BY DON NELSON
Sometime ago – at least a couple years – I was asked to explain why I aligned myself with the Democratic Party. At first I had nothing to say, no reply that made sense. Some will, undoubtedly, remark that I still have nothing to say that makes sense – Que Sera Sera.
Since being asked, I have given the question serious consideration. What is there about the Democratic worldview that differs from that of the Republican/Tea Party worldview? I recently posted this on a friend’s Facebook page – I share it as a prelude to my thought on the value I see in my Democratic alignment:
I have traveled a path of theological inquiry and study. We may have been down the path in similar fashion. The fact that I left the institutional entity of “Church” does not mean I forgot or forsook the study of the human journey of life. I have concluded that the Jesus Event is the one final liberating event in one’s life. It is the one portal through which true humanness and freedom can be experienced. It is where, if one dares to explore it, the true essence of human life, the authentic human experience can be discovered. I have come to see my life in terms of giving without receiving, living so that others might glimpse the freedom that can be known if one truly takes seriously the words “love your neighbor as you love yourself.” I do not expect to receive from those that cannot give or do not want to. The lesson for us ought to be that the selfless act of giving – whether it be material goods or spiritual or emotional – is where the core of human kindness is found. We are here to serve others, as Albert Einstein so eloquently stated: “How strange is the lot of us mortals! Each of us is here for a brief sojourn; for what purpose he knows not, though he senses it. But without deeper reflection one knows from daily life that one exists for other people.” I was raised in a household that voted Democratic. The values I watched being lived out daily convinced me that people needed to care for those less fortunate.
I listened as my parents discussed their concerns about how certain politicians were acting toward those less able to fend for themselves. I learned early that you do not always win, but you always grow a bit stronger when you join the fight for human dignity.
As I grew up in Tulsa and then went on to college and then graduate school, I became aware that the divide in politics was one of those at the top and those at the bottom – regardless of left or right persuasion. Those to the right were equally unequal even if they ignored or were unaware.
During the Vietnam era my loathing for large corporations and the petroleum industry specifically grew exponentially. It became clear that those at the top, those I now refer to as corporatists, care not one whit for the people that were dying to protect their precious foreign investments, a belief that was only strengthened as our country was deceived into war in Iraq.
Why am I a Democrat? It is a personal choice to stand for those who cannot stand for themselves. To speak for those who have no voice. To fight against objectivism and corporate rule. I am and will be, till I cease to breathe, a firmly rooted and committed foe of oligarchy and fascism.
Why am I a Democrat? I believe every human being has the right to a life not constricted by health concerns, economic oppression, gender segregation or discrimination, the opportunity to further their position through education. Yeah, I believe that if you are a living, breathing human being you ought to be able to live without the fear of some asshat with a gun ending your life.
I believe that a mother ought not to have to worry about her child being fed, clothed and educated. I believe that a state government which denies medical care subsidies to its citizens is misguided and must be challenged. I believe that – wherever it happens – if one group of ideologues manipulates and creates situations that “break” social contracts and undermine systems in order to destroy an entire class of society, it is the obligation of those that oppose such activities to rise up and resist and remove them from all spheres of influence.
Why am I a Democrat – got any questions?
– Don Nelson lives in Lawton, OK and is a frequent contributor to The Oklahoma Observer