For as long as I can remember, I have loved the principles on which the Democratic Party has stood. As a young girl, I read and committed to the wonderful idealism our Party spoke of with such eloquence, and everything I believe as an adult was formed by those ideals.
“Confidence thrives on honesty, on honor, on the sacredness of obligations, on faithful protection and on unselfish performance. Without them it cannot live,” said Franklin Roosevelt, in speaking to our faith in the people.
“My definition of a free society is a society where it is safe to be unpopular,” said Adlai Stevenson, in support of freedom of speech and of expression.
“Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest of walls of oppression and resistance,” said Bobby Kennedy, in explaining the origin and the power of hope.
I could read those quotes from our Party’s history all day - so inspiring, so beautiful, so much love for humanity. Now, contrast that with what we have heard pouring out of the Democratic National Convention for the last three nights. All but a few seconds of each speech has focused solely on hatred of Donald Trump. Everything has been focus-grouped and quantified. Gone is the eloquence and scope of our ideals, and gone is our confidence in the people. We have become what we most despise.
Former candidate for the Democratic Party nomination for President, Andrew Yang, said, “If we’re not standing up for the trucker, the waitress or the retail clerk, who are we standing up for? Democrats have this tendency to have a message out there and then if you don’t’ like the message, it’s like, well, it’s your fault… There’s this patronizing element to a lot of what we say and do, and it’s hurting us, and it’s wrong, unproductive, it’s a great way to not win.”
He also said, in one of the first debates this year, “Donald Trump is not the cause of all of our problems, and we are making a mistake when we act like he is. He is a symptom of a disease. He is a symptom of a disease that has been building up in our communities for years and decades. It is our job to get to the harder work of curing the disease.”
For his blaspheme, he was intentionally left out of commensurate coverage at both MSNBC and CNN in spite of his impressive fund raising and polling numbers. Remember Adlai Stevenson’s definition of a free society? We are supposed to be safe in being unpopular. It's always been our strength, and we are losing it by intentionally stifling thoughtful discourse.
My warning, which I have repeatedly delivered over the past year, is that hatred and anger are no way to sell a new car. We need to listen to how we sound to an objective listener, because those are the voters we must have to win. Idealism, hope and those shiny new possibilities are what we need to sell the American electorate on Joe Biden. It’s not too late to pivot.
Photo courtesy of swarajyamag.com.