The legalization of marijuana is on the ballot in California this November, and The Wall Street Journal says this issue is why there will be a higher voter turnout among young Democrats in the state. The "legalize it" initiative will probably get Jerry Brown elected as our next governor. Kind of appropriate.
While marijuana may save the Democrats in California, I know the one thing that can save the Democrats all over America: Obtaining a Backbone.
Clearly the days of reaching across the aisle are over, so we can stop pretending that compromising our core values to gain Republican votes is a good strategy. I know I would be a lot more inclined to go door-to-door, fund raise, and even vote (although I always do that no matter how bored I am) if I knew my elected officials would stand up for what they believed in, make grand speeches confirming his or her support, and vote his or her conscience.
Here are the issues I want Democrats to embrace, own, shout about, and push through -- then, hells yes, I'll be one of those energized voters:
Even Libertarians are pro-gay marriage. How can each and every Democrat not stand up and support treating everyone equally? If you don't stand loud and proud on this issue, 10 years down the road, you're going to look like an idiot.
Repeal Don't Ask Don't Tell
Protecting Abortion Rights/Government Funded Sex Education & Care
As a million of us have said before, you don't have to like abortion to know that the right to terminate a pregnancy must be protected unless you want to enslave women and/or have them dying from an illegal, unsafe procedure. Again, how is this not a given in this day and age? Oh, and if you provide people with education on how not to get pregnant and birth control options -- you can avoid abortions that are not for health reasons or in the case of rape and incest. Funny how that works, isn't it?
Take this issue, add the one prior, support, fund, and make a priority -- voila! You've just solved the crime issue, and increased hope that the American Dream does still exist. Instead of allowing wealthy people tax breaks, put that money into supporting our public schools, after-school programs, and higher education and look how big the national pay-off will be. Education can't be the underfunded, losing issue any longer.
Yes, I know you don't want to fight this fight again. You're halfway there, but it's still not enough. To get those of us back on your side, could you please just remember how much support there was for the public option?
These issues aren't revolutionary, they're core Democratic values. However, kowtowing to the right has created a bunch of weak politicians too scared to stand up and do what's right.
Grow that backbone, Democrats. Stand up for these issues that protect Americans without compromise. And then you'll see how many people will be invigorated enough to vote ... without the promise of getting high on November 3.
Image via cliff1066/Flickr