Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Why I am a Democrat

Wednesday morning at 7 am, I'll be going on the Gallo Radio Show again on SuperTalk Mississippi. I'll be joined by my longtime friend Brandon Jones, and we'll engage Paul Gallo on the big issues of the day: Medicaid expansion, charter schools, and Mississippi's healthcare exchange.

I'm sure we'll also talk about why Brandon and I are Democrats. Paul has asked each of us that question on previous visits to the show, and we've answered with varying degrees of alacrity and pith. The truth is, the reasons are simply greater than what I could ever put in a soundbite.

Brandon made his way to the Democratic Party before I did. While I was carrying water as the chairman of the Mississippi Federation of College Republicans and working for Republican candidates, Brandon was finding his bearings as a Democrat. And as is characteristic of Brandon, his faith was absolutely central to his decision to be a Democrat.

As I left school and entered the legal profession, I began to more fully understand the differences between the haves and have nots here in Mississippi. And I began to question how my political beliefs could square with my religious ones. I ultimately found they could not.

I could spend an enormous amount of time and space detailing why I am a Christian and a Democrat, but I've found that when someone does a great job of explaining a complex topic, it's best just to rest on their work and not reinvent the wheel. Ellen Painter Dollar has written an excellent piece on why her Christian faith leads her to be a Democrat. I couldn't do a better job of explaining why I'm a Democrat if I tried. So if you want to know why I'm a Democrat, go read what she wrote.

In closing, Jacqueline Kennedy once said that you don't know how great it is to be a Democrat unless you've been a Republican. She was right.


Matthew Devereaux said...

This is an issue I struggle with, ergo political identity. Although the labels "democrat" and "republican" are often superfluous, in this context they mean something.

I am Catholic and "social justice," although it has many meanings to many people, is important to me. Frankly, I tend to lean Democrat on many issues. Don't get me started on tort reform (I'm an attorney). I cannot, however, reconcile abortion with my beliefs (for obvious reasons). Yes, I understand that not all Democrats believe in and support abortion, but the fact remains that the DNC believes in and supports it. I struggle with that.

Doesn't anyone else?

Tom Head said...

Gotta say, Matt, that the fact that you and Brandon are able to use even the Gallo Show as a good vehicle for Democratic organizing speaks well of you both. I spent 48 minutes on Gallo's show in 2009 after a night staying up with a sick family member (his other guest, Sen. Lydia Chassaniol, stood him up); my recollection is that I was too sleepy to show any passion, and came off like Joe Lieberman on quaaludes. It must have been an excruciating experience for his listeners.