Who are the real patriots?

The primaries are over and Democrats across the country are gearing up for the General Election (November 6th!).  With the barrage of political ads we’ve all been subjected to, I’ve been wondering for a while now:

Who are the real patriots these days?  Who is carrying forward the vision of the country’s founders?

The GOP lays claim to the “patriot” title and it seems that they tend to define it as whoever carries the most guns, pays the least taxes, and has the most red, white, and blue t-shirts.  They quote slogans like “America First” and concepts such as “American exceptionalism” readily and question one’s patriotism if they don’t wear an American flag pin on their suit.

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Is that patriotism?

The GOP also claims ideological ties to the Founding Fathers, claiming they alone understand and uphold the original intent of the founders of the country.  Too often, I’ve seen Democrats roll over and just let them have it.  After all, the founders were all slave holders and what they did over 200 years ago doesn’t necessarily translate to today’s world.  Right?

As something of a history buff, I have to disagree with the right claiming this affiliation and with the left letting them have it.  There are several examples that illustrate this point, but I’m going to choose one that all of us should recognize from the Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

The bold part was added by me, of course.  If everyone is endowed with unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, which party is supporting those rights the most in the modern political landscape?

Life?  Do we even have to ask? Those of us on the left favor ideas like universal healthcare while the other side actively works to ensure that only those with the right financial resources have access to life saving medicine.

There is a public debate going on now about whether healthcare is a right or a privilege.  I’d say Thomas Jefferson seems to think it is a right.

In addition, as we were all taught in elementary school, there are three basic human needs:  food, water, and shelter.   While the GOP has taken every possible step to limit access to food & shelter by decreasing funding for benefits programs or erecting stiff requirements, it is the Democratic party that is pushing to protect those lifelines for our fellow citizens in need.  Don’t even get me started on the EPA-led attack on clean water.

No, I never thought I’d type that sentence.

Liberty?  The United States has one of the highest percentage of incarcerated citizens in the world.  Many of these people are serving long sentences for non-violent crimes.  Some are serving time for crimes that aren’t even crimes any longer in some states.  Is that liberty?

Democrats are seeking to overhaul our criminal justice system by keeping dangerous people off the streets but re-thinking the failed “War on Drugs”.  What are the Republicans doing?  Doubling down on efforts to imprison non-violent drug offenders.

Pursuit of Happiness?  This is a broad topic that can mean many things, but the one issue coming to mind to me at the moment is immigration.

Note that the quote above does not say “all Americans”.  It was written at a time when the author was a British subject, but it doesn’t say “all Englishmen” either.  It says “all men” have these unalienable rights.  Everyone.

Study after study shows that immigration has a net positive impact on the economy, even illegal immigration.  The vast majority of immigrants in this country are here to work and live the American Dream.  We Democrats are working to help DACA recipients and provide a path to citizenship that works.  What are the Republicans doing?  Fanning the flames of xenophobia, cancelling DACA, refusing to replace it, and building a wall.

Walls don’t help people exercise their unalienable rights.

So who are the real patriots in today’s political landscape?  Who is carrying on the founding vision?  Is it the group waving the flag while they suppress the minority vote and take away people’s healthcare or is it the group fighting for the principles that the country was founded on?

It’s clear to me.

Primary Wrap-Up

Primary season officially ended at 7pm last night, and the Oconee Democrats would like to take a moment before we all dig into the General Election (November 6th!) to extend our thanks to all candidates for a great race.  Remember, it was only 2 short years ago when Congressman Hice ran unopposed, and we had 3 Democrats in the hunt for his seat this time. We have truly come a long way!

In addition, we Democrats have a lot to be proud of that we had so many women and minorities running for office.  We are truly changing the face of politics for the best!

Of course, the battle is not over, and we have a lot of work to do!  Here is a quick rundown of the general election candidates and their opponents:

Race Democrat Republican
Governor Stacey Abrams Runoff
Lieutenant Governor Sarah Riggs Amico Runoff
Secretary of State John Barrow Runoff
Attorney General Charlie Bailey Chris Carr
Comm. of Agriculture Fred Swann Gary Black
Comm. of Insurance Janice Laws Jim Beck
School Superintendent Runoff Richard Woods
Comm. of Labor Richard Keatley Mark Butler
PSC, District 3 Lindy Miller Chuck Eaton
PSC, District 5 Dawn A. Randolph Tricia Pridemore
US. Rep., District 10 Tabitha Johnson-Greene Jody Hice
State Senator, District 46 Marisue Hilliard Bill Cowsert
State Rep., District 117 Deborah Gonzalez Houston Gaines
State Rep., District 119 Jonathan Wallace Marcus Wiedower

We had some wonderful candidates in the primary season, and it was simply incredible to have so many progressive ideas in the conversation.  It is truly a shame that all candidates can’t win, but in a democracy, that is just how it works. Now is the time for everyone to come together to support our chosen candidates.  Regardless of whether your particular candidate won the nomination, we can all agree that the Democratic nominees are better for our communities than their GOP opponents.

It is worth pointing out that the top state offices will have runoffs on the GOP side, giving Democrats the advantage of campaigning for the General Election (November 6th) NOW while they are still sorting out their candidates.  This is an opportunity we can’t afford to squander!

It may seem like a long time until Election Day (November 6th!), but it will be here before you know it.  All of these fine candidates will be needing your support over the coming months, so please get involved and do what you can to help them succeed!

Did we mention that the General Election is on November 6th?