Why I Am A Democrat

This is a note by a local Democrat, member of our Executive Committee, and “We the People” columnist, Joe Parko.

He shares:

Each of us has different reasons for calling ourselves Democrats. Some of us have been attracted by great leaders, whether Franklin Roosevelt or John Kennedy, or (in my own case) Bobby Kennedy. Some of us identify with the party’s stand on particular issues, like protecting the rights of minorities or defending the environment.

It’s not easy to be a Democrat today. If we are to stick to our commitment, and even more importantly, invite others to make the same commitment, we need to think back to the core reason that led us to become Democrats in the first place. Here’s my story.

I became a Democrat because I saw it as the party that does not believe that “God helps those who help themselves,” but that God means for us to help each other. It sees that life does not deal everyone an equal hand, and rather than shrugging its collective shoulders and saying, “Life’s not fair,” it tries to do something to make life fairer. It does not blame victims of injustice or prejudice or bone-crushing poverty for their plight, but identifies with them, saying not only, “There but for the grace of God go I,” but even better, “There go my brother and my sister.”

I haven’ t always agreed with the Democratic Party about everything. You wouldn’t expect one person who thinks for himself to agree with the majority of even basic ally like-minded people on every issue. I have some disagreements with the Democratic Party and its leaders today. You probably do, too. But I sense that deep down, most of us Democrats share a common attitude. I’d epitomize it by saying that if we saw a guy beat up and lying by the side of the road, we’d be likelier to try to help rather than to shake our heads and say, “That dumb guy probably deserved it,” as we drove complacently by.

Today there seems more of a gulf between people in need of a caring heart and helping hand, and those who can and will help, than ever before. The Democratic Party isn’t perfect, but it believes that a caring heart and helping hand are better than blame and selfish indifference. Democrats believe in helping those who are having a tough time. Democrats believe in justice and fairness. That’s why I am a Democrat.

What is your story?

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