I have on my kitchen table, a copy of the famous quote from Will Rogers: "I am not a member of any organized political party. I am a Democrat." With disarray in our party, this rings especially true today, and will only get worse as the many possible competitors to "Dubya" begin to duke it out in the primaries.
Some days I need to remind myself (and by extension your readers) why I am (still) a Democrat. It certainly is not due to our sterling organization or compelling candidates. It is, first of all, because I believe there is a job for government to do. Not only must the government provide for the common security (which today involves economic, environmental, and health matters as well as defense), it must assure that those who fall through the cracks are caught in the safety net of a human and humane society. Secondly, I believe it is possible for government to do its job well (or at least better than it does today), and so it can be improved. I believe that just as our language and culture and ideas of right and wrong change over time, so must our government. Finally, I believe that our country and our society is great through the great things we achieve together (putting a man on the moon, assuring the health of our world, opening the world to free exchange of trade and ideas, conquering disease and poverty and prejudice). Government is the instrument of our actions together, and our democratic government is the best system developed to allow us to work together.