A Little Contention Isn’t a Bad Thing WashCo Dems op-ed article

By Martita Meier, PCP
WashCo Dems Communication Committee, Digital Communications Chair

The Democratic party has been undergoing some change throughout the country. I would actually call it an awakening. In our attempt to be a big tent, there are going to be different views about how to best execute on what we might generally call liberal values.

What emerged in 2016 is what has been thought of as two camps in the party. The Establishment camp and the Progressives.

I ended up supporting the considered ‘establishment candidate’ in the primary because I felt they would do a better job of negotiating with Congress and getting things done. The other side felt that the value system was not Progressive enough and so the debate began.

For me personally, it has all been a little bit of a mind-bend because I have always considered myself to have progressive values, and therein lies what is interesting about this recent path for us Democrats.

2016 (and the 2017 aftermath) was hard on a lot of people. We felt sad at the state the country was left in having Donald Trump as our president. But, it is also giving us a lot of time to think, regroup, and remind ourselves that whatever liberal wins we have gained thus far; they can be easily lost if we become apathetic and lose our focus.

Staying aware and active, and most important: voting… cannot be sidelined.

As we came out of the fog in 2017 I was worried for the Democratic party because these two wings had emerged. I was concerned that we were going to have so much inner strife that we would lose focus.

As we roll into 2018 I have changed my mind. I have found, being active in the Democratic party at a local level, that having these different views are critical. Taking a long hard look at our values, and how to achieve them is actually what keeps things alive and moving forward.

Sometimes I think being strategic and looking for ways to compromise is the best road ahead; and, sometimes I think putting your foot down, and saying no, we will not move an inch… because even an inch would be too much, is the right thing to do. At the end of the day, for every cause, we have to ask that question…

Where do we fight our battles, where do we compromise, and where do we stand strong, and refuse to move.

If I had not sat down in a long, invigorating conversation with a Progressive Caucus member, and fellow Democrat, I would not have clarified on this very important point.

It is because we have had different voices in the party that I have had the opportunity to rethink some of my own views, and I think this is the true path for the Democratic party as well. It is invigorating to debate. It is enlivening to actually work through the best path forward! If we all thought we could achieve our agenda in exactly the same way we would have nothing to learn.

It has been because there is questioning and a bit of contention that we are pushing ourselves further as a party.

I ask you today, do not think of us as split or divided. Think of the Democratic party as a big tent full of lively and diverse people… and in that diversity, sometimes we will debate on our views in order to find the best way forward.

Democracy is about the will of the people, and that is the heart of our Democratic values.

We will debate, and we will vote,  and we will win because we listen.

As long as we know ourselves to ultimately stand together; there is nothing we can’t do.