I spent most of my adulthood serving in the U.S. Army, convinced that in
politics the candidate’s party affiliation was secondary to the candidate’s
strengths as an individual. I was registered as a Republican because that had
been my family’s party, particularly my father’s. Dad is a lifetime member of
the NRA and something of a single-issue sort of fellow. I changed my
registration this spring to the Democratic Party because I could no longer
tolerate the divisiveness that the Republican Party has come to represent and
because I believed that the Democrats have come to stand for the ideals that I
wore our nation’s uniform to protect.
I changed political parties because I believe with all my heart that Democratic
Party candidates are the most likely to consider, with grave caution, any
decision to commit our nation in battle. Our Commander-in-Chief needs to be
dedicated to pursuing diplomacy to the ends of the earth before risking the
lives of our military, not to mention our nation’s international reputation and
economic stability. There is no more sobering responsibility than choosing to
engage in acts of war, a responsibility which rests uniquely with the
President, and I simply no longer trust Republicans to handle this solemn trust
with the sacred care that we all deserve.
I became a Democrat because our country’s real strength is in our working
and middle classes, not in the super-wealthy, who benefit the most from
Republican tax cuts, loop-holes, and special interest policies. Economic
policies that benefit large corporations and their chief executives, regardless
of the failure of those corporations and the havoc they then wreak on the least
powerful among us, have gone on far too long.
Everyone in this great country of ours should have access to high-quality
health care. Our public education system should be a state-of-the-art
international model, proving the premise that all of us are not only created
equal but that we can also provide opportunities to a decent quality of life
for all our people. I became a Democrat because this party supports policies
that strive to put the American dream within reach for all of us.
I reached a point where I could no longer overlook the hypocrisy of
Republican positions that stated a preference for less government while all the
while trying to dictate who should be married to whom and what health-care
choices women should be “allowed” to make. The party that supposedly stood for
honor and family values has fielded a presidential candidate whose own
infidelity was all too self-serving.
Probably the most compelling reason that I became a Democrat is that it
became clear to me that no Republican candidate, however decent a person, could
succeed without pandering to the far too powerful extreme right wing of the
Republican Party. I am frightened by people who are convinced that they have
some kind of divine right to judge others and even more frightened by the idea
of those extremists having political power. Those who believe that government
should be used to further their own religious beliefs have a different
understanding of this nation than I do, an understanding that differs from what
I wore the uniform to serve.
I became a Democrat because I can not stand idly by while our country slips
into a paradigm of hatefulness, where we police the world by forcing other
nations to become democracies and to love it, where we fail to provide
immediate assistance in the face of overwhelming disasters, where we commit our
military where they don’t belong and then fail to take care of them when they
return home, and where lying to the public is acceptable.
I became a Democrat because the Democratic Party literally embraces
diversity and lives out policies that help us care for the least among us. The
Democratic Party stands by the ideals and fundamental values of hope for all of
us that the United States
has always represented. I am a Democrat because we can be the nation that we
have always thought we were, and Democratic candidates will help us profoundly
rediscover what it means to be involved citizens.
Bricca Sweet is an educator, Lieutenant Colonel (US Army, ret.), disabled American
Veteran, western Watauga farmer, wife, mother, and grandmother.