Thoughts on Diversity and Conformity


There are many things which separate Democrats and Republicans. Perhaps one of the more fundamental of these is our feeling about diversity and conformity.

Diversity in thought, or conformity in thought. Diversity in society, or conformity to narrow concepts about who is a real American. Economic diversity, or protection of the privileged. Hope….fear. Future….past.

Democrats/Liberals embrace diversity and civil rights and civil liberties. Republicans/Conservatives fear these things and seek shelter in conformity to a set of beliefs about who should be in charge and what the social order should be.

Liberals welcome open intellectual discussions, where all beliefs and ideas can be freely aired. Conservatives fear these things and run to the safe harbor of anti intellectual conformity.

Who is strong and who is weak?

The fear enveloping the Right is clearly based on weakness, masked by the strength of conformity. They march in lock step, and seek to destroy or denigrate all who do not agree with their narrow views.

Will we allow them to take us off the cliff? Will we move forward or will we slide back?

Much will depend on what you, and others like you are prepared to do. We, on the Left, need to be proud of what we believe in and we must also stand together against the threats to our society that are presented by Right extremism.

Will live in scary times, and this leaves fertile fields for fear to dominate. When people are scared, they often seek the safe harbor of conformity and yearn for an idealized past. This explains much of the beliefs and tactics of the Right.

What do we believe in? What do we stand for? We are, of course, a big tent Party, and we welcome the diversity this brings. We are multi racial. We support women’s rights and women’s health. We support gay rights. We support civil rights for all. We stand for economic and social justice. We stand for a clean environment, and seek a sane and sustainable energy policy. We believe in science. We stand for and speak for the underprivileged and disenfranchised, because it is the right thing to do. We stand for a culture of “we” instead of a culture of “me”. We understand that we can only be a strong democracy when we strive for and approach equality.

We understand the meaning of what Justice Louis Brandeis said long ago: “We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.”

I am so proud to be a Democrat and proud to stand with people looking to move this country forward. However, because of our embrace of diversity in it’s various forms, it is hard for us to speak with one unified voice. Yet this is what we must do. We must come together, we must work together. We must support one another and we must say to the Right…you shall not prevail. We must turn our words and beliefs into deeds.

If we are to survive and thrive as a diverse and open society, we must be an active society.

So please consider talking to your neighbors. Financially contribute to the causes you believe in. Stand up for your values. Join with us to roll back the Tea Party/Republicans in 2012 and beyond. We need you. The country needs you.

Our future depends on it.

Doug Ballard

Posted in Letters to the Editor.