Martin L. Buchanan

Martin L. Buchanan

Local columnist

A year ago I joined the Democratic Party, though many of my positions were once considered Republican. This column explains why.

Democrats are more in touch with reality, reason, and facts. We Democrats respect science. This includes the science that shows that human-caused global warming is a serious problem. It also includes the science that shows that wearing masks, social distancing, and vaccination are appropriate responses to a deadly pandemic.

Democrats are not a cult of personality. We Democrats don’t embrace any Supreme Leader. Democrats are about all of us working together to solve the problems of our country, states, and localities.

Democrats are the law and order party. We Democrats don’t encourage armed militias to invade national and state Capitols. The policing and criminal justice reforms we support will enhance the legitimacy of law and policing, not undermine it.

Democrats respect government as a distinct and valued endeavor. We Democrats know that government has norms, purposes, and rules different from the private business sector. We understand that, just as you want a career auto mechanic to fix your car or a career doctor to perform your surgery, you may benefit from having career politicians and career civil servants in your government. We believe that government does useful things and is not an enemy to be overthrown.

Democrats know that government must be funded. Republicans have run the largest federal deficits and largest increases in federal debt in history. Republicans in Wyoming are now incurring major deficits in our state budget. As someone who has advocated balanced budgets, tax reform, and tax limits for decades, I now believe that we Democrats are the better major party to deal with these major fiscal issues.

Democrats are inclusive. We Democrats include people of all races, religions, and occupations. Just as important, we include a wide variety of viewpoints on public policy. If someone says there are socialists in the Democratic Party, yes there are, as a minority viewpoint. There are also libertarian Democrats and conservative Democrats. None of my fellow local Democrats subjected me to any “litmus test” for my varying beliefs on a number of issues.

Democrats have a proud history of accomplishments. We Democrats under President Franklin Roosevelt created Social Security, created unemployment insurance, and led America to victory in the Second World War. President John Kennedy initiated the space program that took us to the moon and saved the world from nuclear war with his restraint and diplomacy during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Under President Lyndon Johnson we Democrats passed the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, Medicaid, and Medicare.

Democrats have plans for the future. We Democrats know that our country needs to transition to clean energy and protect our air, water, and land. We know that we need policing that is both accountable and effective. We know that our education and health care systems should be both accessible and efficient. We know that a working safety net for those in economic hardship is more important than ever. We know that Wyoming can have a great economy and quality of life by transitioning from old resources like coal and oil to new resources like wind and solar.

Democrats have a principled foundation. Quoting American political scientist Larry Diamond: “We can think of democracy as a system of government with four key elements: a political system for choosing and replacing the government through free and fair elections; the active participation of the people, as citizens, in politics and civic life; protection of the human rights of all citizens; a rule of law, in which the laws and procedures apply equally to all citizens.”

That is what we Democrats stand for. Join us.

Larry Diamond quote source: https://diamond-democracy.stanford.edu/speaking/lectures/what-democracy. You will also find this quote in the Wikipedia article on Democracy.

Martin L. Buchanan is a software developer and writer and Laramie resident. Email: MartinLBuchanan@gmail.com.

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