My father made me a Democrat.
During the Great Depression he was born into abject poverty and resided in orphanages and foster homes. He served our country in World War II, and for many years worked one back-breaking job after another. At age 40, he began what became an illustrious career in law enforcement.
He believed in the power of government to promote widespread prosperity and to protect the rights of citizens. He believed in America. And he believed that the interests of the vast majority of Americans were best represented by the Democratic party.
My father never forgot where he came from. He never wavered in his devotion to our party's principles or in his belief in what he called "looking out for the other guy".
Until the day he died he rarely spoke of the major opposition party, which he considered elitist in nature, without some expletive attached. Until I was 10 years old, I thought that the official title of the GOP was the "God damned Republican party". So that is where I come from.
As Democrats, we have been frustrated in our attempts to advance our program. Even worse, gains that we made a generation or two ago - in workers rights, voting rights, healthcare, and social security - are under constant attack by the right-wing Republicans who control the legislative process, and the oligarchs who control them. These realities apply on the local, state, and federal level in varying degrees.
But, as committee members, we still spend our time, our money, our passion, building and defending the Democratic party. We do this because we believe in economic and social justice for everyone. We do this because we believe that we are our brother's keepers. Our beliefs must be advanced even in the face of the enormous resources and organizational power arrayed against us.
There is nothing wrong with our community or our nation that a good, strong dose of Democratic political power can't cure. However, if we are going to build this organization into the dominant political party that it should be - locally and nationally - then we are going to have to act in unity.
The renaissance of our party starts here and now with the Onondaga County Democratic Committee. In May, our committee selected a slate of candidates in a fair designation process. We as committee members should demonstrate disciplined leadership to support our designated candidates without reservation or equivocation. If we show weakness, division, or vacillation because some on the committee are "disappointed" by the majority's decisions, then we risk defeat in November.
For instance, if we should lose city hall, then the Republicans are going to run over us in any consolidation or consensus plan. Then our political base will be decimated. And when I say republicans, I mean Reform party Republicans in sheep's clothing. I mean people who will screw us over. I mean people who are not Democrats. I mean Ben Walsh - the "Independent" who fought so hard for the Republican line - and the handful of so called "Democrats" who support him.
It is incumbent on us as leaders to put aside our mostly illusory differences and unite in support of our Democratic party. The Party that embodies the hope for America's future.
Our party, the party of the working people, the party that our parents built, and the party that is the hope of our children's future, needs you.
Chairman of the Onondaga County Democratic Committee