The Democratic Party of the United States of America has for several decades been seen as a beacon of hope and progress for the those on the left. They’ve advocated for affirmative action, anti-discriminatory laws, POC and LGBTQ+ rights, and women’s reproductive rights. However, despite all of those ideas, they have a horrible track record of using POC, women, and LGBTQ+ members for political gain and only appealing to the more white, Protestant, straight acting, upper-middle class members of society. Angel Rojas takes issue with this patronizing and abuse of marginalized groups.
Dear Democratic Party of the United States of America,
It has been seven long months since the election of Donald Trump. There have been long and often mind-numbing arguments about why Democrats lost in the election. From misogynistic claims, the rise of progressives, and reliance on educated voters. I am here to tell you why you lost and what can you do to prevent the same mistake in 2018 and 2020. First of all, Obama’s election was seen as a golden age for the Democrats. He represented fresh ideas and gave a clear indication of how far he wanted the country to progress. As I was eleven at the time of his inauguration, I felt a sense of pride and hope, just as the rest of the nation did at his inauguration. However, that sense of pride and hope did not last too long. We all watched on as he continued the wars he promised to end and increased deportation of immigrants. Shortly before the 2012 election, we all saw him recognize that same-sex marriage is a right. However, beneath the facade, it was clear that this was for political gain. Sure, he did support LGBTQ+ rights and tried to pass laws that would protect them from discrimination. However, it took until the 2012 election to feel comfortable enough to declare that same-sex marriage is a right. That is issue number one in this letter.
However, that sense of pride and hope did not last too long.
The LGBTQ+ community is not to be used for your own political gain. The LGBTQ+ community is a living and breathing community with concerns and conditions. The reason why the LGBTQ+ community generally supports the Democrats is that the Democrats are usually the ones who gives them bits and pieces of what they want. Also, how can you call yourselves the defenders of LGBTQ+ rights when you regularly sell weapons to nations that do not feel the same way. Those same nations also commit violent atrocities in other nations. Of course, this should come as no surprise since the Democrats have tended to use POC, the poor, and the LGBTQ+ community for political gain before then turning their backs on them after winning their seats.
We’ve seen this with President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. His new deal promised to help out African-Americans. Yet, his new deal policies only helped a small percentage of African-Americans who worked in the industrial sector, while a majority worked in the agricultural sector and never got the same benefits. We’ve seen this too from President John F. Kennedy, who promised African-Americans civil rights. Yet, he continuously tried to ignore the racist attacks on African-Americans. He passed the new housing discrimination bill. After so many years in office, that led the black community to question his commitment. Also, that housing discrimination bill only applied to houses that were newly built and since the Department of Housing and Urban development lacked any more money to build more houses, it was basically like he never passed the bill in the first place. President Bill Clinton advocated tougher crime and drug laws that saw the mass incarceration of African-Americans.
Democratic candidate Hilary Clinton even used the LGBTQ+ community for her own personal gain, the same way she used the Mexican-American and Latin American community, by tweeting that she is like your ‘abuela’ (‘grandmother’ in Spanish). This was without even realizing how wrong that is and how most of their target audience had relatives who did not have the same privileges that she had. She also did not endorse the idea of same-sex marriage until it was necessary for her to use it during election periods. She also advocated for selling weapons to those same theocratic homophobic regimes. This is unacceptable. This is hypocrisy. You can not use people for personal gain and butter them up with hope and promise and then turn your backs to them and support nations and policies that not only hinder but damage them. You can change this though. It is not too late. Instead of electing politicians who barely got on the same-sex equality wagon, you should start advocating more for politicians who have always supported same-sex equality. However, another issue is your over-reliance on white, educated, and rich population groups.
This is unacceptable. This is hypocrisy.
It is no secret that the United States has always promoted a white, middle-class, puritan work ethic class with emphasis on acceptable morality. This even goes for progressives in the early 20th century; they’ve led crusades against sex work, drugs, alcohol, sexual expression, shopping, and certain forms of music. They’ve forced assimilation on Native Americans and after the American civil war, they forced a white, Protestant, middle class, puritan work ethic on African-Americans. In the past few decades, this has led to an increase of middle-class POC and LGBTQ+ groups that assimilated in order to progress in the world as white middle-class Americans – while leaving out the poorer and more sexual liberating groups of society at the bottom, as they are regarded as immoral and seen as savages. Drag queens and more flamboyant LGBTQ+ members who refused to be a part of the white, straight, middle-class group led the movement and started the fight back against police oppression that led to the Cafeteria riots and Stonewall riots, even while the more “acceptable” members tried to silence them and take over the movement.
The Democratic Party relied on these “acceptable members” of the POC and LGBTQ+ community to win elections, especially after the Democrats began to adopt a more centrist neoliberalism as their new ideology. This proved to be disastrous for the LGBTQ+ and POC community, as it increased unemployment and discrimination. They’ve continued to leave them out even while Obama began to appeal to most of them. Now, while the LGBTQ+ community did not flock to Trump during his campaign, the much poorer POC and white communities began to listen to him and saw him as someone who listened to their needs and concerns. This should have been a red flag! The Democrats have left them out for so long that it ultimately was used against them. The more progressive people of the Democratic Party and Green Party could even see why they began to move more towards Trump, as the Democrats became more a part of the establishment than the Republicans were.
This is where you went wrong. You left them out and tried to silence the people in your own party that tried to get you to listen. All for what? Politics, money, power? You can not call yourself the party of the people if you continue to hold fundraisers at Maratha’s Vineyard. It is almost a little bit too late. But there is hope. Become their voice. Listen to their needs and concerns. Fight for policies to help them! Allow for the progressives to become leaders in the party instead of giving them a meaningless role as vice chair of the Democratic National Convention as you did with Keith Ellison. You shouldn’t be using the media to silence those same people as well. Here is one last plea and a final truth.
Democrats, you believe that you can continue to use members of marginalized communities for political gain. You keep on preaching and giving flowery speeches on why they need a voice, yet continue to ignore their cries. You silence the people who are calling you out on your own hypocrisy by branding them as misogynistic and too radical to even win. By always relying on the richer, straight, Protestant, and middle-class demographics to be your saving grace, you are no better than the Republicans. I am sorry but you’ve screwed up. And you’ve continued to screw up, never learning your lesson. I’m sorry but if you can not see the error of your ways and do not change, you are going to lose in 2018, 2020, 2022, 2024 and so on and so forth. If you call yourselves the true party of the people, then prove it! Listen, encourage, and be helpful. Otherwise, why bother at all? I encourage you to hear this plea as it is not too late. You still have time.
Follow Angel Rojas on Twitter (@angelrojas450)
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