In December, 2021, the Democratic party of a rural northern Ohio county gathered for a holiday party and meeting. During the event, several persons spoke. The last person, the chairwoman announced, would speak about the the book “Democrats 101” by J. M. Purvis. What follows is pretty close to the words the speaker said.
In 1776, American patriots gathered in taverns to hear the reading of “Common Sense” by Thomas Paine. “Common Sense” was, and still is, the most widely circulated publication in American history. It laid down all the fact and reasoning for overthrowing the British monarchy and gaining independence and self rule.
Like the patriots in 1776, we are gathered here tonight at a time of peril. Where their fight was to overthrow monarchy, ours is to save democracy. And the way we do that is by getting more people to identify as Democrats, and more to vote Democratic. And to do that we must state our identity. What is a Democrat? What do we all agree with?
Jim Purvis, the author of “Democrats 101,” brought a group of people from all corners of the Democratic big tent together to answer those questions. They realized that agreement was to be found on values and beliefs, not on policy. The group hammered out the “Democratic Creed,” which forms the core of the book. And I think they did a concise and thorough job of it.
So now, I’m going to read the Democratic Creed. You can follow along on the handout, or if you have a book, you can follow along on page 127. I hope we can officially adopt this creed at our next meeting, so think about it.The Democratic Creed
- We believe all people are created equal, that this is America’s fundamental ideal.
- We believe that America is a democratic republic, by and for the people: ruled by the Constitution and its interpretations, protected by the Bill of Rights, and inspired by the Declaration of Independence.
- We believe these founding documents demand Freedom, Justice, and Opportunity for all Americans, in full and equal measure .. regardless of who you are, what you believe, or where you live.
- We believe that the Duty of government is to strive endlessly to make the ideals of Freedom, Justice, and Opportunity a reality for all.
- We believe that the Purpose of government is to protect our nation, defend our democracy, and to endlessly promote the welfare of each and every one of us.
- We believe that fighting for these ideals is our purpose as a political party.
We hold these things to be self-evident:
- Freedom means …
- The right of every citizen to shape their own life, and their beliefs — so long as it does not infringe on the rights or safety of others.
- The free flow of information and movement.
- The right to privacy.
- Free and fair elections, at every level, in every place in America:
- Elections that are fully transparent.
- Elections that are free of the role of wealth and the wealthy.
- Elections that guarantee unlimited and easy access to voting for every American citizen.
- Justice means …
- A society where every citizen is safe in their person and their home, and their day-to-day lives.
- A society where every citizen is treated with dignity, regardless of race, creed, or personal difference of any kind.
- A society where every citizen is treated equally before the law, and by the law.
- A society where racism is wrong, where discrimination is wrong, where the government intervenes when racism or discrimination threatens a person’s basic rights.
- Opportunity means …
- Every American deserves an equal chance to pursue their dreams, to be judged on their ability and their effort alone.
- Every American, child and adult alike, deserves the education that gives them that chance.
- Every American adult deserves the chance to earn a living wage, and to work with dignity — a job where pay, working conditions, and treatment are suitable reward for the effort and skill put in.
- Every American deserves to live without fear of hunger or homelessness or lack of medical care. These things are not only rights, they are America’s moral duty to provide.
- Every American deserves to live in a healthy environment that includes clean air, clean water, and safe food.
- Every American deserves the chance to move forward: no one left out by change, and no one left behind … no matter who they are or where they live.
We further believe that American democracy depends on …
- A free and independent press, dedicated to truth and objectivity.
- An educated citizenry with free and easy access to information
- A nation that accepts and embraces diversity.
- Full financial transparency in election campaigns, in political office, and in government transactions.
- An American economy based on Free Enterprise, and protected by the government from the baser instincts of large corporations and the financially powerful.
- The continued existence of a strong military, free of political involvement and financial corruption, and dedicated to protecting us against all enemies foreign and domestic.
- Educators and law enforcement officers being treated as among the most important parts of society, highly paid and stringently selected, and meeting exacting national standards of professionalism, ethics and psychological motivation.
- American citizens who care. Without this, nothing is possible.
This is what we believe.
The crowd applauded vigorously, and, just as you might have heard in the American taverns in 1776, a shout of “Hear, hear!” rang out.
One man asked, “How can we get people to believe our message over what they hear on Fox News?”
The speaker replied, “By using it everywhere and by repetition.”
There was a box of “Democrats 101” books on a table, and every household went home with one.
At their next meeting, the county party officially adopted the Democratic Creed. Since then, four more Ohio county Democratic parties have officially adopted the creed. Today the Democratic Creed and the Democrats 101 movement propelled by the book is spreading throughout the nation.
More info on Democrats 101
- Link to the web site: dems101.org
- Link to the book store: Plainwords Press
- Link to the pledge: Democrats 101 Pledge
I support this Creed and the Democratic values it expresses. I want to join our community of like-minded people and make these values our party’s identity. By uniting together around these shared core values, we will create the just society this country deserves.
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