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Sunday, May 3, 2020

Why I am a Democrat

by Norm Tarowsky 
I recently was asked why I, someone who worked in industry (high-tech for 40+ years) and managed large organizations around the world, was a Democrat.  My answer is quite simple, it is because:
I believe that “we” the people have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That we all deserve to be treated fairly, equally and with dignity. I believe in the rule of law, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and that no one is above (or below) the law.
I believe this nation was built by immigrants and the words inscribed on the Statue of Liberty are still relevant. That our diversity is our strength, and we are a nation of, by and for the people. That every citizen has the right to vote and have their vote counted, and the majority rules, while respecting and protecting the rights of the minority.
I believe the role of the government is to do those things that we the people cannot do for ourselves and that the measure of a people is how they treat the old, the infirmed, the young and the poor among us and to ensure everyone has the opportunity to live with dignity and pride.
I believe we are all in this together or we are NOT one nation. My parents came to America to escape persecution and to make a better life for themselves and our family. They believed in the American “dream” and so do I.
I believe that all people should be treated equally and fairly, no matter your race, ethnicity, religious beliefs, sexual orientation or economic status. There should be equal pay for equal work and equal opportunity for anyone who strives for it.

To have a meaningful and functioning Government we must have free and fair elections, transparency and a free and open press. We must eliminate voter suppression and selection (gerrymandering) and provide our citizens with all the necessary safety and security required (military, police, fire, judicial system, border security).
We need a strong public health system providing clean water, food, air, protection from epidemics and pandemics, and universal healthcare so all our people are covered. We need public services (water supplies, sewer, roads, bridges, transportation, ports, airports and the postal service) and public education.
We must strengthen and protect our “safety-net” programs that help those who cannot help themselves (the disabled, the elderly, the sick, the hungry and the poor). Here are just a few of the major programs, laws and agencies the Democrats provided and fought so hard for:
 Labor laws (child labor, safety), Worker protections (overtime, sick leave), Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, ACA (Obama-care), Voting Rights Act, Equal Rights Act, EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and the CPA (Consumer Protection Agency). So many Republicans would eliminate or destroy all these protections Democrats fought so hard to enact to make better lives for all of us, WE THE PEOPLE.
Do we want to belong to a “Big tent” or a “Little tent” community? 
Modern humans (at least for the past 100,000 years) share some very important traits: They are social animals and tribal. This means we tend to want to live in a group environment (and be close to other humans) and feel comfortable being governed or led by something we feel connected to like blood relationships or some other common factors like religion, language, culture or geographical boundary.
Those considered inside our group are “us,” and we nurture and protect them, while those outside the group are considered “them,” and we feel no allegiance or need to defend or protect “them,” and they are often considered the enemy and not part of our society.
Throughout history we have numerous examples of what the “us” versus “them” mentality has led to: wars, slavery, genocide and gross indifference to the pain and suffering of our fellow human beings.
I contend that the major difference between Democrats and Republicans is how we define “who” one of “us” is. The analogy I use is who we allow inside our tent. Is it a small tent with just a very select few who look like us, pray like us, speak like us and believe the same way we believe, or is it a large tent that allows for differences of opinion, different races, religions and cultures and offers them the same protections and opportunities we believe everyone should have?
In today’s modern world with instantaneous communication, unlimited access to knowledge and interconnected economies and no real boundaries, we cannot isolate ourselves and our people from the rest of the world.
I feel the Democrats offer a “big tent” that includes diversity of thought and being and strives to offer opportunity to all; to be all they can be and provide support and acceptance. Our Democratic candidates will work for all of us to focus on education, opportunity and growth with compassion, transparency, honesty, civility and determination to make our community a better place to live for ourselves and all members in our “big tent.”
That is why I am a Democrat!

Norm Tarowsky is a former resident of Happy Valley and served as a Clackamas County Precinct Committee Person and House District Leader.  A lifelong Democrat and activist, he now resides in Roseville, CA