Our Values: Ensuring Our Human Rightsarticle series logo ensuring our human rights

by Karolina Newcombe, Washington County Democrats Communications Committee Member

Ever heard someone say “Health care is a human right”?​

This statement is an important part of basic Democratic Party philosophy. We believe in human rights. We think that our fellow Americans have the right to respect, dignity and humanity–that these are not privileges they should struggle for, but benefits which should automatically come with being a member of the American and human family.​

The operative word here is “everyone.”

As Democrats, we believe everyone should have these rights, regardless of who they are or how much money they have or what kind of family or social status they were born into.​

  • We believe that everyone has the right to food and housing–including affordable rent and tenant protections​
  • We believe that everyone has the right to quality, affordable health care​
  • We believe that everyone has the right to live in a clean environment and enjoy clean air and water​
  • We believe that everyone has the right to cast a vote in an election, without having to jump through hoops created to make this process more difficult​
  • We believe that everyone has the right not to be discriminated against on the basis of race, sex, sexual or gender orientation, or religion. We also believe that the African-American community has the right to reparations, not only because of the atrocities connected to this country’s history of slavery, but also because of racist structures present in today’s America.​
  • We believe that everyone has the right to privacy–not having the government or any private agency interfere with your home, family or correspondence​
  • We believe that everyone has the right to marry the person they love​
  • We believe that everyone has the right to determine their own gender and sexual identity, and not have any definitions forced upon them​

Not only do Democrats support these human rights (and more), we staunchly oppose any attempt to have these rights be compromised by the government–for example, in the name of “national security.” We believe the idea of basic human rights is the foundation of who we are as a political party.​

This is the first of ten articles the Comms team is writing on our 2018 What we Stand For (which maps 1-to-1 with the Articles of our 2018 Platform).  Facts and policies exist within the frame of morality, which is how the brain works.  Our challenge as Democrats is to state our progressive values better to our coworkers, neighbors, and family.  Our values are as American as apple pie, and the American flag means more than just supporting the troops or the status quo.  Our policies must be grounded in values and feeling and not just theory in order to connect to voters that may not yet be swayed to vote Democrat.  We must also understand the traditional conservative values of non-Dems (and Dems) better in order to improve our empathy and ability to connect (which is core to progressiveness).  This series of articles by our writers explores our values by offering some depth and context.