You give Democrats…a bad name! Bum-bum. *Now starts that really sweet power rock chord progression…Larr, you know what I’m talkin’ bout*
Last night at UNT, a former Congressman by the name of Chris Bell spoke to the University’s College Democrats and Laura, myself and two of our friends went to check it out. He’s running for Governor of Texas as a Democrat and we wanted to hear what he had to say. We found out about it through a random series of events that began on Sunday with a magazine article mentioning that Kinky Friedman’s campaign is going to be featured as a reality series on CMT. Yes, that CMT. Anyway, a Google search and two web sites later I found out that he was speaking here the very next day. Providence? Happenstance? Worth a chance.
So, there we were in a College Democrats meeting at one of the most liberal schools in the whole state. Mr. Bell was running late, so in the meantime the leaders of the group opened the floor for announcements and it was in those thirty minutes that I realized why “liberal” has become a swear word. These are people with whom I probably agree on 95% of the issues facing our country, but after thirty minutes I began to wonder, “do Democrats care about anything besides abortion and homosexuality?”
I know, I mean I absolutely know that the answer to that question is, “yes.” However, it didn’t sound to me like the young Democrats of UNT do. What’s more is that it seemed with every point they raised, they weren’t able to state their position without simultaneously dogging conservatives or religious groups and that got very old, very quickly. This was huge for me to realize how annoying that is because I am so guilty of this…and having that dawn on me, having that flaw revealed to me so that I can work on correcting it is certainly one good thing that came out of last night.
Even so, here’s an e-mail that I sent to the club’s VP.
Thanks for allowing us to sit in on your meeting last night to hear Congressman Bell speak. It was a very interesting evening and I am glad that we came.
However, I wanted to share something with you that you can either take or leave, but it still deserves to be brought to your attention. My wife and I are firm Democrats and we invited two friends to come with us who are moderate Republicans. They are both open to new ideas and are very reasonable people, and that’s why we invited them because we thought it would be a good opportunity to expose them to a Democratic candidate for Governor and give them a chance to be with a group of Dems at the same time. I am sorry to say that it was a grave mistake and these two may be lost to the Democratic Party forever.
This is due in no part to Congressman Bell. Both of our friends said that they enjoyed listening to him and he gave them a lot to think about. What turned them off and left them with such a bad taste from the evening was the attitude of many of the people gathered in the room. When we left, I felt like I needed to convince them that Democrats do talk about things other than homosexuality and abortion, and what’s more, we can even do so without disparaging Republicans or religious groups. But you wouldn’t have known it from being in that room last night.
Our friends are exactly – and I mean exactly – the kind of people that the Democratic Party needs to be working very hard to welcome in with open arms if we want to get this state and country moving back in the right direction. They were both raised conservative but are at the point that they’re starting to ask questions for themselves and restructure their understanding of our country and its policies. They are devout Christians and could be easily convinced that the Democratic platform is founded squarely upon morality. This is an argument that can be made by pointing out the Party’s record and it doesn’t have to include rude or sarcastic comments made at the conservatives’ expense.
Don’t we agree that one of the most unnerving things about the Republican leadership is their arrogant attitude in general and their almost religious devotion to immediately dismissing anything that they don’t already agree with? Please, read that sentence again and let’s ask ourselves how many moderate Republicans and Independent voters we’re going to win over by exhibiting those same qualities.
I wish I could’ve talked to you individually after Congressman Bell’s talk so that I could’ve shared this with you in-person and talked about this at length. I hope my comments don’t come across as rude or ungrateful because we are very happy to have heard Mr. Bell last night and it is because of your organization that we had the opportunity. Thank you for the time and energy that you put in to bringing young Democrats together and I wish you continued success!
I’ll let you know if I get anything good back.