May 11, 2017 at 8:30 am EDT | by Peter Rosenstein
Stay mad as hell, resist — and then vote
Republican Congress, gay news, Washington Blade

Standing on the sidelines or voting against a Democratic candidate who doesn’t meet your criteria of ‘perfection’ can no longer be an option.

The time is now for Democrats and independents — and everyone who is getting more than nauseous about what Trump and the Republican Congress are doing — to unite and take back our country.

Only a Democrat or an independent fully committed to voting for a Democratic majority leader in the Senate and a Democratic speaker in the House, will help us take back the Congress. We must recognize voting for a third party candidate or staying home have been disastrous decisions that we can’t afford to repeat again in 2017 and 2018.

Republicans in Congress, state legislatures and governor’s mansions have shown they care mostly for rich white men. Republicans in Congress are willing to go so far as to revoke health insurance from more than 24 million Americans, making it unaffordable for those between 50 and 64 and anyone with a pre-existing condition, all to give the rich a bigger tax break. They voted to defund Planned Parenthood and take basic healthcare away from millions of women who get their care there.

Standing on the sidelines or voting against a Democratic candidate who doesn’t meet your criteria of ‘perfection’ can no longer be an option for anyone caring about people’s lives. Continuing to make a decision like that after we have seen what is happening to our country can only be seen as elitism. Anyone not white and rich making such a decision is the equivalent of ‘cutting off your nose to spite your face’ and none of us can afford to follow that route into the future.

The humorist Will Rogers once said, “I am not a member of any organized political party, I am a Democrat.” In many ways that has never been truer as the Democratic National Committee seems to be in complete disarray. But despite that, and maybe because of it, we as individuals can and must move forward working locally district-by-district and state-by-state to elect Democrats.

The long-term strength of the Democratic Party is our diversity. We are a collection of individuals with diverse needs and diverse opinions. But the time has come to accept after we have our primary fights and our debates we must come together to make progress on the goals we all care about. The Democratic Party stands for an economy resulting in income equality and opportunity for every person willing to work hard to earn a living wage allowing them to be part of the middle-class. We stand for civil and human rights for all, the right of every American to have good and affordable healthcare, a decent place to live, a great public education and for all families to live in safety.

We recognize we haven’t yet achieved all those goals. But if we are to continue to make progress toward them we must come together and vote for the Democratic candidate who can beat the Republican in every jurisdiction and every District. If seeing what Donald Trump and the Republican Congress are doing to deconstruct the safety net, remove protections for women and the LGBT community, refuse to support voting rights for all people and threaten hard-working immigrants and their families won’t accomplish that nothing will.

This is not a re-litigation of past elections but a blueprint for the future and a prayer we learn from the past as we move into the future. If we don’t we are destined to make the same mistakes over and over and end up with the same result; another Donald Trump or another Republican majority in Congress. Is that really what any progressive wants?

If we move forward together we will be successful. If we remember we have common goals even if we differ on how to reach them we will be successful.

Resisting today and then voting tomorrow will lead us all to a brighter and fairer future.

Peter Rosenstein is a longtime LGBT rights and Democratic Party activist. He writes regularly for the Blade.

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