When I asked my parents why they were Democrats, this is what they said:
“It starts with the answer to ‘What kind of society do we want?’ We believe it’s a moral imperative to help others. To ensure there’s an attitude of fairness. We always looked for candidates who spoke up for policies that would ensure the well-being, health, and job opportunities for the most people. And those candidates were almost always Democrats or progressive Independents.”
Born into poor family and raised along with his three siblings by his widowed mother, my father continued. “Growing up in the Bronx, New York, despite being the child of two immigrants, I had access to quality public education. That enabled me to earn a football scholarship; the G.I. Bill enabled me to go to college and earn a master’s degree; and that led to a fellowship that helped me earn my doctorate. All-in-all, those government programs were crucial factors in my ability to move my family into the middle class.”
“I was born a Democrat,” my mother chimed in. “In fact, in my Philadelphia neighborhood, instead of the more recent taunt of, ‘Your momma wears combat boots,’ kids would shout, ‘Your mother wears a Dewey button!’” (Thomas E. Dewey was the Republican presidential candidate who lost to Harry S. Truman after newspapers famously called the election for him…oops…) My grandmother – in fact, I think your father’s mother also – marched for workers rights.”
Both of my parents are brilliant and they chose to become educators instead of careers that might’ve paid more money. It’s painful for them to hear about how teachers and other public servants, who can barely support themselves in many cases, are being attacked by the same people who are against regulating financial institutions.
“How is it that so many people who themselves are barely getting by still think it’s okay for the wealthy to get to keep so much of their money while the poor get to keep starving?”