Column: Moral Democratic values

Often, Democrats and others on the left are assailed as immoral, if not amoral for their views on a variety of issues. In some cases, they will be accused of attacking Christians and sowing seeds of discord. People have leveled charges that I am a bigot, a bad person and un-Christian. Some of these accusations have originated from people in my home state of Indiana. Sadly, they also come from people and organizations right here at GW who cite my stance on issues such as stem cell research, a woman’s right to choose, minority rights and the United States’ attitude and responsibility in the world today. The principles of the Democratic Party do not run counter to morality in general or to the foundations of Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism or any other religion.

There is nothing immoral or contrary to the Bible, the Koran, the Torah or the teachings of Buddha about extending a helping hand to the countless homeless men and women we watch every day searching through trash cans at GW, hoping to find wasted food.

There is nothing immoral about holding the belief that all 280 million Americans have an intrinsic right – a human right – to health care. There is nothing immoral about believing every child in this country deserves a reasonable public education. There is nothing immoral about fighting to preserve the right to privacy. There is nothing immoral about using stem cells to find a cure for deadly diseases. There is nothing immoral about striving for equal protection under the law for all citizens. There is nothing immoral, unpatriotic or un-American about questioning the motives for war or doing everything in one’s power to avert war. As President Clinton said at this year’s Democratic National Convention, “Strength and wisdom are not opposing values.”

Is it morally sound for a president to give enormous tax cuts to the wealthiest two percent of while a veritable town of homeless peoples lives outside struggling with the extreme hot of D.C. summers and cold of D.C. winters? Is it moral to deny American children a basic education? Is it moral to collude with pharmaceutical companies and make it illegal to buy reasonably priced prescription drugs from other countries? Is it moral to wield the Constitution as a weapon against a segment of the population? Is it moral to hold the flag out and say if one questions the government’s actions or intentions one dishonors this sacred symbol?

Democrats are not always right and Republicans are not always wrong. But to hold Democratic ideals does not negate one’s ability to be a member of a spiritual or moral community. These admittedly lofty ethics are not held for self-gratification or to make the believer feel morally superior. They are held because we believe, as President Kennedy said, “A rising tide lifts all boats.” Where is the immorality, bigotry or lack of religiosity in that?

-The writer is a junior majoring in political science.

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