Saturday, September 1, 2018

Social Progress and the Democratic Party

by Brian T. Lynch, MSW

When I take the long view of this country's domestic history, and especially when I view it through the lens of that great historian, Howard Zinn, I feel a debt of gratitude towards the past leaders of the Democratic Party who championed the progress we have made towards building a better society for all.

But then I think about what Democrats have so far failed obtain in recent times. A list that includes: 

  • Meaningful minimum wages 
  • Paid maternity leave (only one of three countries on earth without it) 
  • Paid family leave 
  • Affordable daycare 
  • Reasonable gun control 
  • Reductions in our outrageously bloated military spending 
  • Abolishment of the death penalty (Only one of a handful of countries with it) 
  • Universal healthcare 
  • Free or low-cost college tuition 
  • A humane prison system 
  • Racial equality
  • Adequate and competent counsel for anyone accused of a crime 
  • Pay equity for women 
  • A plan to mitigate the release of greenhouse gasses 
  • A fair tax system that doesn't favor the wealthy and reduces wealth inequality 
  • Labor laws that give workers real power on corporate boards (as is true and very beneficial in Europe) 
  • An honest, fair and accessible voting system 
  • Enforcement of meaningful regulations on polluters, wall street traders and big corporations, and much more. 

This is a very long list that has been ignored for too long. I know we can't count on any current members of the Republican Party to champion these priorities, but we ought to be able to count on Democrats to take up these very reasonable measures.

So I do thank the Democrats for all of the great advances they have ushered into our lives. I vote for them consistently. I believe the Republican Party has been kidnapped by men addicted to power, but still I keep waiting for leaders in the Democratic Party to show up on all of these popular, progressive issues.

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