To the Editor:
I read the article in the Jan. 29 issue of the Herald titled, “Van Drew Explains Party Switch to OC Chamber,” by Bill Barlow. I take exception to some of Van Drew’s comments.
Barlow wrote that Van Drew said he believed in American exceptionalism and that such a belief is no longer welcome in the Democratic Party. I agree that the USA is unique among nations in the principles on which it was founded.
Due to this, we have a special role in the world. We have a duty to remember we can act as a role model for other nations who look to us for inspiration.
We should be more honest in our government and fairer in our dealings with other countries. In saying he does not see this belief in the Democratic Party, Van Drew is failing to read their platforms.
While Van Drew says that the Democratic Party has moved to the left, I’d like to point out that the entire country has done so. In my view, that is progress for all.
Votes for black Americans, for women, and the elimination of legal segregation are all formerly beliefs of the left. The elimination of child labor, instituting the minimum wage, and ensuring safe water to drink were also issues that the left fought for. I hope Van Drew would not end these advances.
When Van Drew said that the Democratic Party is intolerant of dissenting views, I see that as an overstatement. Each of our major parties tries hard to be a unified voice, but, as Americans, we have a hard time doing that. We each have our own beliefs, and if we didn’t believe in them, we wouldn’t care if others agreed or not.
Democrats would like to speak with a unified voice, as would Republicans, and Van Drew was speaking with a more Republican voice on a strongly partisan issue. It is unfortunate he couldn’t stand the heat and chose to leave the kitchen.
Whatever Van Drew’s particular votes, he needs to follow his conscience. I support that. I object to his characterization of his opponents as “denying the greatness of America.”
Our diversity of opinion is a point in support of our greatness. Our ability to challenge our national leaders is a point of strength in our country that many, if not most, other countries lack.
Our voters are not disenfranchised by the questioning of the suitability of our leader to be president - they are being given further information about the way he “serves” as our president, so they may vote with better information than if Trump’s actions were buried under the carpet.
Our greatness lies in our ability to vote with care. Democrats encourage us to know what we are voting for, and who those people really are, not just what is said in tweets and on television call-in shows.
Saying he is “old-fashioned” to believe in America as “the shining city on the hill” implies that he is bucking Democrats in that belief. Democrats, too, believe that America is a hope, a dream and an ideal we should be working hard to approach ever closer.
I’m sad that Van Drew chose to use inflammatory, divisive language in addressing the current political environment. We all should work to improve our country, working ever closer to the dream that is America for us today and for people all over the globe.