March 3, 2019
What does it mean to be a Democrat?
Welcome to the inaugural Chair’s Notes column. We’ll post these on occasion as another way to connect with our members.
What does it mean to be a Democrat? Believe it or not, that is a fairly common question. What does it mean to be a member of the Sumner County Democratic Party? I think that’s the more important question (of course I am biased!), but I think it is important to know the answer to the first question before I can answer the second.
It is not a good sign that people do not know what it means to be a Democrat. In fact, it is a sign that the other side’s attempt to redefine who we are is working. We can’t let that happen. We have the better message and the better ideas, so we need be better at getting that message and those ideas out to our friends and neighbors.
To put it most simply, being a Democrat means being someone who votes for Democratic candidates or considers her/him self to be a member of the Democratic Party. But what does it mean to be a member of the party? It means that you believe in all or most of the platform of the party. You can read it here if you want to, but beware, it’s 50 pages long! The key elements of the platform are:
Raise incomes and restore economic security for the middle class
Create good-paying jobs
Fight for economic fairness and against inequality
Bring Americans together and remove barriers to opportunities
Protect voting rights, fix our campaign finance system, & restore our democracy
Combat climate change, build a clean energy economy, and secure environmental justice
Provide quality and affordable education
Ensure the health and safety of all Americans
Support our troops and keep faith with our veterans
Confront global threats
Protect our values
Be a leader in the world
That’s still quite a mouthful. Can’t we make it simpler? Can’t we just say “We’re not Republicans!” or “We oppose Trump!”? No, I don’t think we can. If we do that, we define ourselves by what we aren’t, not by what we are. We must stand for something, not just against something or someone.
We find our answer a little closer to home. If you head over to the Tennessee Democratic Party’s website, you find a simple answer:
Now that’s simple, right? And it sounds good, right? And it is easy to remember, right? Right! It is also kind of vague, but that’s on purpose. Every candidate who runs as a Democrat believes this, but their way of making it happen, their specific policy proposals, their plans for action, can be tailored to fit the needs of their district and their strengths as a candidate. Remember, we’re the party of the big tent. We don’t all agree 100% on everything, but we can all get behind this central unifying idea.
So, what does it mean to be a member of the Sumner County Democratic Party? The answer to that question is now easy. It means:
- You live or work in Sumner County, Tennessee.
- You believe that every Tennessean, no matter who you are, what you look like, or where you live, you should have the opportunity for a better life for yourself and your family.
- You are willing to support the party’s efforts to elect candidates who believe that too.
If that’s you, then you are one of us. We are sisters and brothers united in common cause -to support and elect people who believe that every Tennessean, no matter who you are, what you look like, or where you live, you should have the opportunity for a better life for yourself and your family.
So, the next time you hear Democrats being defined by the other side, now you know what to say. That is who we are, that is the vision we have for our community, and those are the people we help get elected.
If you like the sound of that, check the calendar on our website and join us at our next event. We love new faces.