Tonight, while I attended the Arizona Dems Heritage Dinner in Phoenix, I was reminded exactly why I’m a Democrat. It was a great evening, and the keynote speaker, Jennifer Granholm, (former two term governor of Michigan) was definitely the highlight. She talked about her passion for job creation, about family values, about opportunity and she talked about suiting up for the fight and being prepared to earn some battle scars in the fight for what we know is right.
With regard to job creation, Governor Granholm relayed a story about trying to save a refrigerator plant in Greenville, MI during her first term. She said they offered Electrolux the best deal the company had ever seen to get them to stay but the company refused saying they couldn’t pass up the $1.56 per hour wage they’d pay when they moved the plant to Juarez. Of course, closing the plant employing 3,000 was devastating to the town of 8,000. That’s what happens when profit is more important than people.
She pointed out how ridiculous it is that Republicans claim they are the job creators? The real truth is that for the past five decades, Democratic presidencies have created more than double the amount of jobs than Republican presidencies have. More recently, 1.5 million jobs were created during George W. Bush’s time in office while President Obama has created three times that many thus far during his presidency.
As for family values, Governor Granholm reminded us that we believe in family values, but our family is the human family. We believe diversity makes us stronger and is American exceptionalism. Candidate for AZ Governor, Fred Duvall who spoke earlier in the evening, had also talked about how talent comes in all shapes, forms and colors and for Arizona to compete for that talent, we must embrace diversity.
Of course, it is hard to compete for anything without real opportunity. She told us a story about a girl named Brittany that she mentored during her time as both Attorney General and Governor. Brittany came from an extremely disadvantaged situation and yet, due to people in her life that cared enough to intervene, she is now a successful adult and not just another statistic. Republicans love to talk about how everyone should just “pull themselves up by their bootstraps.” We know though, that not everyone arrives in boots. Democrats recognize this and we issue boots stamped “opportunity.”
Democrats believe in not only opportunity, but in fairness; not only in fiscal prudence, but in being “not being mean while being lean”; not only in job creation, but in paying a living wage. We are the party of yes, the party of optimism, the party of solutions.
Governor Granholm finished strong with an impassioned plea for us to “suit up for the fight.” She relayed a story from Nancy Pelosi that made the point that if we had no wounds, would it be because there had been nothing worth fighting for? We have plenty to fight for; are we willing to suit up and go into battle? We are fighting not only for Arizona, but our entire Nation. Not only for the present, but also for every future.
Yes, I am reinvigorated. I am a proud Democrat and I will not apologize for my “liberalism.” According to Wikipedia, it means I believe in liberty and equality. It means I support ideas such as free and fair elections, civil rights, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, free trade and private property. Dictionary.com defines it as “a political or social philosophy advocating the freedom of the individual, parliamentary systems of government, nonviolent modification of political, social or economic institutions to assure unrestricted development in all spheres of human endeavor, and governmental guarantees of individual rights and civil liberties.” The definition I like best though, comes from Merriam-Webster who defines it as “a political philosophy based on belief in progress, the essential goodness of the human race, and the autonomy of the individual and standing for the protection of political and civil liberties.”
If the worst that can be said of me is that I believe in progress, the essential goodness of mankind and the protection of political and civil liberties, I guess I think I’m on pretty solid ground. I am excited and hopeful this election year because as Governor hopeful Fred Duvall says, “a new day is dawning and change is coming.” It is coming because it must come if there is to be a positive future for Arizona. It is coming because the policies and supposed solutions Republicans have touted for decades just don’t work and they won’t work, no matter how often and loudly they repeat them. It is coming because the people of Arizona are tired of representatives that embarrass them, disregard their desires, and push ideology over real solutions. Finally, it is coming because we have an incredible slate of Democratic candidates who have suited up, entered the battle and are incurring wounds because we are worth fighting for. I’m with them, how about you?