Why I Am a Democrat

Why am I a Democrat? I was asked about this two weeks ago. The honest to God answer is that it’s political. I’d rather be independent but then I would have to forego voting in the primaries, and that’s not something I want to do. I could go third party but, frankly, that’d be the same as choosing to be independent, in my opinion. However, my second answer is that my ideals align more with the Democratic Party.

I’m a fan of big government. Oh, don’t you scorn at me my Republican friends, you’re a fan of big government, too. You want the government to do all it can do to protect you through its military. You want the government to keep immigrants out.You want it to control who can and cannot marry. You want it to overthrow Roe vs. Wade. You want it to decrease gas prices. You want it to fund homeschooling. Do forgive my generalizations, I’m using them to prove a point.

The truth is, we’re all selective about big government. We just all don’t agree where. I believe in big government in the area of social services. I believe that anyone who wants to work in the government chooses to work for the people. Thus the government has a responsibility towards all citizens, both the rich and poor. I find the Democratic view of universal health care and focus on social programs highly appealing.

It’s interesting to me how we, especially Republicans, overlook the poor, (I’m using generalizations here as well). It’s not that Republicans don’t do want to help the poor, they do, but in different ways, in ways that are unfortunately inefficient and unrealistic. Lack of funding in medicaid and welfare partly proves their priorities when it comes to poverty. The gap between the poor and the rich has risen significantly during Bush’s two terms (though the Republican party is not to blame) and even the middle class are getting poorer. Poverty affects the economy as a whole and it would be in our nation’s interest to do something about it.

It should come to no surprise that I believe one of the government’s priority is to aid the poor. Programs like welfare and medicaid are very helpful. Yes, people abuse them and yes, they need to be continually reformed, but it’s better than doing nothing. The flaws in the programs come down to two factors in my mind: a) lack of case workers and legislators who are passionate about people and b) lack of workforce training and education for the poor people. Of course, there are significant factors that must also be considered: single parenthood, disabilities, minimum wage, classism, racism, culture of poverty and so forth. It is a challenge to care for all citizens but it’s not impossible.

Despite some terrible misconceptions, most of the poor do not choose to be poor. Frankly, these misconceptions come from people who have never known what it means to have very little to no food to feed your kids or what it means to live in a shelter because you lost your house and have no money. Yet these are the same people who demand to receive help when they need it. But God forbid we give the poor a hand.

And speaking of God, I am a believer in the God written about in the Bible. I’ve learned that God is first and foremost the God of the poor. Even the prophets condemned kingdoms (governments) that did not care for the poor. So my convictions are both humanist and religious. And it is this foundation that makes me more Democrat than Republican.

Why else am I a Democrat? Well, if you really must know, just ask me. I’d gladly give you an hour’s worth of a response.