Saturday, June 18, 2005

Principal Underpinnings

Over 40 yrs. ago, Barry Goldwater thought "this country would be better off if we could just saw off the Eastern Seaboard and let it float out to sea." Today he would probably include the Western Seaboard in that statement. His ultra-conservative views contributed to his obtaining 36 percent of the popular vote for the presidential election in 1964. After 30 yrs., those views are worth a minimum 15 percent to campaigning senators & representatives. They successfully netted a presidency soon after that.

Back then, Mr. Goldwater was "The Grand Old Man" of a divided Republican Party that could do nothing right, & conservative was a dirty word. The members developed a plan, created think tanks, improved their communication skills, & united into one body with one mind.

The Democratic Party also experienced severe changes in the same amount of time. It is now wrong with every action, liberal is a dirty word, & the leadership continues to accomplish nothing but consistent failure - even after 10 yrs. of actively trying. Today, the Parties have achieved a successful, complete, 180-degree role-reversal. It took a total of 40 yrs.

The basics seem lost with almost two generations - almost. One of the best attributes of the Democratic Party is hope - hope the leadership will ultimately get it right. In an 1820 letter to William Charles Jarvis, Thomas Jefferson wrote "I know of no safe depository of the ultimate powers of society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education."

In that spirit (& because no official list from the Party seems to exist), the list below offers various definitions for the word liberal. They are the values of the Democratic Party:

Responsibility - We are obligated to provide assistance to less fortunate people, improve the quality of education, & aid anyone who can no longer provide for themselves & their families. Children should go to bed every night with enough to eat. After working hard for decades, everyone has a right to retire with dignity. Social Security funds for retirees & the disabled should always be enough to keep people sheltered, warm, & fed. Our senior citizens deserve the financial ability to pay their household expenses & their medical needs rather than sacrifice one for the other. We also have a fiscal responsibility to keep the nation'srevenues high enough to pay its debt rather than pass it along to our future generations.

Labor - There has always been opposition between labor & business. With a proper level of compensation, employees are able to maintain their health & a reasonable quality of life. Adequate pay mean s a stronger buying power, which in turn results in higher business revenue. Democrats have always fought for the "little guy" against powerful corporations driving down wages & shipping jobs overseas. Stronger long-term economics depend on this fight.

Environment - We should always protect & maintain God's creations. Healthy ecosystems are just as important as labor & business. Abundant old-growth forests ensure clean water & air for plants & animals on land & in the water. Advances in the pharmaceutical industry greatly increase with resources from a healthy tropical rain forest. Protecting natural resources reduces pollution. Achieving the lowest pollution levels possible also protects children through the reduced levels of harmful carcinogens that result. Protecting children is protecting hope itself.

Health - All women deserve access to the highest quality gynecological care regardless of their economic situations. Future generations & their societal contributions depend on it.

The values of America's Democrats are complex for every issue. Responsibility, opportunity, & hope are the underpinnings. They ensure a high quality of life for people who work hard & play by the rules. In their entirety, they are nurturing selflessness filled with empathy & compassion. Leaders are accountable to everyone for remembering & maintaining these values.

Recently Larry King interviewed Lauren Bacall about her latest book. In that interview, she proudly declared (with gusto), "I am a liberal!" Always has been. Always will be. Popular or unpopular, she thought it would be a nice epitaph.

Liberal - Count me as one, too.


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