Monday, September 22, 2008

Annother "Why I Am A Democrat" Story: RaDene Hatfield

I really think we, as a party, need to get these stories out more often here in Utah.

Anyway, here's one from RaDene Hatfield, Democratic Candidate for Utah Senate:

It’s been fascinating to watch your reactions when you find out that I am a Democrat. You struggle to reconcile your beliefs about Democrats with what you see and know about me.

It is very much like what I experienced when I lived outside of Utah, in that moment that people learned I am a Mormon. Have you experienced this same awkward moment? Have you ever come face to face with prejudice? For that is what the “awkward moment” is all about – people are trying to reconcile their pre-judgment of how a Mormon, a Democrat, a (name any ‘group’) thinks, feels, or believes – with you – the person standing before them.

Now before you think I believe that being a member of a political party is the same thing as being a member of a particular religion – I don’t. In fact, I think we would all be much better off if we recognized the differences between our church membership and our political party affiliation.

But I digress. I started to write this blog to try and explain why I am a Democrat. I am a Democrat because I was raised by Democrats. My father was a leader of the Democrats in Utah State Legislature during my formative years. In my family I was taught and I continue to believe that:

The government of this country was designed to be ‘of the people, by the people, for the people’.
Government is only as good and as strong as the people who are active participants
We, the people, have a responsibility to care for the least among us
We, the people, have a responsibility to provide access to education for all
We have a responsibility to protect and preserve our inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Remembering that ‘liberty’ is another word for ‘free agency’.
The best solutions to the problems that face our country are those that are discovered through a collaborative legislative process in an environment of mutual respect and tolerance.
That power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. That’s why we must have checks and balances in government. Just like a monopoly isn’t good in a free market, a monopoly isn’t good in a free government.

And I can go on… about stewardship over our natural resources, about our duty to preserve peace and protect human rights. To me being a Democrat is about a wider range of issues then just two – gay marriage and abortion. I freely admit that on these two issues I do not agree with the more socially liberal members of my party. But there is much more to my party affiliation then these two issues. The bottom line for me is this: you can be a good Mormon and a Democrat. I am.

1 comment:

I am Laura said...

It is interesting to me peoples' reactions about the fact that I am a democrat and a Mormon. My Mormon friends think I am crazy and not following the values of our religion. My family is disappointed. The more and more I get into politics however the more I find that democratic principles are very similar to what the Mormon church teaches: give to the poor, help the needy, let people have their agency, be less greedy with your money, love the environment and take care of it. I wish my Mormon friends could look at what democrats say with more an open mind instead of assuming democrat = bad. Liked this quote and got me thinking.