Many people these days seem to think there are only two schools of political thought in this nation, liberal and conservative viewpoints. So often, it seems that those of us who adhere to elements of both are relegated to the back bench, or labeled as fence sitters. On the contrary, I feel we are the true voice of America. If many are not hearing us, it is not because we are silent but because nobody LISTENS any longer.
What exactly are Blue Dog Democrats, and how do they differ from conservative Republicans? The answer to the latter is, not much. On many issues, Blue Dog Democrats and conservatives generally hold similar views. What is different is that Blue Dogs will dare to ask questions that many in the GOP (as well as many progressive Democrats) would choose to ignore. Difficult questions, such as:
- What role should Religion have in government?
- Was torture committed in our name?
- Were we lied to about the rationale for war in Iraq?
- Should a victim of rape or incest be “made” to carry a child to term for another’s belief?
In most instances a Blue Dog Democrat’s answer to these questions would be nearly identical to a conservative’s, the difference being a Blue Dog will ask the question. A Blue Dog will not be content to blindly follow Democratic leadership or the self-appointed guardians of thought on AM radio. I contend that it is the duty of any political party to constantly ask themselves the tough questions. A lack of introspection leads to stagnation and eventually, irrelevance.
You want to know where bipartisanship resides in America today; well I contend it resides within the ranks of Blue Dog Democrats. Among our membership we honor loyalty, but do not ask for obedience. We dare to listen to opinions that may fly in direct opposition to what we think, and we will at least consider alternative schools of thought. We choose not to vilify those whose viewpoints stand in contrast to our own.
Any artist will tell you a good painting not only requires an interesting subject but also a distinct contrast between the colors on the canvas. On the canvas of America, there is room for all colors. Those of other political viewpoints are not the “enemy”, as some would have you think. They are allies who disagree on the tactics of the battle we are fighting, but share the same strategic goal – the continued survival of the greatest nation on earth.