Why am I a Democrat?

I was born this way. No, that’s not right. I was raised this way. No, that’s not quite right either. I chose to be a Democrat.

My father, who worked all his life as a chef, immigrated from an island in Greece, while my mother, who worked mostly as a waitress, was born on a farm here in New Jersey. My parents, who met during the Great Depression, told my brothers and me that Democrats were for the working man.

I’m a Democrat because I am a “recovering” Catholic. I learned that in order to serve God, I had to serve my fellow man, to serve all mankind, including the poor, the infirm, the elderly and even the outcasts of our world who — “there but for the Grace of God” – could have easily been me.

I’m a Democrat whose best friend while growing up was a Republican who would decry the resignation of Nixon as one who was “forced out of office” by the likes of us. And, while I did not agree with him, I would honor what the US president did in opening relations with Communist China, signing into law the Clean Air Act, and how he presided over other such “liberal” programs as the assistance for inner city youths.

I’m a Democrat because of another childhood friend, one who was Black, who served with me in the Vietnam War, but who never came back home alive. (I still dream of and with you, my brother. I hope never to forget you.)

I believe in the Union Movement and recall that the best job I ever held was serving as a union organizer spreading the gospel of a worker’s right to a decent wage and proper working conditions. It lead me to eventually become a lawyer who served in Philadelphia as a public defender for some 20 years.

“A laborer is worthy of his hire,” is what St. Paul wrote and what Pope John Paul II once declared in an edict in support of unions.

I’m a Democrat who believes we must change in order to rectify global warming, that there should be no abortions but that women should have the right to choose, that there should be no discrimination toward any lifestyle preference and that our country should never again impose the death penalty when even a scintilla of evidence shows a guilty verdict may have been rendered unjustly.

I want to love my enemy by trying to understand why he hates me, and what differences we could resolve without doing grave harm to either one of our beliefs. I would gladly place the happiness of others over my own, for in offering such a democratic sacrifice to the world, I’d achieve a sense of much greater peace and joy in such altruism.

I’m a Democrat because I believe compromising is good for all human relationships, even the political ones that often get us into trouble when there is the entrenchment of any of our ideas or notions.

Finally, I’m a Democrat who doesn’t mind paying taxes all that much when I know that the great majority of our government’s revenue will help benefit my nation through firm love and compassion.

23 comments on “WHY I AM A DEMOCRAT

  1. […] I had nightmares. I’d get flashbacks whenever I heard a helicopter fly above me. I mistrusted authority figures, and knew I’d suffer trauma the rest of my life while voting for the Democratic Party. (I’m only joking; joking about my mistrust of authority, not the Democrats! [Please see: Contoveros, a Democrat]) […]


  2. livvy1234 says:

    One of my favorite videos!


    • contoveros says:

      Why don’t you change?” is the question Krishnamurti asks here.

      It reminds me of one of the basic tenants in the study of Kabbalah. (http://www.kabbalah.info/) Change must come from within whenever you face a catastrophe or an unanswerable question and want to blame it on outside sources (or maybe the Creator!).

      Each is an opportunity for us to seek change in ourselves, and once we do, enlightenment starts to seep in. It’s usually not the solution we wanted, but the one we actually needed.

      I see a lot of hope in this presentation. I might have to reacess my view of this spiritual man to help obtain more changes in my self.

      (For more, see: http://www.jkrishnamurti.org/default.php)


  3. wolfshades says:

    Wow. I didn’t realize how many Canadians follow your blogs Michael. (Including me). Good to see you here again. And of course, I relate well to what you said. I think Liberals here in Canada are trying to do their best – and at least what they’re not going to do is try to get rid of unions. Can’t say the same for Conservatives who are right now gearing up to inflict a “back to work” law at a union who has just issued a call for a strike.


    • contoveros says:

      We got to stay the course for the working man while at the same time understand there may be concessions needed in a global economy in order to end inequality and injustice.

      Hey dude, I was just in Toronto last month. Attended a Kabbalist convention and really was overome with awe as I saw Niagra Falls.

      I like your side of the river better than I do my own.

      Here’s my hand across the border . . .

      michael j


      • wolfshades says:

        *shakes hand*

        You know – I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the “Occupy Wall Street” thing lately (which by the way will shortly be happening in various cities in Canada too). Though the protesters seem to lack focus in a sort of “what should we do about the greed” way, their anger is palpable and valid. These aren’t entitled people looking for a handout. They just want their jobs back. And their homes. And they really wouldn’t mind being healthy while we’re at it.

        I’m noticing now that even some conservatives are jumping on the bandwagon. Especially some who believe that in a free market society, all should be free to stand or fall according to their own efforts. The bank system did not do this. The government (and probably the majority of people) felt that it was too big to fall, and that the consequences of not bailing them out – with taxpayer money – would be worse than letting them fail. So fine. In this one instance, we gave them a hand. And then what did they do? Establish obscene executive bonuses.

        I don’t blame protesters for being angry. Not at all. And right now they’re venting, which is probably all they feel they can do. It feels like helpless anger though.


        • contoveros says:

          I mingled with a lot of young folks at the protest camp-out in front of Philadelphia’s city hall last night (Oct 11, 2011) and found they were unhappy with the system, but hopeful their movement would influence some needed change. They all wanted jobs. They would have worked anywhere at any level if they could secure employment. They seemed organized with first aid tents and food distribution sites, as well as access to free legal counsel.

          I contributed some seedless grapes and a bag of potato chips and showed one protestor with a lap-top computer my post here. Everyone seemed considerate of each other as well as the authority figures — uniformed police — that lingered nearby. One of the leaders addressing what was called a “General Assembly” said she would press the city government to open the public bathrooms in the building they had carried signs around in protest the whole day long. They started in the City of Brotherly Love last Thursday (Oct. 6) following the lead of the “Occupy Wall Street” groups. They have had to use a Friends’ Meeting hall and nearby restaurants to take care of their basic needs, and those needs seemed the most critical ones they faced as the temperatures started to drop.
          It reminded me of the Vietnam War protests, and how our country was torn apart in the ’60s. I believed the demonstrators helped to bring about change then. We were able to weather some pretty tough times (such as the forced resignation of a president) before finding more stable grounds. It all turned out for the good when you look at the advancements we collectively made.

          Let’s hope for similar results this time.


  4. Oh *hug*!!!!

    So very good to see you Michael!!!

    In Canada – things are a bit different I think…

    However – I am also a ‘democrat’ (of the ‘new’ variety) and I am in NO WAY ‘Liberal’ although I believe in loving, caring for and respecting my fellow man/women and children.

    It is so good to see you again.


    • contoveros says:

      Labels get in the way of true enlightenment, but a loving compassionate viewpoint opens the path toward truth within.

      Here’s hugging you back, you wonderful rascal you!


  5. I’m a Democrat and I’m okay! Glad to see you back Michael J!!! Compassionate and feisty 🙂 I like your new layout too, well done.


  6. Helen says:

    Michael J,
    I am glad you came back! Missed you and your thoughts.


    • contoveros says:

      To Russia With Love, my friend, Helen of T. I feel joy in being in your thoughts as I write these words. I’m glad our spirits could touch again.


  7. Beechmount says:

    Good to see you back again. The “Democrats” here in Canada are called “Liberals”, although just how liberal they are remains open to debate.


    • contoveros says:

      Liberal is as liberal does. The word was once “demonized” here in America, making it hard for progressives to share in the public debate without being labelled. Today, many people who agree with liberal points of view tend to call themselves moderates.

      That gives you some idea of how conservative my country has become over the past decade or more.

      I feel we are moving back to the “center,” but those on both far ends of the political spectrum will most likely disagree with my use of that term.


  8. Very well said, thanks for sharing.


  9. souldipper says:

    Michael J., as a Canadian, I finally have an insight into what a Democrat may feel and/or think. I hope you’re typical or I’m really in trouble! 😀

    Yes, I’ve missed the honesty and the balancing commentary you present. Hope this means you’ll be around, my friend.


    • contoveros says:

      I’ll be around as long as I continue to breath in and breath out, taking steps of mindfulness in search of the ideal within. I feel that what I presented to you, Amy, was an aspiration of what I am striving to be as a Democrat. I too hope that it reflects what most of us feel and think.
      michael j


  10. Katharine says:

    SOOOOO good to find you here again, Michael J.. I’ve missed you.


    • contoveros says:

      And I missed you too, Katherine. I wear the silver interfaith medal and love telling the story about how it came to be through your ministry.
      michael j


  11. tinapeacock says:

    Here, here!


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