Young Democrats of Harford County

For Democrats of all ages and other like-minded folks in Harford County, Maryland.

Archive for September, 2007

Our Progressive Agenda

Posted by piperj3cub on September 30, 2007

Why are we interested and involved in politics?  For me it is first and foremost a strong desire to see our country become more progressive; to recognize the inherent worth and dignity of all people in our country and the world.  This is accomplished through universal healthcare, fair wages, a fully-funded education system, and laws that protect the natural world around us and promote conservation of resources and the wildlife surrounding them.  Why am I a Democrat?  I know that the Democratic Party offers the BEST chance of moving the country towards those goals!

 

In a recent heated discussion, it was suggested that the Green Party is much more in-line with my values and beliefs, and as such I am “selling myself out” by being a dedicated member of the Democratic Party.  I could not disagree with this sentiment further.  In fact, I cannot help but feel that in America today, the presence of a third party is only a major detriment to progressive legislation.  It can be fairly argued that the obnoxious war in Iraq, the pitifully unfair tax system under which we currently labor, poor environmental laws and regulations, and the biased influence of corporations in crafting environmental, educational, and healthcare focused legislation is a result of the more “progressive” Green Party’s position in the 2000 general election.  It is abundantly clear that Al Gore would have been President had Ralph Nader not garnered 2% of the popular vote.  As a result of that election the progressive agenda has been sent back by decades.  Heck, our environmental protection was stronger under Nixon than it is now!

 

If the people of the Green Party really wanted to make a difference, if they really wanted to push forward a progressive agenda, they could do so much more effectively if they were part of the Democratic Party than they can separately!  Think about it.  If the most progressive and liberal Democrats boycott the party in favor of another, what happens to the Democratic Party as a whole?  We become more conservative.  If all of the true progressives in this country were active in the Democratic Party, our party would be considerably more in line with a truly populist agenda, and it is likely that so much of what we have been fighting for during the Bush administration’s rule would already have been achieved.  With these ‘progressives’ on our side, the left wing of the Democratic Party would have considerably more power, and the progressive agenda would be able to gain serious momentum.

 

If our governmental system was such that congress was parliamentary; if we apportioned seats by party voting percentages in the general elections, then I could see using 3rd parties to steer legislation.  But that is not the way it works in America!  We are not Britain!  So, the question is why are we in politics?  If the goal is to be a dissenter, to always have something or someone to fight against, then I can see being a member of the Green Party (or the Libertarian or other “3rd party”).  But if the goal is to effect legislation, then for crying out loud do what will get that legislation passed!  If the goal is to pass progressive legislation for the good of all Americans and world citizens, then it stands to reason that members of the Green Party must recognize their role in the Democratic Party if they came aboard!  They would steer DEMs towards our shared progressive goal.  As it stands right now, the 3rd party system, particularly with respect to the Green Party, will only continue to hurt the progressive agenda on a national level as their presence increases the likelihood of a Republican victory (something that must be avoided at all costs IMHO).  A friend once referred to the Green Party as standing for “Get Republicans Elected Every November”.  Unfortunately for us, for them, and for all that our progressive agenda would benefit, I fear that friend is correct.

 

Posted in Democratic Party, Environment, George W. Bush, Harford County Green Party, Liberal, Politics, Progressive, Republican, Republican Party, Universal Health Care | Tagged: , , , | 6 Comments »

To Protest, or Not to Protest?

Posted by piperj3cub on September 30, 2007

Today I attended a “protest” of sorts for the first time, and am feeling somewhat awkward about the experience.  Delegate Pat McDonough representing district 7 has made the cornerstone of his legislative agenda a series of actions that would in effect make English the official language of Maryland.  As part of his agenda, he has been strongly outspoken about the deleterious impact of illegal immigration.  The problem however is that motions towards limiting translation services to immigrants (the practical impact of McDonough’s legislation) hurts not just illegal immigrants, but legal immigrants as well.  This is a thinly veiled maneuver designed to limit the diversity of Maryland and the United States as a whole; it is imperative that we as progressive Democrats work against people that promote these perspectives.  We must all always remember that diversity is the way forward for our state and our country.  We must learn from history and the example of other cultures and countries.  We must emulate what they do right, and avoid what they do wrong.  Failure to learn from our own history and the histories of other nations and cultures is why the United States is embattled in Iraq and other places around the world. 

 

The awkward aspect of the protest, from my perspective, is the question of whether or not a protest is an effective way to communicate one’s perspective or position on an issue. If I were ever to run for office, would the fact that I have been involved in a protest or demonstration hurt my chances election?  Would mainstream Democrats and Democratic Party officials shy away from a candidate that has been seen on local television news channels demonstrating with members of the opposition Green Party?  I would like to think that the message I was trying to convey by being part of the protest was at least as important as other considerations; but the more I consider other implications, the more I question the action.  There are MANY ways to speak out against a candidate or a candidate’s position on an issue.  We can do so by promoting alternate candidates, by supporting the party opposed to that candidate, by writing letters to the editor, and of course by blogging.  Those that use these methods are every bit as committed to the issue as is anybody that demonstrates, and it must never be said that somebody is not effectively working against an issue or candidate simply because they chose some venue other them a public demonstration to voice their discontent.

 

So, will demonstrations and protests continue to be a personal avenue for expression of discontent to a politician or issue?  I most certainly will attend rallies in support of those that I stand behind, is it much different to stand out in opposition to those we do not?  This is a question I will grapple with over time.  My question to you: Are demonstrations and protests functional or counter-productive?  Does being seen demonstrating against an issue or a politician damage one’s political aspirations?  Is it more effective to utilize print venues (newspaper, etc) to voice discontent?  Is there a place for planned demonstrations and protests sponsored by the Democratic Party, or would this backfire and damage our chances of effectively implementing a progressive agenda?

 

Democrats truly do work for the good of all, let’s all do our best to spread that word using whatever method will effectively get it across!

 

Posted in Democratic Party, Harford County Green Party, Protest | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Stop Delegate Pat McDonough and His Anti-Immigrant Agenda!

Posted by Annie on September 20, 2007

Sunday, September 30th — 4:00 p.m. — VFW Hall at 8777 Philadelphia Road 

Republican Delegate Pat McDonough will be holding a fundraiser on September 30th to introduce his anti-immigration agenda for the 2008 session of the Maryland General Assembly.  “Speak English” is his main campaign slogan.  I don’t know about you, but my great-grandparents were immigrants to this country.  And at some point, Pat McDonough’s relatives were immigrants as well, since his name isn’t Kajika or Langundo or Opechancanough or Sitting Bull.   There will be a demonstration outside of his fundraiser beginning at 4:00 p.m.  For more information, check out the Harford County Green Party website (note that there is a place to RSVP).

Posted in Harford County Green Party, Harford County Politics, Immigration, Maryland General Assembly, Republican Party | 11 Comments »

BBQ Bash experience

Posted by Annie on September 15, 2007

I am posting this on behalf of Harford Hon:

This year I attended the Bel Air BBQ Bash.  As I walked past a couple of the Republican venues I was taken aback by the vitriol directed against the Democratic Party and individual Democrats.  Days after the BBQ event is over, I am still trying to sort out some of the misinformation that the Republicans gave to anyone who would stop and listen.  I stopped to listen to a man explain how this current governor has tripled the tax rate for all the people in Maryland.  Funny, I recall the Governor’s budget being balanced without a tax increase in any area.  I was further told that the budget deficit was O’Malley’s fault.  So the questions I asked were: Haven’t we had a structural budget deficit for about six years?  Why didn’t the last governor (a Republican) do something about the deficit if the Republicans are now so concerned with the budget shortfall?  With that question the man shouted that O’Malley promised to fix the problem and it should have been done by now. 

As I walked away from this bitter and angry man I thought of the words of Confucius: “Strong and bitter words indicate a weak cause.”

– Harford Hon

Posted in Budget, Harford County, Harford County Politics, Martin O'Malley, Republican, Taxes | Leave a Comment »

Democratic Party Candidate Forums

Posted by Annie on September 6, 2007

Come visit the Young Democrats of Harford County this fall for one of our monthly meet-ups!  Our next four meetings will focus on the candidates vying for the presidential nomination of the Democratic Party.  There will be presentations by representatives of each candidate, and then the floor will be open for debate and discussion of that candidate’s political platform.  All are encouraged to attend and participate.  Is your mind already made up?  Then please come and let us know why!  Frank and open discussion is always welcome (and is preferrable!).   Meet-ups are at 7:00 p.m. at Sean Bolans in Bel Air, and the upcoming dates are:

September 19th: Spotlight on Barack Obama

October 17th: Spotlight on Hillary Clinton

November 14th: Spotlight on John Edwards

January 16th: Mock debate between all candidates…one month before Maryland’s Democratic primary!

We would prefer the opportunity to give ALL of the Democratic candidates an equal chance to make their beliefs and platform known, but due to the relatively short amount of time remaining before the primary, this schedule seems to work best.  We look forward to seeing you at one of the candidate forums!  Please comment here if you have any questions or would like more information.

Posted in Barack Obama, Bill Richardson, Campaign, Chris Dodd, Debate, Democratic Party, Dennis Kucinich, Harford County Politics, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, John Edwards, Mike Gravel, Politics, Sean Bolans, Young Democrats of Harford County | Leave a Comment »