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Columbia Missourian

GUEST COMMENTARY: Voters are at crossroad

By Boone County Democratic Party Central Committee
June 25, 2012 | 6:56 p.m. CDT

Democratic Party offers more realistic, just vision of America

In the months ahead, voters will be called upon to make important decisions concerning the direction our state and nation will take. Democrats and Republicans are competing to shape our future. We are at a crossroad. The visions that the political parties espouse are sharply different. These conflicting visions are more important than any single issue, for they will determine the type of nation that we become. It is the Democratic Party that promises a vision for America that is just, realistic and capable of producing a healthy community in which we can all live with pride. 

These conflicting visions become clear when we examine four important and interrelated areas of our political and economic national life. While these areas are not all that defines the two parties, the attitudes toward international relations, the needs of our aging population, the weakening of the economic position of the bottom 80 percent of our population, and the importance of well-maintained and supported transportation, communications and education infrastructure illuminate our choices.

Democrats are committed to multi-lateral collaboration, controlling military spending, and protecting the rights of American and foreign workers in the world market place. Republicans prefer to go it alone in the international arena, increase military spending and adopt policies that favor global corporations in international trade. Democrats recognize the security of our nation depends on a sound economy at home and a balance of power among the various regions of the world.  Republicans seek military domination throughout the world and acquiescence to American economic and political policies on the part of the world's nations.  Democrats strive to restore a healthy balance between a sound economy and the military, while Republicans are prepared to sacrifice the homeland economy for worldwide military domination. 

Democrats recognize that our population is aging, and that we need to ensure seniors have the financial and medical security they have been promised.  Republicans propose to cut Medicare and old age pensions and privatize retirement benefits in the future. Democrats support reforms that promote efficiency and saving in the Medicare program. They vehemently oppose Republican attempts to gut this effective and much needed service. The Democratic Party is committed to ensuring that seniors have the resources they need to live their retirement years with dignity.

Perhaps the greatest challenge to American life is the hollowing out of the middle class. Income and wealth is being redistributed from the bottom 80 percent of our population to the upper 20 percent. The dream of owning one's own home, educating one's children, and saving for one's retirement cannot be realized by most of the lower 80 percent. Democrats believe this is a problem. Republicans do not.

Democrats oppose policies that have: weakened organized groups who speak and bargain on behalf of middle class workers, tax policies that allow riches to flow in unprecedented ways into the hands of the already wealthy and deregulation that has turned speculation into the most profitable form of doing business. The Republican Party has made these political and economic policies its agenda for action.

Democrats believe that only when the middle class has the means to purchase what it needs will our economy really become healthy. Republicans believe that we will have a healthy economy when the wealthy are free to pursue accumulate the maximum possible amount of income and wealth. Democrats believe the growing rate of poverty requires attention. Republicans don't see a problem.

The Democratic Party is committed to protecting the quality of our air, water and land, while Republicans either deny there is a problem or argue that protecting our environmental infrastructure is too expensive or too burdensome for business. Democrats believe investing in transportation, communications and education infrastructure is in the long-range interest of our nation. Republicans call these investments, boondoggles. Democrats strive to create an excellent public school system. Republicans wish to destroy the public schools and replace them with private ones. 

The choices have never been clearer. Democrats seek a world that has balance.  It is a place where security is based in shared power and greater economic equality, where older citizens can live in security and dignityand where middle class dreams of the good life can come true. It is a place where children born in poverty can hope for a successful life, and have a good chance of it becoming a reality, where we care for and tend to our environment, our transportation and communications networks, and where our children receive a world class education. 

Democrats believe that all our citizens have a right to ask for justice and equal opportunity, and it is not an act of class warfare to want a political and economic playing field that is fair. Republicans want a world that encourages a winner-take-all mentality in international relations, the economy, and in the political arena.  Democrats believe that government and the public sector allow for differing cultures and interests to find compromise, and people of different views can find solutions to common problems. Republicans seek domination for a single set of cultural views and strive to destroy government and the public dialogue in order to dominate in the private sector. We are Democrats because we hope and work for a world where justice and fairness are valued, and tolerance and compromise are praised not denigrated. 

Members of the Boone County Democratic Party Central Committee. Phyllis Fugit is president of the committee. Questions? Contact Opinion editor Elizabeth Conner.