I grew up in a Republican household. I used to listen to Rush Limbaugh and even taped his TV show so I could watch it when I got home from school. In college I had a friend who convinced me that Democrats weren’t evil, but just had different experiences that made them look at things differently. Eventually he convinced me to do more research and I realized I had been misled to about many things. I still wanted to do my civic duty so I started going to meetings of both Democrats and Republicans. I quickly found that I was more comfortable with the Democrats. This doesn’t mean I agree with every Democrat on everything, just that I agree with more Democrats more often than Republicans.
For example here's a short list of things I agree with Democrats on:
- Funding for education, and support of public schools
- Social Security/Medicare
- Health care for those too sick to work
- Sex education
- Compassionate Immigration Reform
- Anti-discrimination laws
Many people try and convince me that I should be a Constitutionalist. These people claim that the U.S. Constitution is inspired and lays out a limited role for the federal government. I support the U.S. Constitution, but I recognize that it wasn’t perfect and never will be perfect(Alexander Hamilton said the same thing in the federalist papers). The U.S. Constitution is much better than it was when it was adopted. The Constitution now blocks slavery, blocks state sponsored religion, and grants universal suffrage. I believe the Article I Section 8 Clause 3 combined with modern technology has given the federal government great authority. Many interpret it differently, which is fine, the founding fathers didn’t even agree on it(look up A Bill For Manufactures in the Americas). The important thing is that we have all agreed to abide by the Supreme Court's interpretation.
I feel the idea that Republicans support more local control and Democrats support more national control is a false narrative. It's one I believed during the Clinton years, then I began really paying attention to politics during the Bush years when the Republican had control of both chambers and the White House, very little power was returned to the states. Instead we got laws like the RealID and HAVA act micro managing the states even further. I often observe Republicans using their dominance in the state legislature to micro manage local governments.
Teddy Roosevelt supported many policies being moved to the national level. Some of this was because of how trains had made interstate commerce so much more common, but mostly it was because he believed a good law is a good law no matter what level it is passed at. Then along came FDR who was allowed to expand the federal government because people were desperate and then because of war. We allowed many of those expanded powers to stay, some for good reasons others for not so good reasons. While I may agree with some arguments about the role of the federal government being reduced, I think those decisions should be made on a case by case basis. Rather than throwing them all out because some one who's been dead for over two hundred yours supposedly wouldn't agree with it.
I could say since I don’t always agree with the Democratic party, I don’t belong to it, but I believe participating gives me greater influence than throwing stones. In the last decade I have participated in neighborhood caucuses, served as a delegate(five times), participated in party leadership(precinct chair, leg sec, leg chair, regional director), ran as a candidate(twice), and currently serve in caucus leadership(LDS Dems executive commitee member).
My decision to become a Democrat was not one I made lightly. It took several years for me to accept it. I'd much rather belong to the party of Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt, but it is not the party it used to be. Fortunately the Democratic party is not the party it used to be either. I have found a comfortable home here. I hope you will join us at an LDS Dems social sometime and see what we are really like.
This was adapted from a response given to a comment on a previous post.