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Tag: Big Tent Politics

Dear Democrats, Does Support Require Loyalty?

democratic party

The Republican Party is pretty much a monoculture, with little, if any diversity, among its members. Thanks to the influence of fascist, criminally-indicted former president Donald Trump, MAGA (Make America Great Again) policies dominate and control the Republican Party. I suspect there are more than a few Republican politicians who personally despise Trump and the MAGA wing of the Party, but they know that without Trump’s and MAGA’s support, they can’t win. These spineless Republicans know that just one social media post from Trump can sink their election/reelection chances. So they say nothing when Trump espouses policies that are not only hateful, racist, and anti-democratic, they pretend the man is not a narcissist and pathological liar. (All politicians lie, but Trump lies multiple times every day, eight days a week.)

There was a time when the Democratic Party was considered a big-tent political group, but some within the Party are now demanding loyalty to President Joe Biden and any and every policy deemed “Democratic.” Granted, the Democrats don’t have people such as Marjorie “Moscow” Taylor-Green, Matt “Child Molester” Gaetz, Tom Cotton, Ted “Cancun” Cruz, Paul “Nazi” Gosar, Lauren “Hand Job” Boebert, and Josh “The Cowardly Lion” Hawley demanding fealty under pains of political execution, there are those within the Democratic Party who marginalize and denigrate those who dare hold positions contrary to those of the Biden Administration. Democrats such as John Fetterman, Jon Tester, Joe Manchin, Bernie Sanders, and The Squad (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Presley, Rashida Tlaib, Jamaal Bowman, Cori Bush, Greg Casar, Summer Lee, and Delia Ramirez) face increasing pressure from mainstream and centrist Democrats to toe the party line. For example, I oppose John Fetterman’s pro-Israel view, but I reject the notion that Fetterman is not a “real” Democrat.

Joe Biden needs the various factions within the Democratic Party to vote for him if he hopes to win the 2024 presidential election. Disparaging and marginalizing pro-Palestinian, anti-war, socialist, or pro-environment Democrats is a sure way to drive these voters to the open arms of the campaigns of Robert Kennedy, Jr., Cornel West, and Jill Stein (or could lead to protest votes for Marianne Williamson). Young voters, in particular, are more likely to be anti-war, pro-environment, and have socialist tendencies. Pretending these people don’t exist will only ensure that Biden goes down to defeat in November. Young voters may not have much real-world experience, but they know hypocrisy when they see it. They “hear” the pathetic challenges from Biden and his feckless cabinet to Israel’s genocidal slaughter of over 34,000 Palestinians in Gaza, while, at the same time, seeing the President and Democrats in Congress give Israel $18 billion to continue its immoral war. These young folks make, as they should, a direct connection between U.S.-funded and supplied bombs, bullets, drones, and missiles and daily reports of bloodshed, violence, and death in Gaza. They see the mutilated bodies of Palestinian children and know that the United States is directly responsible for their deaths.

I am a member of the local Democratic Party’s executive committee. I was elected to this position in March. I made it clear to Party leaders that while I am a proud Democrat, I have policy positions that run contrary to that of the Defiance County and State Democratic Party. I made sure they understood that I was an atheist; a humanist; a pacifist; and a socialist. They knew or should have known, anyway, that I am an outspoken writer who uses this blog and letters to the editor of the local newspaper to advance my cause. I will gladly support the Democratic Party at every level, but I will not silence my voice just to give the Party the appearance of MAGA-like unity. I grew up in a home with a mother who spoke her mind on political issues; and who was unafraid to voice her opinion in public forums. I continue to follow in her footsteps — thirty plus years after her suicide — albeit from the other side of the political aisle.

The Democratic Party has my support, but it does not have my loyalty. I refuse to say the Pledge of Allegiance because it is a loyalty pledge. I am grateful to be an American. I can’t imagine living in any other place than in the good ole USA. That said, I reject demands of political conformity and fealty. Nations and governments come and go. My objective is to work towards making the United States a better place to live. Most of all, I want my six children and sixteen grandchildren to have promising, prosperous, happy futures. When Democratic (or Republican) policies meet my desires and expectations, they can count on my support. When they don’t, the Democratic Party can expect to hear from me. Demands for Party loyalty will be rejected. If the Party’s tent is not big enough for someone like me, that’s their loss, not mine. I will do all I can to promote and advance Democratic policies and candidates, but what I will not do is abandon my political beliefs just so the Party can present to the public a facade of unity. Political debate and diversity are important for the health of the Democratic Party. The moment I’m told to be quiet or tone down my opinions or rhetoric is when I (and scores of other like-minded people) exit the tent.

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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Bruce Gerencser