Monday, July 11, 2011

Permission to Speak Freely?

I do not currently serve in any official capacity with the Democratic Party, and I am no longer on the Board of Georgia's WIN List. As much as I love both of these organizations, the fact that I am not currently serving gives me the opportunity to speak my mind without worry that my comments will be attributed to either organization. So, here goes.

While primary elections are always difficult, the current contests in Bibb County have produced some extremely counter-productive dialogue. We have serious problems to address in our community, yet, a great deal of time and energy has been spent discussing whether or not particular candidates, and their supporters are "really Democrats." This doesn't help our Party, and it certainly doesn't help our community.
It should not be controversial to want to work to expand the base and the reach of the Party I, along with many others, have worked so hard to support. If we really believe that the Democratic Party has something important and unique to of...fer to our community, our state and our nation, then we should not treat it as a social club where only those who know the secret handshake need bother trying to join. Creating narrow litmus tests for membership will ensure that we are the minority party in this state for a long, long time. We should define ourselves by our core values, most simply put that we believe that the rising tide should lift all boats, and never by any other measure. We should welcome those who want to be a part, especially those with the energy and vision of youth, and those of at any station in life who wish to commit themselves to working to make our community a better place to live, work and raise a family. Further, a willingness to work collaboratively with those of different political parties for the good of the community is an attribute, not a sign of disloyalty. In fact, a political party is only relevant to the extent it offers real solutions to the challenges we face. I would say we are in this boat together, but in reality, if we insist on narrow tests of allegiance, particularly tests that begin and end with the support of a particular candidate, we won't need a boat at all. A canoe will do.