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Here are reasons I am a Democrat

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Editorial

Editorial

It is unsettling when the political ideas you believe to be reasonable, moral, and most conducive to prosperity are drowned out by a loud and reactionary political rhetoric. I do not believe the current Republican Party is representative of the wisdom and moral goodness of the majority of Utahns. It advocates a political ideology intent on repealing the 20th century, as one commentator recently suggested. Indeed when you clear away the "talking points" of the Republican Party, you discover a selfish moral philosophy with few genuine solutions.

Yet the Democratic Party sometimes seems unable to give meaningful and simple expression to ideas that could reinvigorate America. So here is my attempt to give expression to the ideals I find within the Democratic Party, and why I believe they represent the values of most Utahns. Here are 21 reasons why, if we want to renew 21st century America, our better choice is the Democratic Party.

I am a Democrat because I believe in the following principles:

I believe in economic security for everyone, not just the top 5 percent of Americans.

I believe that government giving money to the rich doesn't create jobs for the rest of us.

I believe government should reward businesses only after they have created jobs for Americans.

I believe in a free enterprise system for the working and middle classes, not just global corporations.

I believe in both limited government and limited big business.

I believe in free competitive economic markets for local and small businesses, not just distant and monopolistic corporations.

I believe, neither in raising nor lowering taxes, but in a fair tax system — one that promotes innovation and industry, not an imbalanced tax system that rewards greed and excess.

I believe no one should go bankrupt, lose their home and life savings, or die because they can't afford health care and don't have reasonable health insurance.

I believe in the family; specifically in policies that support the family — like paid parental leave, more support for public schools, a safe and sustainable environment, more prenatal health care, better support for working moms, better day care programs for our children and immigration policies that don't punish children or split up families.

I believe only the moral pursuit of political goals can be justified; the end doesn't justify the means.

I believe in personal responsibility and social responsibility.

I believe that my opinions, beliefs, and values should be based on reason, evidence, and compassion, not on fear, anger, and ignorance.

I believe undocumented residents are my brothers and sisters first, and "illegal" immigrants only second.

I believe in fiscal responsibility, but that sacrifice should first come from those who can afford it, not from the poor.

I believe the rich don't always earn their wealth, and the poor frequently aren't to blame for their poverty.

I believe no one should be homeless, hungry, abused, or neglected regardless of the causes.

I believe prisons should be for violent offenders, not drug addicts.

I believe terrorism is a reprehensible criminal act, not an act of war. Thus the "war on terror" is deeply flawed.

I believe to be great America doesn't have to be better than every other country, but only constantly improving in providing every American the equal and fair opportunity to flourish.

I believe each person, regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, or sexual orientation, deserves equal respect and equal rights to pursue a meaningful life.

Finally, I am a Democrat because I believe we are responsible for each other.

Jeffrey Nielsen teaches in the philosophy departments of both Westminster College and Utah Valley University.