much more than Jeff Fortenberry. Turns out that Fortenberry was backed by $20,000 of the dirty money that recently brought indictments against House Majority leader Tom DeLay.
In return, Fortenberry voted with DeLay 100% of the time in his first three months in Washington. But Delay didn't stop there; Lee Terry received almost $10,000 as well.
That's not what Nebraskans want. We deserve leadership that values fairness, freedom, and reform. The culture of corruption that surrounds Tom DeLay and his cronies couldn't be further from that.
The Democratic Party refuses to rely on Tom DeLay tactics and Tom DeLay money to win elections. Instead of special interests, individual Nebraskans--$20 and $50 at a time--can change the way politics works in our state. What will you give to make this change?
Americans deserve a government free of corruption and ethical misconduct DeLay's recent indictment is a step in the right direction, but more work lies ahead.
Special interests and radical extremists that funded Tom DeLay's political machine have set their tentacles throughout the Republican Party.
They dump piles of cash into races--it's just a business investment for them--but we can fight that with the message people want to hear. That's why it's so important to build our Party from the ground up.
That takes commitment--and part of that is money. Give what you can--no matter the size--to build our Party.
This culture of corruption will end with the rise of Democrats. Americans demand a government that works for people, not profit--one they can trust to tell the truth, not distort the facts to suit a hidden agenda.