Letter: Democrats can be idealistic and pragmatic
Thank you for printing Jaqueline Cartier’s “Talk blue, live red” column where she points out that most of us live red (pragmatic) lives, even though we talk blue (idealistic). Her efforts to keep us all talking to each other are always appreciated.
Ms. Cartier equates the red, pragmatic life with being a Republican, and the blue, idealistic life with being a Democrat. However, another perspective is that a lot of Democrats simply differ from Republicans in what they consider to be pragmatic. While it’s true that some social programs encourage dependency and even a victim mentality that can “kill the human spirit,” there are pragmatic things supported by Democrats that are worth considering.
It is pragmatic to promote alternatives to fossil fuels when one considers the true costs of continuing to use the latter at our current rate. Those costs are not only environmental, but include health issues, deterioration of infrastructure, accidents in fuel transport and resource recovery, and war, to name a few.
It is pragmatic to endeavor to generously support an excellent public education for all children since it will equip disadvantaged children with the tools they need to break out of the cycle of poverty. Current disparities in our system affect us all in the long run, financially and as a society.
It is pragmatic to provide easy access to basic women’s healthcare —including birth control and abortion rights as outlined in the Roe v. Wade decision. This is especially true for the disadvantaged women who need it most. Otherwise, the result contributes further to the vicious cycle of poverty.
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It is pragmatic to look for alternatives to a health care system that costs more per capita than that of any other country but offers lower life expectancies. People who can’t get health care often avoid seeing a doctor until they are so sick they can’t work. Once again they get trapped in another vicious cycle — poor health and no way to pay for the mounting expenses.
It is pragmatic to let religions take care of spreading their message versus trying to go through the government to make this happen. One has only to look at countries that have governments controlled by religion to see this imposes huge burdens on society.
In spite of the “need for self-fulfillment and individuality,” there are enough people who are willing to share that we’ve established a balance of individual freedom with civic responsibility that has made our country great. Ms. Cartier says liberals have “ideas” and conservatives have “values.” I think both groups have ideas and values. Hopefully, our values will re-emerge in the next election — and provide us with benevolent, smart and honest candidates who stand up to the numerous threats to our values that we’ve seen in recent years.
Debra S. Dieter