Today someone asked me when I realized I was a Democrat and why I was a Democrat.
It got me thinking. When did I know? I said that I thought I was born a Democrat. My mother was the primary political influence in my life. This was probably due to living with her as a single parent from 12 to 18 years old. She was what she called a Kennedy Democrat. She had a real affinity for anything Kennedy. She loved Ted Kennedy and was super excited to vote for him when we moved to the Boston area in 1984.
As I became a teenager, I lived in the motherland of Democrats, Massachusetts. I went to a progressive high school and was in a democratic alternative high school. My ideology was highly progressive and I protested in high school against things like Apartheid and for things like reproductive choice. I volunteered and delivered meals to AIDS patients and sat them in hospice care reading to them. I worked at a Planned Parenthood clinic in college and spent time feeding the homeless. Although my mother and I struggled financially, we never went without the basics – food, clothing, and shelter. Every day on the T, I saw people who had less than I did. Moreover, I knew how precarious we had lived for years. I was a liberal from age 13 on.
Why am I still a Democrat? In all honesty I have evolved from my very progressive days in high school to a more moderate Democrat. I was once accused of abandoning my liberal beliefs because I married someone in the military. Being a Navy wife exposed me to people from all over the country and taught me a tolerance for opinions different from mine. I became more compassionate and fair and I became a socially progressive fiscal conservative.
I am a Democrat because I believe in compassion.
I believe that in our prosperity we can support those less fortunate and that it will not take away from what we have.
I believe that people who need help and it is our responsibility to help them. I believe that women should be able to choose what happens to their bodies.
I believe that forcing a woman to have an unwanted and unplanned pregnancy is an act violence on them.
I believe that Pro Choice means having a choice. It means not being told which of them I should choose. It does not mean I am pro-abortion.
I believe that everyone should have healthcare and that it is a human right because decent human beings do not want other humans to die because they cannot afford a pill or an operation.
I believe that we do need a strong national defense but not more than the next 25 nations combined.
I believe that immigrants should be allowed to come in to our country and sometimes the cost of freedom will leave us open to evil in the world.
I believe that I should make as much as a man for the same work.
I believe that you cannot force religion or religious ideology on anyone.
I believe in a free press and reputable reporters are the champions of the people who seek the truth.
I believe that Black Lives Matter because racism still exists in our country.
I believe that we need to work on being more fiscally responsible with our citizen’s money.
I believe in a global economy that will strengthen the American economy and increase jobs in new technologies.
I believe that we are killing our planet and the time to reverse it may have already passed.
I believe that we shouldn’t make people take drug tests for welfare or unemployment benefits because asking for something is humiliation enough.
I believe that coal is a dead technology and we need to invest in renewable energy.
I believe that unions can still protect workers from the greed of corporations without killing the very industry they are trying to protect.
I believe that we can find compromise with the other party if only find the one thing that we have common and work from there.
That is why I am a Democrat.