Thursday, June 22, 2006

Don't Be Ashamed

Yesterday, while in Jackson County, Lindsey and I had a great conversation with the activists there. We were there to do a training, to try to get more Democrats involved at the precinct level. While talking about recruiting volunteers, the women said that lately the Democrats in the county were ashamed to let their neighbors know they were Democrats.

Why have we let the Republicans create an atmosphere where we are afraid to voice our opinions and share our views?

We can’t let them win without a fight anymore.

We can be proud to be Democrats.

Sweet Pea Abernathy
told us of the Democrats who were changing their registration to a supposedly more acceptable “R.” Jane Oden told us about some of her friends, who were so fed up with both parties that they didn’t want to identify with either. We talked about how Republican politicians were their own worst enemy right now, but that people like Jane’s friends were looking for a positive message, not just a party to vote against.

As Democrats, we don’t believe in the politics of distraction. As Democrats, we focus on the issues that face Americans and Oklahomans every single day: healthcare, education and a living wage. As Democrats, we care about people. As Mary Ann Appleby said yesterday, “the Democrats have always been for the downtrodden.”

And we shouldn’t be ashamed of that. We have always fought for the underdog, and now is not the time to stop.

Barack Obama agrees, and says it much more eloquently below:

“The time for our party's identity crisis is over. Don't let anyone tell you we don't know what we stand for and don't doubt it yourselves. We know who we are. And in the end, we know that it isn't enough to just say that you've had enough.

So let it be said that we are the party of opportunity. That in a global economy that's more connected and more competitive - we are the party that will guarantee every American an affordable, world-class, top-notch, life-long education - from early childhood to high school, from college to on-the-job training.

Let it be said that we are the party of affordable, accessible health care for all Americans. The party that won't make Americans choose between a health care plan that bankrupts the government and one that bankrupts families. The party that won't just throw a few tax breaks at families who can't afford their insurance, but modernizes our health care system and gives every family a chance to buy insurance at a price they can afford.

Let it be said that we are the party of an energy independent America. The party that's not bought and paid for by the oil companies. The party that will harness homegrown, alternative fuels and spur the production of fuel-efficient, hybrid cars to break our dependence on the world's most dangerous regimes.

Let it be said that we will conduct a smart foreign policy that battles the forces of terrorism and fundamentalism wherever they may exist by matching the might of our military with the power of our diplomacy and the strength of our alliances. And when we do go to war, let us always be honest with the American people about why we are there and how we will win.

And let it be said that we are the party of open, honest government that doesn't peddle the agenda of whichever lobbyist or special interest can write the biggest check. The party who believes that in this democracy, influence and access should begin and end with the power of the ballot.

If we do all this, if we can be trusted to lead, this will not be a Democratic Agenda, it will be an American agenda. Because in the end, we may be proud Democrats, but we are prouder Americans. We're tired of being divided, tired of running into ideological walls and partisan roadblocks, tired of appeals to our worst instincts and greatest fears.”

(emphasis mine)

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